What’s on stage this week: Aziz Ansari, Florida Orchestra fetes Queen, Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’

After months of lying low, Aziz Ansari is back in the spotlight. The St. Petersburg Opera, Hat Trick Theatre and Radio Theatre Project open their seasons.
Published October 17 2018


Comedians love to exploit the uncertain, to revel in the awkward, especially when it comes to intimate relationships. The show becomes a little more complicated when a cloud hangs over the comic’s personal life, some scandal with recirculating questions plus a new one: Will this work?

Aziz Ansari is about to find out. The Emmy-winning star of Netflix’s Master of None had been laying low since January, after a woman named Grace told the website babe.net about an encounter with Ansari during which she said the comic repeatedly ignored “verbal and nonverbal cues” indicating her discomfort with his physical advances. Ansari apologized to the woman the next day but released a statement after her story was published in which he said their contact was “completely consensual.”

Some have since dismissed the complaint as a prime example of #MeToo excesses, or cited its relative ordinariness when measured against, say, the allegations against Harvey Weinstein as all the more reason to re-examine what passes for normal sexual contact between men and women. Critics have assailed Ansari for hypocrisy after years proclaiming himself an ardent feminist. He began his comeback in May with a surprise set at New York’s Comedy Cellar, announced the Working Out New Material Tour in August and Monday’s St. Petersburg shows in September. 7 and 10 p.m. Monday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $65. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com.


Brent Havens conducts the Florida Orchestra in a rock concert, The Music of Queen. Brody Dolyniuk, a master of tribute shows who has also covered Elton John, the Who and the Rolling Stones, handles vocals for classics from Bohemian Rhapsody to We Are the Champions to Another One Bites the Dust. 8 p.m. Friday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $35 and up. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com.


The St. Petersburg Opera opens the season with Mozart’s last work, Don Giovanni. Based on the legend of Don Juan and written by librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, the story centers on opera’s greatest rogue, with Argentine baritone Gustavo Feulien in the title role. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $20 and up. (727) 822-3590. stpeteopera.org.


In a career defined by an agile, rapierlike tenor voice, Jeremy Stolle has sung leading roles in every kind of musical. He can do casual and laidback, comic or romantic, but he’s at his best when challenged most. He used that versatility playing multiple roles in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera. Now Stolle brings his favorite songs and stories to Tampa for a cabaret. 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Jaeb Theater, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.


Did you ever wonder if the old Pier used to be an alien space port? Creators of The Adventures of Noel Berlin, which kicks off a 10th season for Radio Theatre Project, have got the inside scoop.

“It’s set in current day St. Pete, when cabaret was still cool,” said Paul Wilborn, who wrote the show with Matt Cowley and also plays a hard-drinking, piano-playing detective. “We take on politics, and it’s a chance to riff and have fun.” The fundraiser for the [email protected] features Eugenie Bondurant and Frank Bowman, with musical performances by John Lamb, James Suggs and Nate Najar. 7 p.m. Monday at 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $50. (727) 895-6620. [email protected].


Just in time for Halloween, Hat Trick Theatre uncorks a comic mystery that could get raucous. Mindgame, by Anthony Horowitz, take us into a hospital for the criminally insane, where a true-crime writer hopes to interview a serial killer. Could literal skeletons lurk in that closet? Opens Thursday and runs through Oct. 28 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Murray Theatre, 1111 N McMullen–Booth Road, Clearwater. $24. (727) 791-7400. For showtimes, see rutheckerdhall.com.