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January in the arts: Baby steps and a holding pattern

Bill DeYoung

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Jay Leno, standup comedian, is onstage Feb. 3 at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Publicity photo.

As the world turns …

Everyone seems to be taking a different approach to re-opening. Although St. Pete’s museums, and most art galleries, have been admitting limited amounts of visitors for several months, our performing arts organizations are more cautious.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as the saying goes. We haven’t beaten this thing yet, and as we enter a new month, and a new year, because of Covid it still feels quite a bit like 2020.

Still, January’s got more stuff going on than December, which was bigger and better than November …

Performance-wise, the socially-distanced Ruth Eckerd Hall has a reasonably full calendar, with tickets on sale for January shows in the big hall (REH), and at the downtown Clearwater Capitol Theatre.

Bearing in mind that things are subject to change at a moment’s notice, any or all of these could be re-scheduled or canceled. Here’s the way things shake out right now (the highlights):

Comedian Anthony Rodia has a New Year’s Eve show at the Capitol Thursday (Dec. 31);

Acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke plays the Capitol Jan. 13 (update, Thursday afternoon – this show has been moved to 2022);

Longtime Tonight Show host Jay Leno, a veteran standup comic, has a REH date Jan. 15;

Singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash performs at the Capitol Jan. 16;

Comedian Rob Schneider, late of Saturday Night Live and numerous marginally funny movies, plays the Capitol Jan. 23.

Neil Berg’s “50 Years of Rock IV” is at REH Jan. 31.

For all tickets, and additional info, click here.

Music

At the Mahaffey Theater, there are concerts from The Florida Orchestra every weekend in January except the first one, with each conducted by Maestro Michael Francis himself. They’re keeping the venue at 25 percent capacity, the programs are shorter than usual (with no intermission), and several have “livestream at home” options for avoiding the public-place thing altogether. Details can be found here.

Opera Tampa performs on the outdoor Riverwalk Stage (that’s at the Straz Center in Tampa) Jan. 22-24, with a program of all Gilbert & Sullivan tunes. Details.

Between Jan. 29 and 31, St. Petersburg Opera Company takes a concert called “Opera’s Greatest Hits” to Cage Brewing (twice) and outdoors at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. Details.

With live shows off the menu for the time being, the Palladium has a great-looking series of virtual concerts planned – performed live (audience-less) in Hough Hall and streamed directly to you (you can also watch them later, at your leisure). The first one, Jan. 22, features a performance of chamber music from TFO first violinist Jeffrey Multer, with cellist Julian Schwarz, and pianist Marika Bournaki, as the Mile-End Trio. Details.

We told you about a Jan. 16 concert at the Central Park Performing Arts Center (in Largo) featuring master musicians Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen and John Jorgenson. The entire U.S. tour, which is to promote Hillman’s new memoir, has been postponed until the fall.

Live theater

Jobsite returns to the stage Jan. 13-31 (how’s that for a symmetrical date range?) with Doubt: A Parable, in the socially-spaced Jaeb Theatre (again, the Straz Center). With David Jenkins, Roxanne Fay, Andresia Mosely and Emily Belvo, this is the show that never opened last March because of the surging pandemic. Details.

Virtual theater

American Stage is offering re-streams of the recorded production of Letters to Kamala during January; in addition, the 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival will stream live Jan. 16 and 17, and 22-24. Details.

Visual art

No one is reporting any new major exhibitions this month, but the Pinellas County ArtWalks are a go: First, Gulfport’s this Friday (Jan. 1) from 5 to 9 p.m.; the St. Petersbug Second Saturday ArtWalk, still trolley-free, takes place Jan. 9.

Remember that this could all look 100 percent different by mid-month; watch the Catalyst for additions, subtractions and whatever else happens along the way.

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