Les Miz at the Straz, a modern take on Othello, Hannibal Burress at the Improv and an Unforgettable tribute

A newly designed and staged Les Miserables comes to the Straz Center. Jobsite Theater updates Othello. Bill Cosby whistleblower Hannibal Burress comes to the Improv and a tribute to Nat King and Natalie Cole.
Published January 9

Political Drama: Othello

With all of the jealousy, betrayal, racism, treachery and revenge, Othello has more drama than House of Cards. These qualities also make it timeless, perfect for throwing a modern spin on it, which is just what Jobsite Theater is doing with Shakespeare’s tragedy. They’re going for a “ripped from the headlines” take that will add to the core plot, in which Othello, a Moorish general of the Venetian army, is repeatedly schemed on by his jealous ensign, Iago, all of which threatens Othello’s marriage to Desdemona. By producing Othello, Jobsite saw the opportunity to start a conversation about race relations and notions of entitlement and privilege. A preview performance happens Thursday at 8 p.m. ($18). Regular shows 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Through Feb. 3. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $29.50-$39.50. jobsitetheater.org.

Do You Hear the People Sing? Les Misérables

I was very obsessed with Les Mis as a kid, always singing Castle on a Cloud in my bedroom, and later, On My Own, in front of people. When I got to see it on Broadway in 1988, my passion only deepened. I wasn’t alone in my fervor. The retelling of Victor Hugo’s epic novel through stirring music, terrific costumes and elaborate sets has run continuously in London since 1985 and has had multiple Broadway revivals. And now Cameron Mackintosh’s new Broadway production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s Tony Award-winning musical is coming to Tampa’s Straz Center on Tuesday for a run through Jan. 19. The scenery has been updated, inspired by Hugo’s paintings, and it has been restaged. But the story’s backdrop of revolution and inequality between classes remains, and resonates, perhaps now more than ever. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45 and up. strazcenter.org.

Major Impact: Hannibal Buress

It’s likely that you know Hannibal Buress, the comedian, writer and actor, from his multiple film and television credits. He was a writer on Saturday Night Live, is co-star of the Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim and is a regular on Comedy Central’s Broad City. He has also appeared in the films Baywatch, Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Disaster Artist. But his biggest cultural impact is from his 2014 standup routine with a bit about Bill Cosby, which launched the avalanche of women accusing him of sexual assault, eventually resulting in a conviction. See if he brings about anymore upheavals when he performs this Friday-Sunday at the Tampa Improv. Several shows were sold out at press time. $35, $45 VIP. 1600 E Eighth Ave. improvtampa.com.

Florida Orchestra Pops: Unforgettable: Nat & Natalie

It’s fitting that Nat King Cole would write a song called Unforgettable, because that’s exactly what he is. His velvety voice and beautiful jazz piano arrangements produced classics, including Route 66 and When I Fall in Love. The apple didn’t fall far with his daughter Natalie, who enjoyed success in the 1970s with her hits Inseparable and Our Love. Her re-recordings of her father’s music in the 1990s, Unforgettable ... With Love earned her seven Grammy awards. The pair’s legacy will be celebrated in a Florida Orchestra pops concert conducted by Jeff Tyzik, with Dee Daniels and Denzak Sinclaire on vocals. The concert happens at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa and at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $18-$48. floridaorchestra.org.

Advertisement