Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ann Morrison performs at St. Petersburg's freeFall

    Ann Morrison has been a constant presence on and off-Broadway since 1981, when Harold Prince and Stephen Sondheim chose her to originate the role of Mary in "Merrily We Roll Along." She'll be at freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg with her solo show, "Now You Know: An Evening of Steve, Lenny and Annie" at 7 p.m.  Sunday. Sept. 29.
   She's coming straight from selling out the Broadway nightclub 54 Below. Morrison weaves backstage stories from more than 30 years on Broadway around songs from two of her musical mentors, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim
   Besides "Merrily," Morrison's best-known shows include "Lovemusik" and "Goblin Market."
    freeFall is at 6099 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, Tickets are $16. call 498-5205 or go to

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tickets for Sarasota's Asolo Rep available Sunday

   Tickets for the upcoming Asolo Repertory Theatre season  go on sale online at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29 and at Asolo Rep’s box office at 10 a.m. Monday.
   The season starts Nov. 15 with "Show Boat," by Hammerstein and Kern. Other shows include "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" by Brian Friel (Jan. 10-April 12); "Other Desert Cities" by Jon Robin Baitz (Jan. 17-Feb. 27); "Vanya and

Sonia and Masha and Spike" by Christopher Durang (Jan. 24-April 13); "The Grapes of Wrath" by Frank Galati, based on the Steinbeck novel (March 14-April 19); "4,000 Miles" by Amy Herzog (April 4-27); "Hero: The Musical" by Aaron Thielen and Michael Mahler (May 2-31); and a summer production to be announced.
   Visit, or call  941-351-8000.

Have Gun, Will Travel plans four shows near Bradenton

   Bradenton's biggest and best roots-rock band, Have Gun, Will Travel, has four dates planned in the area over the next few weeks, including a free show right here in town on the Riverwalk.
Have Gun, Will Travel
   Have Gun has just released its fourth studio album, "Fiction, Fact or Folktale?" on This Is American Music.
   Here's the show schedule:
   -- 10 p.m. Oct. 18: New World Brewery, 1313 E. Eighth 8th Ave., Tampa (Ybor City). 10 p.m. Call 813-248-4969. $10 advance, $13 day of show.
-- 9 p.m. Oct. 19: Pickin’ Picnic at Bradenton Riverwalk. 9 p.m. Free.
   -- 3:30 p.m. Oct. 20: Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Coachman Park, Clearwater. $10/$35 in advance, $20/$40 day of show.   -- 8 p.m. Nov. 1: MacDinton's at Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg. 8 p.m. Free. Call 727- 565-0550.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre announces 2013-14 seasons

   Florida Studio Theatre had already announced that it would kick of its mainstage season with "Monty Python's Spamalot." Now FST has unveiled the rest of the show in it its 2013-14 mainstage and cabaret seasons. After Mainstage Season "Spamalot," Nov. 13-Jan. 4, the mainstage season continues in the Keating Theatre with "Thurgood," George
Stevens Jr.'s play based on the life of Justice Thurgood Marshall, Dec. 11-Feb. 15. Following in the Gompertz Theatre is "Daddy Long Legs," Feb. 5-April 5, an adaptation of the novel by Jean Webster. The season ends with "Two Point Oh" by Jeffrey Jackson, a multimedia play about the effects of technology. That will run April 9-June 1.
   The Cabaret Season starts in the John C. Court Cabaret with "The Prima Donettes," Oct. 23-Feb. 1, about female singing groups of the '50s and '60s, developed by Richard Hopkins and Jim Prosser. Opening next in the Goldstein Cabaret is "Poems, Prayers and Promises," celebrating the American music and storytelling developed by Hopkins and his wife Rebecca, set for Jan. 1-April 12. Closing out the season Feb. 19-June 7 in the John C. Court Cabaret is "Too Darn Hot," also developed by Prosser and Richard Hopkins and featuring music by Cole Porter.
   Subscriptions for all four mainstage shows are available for $45 and up' for the cabaret shows, subscriptions start at $35. You can stop be the box office at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in Sarasota, call 941-366-9000 or go to

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bradenton's Wallenda wins award at Sunday's Emmys

   Apparently, Manatee County residents weren't the only ones who thought Nik Wallenda's walk across the Grand Canyon was the coolest thing on TV in the past year.
   The CBS Emmy Awards website invited the public to vote for the "Top TV Moment of the Year." During Sunday's Emmy broadcast, Wallenda's walk was announced as the winner.
   "He doesn't get an Emmy, but he does get the honor of winning this vote," said Wallenda's manger, Winston Simone. "And it's quite an honor, because he won over some really significant television moments, such as the last episode of 'The Office.' "
   The site gave the public 10 choices for best moment. Besides Wallenda's walk and "The Office," they were the Bob Marley Tribute at the Grammy Awards, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Superbowl blackout, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting the Golden Globe Awards show, the "Mother" episode of "How I Met Your Mother," the "Red Wedding" episode of "Game of Thrones," Hurricane Sandy coverage and a Kristen Wiig's farewell on "Saturday Night Live."
   A comment about the poll  appeared on Wallenda's Facebook page Friday afternoon: "We did it! 'Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda' won Emmy's top TV moment of the year! Thank you friends, family, and fans for all of your support! I couldn't have done it without you guys! Never give up!"
   "Skywire Live" was the title of the Discovery Channel's live coverage of Wallenda's 22-minute high-wire walk some 1,500 feet above the bottom of the Grand Canyon on a high wire on June 24. He was the first person to attempt that crossing and about 21-million people watched and listened as he completed the walk.
   Wallenda's next scheduled walk will be with his sister, Lijana Wallenda Hernandez. They will perform a dual walk 140 feet off the ground prior to the start of the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Oct. 12.
   They'll begin from opposite ends of a 500-foot cable, crossing paths along the way.
   The speedway walk will be about one-third the length and one-seventh the height of the Grand Canyon crossing. But Wallenda, who lives in Bradenton, said crossing speedway carries its own challenges.
“We take every walk seriously, whether it's 20 feet off the ground or 200 feet," he said. "You can't let up for a second.”

Masters of the Fiddle cancel Sarasota show

  If you were planning on seeing Masters of the Fiddle with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy  at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, well, you're going to have to make other plans for the evening of April 14. The show has
Leahy and MacMaster
been canceled, for a pretty great reason: MacMaster and Leahy, who are wife and husband, have just learned they're expecting a baby. That obviously makes a concert six months from now difficult.
   The people at Van Wezel say they hope to reschedule the show for the 2014-15 season.
   For information, call 941-953-3368 or go to

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pat Metheny plays Mahaffey in St. Petersburg

   Pat Metheny's one of those artists that almost everyone seems to like, or at least appreciate. He has the chops and the creativity to appeal to music connoisseurs, and the amiable attitude and melodic sense to appeal to casual music fan. He also treads the border between rock and jazz so skillfully that adherents of both camps enjoy his music.
Metheny (left) and the Unity Group
   The celebrated guitarist will bring his Unity Group to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. Feb.9.
   Tickets go on sale next week, on at noon Sept, 27. They'll run you $45, $55 or $65.
   Metheny's Unity Group includes Chris Potter, Ben Williams, Antonio Sanchez and Giulio Carmassi. They'll be releasing a new album in February, right around the time of the Mahaffey concert.
   You can get tickets by calling
727-893-7832, by visiting, or by stopping in to the Mahaffey Theater Box Office.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Drummer Billy Cobham plays St. Petersburg Friday

   Oct. 1 will mark the 40th anniversary of Billy Cobham's legendary debut album "Spectrum." Cobham's marking the occasion with an American tour he's calling "Spectrum 40." 
   The tour kicks off Friday at the Palladium in St. Petersburg.
   In 1973, Cobham was already a major force in jazz fusion, having played with Miles Davis and having been a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and he's been recording ever since. But "Spectrum" is still considered his seminal recording. It helped define the fusion genre, and Cobham's innovative drumming style on that album has influenced drummers ever since.
"Spectrum" album cover
   He can't reassemble the band from that album since guitarist Tommy Bolin died in 1976. (In a recent Skype interview from his home in Switzerland, Cobham called Bolin "B.B. King in a young man's skin.") But he's put together a band of long-time musical collaborators, including bassist Ric Fierabracci, guitarist Dean Brown and keyboardist Gary Husband.
   The concert will include four or five pieces from "Spectrum," plus other selections from Cobham's career.
   In the interview, Cobham said that he's eschewing cities like New York on this tour, opting instead for places like St. Petersburg, Albuquerque, N.M. and Akron, Ohio. "The real America," he said.
   He came into St. Petersburg early, and on Thursday he conducted clinics with music students from local high schools and colleges. At one point, when he asked if anybody had any questions, a music teacher asked, "Do you have any albums out?"
   Friday's show, which is presented by the Mahaffey Theater even though it's at the Palladium, starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30, $40 and $50. Call 727-892-5767 or go to for tickets and information.
   The Palladium is at 253 Fifth Ave. N., St Petersburg. Call
727-822-3590 or go to  for venue information.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

School orchestras perform at Bradenton's McKechnie Field

   A few hundred of the best young musicians from around Manatee County will gather at McKechnie Field next month.
   Orchestras from two high schools and five junior high schools will perform a "Concert in the Park" on Oct. 19. The seven orchestras comprise more than 400 students.
   The high school orchestras come from Manatee and Braden River high schools. The Braden River, Haile, King, Lee and Nolan middle school orchestras are also on the bill.
   For the student musicians, the concert, sponsored by the Bradenton Marauders and the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a chance to stretch their musical abilities and to play in a setting that's unusual for orchestral music,
    “It’s an exciting opportunity to blend orchestral music and baseball,” said David Pope, the director of orchestras at Manatee High School. “We will present a variety of non-traditional orchestra music in a very non-traditional orchestra atmosphere.”
    The show will feature music that fits the setting, including such ballpark favorites as “YMCA” and “The Final Countdown,” plus more traditional orchestra pieces. 

   Gates open at 5 p.m., and the music begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 per family, and they're available at any of the participating schools. There will also be tickets available at the gate. The money will go to the Manatee County Schools Orchestra Program, to help the schools purchase new music and cover the cost of acquiring and maintaining instruments.   
   For information, call Pope at 941-714-7300, ext. 2186.

Rick Ross plays St. Peterburg's Mahaffey Theater

   Rick Ross, the Grammy-nominated rapper and hip-hop magnate, is heading out on an eight-city tour, and St. Petersburg is one of the stops.
Rick Ross
   He'll be at the Mahaffey Theater at 8 p.m. Nov. 22.
   Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. this Friday (Sept. 20) at 10 a.m. online and charge by phone and 11 a.m. at The Mahaffey Theater Box Office.
   Ross will team up with the famed 1500 or Nothin’ Band, a five-piece band that has also toured with Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, T.I., The Game and Faith Evans,
   “It’s never been done like this,” Ross said in a press release. “We’ll be performing everything from 'Tears of Joy' to 'Aston Martin Music,' all with a live band." 

   Tickets run $42, $52 and $72. You can get them online at,  by phone at 727-893-7832 or in person at the Mahaffey Theater Box Office. Box office hours are 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and at least 90 minutes prior to any ticketed event.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Radio City Christmas comes to Tampa's Straz

   Tickets go on sale this Sunday, Sept. 15, for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which is coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa Dec.12-29.
   It truly is a spectacular show, and no matter how many time you've seen them on TV, the Rockettes are amazing to see live.
   There's a lot of stuff that's aimed at kids, but just as much that the grown-ups will enjoy.
   This year's edition has some new scenes and new technological stuff, including a 50-foot LED screen.
   The tour is only coming to four cities, so it's pretty cool that Tampa is one of them.
   It'll be in Morsani Hall at the Straz, and tickets will run you anywhere from $20 to $105.
   The performance schedule is complicated. Here it is:

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12.
1 and 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13.
2, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.
1, 4 and 7:30 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 15.
7:30 p.m.Tuesday, Dec. 17.
2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19.
1, 5 and 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20.
11 a.m. and 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.
1, 4 and 7:30 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 22.
3:30 and 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23.
1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24.
3:30 and 7 p.m.Thursday, Dec. 26.
Noon and 3:30 and 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27.
Noon and 3:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28.
1 and 4 p.m Sunday, Dec. 29.

Call 813-229-7827or go to

Monday, September 9, 2013

New company offers Shakespeare scenes in Bradenton

   A new local theater company called the Red Rose Parlour Theatre will offer an original show called "Willy Nilly" at the community room of the South Manatee County Branch, 6081 26th St., Bradenton, at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept, 13. 
Rafael Petlock of Red Rose
   It's an hour-long show with scenes from Shakespeare ("Much Ado About Nothing," "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Richard III") interspersed with dance, song and voluntary audience participation. It's aimed for ages 14 and up and it's free.
   Seva Anthony of Red Rose Parlour Theatre said she plans to bring shows to to local community centers and even people's homes. You can find out more about the company at 
   For information about Friday's show at the library, call 941-755-3892

Thursday, September 5, 2013

9/11 play "The Guys" in Sarasota

   It's no surprise that a local theater company is offering Anne Nelson's play "The Guys" on Sept. 11. It's almost become a theater tradition to stage the show, about a New York fire fighter commemorating his fallen comrades, this time of year.
   Fortunately, the play is quite good. It's worth seeing, and worth seeing multiple times.
   The Players Theatre is marking the the 12th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., by staging a reading "The Guys" for one performance only, at 7:30 p.m. Sept.11.
   The play has only two characters, a firefighter and a writer whom he has hired to help him compose eulogies for his colleagues who died in the World Trade Center that day. He relates their stories, one by one.
   It's an unusual and moving work, even after all the stories of bravery and horror we've heard about Sept. 11.
   Nelson wrote the play in only nine days, and it premiered in New York just weeks after the 9/11. Such famed actors as Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Anthony LaPaglia, Sigourney Weaver and Susan Sarandon have appeared in significant productions. LaPaglia and and Weaver starred in the 2002 movie version.
   The Players Theatre production is a reading, not a full staging, but "The Guys" is the kind of play that can be effective in that format.
   It's directed by Pam Wiley, with readers Allan Kollar and Ann Gundersheimer.
   Tickets are $10. Some of the money from ticket sales will go to the Sarasota Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund. Call 941-365-2494 or go to