Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Melvins are coming to Tampa's Orpheum

   If you were seriously into alt-rock in the '90s, chances are you were seriously into the Melvins. Their always-evolving mix of punk and metal made them one of the era's most influential and most popular non-mainstream bands. They've been compared to both Black Flag and Black Sabbath.
   They're still together after more than a quarter of a century, and they're coming to Tampa on Thursday, Nov. 6.
   The core of the band -- founding frontman Buzz Osborne and long-time drummer Dale Crover -- remains intact.
Buzz Osbonre, a.k.a King Buzzo

   There are varying reports about who will join them. The Melvins website says that bassist J.D. Pinkus will be part of the band on this tour. Some other sources says guitarist Paul Leary will be playing with them, too. (Both Pinkus and Leary are from another venerable alt band that has the word "Surfers" in its name.) The website for the Orpheum, the venue where the Melvins are playing, says that bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis, both from the band Big Business, will play at this show. (The Melvins have often played with two drummers.)
   But King Buzzo and Crover will definitely be there, and if you're a Melvins fan that's all you really need to know. 
   Mexican garage-punk band Le Butcherettes opens.
   Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door, and they'll go on at 9 a.m. sale Friday, Aug. 1. It's an all-ages show.
   The Orpheum is at 1915 E. Seventh Ave. in Ybor City. Go to for information.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fuzion Dance performs at New College in Sarasota

   Sarasota's Fuzion Dance Artists do a lot of cool stuff, and one of the coolest is their annual "In the Round" summer concert.
   The program presents works by emerging choreographers -- some of them dancers from Fuzion, and others from outside. The company presents the works in an intimate setting, with the audience, as the title implies, seated on all sides of the stage. Each audience member has a slightly different perspective and experience.

   After the performance, the audience is asked for non-judgmental feedback through a process developed by Liz Lerman, the famed choreographer and founder of the Dance Exchange. In the process, audience members are asked to describe what they saw and what they felt, and whether they perceived a theme. The audience doesn't know the names of the pieces beforehand, so there's no preconceived idea of what each piece is supposed to be about.
   This year's "In The Round" is scheduled for this weekend, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. (That's Aug. 2 and 3). It's at the Black Box Theatre at New College of Florida, 5800 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 
   Tickets are $20 general, $10 for students. Seating is limited, so you're advised to get tickets soon. Call 941-312-4534.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Phat Pack show in Bradenton canceled

Phat Pack (photo: Khanh Nguyen)
   The Phat Pack, the popular Las Vegas trio that sings show tunes of standards, was supposed to perform this weekend at the Bradenton Auditorium. But the show was cancelled without explanation on Monday morning. 
   The boys in the band seem to think they'll be back. This is the notice that appeared on the group's Facebook page: "The Phat Pack is sorry to announce that, due to circumstances beyond our control, our Bradenton, Florida engagement has been postponed. As soon as we know when we are rescheduled, we will let you know!"

Tickets for "Mormon" in Tampa on Aug. 17

   It's still six months until "The Book of Mormon" returns to Tampa, but lots of people are already excited about exciting to see it again.
   That's why it's probably a good idea to get your tickets very early. Single tickets for the general public go on sale at noon Aug. 17. The two-week run of the show starts Jan. 20 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Prices for those tickets haven't been announced, though. (Tickets for groups and for Straz Center members are already on sale.) Regularly priced single tickets will run between $38.50 and $163.50, plus service charge.
   "The Book of Mormon," which sprung from the minds of the creators of "South Park" and "Avenue Q," has been famously called "the best musical of this century," and it lives up to the hype. It's fresh and hilarious and its songs are great. It won the Tony Award (and just about every other major theater award) for Best Musical and its cast recording won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Lots of theater aficionados think it's the best musical they've ever seen.
   It's not for the easily offended, though, so even though it's ultimately positive, you might not want to bring the kids or Grandma.
   You can get tickets by calling 813-229-7827 or

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sarasota's Van Wezel adds seven shows

   Tickets are on sale now for seven shows that have just been added to the 2014-15 season schedule at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.
Wanda Sykes
   Three of the just-announced shows are comedy acts The Capitol Steps (Nov. 1), Wanda Sykes (Nov. 16) and Kathy Griffin (April 26).

   There's also a lot of music on tap. Mannheim Steamroller bring its annual Christmas tour to Van Wezel Nov. 19, and Dave Koz will offer an easy-listening holiday show, with guests including Christopher Cross, on Nov. 28. Country legend Kenny Rogers with guest Linda Davis comes to the hall the next night.
   If you prefer music and comedy rolled into one, "Evil Dead: The Musical," the Broadway hit horror spoof, is set for Nov. 18. 
 For ticket and information, call 941-953-3368 or go to

Monday, July 21, 2014

Boston Pops to perform in Tampa

   They're called "America's Orchestra."
   The Boston Pops Orchestra is by far the best-known pops orchestra in the country, and perhaps the most famous orchestra of any kin.
   Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops will perform in Tampa on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Lockhart has been at the helm of the orchestra for nearly 20 years.
 They'll be at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, performing a program titled "The Very Best of the Boston Pops."  It includes symphonic selections by Dvorak and Copland, 20th-century works by Ellington and Gershwin, rock by Queen and film music by former Boston Pops conductor John Williams. Pianist Michael Chertock joins the orchestra for a performance of George Gershwin’s "I Got Rhythm Variations." 
   Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1. They'll set you back  $25, $35, $55 and $75. Floor table seating is available for $100. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $125 which includes premium floor table seating and a meet and greet with Lockhart. Go to or call 813-301-6926 for more information

Monday, July 14, 2014

Macy Gray, Interpol play in St. Petersburg

   Macy Gray and Interpol are coming to the Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. Not on the same night, of course, because that'd be just about the weirdest concert combination ever.
Macy Gray
   Gray -- who's still best-known for her first hit, "I Try," even though she's had a huge career since then -- is slated to perform on Oct. 18.
   Interpol emerged from the New York City post-punk scene in the mid-'90s with a moody sound that's been compared to Joy Division. The trio has gone on hiatus a time or two, but its current lineup has remained intact since 2000. They have a new album due out in September. They'll be at Jannus on Nov. 6.
   Tickets for both shows go on sale at noon this Friday, July 18. Macy Gray is $27 in advance, $30 day of show; Interpol is $28/$30. You can get tickets at
   Jannus Live is at 200 First Ave. N. in downtown St. Petersburg. The venue's number is 727-565-0550.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Garfunkel and Oates play Tampa's Straz Center

    Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, who are collectively known as Garfunkel and Oates, are coming to Tampa.
   The comedy-folk duo will be at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 21. Tickets go sale at noon Friday, July 18.
   There's a good chance you've already caught them on TV, or at
Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Micucci (Oates)
least heard their songs. (One, "Screw You," was featured in an episode of "Scrubs.") They've had their own special on Comedy Central and a couple of hit albums. Micucci plays Lucy, Raj's girlfriend on "The Big Bang Theory."
   In August, they'll debut their new series, aptly titled "Garfunkel and Oates," on IFC.
   Regularly priced tickets are $29.50 plus service charge. Call 813-229-7827 or go to

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tampa's Stageworks presents play by Manatee writer

   Acclaimed Manatee County playwright Philip Hall's recent work "Garageworks" is being staged in Tampa this weekend.
   It's part of "Tampaworks 2014," this year's edition of Stageworks showcase of short plays by local playwrights.
   Hall has built a national reputation for his short plays, and he's created some full-length musicals as well. His show "Children of the Day" (which he co-wrte with Tampa's Lee Ahlin) has been staged all over the country, and Hall's "Life on the Mississippi" got some great reviews in its New York City run last year.

Philip Hall
    Hall's piece in this weekend's show has a man trying to pay his fee at a parking garage, but encountering automated and very judgmental female voice. The Stageworks people say it's "funny, wise, with a charming, unexpected ending." Slake Counts, whose work is always impressive, plays the man.
   If you follow area theater you'll probably know a lot of the other playwrights who have plays in the show too, including longtime area playwright, actor and educator James Rayfield. Here's the lineup: “Duck” by Sheila Cowley; “Another Day in Paradise” by Matt Cowley; “Sinking” by Lil Barcaski; “The Manatees’ Tale of Extinction” by Dewey Davis-Thompson; “Tampa Love Bugs” by Mike Matteo; “A Dale Mabry Romance” by Rayfield; “Tampa: Built on Pennies” by Jaime O’Brien; and “Fireball” by Jeanne Adams.
   There are only three performance of "Tampaworks 2014," at 8 p.m Thursday, Friday and Saturday (July 10-12). Tickets are $20. 

    Stageworks is at 1120 E. Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa. Call 813-374-2416 or go to

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stephen Pearcy cancels Saturday's Bradenton-area appearance

   If you were planning on going to Hairaplooza in Pinellas Park on Saturday, you might want to know that Stephen Pearcy will not be there.
   The former Ratt singer posted this notice on his official Facebook page:
   "Note: As for the show July 5, 2014 Florida show, I will NOT be there. A press release from my manager will explain why, it was out of our hands. Only the fans lose out and that pisses me off. More shows TBA, see you out there soon."
   There's still plenty of reason to go to Hairapalooza, though, including Slaughter, Great White (without original singer Jack Russell), Winger and free tickets. (You can also pay $30 for seat near the stage if you prefer, or $200 for a VIP pass.)
   Gates open at noon Sunday at England Brothers Park 5010 81st Ave. N., Pinellas Park. Call  813-531- 4051 or go to

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Return to the Forbidden Planet" adds a performance

   Tampa’s Jobsite Theatre has scored by far the biggest hit in its history with “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” and it has added an extra performance for this weekend.

The company could probably sell out several more shows, but this will probably be the last added performance. Jobsite has another show, “Inventing Van Gogh,” opening next week.

   A couple of Bradenton-area actors, Jonathan Harrison of Parrish and Owen Robertson of Sarasota, are the male leads in “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” and they’re both standouts in a large and excellent cast.

   If you’ve been following local theater or music for any length of time, you’ll probably know Harrison’s work. He fronts the band Vodkanauts and he’s done tons of theater in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area, including American Stage’s Shakespeare in the Park series.

Jonathan Harrison and Amy Elizabeth Gray
   His charismatic performance and great singing in this show are no surprise, but Robertson, who seldom performs in musicals, is a revelation. He has a powerful voice and an even more powerful stage presence.
    The show itself is a slight but very fun jukebox musical that takes pop and rock sings from the late '50s and early '60s and interjects them into a story vaguely based on “The Tempest.”
    The whole cast in the Jobsite production is strong, and so is the onstage band. (The show, which dates back to the 1970s, was originally staged with the actors playing their own instruments.)
    Director David M. Jenkins turns the show into a bit of a “Star Trek” spoof, with help from a nicely done set by Brian Smallheer.
  The only real weakness is the choreography, which ranges from mediocre to embarrassing.

   It’s not a well-known show outside of theater circles, and it’s a difficult one to do. But it’s done often around here (this is at least the third production just in Tampa) and it’s always been a crowd-pleaser. Jobsite,which usually performs in the Shimberg Playhouse at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, has moved next door into the much larger Jaeb Theatre for this show, and has been selling out most performances.

   The added performance is at 7:30 p.m Sunday, July 6. The other remaining shows are at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
     Tickets are $29.50 plus service charge. If you’re going to that show at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, and if you order online, you an save $10 by using the promo code ASTEROID. Go to or call 813-229-7827.

   The Straz Center is at 1010 N. MacInnes Place inTampa.