What’s on stage this week: Intimate Bach, Shakespeare outdoors, lots of movement

A foremost authority on Baroque music conducts a Brandenburg concerto. Actors, dancers and musicians work together in a pair of free performances.
Published October 24 2018
Updated October 25 2018



After Beethoven and Rachmaninoff, the Florida Orchestra’s pace relaxes in Evening at Bach’s Coffeehouse, conducted by Jeannette Sorrell. In 1991, Sorrell took first place in an international harpsichord competition that drew 70 contestants. A year later she founded Apollo’s Fire, an ensemble dedicated to recreating authentic Baroque music. She has conducted and soloed with top orchestras. The concert includes Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Orchestral Suite No. 1; Georg Philipp Telemann’s Grillen-Symphonie and Don Quixote Suite; and Antonio Vivaldi’s La Folia (Madness). 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. A pre-concert talk starts one hour before performances. $18-$48. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.



In the [email protected]’s biggest production yet, a large cast including musicians and five dancers takes over Williams Park for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “There are so many kinds of talent here, and you just put them together in some kind of gumbo or stew,” said director Bob Devin Jones, who also serves as 620’s artistic director. The studio, the city of St. Petersburg and private donors are sponsoring the event, a joint effort with the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival. Musical contributions include an electric ukulele and the beat box talents of Reuben Pressman, who plays a starveling. The cast includes Kylin Brady, an ensemble member in Broadway’s The Lion King, as Puck; and Equality Florida executive director Nadine Smith, who appeared in 620’s Voodoo Macbeth. Read more about the show at tampabay.com/things-to-do/stage. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through Nov. 11. A preview is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Williams Park, 350 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free (donations accepted). For show dates, go to thestudioat620.org.



If the exact scope of the St. Petersburg Festival of the Arts eludes you, you’re not alone. Listings in a pastiche of events running through Sunday include previously scheduled performances by local theaters or the Florida Orchestra. The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance branded the two weeks in October to help promote the arts. Two free dance events fall right in step with that celebratory spirit. St. Petersburg playwright Sheila Cowley started the inter-disciplinary Air-Earth-Fire-Water, pictured at right, with an idea about a scientist exploring distant galaxies. Choreographers Helen Hansen French and Paula Kramer added movement, performed by French and dancers Alex Jones, Brian Fidalgo and Samantha Miller. Actors Eugenie Bondurant and Ned Averill-Snell joined in with characters, and violist A.J. Vaughan improvised a score for the 20-minute piece.

“The movement came out of the words,” Cowley said. “It’s the dance telling the story.” 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Thursday on the steps of the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 518-5142. stpeteartsalliance.org.

Actors are expected to move well. But what about actors who aren’t dancers? In the Take a Chance Project, choreographer Kramer worked with the [email protected]’s Jones, actor Fanni Green (who starred in last year’s A Raisin in the Sun at American Stage) and writer Maureen McDole in three performance pieces that bring out the inner dancer. 2 p.m. Saturday, First Unity Spiritual Campus, 460 46th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 518-5142. stpeteartsalliance.org.


Move over, Webb’s City. A staged reading of Sunshine City — The Musical brings new life to old St. Pete. Set in the early 1920s, the show by Tom Sivak and Dewey Davis-Thompson follows St. Pete’s first public relations man, “Jack Handsome,” as he creates outrageous gimmicks to lure tourists. “It’s about how St. Pete got on the map,” said director Vickie Daignault, left. “Stretching the truth a little bit, having a little bit of fun and sort of a morality play about the character.” The cast includes St. Petersburg Opera alum Paula Broadwater and Jan Neuberger, a cast member in five Broadway shows. Starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at Opera Central, 2145 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $15 (two for $20). (727) 823-2040. stpeteopera.org.