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Looking ahead: The month of April in the arts

Bill DeYoung



The Tampa Bay Blues Festival returns to Vinoy Park April 12-14. Photo provided.

The trees in Vinoy Park will shake, rattle and roll in April as the Tampa Bay Blues Festival returns, in its 39th year, April 12, 13 and 14.

The 2024 headliners are Grace Potter, Larkin Poe, Tab Benoit, Samantha Fish, Albert Castiglia and Mike Zito (aka Blood Brothers), Coco Montoya, Anson Funderburgh and many, many others.

April 26 and 27 brings the nationally-touring Breakaway Festival to Raymond James Stadium, with performances from Illenium, Kaskade, Zedd, Sofi Tukker (DJ Set), ACRAZE, CRANKDAT, Deerock, Dion Timmer b2b Calcium, Gudfella and others.

And the month begins (April 1-6) with the 15th annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, with multiple performances on various local stages. A highlight: The acclaimed gypsy jazz outfit Hot Club SRQ, at the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement.

Kenny Chesney is coming to Raymond James Stadium. Photo:

The big concerts

Madonna is touring this year; she’ll be at Amalie Arena April 4.

The 1980s country band Alabama, with 21 consecutive No. 1 hits, is at the BayCare Sound amphitheater April 5. Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry remain at the heart of the group.

Kenny Chesney at Raymond James Stadium April 20. With the Zac Brown Band. ‘Nuff said.

Even though Ann Wilson performed here not so long ago with her solo band, the reformed Heart plays Amalie April 26, along with Cheap Trick.

Americana guitarist/singer Billy Strings, whose music transcends his bluegrass roots, has two dates at the Yuengling Center, on the University of South Florida Tampa campus – April 12 and 13.

And country phenom Morgan Wade will play April 19 at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater.

Speaking of the Cap, there are plenty of familiar faces making their annual appearances, including Los Lonely Boys (April 13), the Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward (April 15), Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra (April 20), the Wallflowers (April 28) and the Fixx (April 30).

Returnees at Ruth Eckerd Hall include Don Felder, Pablo Cruise and Firefall (April 19), Johnny Mathis (April 25) and Kenny G (April 26).

The Verve Pipe lands April 17 at Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center.

Comedian Leanne Morgan’s rescheduled Tampa Theatre dates are April 13 and 14.

Staind and Seether headline the 98Rockfest April 19 at Amalie Arena.

April 28 in Ferguson Hall (Straz Center): Comedian Daniel Sloss.

Bad Religion and Social Distortion share the bill April 28 at the BayCare Sound.

April shows at the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center: Kevin James (7th), Melissa Etheridge (11th), Derek Hough (16th), Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes (17th), Ron White (two sets on the 18th), Saxon and Uriah Heep (24th), Wheeler Walker Jr. (28th).

Popular Mexican vocalist Gloria Trevi has an April 20 date at Amalie Arena.


To dance

The annual Beacon Dance showcase happens April 5 at the Palladium Theater, with works by bay area choreographers and performers including projectALCHEMY, Andee Scott and Bliss Kohlmeyer, Charlotte Johnson, Helen French and others.



American Stage’s annual “park show” is the Disney musical Beauty & the Beast, and it opens April 5 (with previews April 3 and 4) on the outdoor stage at Demens Landing Park.

Nollywood Dreams is the next show at freeFall Theatre; the romantic comedy set in the 1990s Nigerian film industry opens April 13.

New at the Off-Central is 1959 Pink Thunderbird, an evening of two one-acts by James McLure: Lone Star and Laundry and Bourbon. Opening April 4.

Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is next up at Stageworks Theatre; it opens April 26.

April Broadway shows visiting the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall: Mrs. Doubtfire (April 2-7) and the return of The Book of Mormon (April 16-21). The parody musical Stranger Sings! continues at the Straz Center’s Jaeb Theater through April 21. Jobsite Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane continues at the Shimberg Playhouse through April 7.

A touring production of Shrek! The Musical stops in April 23 and 24 at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Pianist Natasha Paremski. Publicity photo.

The classics

April’s schedule for The Florida Orchestra looks like this: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, with pianist Natasha Paremski returning to perform Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2, April 5 (Straz), April 6 (Mahaffey Theater), April 7 (Ruth Eckerd Hall); Dvorak’s New World Symphony with Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, April 12 (Straz), April 13 and 14 (Mahaffey); Opera Tampa’s La Traviata, April 19 and 21 (Straz); Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings, Philip Glass’ Concerto Grosso and Arthur Honegger’s Pastorale d’ete (chamber concert), April 19 (Clearwater’s Church of the Ascencion), April 20 (Tampa Theatre), April 21 (Palladium Theater); Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony, with Fauré’s Requiem, featuring the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, April 26 (Straz), April 27 and 28 (Mahaffey).


As always, shows and dates are subject to change; events can (and will) be added as the month goes on.

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