Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Port Richey teacher to appear on Pit Bulls and Parolees season premiere

The heartwarming segment will help kick off season 6 of the Animal Planet series.

Posted By on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 6:13 PM

HOME AT LAST: Dharma May and Franco.
  • HOME AT LAST: Dharma May and Franco.

After losing her friendly and mellow dog, Annie, to cancer in January 2013, Dharma May decided to volunteer at the Villalobos Rescue Center in Louisiana for a week last summer — although she wasn't sure she could adopt another dog. 

"It was something I felt I needed to do to honor Annie's memory," May said of the Bully Boot Camp, which required 10 hours of shoveling poop, cleaning kennels, walking dogs and other chores throughout the day in 98-degree heat.

The 47-year-old business teacher at River Ridge High School and director of the school's FBLA chapter cannot not talk about Annie without tearing up. Annie died of cancer suddenly at age 13. "A couple of months before she was fine," she said, choking up.

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Do This: Cabaret Silliness at the Flamingo

Posted By on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 4:55 PM

William Bryant directs this weekend's Flamingo Cabaret at the BLU Room at St. Petersburg's Flamingo.
  • William Bryant directs this weekend's Flamingo Cabaret at the BLU Room at St. Petersburg's Flamingo.

Years ago, the Suncoast resort offered strong drinks, a great Tiki bar, and one of the best places in south St. Pete where anyone could go and be themselves. The resident theater company, Gypsy Productions, showcased some brilliant local talent and brought new audiences to the tired venue.

Two of those most prominent local talents — Daniel Harris and William Bryant — will shine again at the Flamingo Resort's BLU Room. Their cabaret show, the first in a series, features solos, duets and ensemble pieces.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Do This: The Weekend Top 10

From down and dirty comics to retro flicks and Second City high jinks, this weekend's list truly runs the gamut.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 6:44 PM


If you had a bad week, then you need a big, bad comedy show: The Black and Brown Comedy Get Down is a veritable who’s who of comedians at Tampa's forum. Features Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, George Lopez. In Pinellas, fierce female comic Kathleen Madigan will elicit laughs with her casual demeanor and sharp timing. $52.75-$62.75. Sat., Jan. 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. 727-791-7400.

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20 Penny Circus: Send in the clowns — and the nail guns

A cutting-edge variety act blends comedy, vaudeville, stunts and more at the Improv this Sunday.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:28 PM

In an era of mainstream-TV freaks and YouTubers knocking each other in the joybag for laughs, smart, well-crafted and theatrical sideshow entertainment has been kind of hard to find. Enter 20 Penny Circus, a couple of Floridian contemporary clowns whose unique balance of vaudeville, comedy, magic and potentially injurious stunts has been inducing thrills and winces in audiences for more than three years.

"It's entertainment for people with questionable tastes," says Tyler Sutter, one half of the duo. "That definitely fits."

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Spring Arts Preview — January/February

A curation of major events happening in the arts this season.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 3:31 PM

AUGUST IN WINTER: August Wilson's Radio Golf stars, from left front, Kim Sullivan, Anthony Chisholm, Chrystal Bates, Alan Bomar Jones and “ranney.” - CHAD JACOBS
  • Chad Jacobs
  • AUGUST IN WINTER: August Wilson's Radio Golf stars, from left front, Kim Sullivan, Anthony Chisholm, Chrystal Bates, Alan Bomar Jones and “ranney.”

Because we all need a friendly reminder now and then: Here's one of several scheduled calendar reminders of events in our Spring Arts Preview 2015.

Check back here at Art Breaker in the coming months for more or refer to our print edition calendar as shown in our Jan. 22 issue, pages 11-21. New events may be added at discretion of editor.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Theater Review: Twelfth Night and Buffalo Kings

Two must-sees from Jobsite and freeFall.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 5:30 PM

MAKING WHOOPEE: Katrina Stevenson (Olivia) and Giles Davies (Malvolio) - are the bee’s knees in Twelfth Night. -  - CRAWFORD LONG
  • MAKING WHOOPEE: Katrina Stevenson (Olivia) and Giles Davies (Malvolio) are the bee’s knees in Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night
Runs through Feb. 1 at the Straz Center’s Shimberg Playhouse, 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 4 p.m. Sun.; 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa,
(Four out of five stars)

The Buffalo Kings
Runs through Feb. 8 at freeFall Theatre, 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat., 2 p.m. Sat. and Sun.
6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, $21-$44,
(Four out of five stars)
There are no weak links in Jobsite Theater’s Twelfth Night. This extraordinary production features one terrific performance after the next, and shines a clear light on Shakespeare’s classic that’s all the more welcome as the comedy’s true subjects are confusion and error.

In fact, there’s hardly a major character in Shakespere’s Illyria — or 1920s Ybor City, as this production would have it — who isn’t deceived, mistaken, or misinformed on some important issue. But we in the audience are never baffled: with actors like Maggie Mularz, Giles Davies and Roxanne Fay to carry us through the action, we’re finely attuned to every plot turn, and able to unknot every tangled relationship. And those are just three members of this stunning ensemble. There are another 10 who are quite as convincing, from Ned Averill-Snell as Sir Toby Belch to Jamie Jones as Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Katrina Stevenson as the Countess Olivia and on and on. The effect is revelatory. I’ve seen Shakespeare productions that were funnier or more unpredictable, but I’ve seldom seen one that demonstrated more lapidary precision.

A brief (and selective) reminder of the plot: a certain Viola, saved from a shipwreck, takes on a man’s identity and goes to work for Duke Orsino. Orsino sends her to Countess Olivia, the woman he’s been vainly pursuing, but Olivia falls for Viola, not knowing she’s a woman. Meanwhile, Malvolio, Olivia’s steward, is tricked into thinking that Olivia’s in love with him, and goes to absurd lengths that he thinks she requires of him. When Viola’s twin brother Sebastian turns up in town, things get even wilder, and there’s even a certain Antonio who’s hot for Sebastian who’s hot for Olivia who can’t tell brother and sister apart …

Well, believe me, in this fine production it makes a lot of sense. David Jenkins’ staging is one of the best things he’s ever done, and Brian Smallheer’s set of an Yboresque plaza is exceedingly attractive (except for a badly painted sign on the backdrop). Bailee Booser’s jazz age costumes are witty and attractive — you won’t forget Davies’ outfit when he thinks he’s dressing for Olivia — and Jenkins’ sound design offers tunes F. Scott Fitzgerald might have listened to. While I’m naming names, let me congratulate four actors who’ve long been associated with Jobsite, but in this production outdo themselves: Jason Vaughan Evans, Chris Holcom, Michael C. McGreevy, and Ami Sallee. Outstanding work.

As is the whole show. I suggest you see it while you can.

FAMILY-SIZED COMEDY: Chris Crawford, Brian Shea, Joe Lauck, Katherine Michelle Tanner, Joseph Flynn and Jenny Aldrich in The Buffalo Kings. -  - KEVIN TIGHE
  • kevin tighe
  • FAMILY-SIZED COMEDY: Chris Crawford, Brian Shea, Joe Lauck, Katherine Michelle Tanner, Joseph Flynn and Jenny Aldrich in The Buffalo Kings.
A Comic Gem. It’s heartening to see a Bay area playwright write as well as Natalie Symons does in her winning tragi-farce, The Buffalo Kings. And it’s heartening to see that playwright’s work given a production as first-class as the one you’ll find over at freeFall Theatre.

On Jim Sorensen’s stunningly beautiful set of the King family living room and kitchen, seven characters embrace, snipe at, lecture, excoriate, adore and psychologically strip bare one another for two precious acts of laughter and nihilism, and they do it so ardently, my only major regret is that the evening’s not longer.

You think your family’s dysfunctional? Well, say hello to the Kings: there’s suicidal wife and mother Olive (the impeccable Katherine Michelle Tanner), her 15-year-old son and hate-crime victim Nick (the poignantly sincere Joseph Flynn), Olive’s hypochondriac brother Sam (the psychotically flustered Brian Shea), her unfaithful ex-husband Stuart (perfectly cast Sorensen), viciously honest matriarch Estelle (the somewhat unfocused Jenny Aldrich), and patriarch-with-Alzheimer’s Harold (the also inexact Joe. D. Lauck). There’s one other character — family friend, and vastly outnumbered former-crack-dealer-turned-Christian Pete Burke (the delightful Chris Crawford) — and when they’re all together at Christmas, their mutual desperation is hilarious (as William Blake said, excess of sorrow laughs).

Yes, fractured family reunions are a staple of contemporary theater (for example, in August: Osage Country), but Symons has an original vision that puts new spin on this trope. What she wants to tell us in Kings is that conflict and unhappiness aren’t proofs of personal failure, that the search for constant joy can only result in defeat, and that it’s positively normal to face crises as one proceeds through a lifetime. You don’t have to agree in order to enjoy The Buffalo Kings; but thanks to Symons’ canny writing, you at least have to consider that, weather patterns being what they are, maybe it’s not entirely sane to expect nothing but sunshine.

As I said, the play’s too short: the second act seems abbreviated, in need of one further scene. But aside from this, The Buffalo Kings is an enchanting, stimulating pleasure. Kudos to Eric Davis (also the director) for investing in a local author; and kudos to Symons for being so well worth the risk. 

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SCENE BREAKER: Romeo redux, TV news that knows theater and Broadway discovers Tocobaga territory

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 1:03 PM

ARTS ADVOCACY IN THE A.M.: Studio 10 co-hosts - Debra Schrils (Left) and Roxanne Wilder.
  • ARTS ADVOCACY IN THE A.M.: Studio 10 co-hosts
    Debra Schrils (Left) and Roxanne Wilder.

Here’s what’s behind the curtain this week in Tampa Bay theater...

ONE TEEVEE SHOW KNOWS WHAT’S UP: While local arts get scant coverage from our two daily papers and virtually none from local TV, one network affiliate program alone has consistently aimed its cameras at the Tampa Bay theater and cabaret scene, and recognition is overdue. Broadcast live every weekday morning at 9:00 a.m. on WTSP TV (CBS channel 10), Studio 10 mixes national lifestyle & entertainment stories with coverage of local arts and events, and brings local artists on-air for interviews and even quick performances. Today, hosts Debra Schrils and Roxanne Wilder chatted with the playwright of freeFall Theatre’s now-playing The Buffalo Kings, and recently the program touched on Tampa Repertory Theatre’s Imagining Madoff (closing after this weekend). Next Thursday, the same day CL has its weekly spot, Studio 10 will hit American Stage Company's Radio Golf, the closing entry in August Wilson's Century Cycle (opens this Friday). Kudos to WTSP for making its viewers better informed about the rich fabric of Tampa Bay arts events than the people who watch Dog the Bounty Hunter in the same timeslot.

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Gulfport’s Get Rescued needs volunteers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:23 AM


What's more fun than spending the day with furry friends in the idyllic trappings of Gulfport?

What's more, by buying food and beverages and other items at Gulfport's Get Rescued next month, you get to help local dogs and cats in need (and we don't need no stinkin' Sarah McLachlan to persuade you with a sappy sad song that shall remain nameless.)

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The Laugh Tract — who's bringing the funny

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 10:44 AM

Kathleen Madigan will be at the Capitol Theatre Saturday night.
  • Kathleen Madigan will be at the Capitol Theatre Saturday night.

Famous comedians, clowns and free shows. Need we say more?
Okay, maybe a little: There's a lot of variety this week, and prices range from more than $60 for tried-and-true performers to absolutely nothing for funny locals. And yes, there are some clowns, too. Pick your favorites and enjoy some laughs this weekend:

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

American Stage welcomes Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte

American Stage has hired a multitalented dynamo with hopes to "move the needle a little bit."

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 4:41 PM


On the heels of announcing its next season, American Stage broke the news that it will soon have a new woman in charge — Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte. She will begin official duties on Feb. 24.

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