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Looking ahead: The month of February in the arts

Bill DeYoung



Bruce Springsteen's 2023 tour opens with Wednesday's Amalie Arena concert. Publicity photo.

Bruce Springsteen’s 2023 American tour begins Wednesday (Feb. 1) at Amalie Arena. Tickets for this show sold out a long time ago, and Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” structure meant the cost went up as demand dictated. Major demand, major bucks. You may recall a huge public uproar about this when tickets went on sale last June, as some people paid up to $4,000 for a single ticket.

The uproar quieted down, the show sold out, it’s this week, and that’s that.

It did not, however, end with the big Boss debacle. Taylor Swift will stop at Raymond James Stadium for three shows in April; fans scooping up resale tickets “broke” the system, and subsequently they were all sold before a single ticket was made available to the public. According to StubHub, a seat in front of the stage will run you upwards of $30,000 on the “resale” market.

As always, you’re advised to check with Ticketmaster, as tickets to sold-out concerts sometimes “become available.”

No commentary here about the business of music … although it’s awfully tempting.

Juilliard String Quartet. Photo: Erin Baiano.

Concert calendar

Next at Amalie (at somewhat lower price points): Country’s Carrie Underwood (Feb. 4); contemporary Christian artist TobyMac (Feb. 6); classical singer Andrea Bocelli (Feb. 16); country’s Wynonna Judd (Feb. 24).

Comedian/actor Kevin James kicks off the entertainment schedule at the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center Feb. 8; rocker Rod Stewart’s back in town again for a Feb. 16 gig at the casino concert hall; Gladys Knight sings there on the 21st, while KC & the Sunshine Band keep it comin,’ love, on the 23rd.

At Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater): Tampa’s Henry Paul is back onstage with his non-Outlaws band, BlackHawk, sharing the Feb. 1 bill with country star Clay Walker. Blue Man Group plays REH Feb. 2 and 3; veteran songwriter and producer David Foster performs Feb. 4 with his singer bride Katharine McPhee (of TV’s Smash); Feb. 7 brings REO Speedwagon.

The rest of Ruth’s month looks like this: Blues guitarists Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Samantha Fish (Feb. 10); Rock legend Roger Daltrey, a rare solo show, Feb. 11; John Mellencamp Feb. 13, 14 and 15; The Temptations and the Four Tops (Feb. 17); Dancing With the Stars Live (Feb. 18); Emmylou Harris (Feb. 21); the Beach Boys (Feb. 22); Frankie Valli (Feb. 24 and 25); Sarah McLachlan (Feb. 26).

In downtown Clearwater, the Capitol Theatre has a similarly packed schedule. Fab Feb dates: Judy Collins, Feb. 1; Tom Rush, Feb. 2 (read the Catalyst interview here); Kathy Mattea, Feb. 3; Dave Mason, Feb. 4; Keb’ Mo, Feb. 7 and 9; Neko Case, Feb. 8; Jim Messina, Feb. 14; Marty Stuart, Feb. 17; Paul Thorn, Feb. 18; Justin Willman, Feb. 23; Rita Rudner and Robert Klein, Feb. 25; Al Stewart, Feb. 26; Irish Tenors, Feb. 27; Lyle Lovett, Feb. 28 and March 1.

At the David A. Straz Center in Tampa: The national touring company of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical runs Jan. 31 through Feb. 5. Opera Tampa performs Bellini’s Norma Feb. 10 and 12 (with The Florida Orchestra). The acclaimed dance company Ailey II will be onstage Feb. 16. Comedian Jim Gaffigan has four Straz shows between Feb. 9 and 11 (he’s taping a new special here; look for the Catalyst interview with Gaffigan Tuesday). A touring production of the musical Chicago arrives Feb. 21 and stays through the 26th. The Venezuelan singer Nella performs Feb. 25.

At St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater: Rick Springfield with Tommy Tutone (Feb. 1); Patti LaBelle (Feb. 5); the retro lounge orchestra Pink Martini returns (Feb. 10); Deep Purple and the Marshall Tucker Band (Feb. 20).

Master songwriter Jimmy Webb returns to Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center Feb. 5.

This Tuesday’s Death Cab For Cutie show at the outdoor St. Pete venue Jannus Live is sold out; G. Love and Special Sauce, on Feb. 24, isn’t.

Coming to Skipper’s Smokehouse (Tampa) Feb. 11: The Squirrel Nut Zippers.

The Juilliard String Quartet, perhaps the best-known chamber music group in the country, has a Palladium Theater concert Feb. 21.

More classics at the Palladium: The Tampa Bay Symphony is onstage Feb. 5 with the Innovation & Freedom concert, and again Feb. 26 performing the finalists for the organization’s annual Composition Competition.

Jazz at the Palladium: Singer Ona Kirei and guitarist Diego Figueroa (Feb. 2); Vocalist Whitney James and band (Feb. 14); the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival’s Helios Orchestra with vocalist Alexis Cole (Feb. 23).

The St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, by the way, continues with two more concerts: Zach Bartholomew Trio – A Chick Corea Tribute, Feb. 24 at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg; Jason Charos Sextet – Celebrating Wayne Shorter, Feb. 25 at American Stage.

Ona Kirei and pianist John O’Leary collaborate Feb. 23 at thestudio@620.

The manifesto of St. Pete’s One City Chorus: “Singing in a group builds community and leads to better understanding among people. The chorus seeks to make the world a better place by singing songs about social justice, civil rights, diversity and equality.” They’ll try to make it so Feb. 19 (a 4 p.m. matinee) at the Palladium.

The Florida Orchestra

Conductor Chelsea Gallo takes TFO, with guest vocalist David Blamires, through a song-by-song symphonic road trip up the Beatles’ Abbey Road album. The concert, which includes an opening set of Fab Four and solo hits, is at the Mahaffey Theater at 2 and 8 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 4.

The February calendar also includes Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Feb. 17-19) and  Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (Feb. 24-26, with Joyce Yang at the piano for both pieces).

On Feb. 11, a chamber group spinoff from The Florida Orchestra performs an intimate adaptation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

It’s Celebration of the Arts month

February is when arts super-patrons Dr. Gordon Gilbert and Michele Kidwell-Gilbert bring dozens of cultural happenings together under one banner: The St. Petersburg Celebration of the Arts. It includes many of the concerts mentioned in this column, plus theater, art exhibits, lectures and films.

The Celebration of the Arts, while not a producing organization, has since 2018 worked with others in the city to make sure everyone’s focus is on the width and breadth of the culture in our community.

Two more things: This year’s theme is Freedom, and the calendar of include events can be found here.

Jobsite’s “Hamlet.” Publicity photo.


Coming to Studio Grand Central Feb. 9: Kenneth Lonergan’s This is Our Youth, the story of three young adults in big, bad New York City. The Times, in fact, called it “a rambunctious and witty play about wayward teenagers and post-adolescents that doesn’t turn youthful travails into plastic rap.”

A Man Dreams (Feb. 16 at the Dali Museum) is a one-man show, an immersive, multi-media theatrical show with actor Cranstan Cumberbatch.

Opening Feb. 15 at the Jaeb Theatre (in Tampa’s Straz Center), a production of the hair salon comedy who-done-it Shear Madness – directed and performed by area residents – will stay through April 9. Clues to the onstage murder mystery change every night, and the audience gets to participate.

Now onstage: The historical drama The Agitators at freeFall (through Feb. 27); the darkly comic Crimes of the Heart at American Stage and Hamlet at Jobsite. The shows at Jobsite and American Stage close Feb. 5 (this Sunday).

The Elephant Man is the new production from the Tampa Repertory Theatre, Feb. 2-19 at the Hillsborough Community College theater in Ybor City.

Stageworks opens the Michelle Lowe comedy The Smell of the Kill Feb. 9; it’ll run through the 26th.




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