STAYING POWER: ELAYNE BOOSLER
A lot of comedians make a name for themselves by going loud, branding themselves almost literally into our brains. Elayne Boosler has always preferred topical, provocative and clever, and it's worked for 40 years. Boosler, whose next stop is Ruth Eckerd Hall's Murray Theatre, has been a fixture on national television for decades, including two movies for Cinemax and HBO's Comic Relief, and in February made Rolling Stone's list of Top 50 stand-up comics of all time. There's always a serious side with Boosler, who is a big advocate for animals and has said, "My fashion philosophy is, if you're not covered in dog hair, your life is empty." 7 p.m. Thursday. 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $30. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
4/4 TIME: TIEMPO LIBRE
One welcome side effect of a gradual thaw in the country's relationship with Cuba: Some underappreciated artists are now getting a wider audience. In November, the Havana Cuba All-Stars made their United States debut at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The center is also in negotiations with Ballet Nacional de Cuba for a possible date in the near future.
That theme continues with the classically trained, Grammy-nominated Tiempo Libre, a seven-member band that formed in Miami in 2001. With a mix of son cubano music, the elemental Afro-Cuban form that gave birth to many other styles, timba and salsa, the versatile group has performed in jazz clubs, dance venues and Lincoln Center. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $15 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
INTENSIVE: KENYON PLAYWRIGHTS CONFERENCE
If you'd like to get out of Florida and make your play better or just learn from the best, the Kenyon Playwrights Conference might be a worthy investment. Based at Ohio's 5-year-old Kenyon Institute, right, the program runs June 11-17 and typically attracts about 60 adult playwrights from multiple continents.
A typical day includes seminars led by artistic director Wendy MacLeod, author of The House of Yes, which became an award-winning film, and actor and playwright Ben Viccellio; daily scene writing; and optional master classes with visiting playwrights.
While all of that's going on, three major theater companies will be developing commissioned plays on campus. Conference participants will have front-row seats as Roundabout Theatre Company, London's Old Vic Theatre and Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre develop work for future production. Several emerging or high-profile playwrights have participated in the program, including Tony-nominated Craig Lucas, who wrote the book for The Light in the Piazza.
"It's a chance to really experience the play with some of the best playwrights around," said Sarah Kahrl, director of the Kenyon Institute.
The $2,000 cost includes tuition, instructional materials, a private room and meals. The workshop is still accepting applications. (740) 427-5250. kenyoninstitute.org.
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UPDATE: KRISTIN CHENOWETH
She can play the steely survivor or bubbly conniver, the tipsy April Rhodes on Glee or villain Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray Live. It's been a busy year for Kristin Chenoweth, who was scheduled to return to Ruth Eckerd Hall next week. "Due to scheduling conflicts," her show scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday has been moved to April 7; previously purchased tickets will be honored at the new date. For more information, call Ruth Eckerd Hall at (727) 791-7400 or see rutheckerdhall.com.