The cast of 25 well-versed actors and actresses draw you into a story of the people who live and work on the Cotton Blossom. The Cotton Blossom takes their shows to towns along the Mississippi River. [Photos by Frank Atura.]
CL's having its office holiday party tonight at an undisclosed location (let's just say I hope they're still serving those beer cocktails). But if I were looking for an alternative, I could think of no better choice than Holiday Party of One at New Stage Theatre in Largo.
When the show premiered last year at Stageworks, CL Theater Critic Mark E. Leib rightly praised its delightful cast (almost intact this year, with Heather Krueger, Alison Burns and Ricky Cona joined by Gabe Saienni) and clever script (written by Burns). I'll chime in to say that it is smart, funny, perceptive, warm, very well-performed — and, unlike other holiday entertainments, won't send you into insulin shock, even when the cast starts a-caroling. (Especially since some of the carols have been, um, re-worked, e.g. "It's the most stressed-out I've been this whole year!") And unlike your office holiday party, this one poses no risk of a hangover.
Holiday Party of One, New Stage Theatre, 11650 131st Street N., Largo, inside Country Day World School, through Dec. 20. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m. $25.88. 813-817-2585, newstagelargo.org.
Now Gypsy Stage Rep is bringing their play The Book of Liz to The Studio@620, and word is it’s one of the funniest pieces around.
Nothing brightens a Monday like celebrating talented, deserving locals.
Well, at least for me, anyway. I had a swell time last night at the Palladium Theatre last night for the Theatre Tampa Bay Awards (formerly known as the Jeff Norton Awards). Wore a red dress, presented an award and blurted out a joke about twerking (or the lack thereof) during the night's musical numbers — of which there were more this year, and were bigger and fabber. (freeFall's Fiddler on the Roof and New Stage's Little Shop of Horrors among them). A giant video screen debuted, which took a lot of pressure off presenters (the nominee lists were projected).
Best of all, you can't beat Matthew McGee in drag. The night's host with the most busted out his Patti alter ego and performed his half of the Scott and Patti show with partner Scott Daniel. He was an a theater-insider joke machine, riffing on breeder duos (namely Alison Burns and Chris Jackson) and positing that all artistic directors are bears, calling Anna Brennen an "Ursula" and David Jenkins a ginger cub.
Below is a list of finalists, chosen by an independent panel of local theater experts. An asterisk —* — indicates the winner in each category.
Theatre Tampa Bay, the alliance of local professional theater artists and organizations, announced nominations Monday for the 2013 TTB awards, as well as the winner of the first Jeff Norton Dream Grant. For the first time, the TTB awards are the result of voting by an independent panel of judges who were responsible for seeing every show produced in a single season by TTB participating theaters.
Full disclosure: I was one of those judges.
Because we all voted privately and were asked to refrain from discussing our votes, the judges were as much in the dark as to who would get nominated as the rest of the theater community. And though we'll meet sometime soon to discuss any categories in which there are ties or very close votes, we still won't know the winners until the Theatre Tampa Bay Awards gala on Oct. 14 at Tampa Theatre. Only TTB administrators know the results. (Think of them as those accountant types who carry the top-secret briefcases at the Oscars.)
I'm not able to talk about whether any of the nominations pleased me or puzzled me, or if I think anyone wuz robbed. But I will say it was pretty cool to see the theater community gathered in the lobby of Tampa Theatre to hear (and cheer) the names of the nominees. And I'll add that having to see just about every show that was done at the eight participating theaters was anything but an onerous task; in fact, I was heartened by the impressive amount of good work being done in the area, and I can't wait to do it all over again in 2013-2014.
So who's got the edge this year? Hard to say, but certainly freeFall and American Stage have to be happy with their chances. Between them, they received 75 nominations — almost three quarters of the total of 103. But every participating theater got at least a few nominations, and as TTB's Jon Palmer Claridge told the crowd at Tampa Theatre, many of the races were very, very close — so close that several of the categories are, in his words, "happily bloated."
Here's the tally:
Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida 500 years ago. Since then, the state has attracted many a wayward adventurer looking for his or her own piece of paradise. To celebrate the anniversary, the Florida Humanities Council’s theatrical series, Dreamers & Schemers: An Evening with Great Floridians, brings some of these important historical figures to life — in performances held throughout the year.