Friday, August 29, 2014

Emmylou Harris is coming to Tampa Theatre

    Emmylou Harris, a progenitor of Americana music whose gorgeous voice and impeccable songwriting have made her one of biggest stars in all of music for more than 40 years, is coming to Tampa.
   She's set to play at Tampa Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12. 
   Tickets go on sale on Friday, Sept. 5. They're $59, $80 and $101 if you order online from If you get
Emmylou Harris
someone in Tampa to buy them for you at the box office, you'll save $6.50 per ticket.
   Harris' great 1995 album "Wrecking Ball" has recently been reissued, and earlier this year she was playing dates with Daniel Lanois, the album's producer who's also an amazing musician. There's no indication at this point that Lanois will be joining her of the tampa gig, and the show is simply titled "An Evening With Emmylou Harris, with no mention of other artists on the bull, but we can always hope.
   Tampa Theatre is at  711 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa. Call 813-274-8981. 

Leno, "Once" added to Straz Center season

   The Straz Center in Tampa has announced a bunch of additions to its 2014-15 season.
   By far the biggest of newly announced acts are the return of "Once," (Sept, 22-27, 2015), the wonderful musical that was a hit at the Straz earlier this year, and Jay Leno, who brings his standup comedy to the Straz on March 29
Jay Leno
   Leno headlined the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall gala last season, but he's not scheduled to come back to the Bradenton-Sarasota area in 2014-15. But several of the new shows on the Straz Center  season schedule will also be at Van Wezel, including The Piano Guys (at the Straz Feb. 4, at Van Wezel Feb. 7), Celtic Woman (Straz April 25, Van Wezel April 24) and "Menopause: The Musical" (Straz June 2-7, Van Wezel Jan. 5). So the Straz shows give Bradenton-area residents some alternate dates.
  Most of the recently announced acts aren't slated to come any closer than Tampa, though. You might have make the drive up to the Straz if you want to see comedians Demitri Martin (Dec. 12), Russell Peters (Jan. 18) and musicians Gaby Moreno (Nov. 7), the Celts (March 19), Kissy Simmons (Nov. 1), Will and Anthony (Dec. 6), Karen Mason (Feb. 14) and Natalie Prass (May 11). A lot of the concerts, including "Lion King" star Simmons, are in a cabaret setting in the intimate Jaeb Theater.
  Theatrical shows that have been added include "Dixie's Tupperware Party" (Oct. 15-19), "50 Shades! The Musical Parody" (Jan. 25), the one-man musical "My Sinatra" (Feb. 28) and "Late Nite Catechism With Sister Mary Z."
   Dance performances includes the Youth America Grand Prix (Jan. 10) and Next Generation Ballet's "Coppelia" (May 1-2).
   Tickets for most shows go on sale Saturday, Aug. 30. Call 813--229-7827 or go to The entire season, most of which was announced in June. is on the website. more shows will almost certainly be added later.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ZZ Top/Jeff Beck Tampa show rescheduled

   Bad news -- but not horrible news -- for those of you who were looking forward to seeing ZZ Top and Jeff Beck in Tampa on Sept. 10.
   The show, along with others on the "Beards and Beck" tour, has been rescheduled. ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill fell Tuesday night on the band's tour bus and injured his hip. 
   It's apparently not too bad an injury, though, because the rescheduled show has been set for just a couple of months from now, on Nov. 13. 
Beck with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill of ZZ Top

   If you have tickets for the show, hang onto them and you can use them on Nov. 13. There's no official word yet on what you should do if you can't make it to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Nov. 13.
   The venue is at 4802 US 301, Tampa, at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Call 813-740-2446 if you need more details about what to do with your tickets for the original date. If you want to buy tickets, you can or go to They'll run you between $40 and $80.40.
   Reports from earlier stops on tour make the show sound like huge fun. with Beck and ZZ Top playing their own sets and then doing a few songs together..


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Area playwright brings one-woman show to Sarasota

  Area playwright Roxanne Fay has presented her one-woman show "Home Fires Burning" to appreciative audiences at a couple of different venues in St. Petersburg, and now she's bringing it to Sarasota.
   She'll be performing it at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 at Home Resource, which is at 741 Central Ave. in Sarasota. Home Resource is essentially a furniture store, but it has a history of staging occasionally some great and wonderfully unusual theater.
   “Home Fires Burning" is actually two plays. In one Fay portrays a lost child, and in the other she's an ancient, disfigured woman. Although the two plays revolve around disparate characters they share a theme the characters' fights to reclaim and hold onto a their homes. The plays have been described as “funny, horrifying and heartbreaking.”
   Fay's show has been selected to be in New York's prestigious United Solo Theatre Festival, the largest festival of one-person shows in the world. In fact, as of earlier this week it had sold more tickets than any other show in the festival. The festival runs Sept. 18-Nov. 23, and Fay will perform “Home Fires Burning on Sept. 28.
   Fay is also currently appearing as Nurse Ratched in the great production of Dale Wasserman's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" at freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg. That show runs through Sept. 14.
   Tickets for "Home Fires Burning" are $10. There's a talkback with Fay after the show. Call 941-366-6690 for information and reservations.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Crazy Carls, Cisco Adler play St. Petersburg

   If you haven't made you music plans for the weekend yet, here's a last-minute suggestion.
Crazy Carls
   The Crazy Carls are a fun pop-rock band from the Orlando area. They're starting to generate some buzz because of their new single and video "Let Me" and they're touring the South. They've been compared to Maroon 5, but you could also say they're reminiscent of Jason Mraz.
   They'll be at Jannus Live in downtown St. Petersburg Saturday. They're opening for Cisco Adler, the former frontman of Whitestarr and son of legendary producer Lou Adler. Florida band On The Avenue is also on the bill.
   It should be a really nice evening of feel-good music, and it's only $5. You can get tickets at the gate. 
   Jannus Live is at 200 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Call 727-565-0550 or at

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sarasota's Theatre Odyssey seeks young playwrights for competition

    If you're a teenager and an aspiring playwright from the Bradenton area, you might want to work up a 10-minute play in the next two months.
   Theatre Odyssey is gearing up for its third annual Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Festival, which is set for Jan. 16.  
   Playwrights have until Oct. 17 to submit plays. Readers go through all the submissions and select a few of the best plays, and then Theatre Odyssey produces them, with experienced acts and directors, for an audience. A panel of theater professionals pick the winner.
   The winning playwright gets a cash prize, and the play gets another production at the Theatre Odyssey’s Ten-Minute Play Festival, the company's more established festival that's open to playwrights of all ages. The play is also published in Theatre Odyssey's annual compilation of finalists from its two festivals.

   To be eligible, playwrights have to live along the gulf coast between Fort Myers and Tampa, and they have to be in grades 9 through 12 or the home-schooled equivalent, in the 2014-15 school year.
   The plays have to be no more than 10 minutes long (that usually means they're between seven and 11 pages) and require no more than five actors. It has to be original work that hasn't been performed for a paying audience in the area.
   Completed manuscripts should be sent to Theatre Odyssey, P.O. Box 1383, Sarasota, FL  34230-1383.
   You can see a complete list of submission rules and requirements here.
   Even if you're not playwright, the festival makes for an interesting evening of theater. The plays that make it to the finals are ambitious and entertaining, though obviously created by inexperienced writers, and the acting and direction are as good as you'll see in any local theater. The festival's held in the David S. and Anne V. Howard Studio Theatre on the Bradenton campus of State College of Florida.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tickets on sale for Bubba Sparxxx concert Sept. 20 in Sarasota

   If you're a hick-hop fan, you're going to want to hurry up and get tickets to see the Bubba Sparxxx show in Sarasota on Sept. 20. Sparxxx and "special guests" Soopa Groop will be at the Cabana Inn and only 200 tickets will be sold.
   Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day of show, but organizers predict the show will sell out so you might not want to wait until the day of the show to buy your tickets. They're on
sale now.
   Sparxxx is one of the progenitors of country rap, and his biggest hits -- "Deliverance" and "Ugly" -- have scored with both country and urban audiences.
   Sparxxx took a break from music, but he's back now. He released a new album, "Made on McCosh Mill Road," in June.
   The Cabana Inn is at 2525 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Call 941-955-0195.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Contest at Clancy's in Bradenton offers chance for a band gig

   If you've got a band and you're looking for a gig, you should contact Clancy's Irish Sports Pub. Soon.
   Clancy's is holding a contest called Last Band Standing. It's basically a five-week-long battle of the bands, and the winner gets a gig at the pub.
   Here's how it works: The first 12 bands that sign up play sets at Clancy's, with three bands playing on each of the four Monday nights in September. Audience members vote for their favorites. Then there's finale on Oct. 6, at which the winner will be named.
  There's no entry fee, but the only way to sign up is by sending an email to The subject line should read "Last Band."
   Clancy's is at 6218 Cortez Road., Bradenton. For more information, call 941-794-2489 or go to

Brantley Gilbert, Colt Ford perform in Tampa

  If you couldn't make it to Joyland to see Colt Ford on Friday -- or if you caught his show and it left you wanting more -- we've got some good news for you: Ford will be back in town in just a few months.
   He's one of the acts in the "Throwdown by the Bay," a mammoth country show headlined by Brantley Gilbert that's scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.
 Also slated to perform are Parmalee, Tyler Farr and Chase Bryant.
   Gilbert's having a phenomenal year, with his successful "Let It Ride" tour, his gold album "Just as I Am" and his platinum single "Bottoms Up."
   The concert's presented by radio station US 103.5, and the lineup offers something for just about any country-lover's taste, from the bluegrass-flavored music of Parmalee to the hick-hop of country-rap pioneer Ford.
   Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. this Friday, Aug. 22. They'll run you $29.75, $35 and $43 plus service charge. Call 813-301-2500 or go to

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Filmmaker Waters brings one-man show to Tampa

   The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is almost always worth checking out, for the assortment of odd and often great films that you might not get a chance to experience in a theater otherwise.
   This year's 25th annual festival has a great bonus: Iconic outsider filmmaker John Waters (of "Pink Flamingos," "Polyester" and "Hairspray" fame) will be there, performing
John Waters
his one-man show "This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier" at the gorgeous Tampa Theatre.

   In 2012, Waters hitchhiked across America. The show deals largely with that experience, which is also the basis for his entertaining new book "Carsick." He'll be autographing copies of "Carsick" after his Tampa Theatre performance.
   Waters' show is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4. Tickets are $33, $43 and $63. You can get them through the festival's website, Tampa Theatre is at 711 N. Franklin St., in the heart of downtown Tampa.
   The festival runs Oct. 3-11.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Martina McBride to perform at Sarasota's Van Wezel

   Martina McBride's been making hit records for more than 20 years, and she won her first Grarmmy Award 18 years ago. That's a very long career in popular music terms, but she's as popular as ever.
   In fact, her most recent album, "Everlasting," was the first independently distributed
Martina McBride
female album to debut at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums Chart. It also debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.

   McBride will perform songs from the album -- which features her interpretations of classic soul songs -- when she comes to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota at 8 p.m. Oct. 16. Her concert also includes some of her best-known songs, reworked with a Motown vibe.
   Tickets for the show go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15. Prices are $31.75-$84.98. Call 941-953-3368 or go to

Monday, August 11, 2014

Diana Krall comes to Sarasota's Van Wezel

   Grammy-winning jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall has a new album that's slated to drop on Oct. 21. Just a couple of months later, she'll be performing songs from the album win she comes to Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.
   The recently announced concert is slated for 8 p.m. Oct. 13.
Diana Krall
   The Krall's new album, "Wallflower," includes her interpretation of pop songs from the 1960s and later. One track is a Paul McCartney song called "If I Take You Home Tonight" that's never even released before.
  On the Wallflower World Tour she'll perform songs by Bob Dylan. the Mamas and the Papas and the Eagles, among many others.
   Her band on the tour is guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Dennis Crouch, fiddle player Stuart Duncan, drummer Karriem Riggins and keyboard player Patrick Warren.
   Tickets for the Van Wezel show go on sale this Friday (Aug. 15). They'll rub you $35 - $120.
    Call 941-953-3368 or go to

Friday, August 8, 2014

WUSF devotes evening to St. Peterburg's Kenny Drew Jr.

   Kenny Drew Jr., the son of a major figure in jazz, was himself one of the greatest jazz pianists of his era, with a virtuosic sound that was instantly recognizable. He made more than 20 recordings of ensembles that he led himself, and he recorded worked with the Mingus Big Band, Stanley Turrentine and others. He also played classical recitals in Europe.
Kenny Drew Jr.
   In recent years he made his home in St. Petersburg. Drew's health had been deteriorating, and he died earlier this week at age 56.
   This weekend, Bob Seymour will devote his "Saturday Night Jazz" program to Drew, with music from his own groups, a number of collaborations and a few pieces that have never before been heard on the radio.
   Saturday Night Jazz  starts at 9 p.m. on WUSF-FM, 89.7.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bernie Yanelli wins Sarasota Players Theatre playwriting competition

   Bernie Yanelli has been named the winner of this year's Players New Play Festival.
   Yanelli, a history teacher at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Bradenton, is a regular contributor to -- and a regular winner of -- playwriting competitions in this area. He won Theatre Odyssey's 10- minute play festival just last year.
  For the Players New Play Festival, which has been presented for 13 years by the Players Theatre in Sarasota, Yanelli's full-length play "Not Our Time" was chosen as one of five finalists out of more than 30 submissions. The finalists all received readings -- one a night for five consecutive nights -- and a panel of theater experts selected Yanelli's play as the winner.
   It will get a full production as part of the Players Summer Sizzler Series at the end of the August 2015.
   "Not Our Time" is a coming-of-age story set in the rural south of 1969. A young African-American football star must choose between what he wants for himself and what his best friend and mentor want for him.
   Jeffery Kin, the artistic director of Players Theatre, called "Not Our Time" a powerful, telling and yet, at times, an amusing look back at how far we have come in the last 50 years." 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sarasota's Players Theatre announces 2014-15 Backstage season

   The Players Theatre has some really cool stuff planned for its fourth Backstage season.
   The three-show 2014-15 season, which presents shows in the Players' intimate black-box space, offers works by three of America's most exciting contemporary playwrights.
Annie Baker
   The season kicks off in October with "Breaking Out in Ives," a program of six one-act comedies by David Ives. Ives is best known for "Venus in Fur" and "All in The Timing," a highly entertaining collection of short plays, and he's among the most widely produced playwrights in the country. The shows runs Oct. 17-26.
  Starting Jan. 30, the Players will stage  "Circle Mirror Transformation" by Annie Baker, who won the Pulitzer Prize earlier this year for "The Flick." "Circle Mirror Transformation" is a drama about a group of theater students during  six weeks of theater games and acting exercises. It won an Obie Award in 2009 for Best New American Play. It runs through Feb. 8.
    Nicky Silver's comedy "The Lyons" wraps up the season, April 10-19. Silver's been a popular playwright Off-Broadway and in local theaters for decades, but "The Lyons," about a family gathered in a hospital room of the dying father, became his first Broadway play a couple of years ago. Silver's plays are generally not appropriate for children or anyone who's easily offended.
    Tickets are on sale now for $18, or $45 for all three shows. Subscriptions are available for $45 and guarantee reserved seating. Single tickets are $18.
   The Players Theatre is at 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Call 941-365-2494, or go to