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Looking ahead: The month of May in the arts

Bill DeYoung

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The national tour of "Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations" opens Tuesday at the Straz Center, and will remain through May 7. Publicity photo.

So this is May Day.

And so we begin the fifth month of 2023, just when it seemed April was getting started.

May brings a big bucket full of great concerts, a few theater debuts (including a crazy cabaret), a horror convention and Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” without the talky bits.

Dewey Caruthers and his St. Pete Comic Con are back at the Coliseum May 13 and 14 with Sunshine City Scare, a buyers and sellers market with the usual counts of artists, animation voice actors and others who toil in the horror genre. Caruthers began bring comic, cosplay and anime convention to the city two years ago, and has pretty much cornered the market he created.

After the runaway success of Shockheaded Peter in 2021, the restless creatives at Jobsite Theatre went in search of similarly weird and whimsical material. They’ve adapted the works of Lewis Carroll to create Alice (as in Through the Looking Glass and/or In Wonderland), creating original songs in the bargain. After previews May 10 and 11, the quirky cabaret opens, in the Jaeb Theatre, on the 12th.

The Straz Center’s touring-company Broadway series continues with the Motown musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations (May 2-7), for which St. Petersburg dancer/singer Ephraim Sykes, who’s not in the touring production, was nominated for a Tony Award. The next Straz Broadway show is Jagged Little Pill (May 16-21), constructed around the music of Alanis Morrissette.

New to the Off-Central: David Mamet’s Revenge of the Space Pandas (opens May 11); at LAB Theater Project, Fire Thief debuts this Friday (May 4).

The Tampa International Fringe Festival returns to Ybor City May 10-14.

 

Where’s the orchestra?

Michael Francis, music director for The Florida Orchestra, has been waiting all season to conduct Wagner’s Ring Cycle – rather, Lorin Maazel’s tastefully edited adaptation called The Ring Without Words. The whole operatic Ring thing takes something like 15 hours to perform – but this version, onstage at the Mahaffey (May 20) and Ruth Eckerd Hall (May 21) is a “greatest musical hits” arrangement about an hour in length.

That’ll be TFO’s final Masterworks concert of the season, but May holds a few more golden orchestral nuggets, including Mendelssohn’s Elijah (May 5, 6 and 7, Straz Center, Mahaffey Theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall) with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, Pops in the Park (May 14 at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa) and Beethoven x Coldplay, arranger/conductor Steve Hackman’s blending of these two rather disparate musical movers.

The season ends with A Night at the Oscars, with Lawrence Loh conducting, May 27 at the Straz Center.

 

Country shows

Hank Williams Jr. Publicity photo.

Will controversial country star Morgan Wallen make it to the Mid-Florida Credit Union for his sold-out concert May 6? After walking out of an Oxford, Mississippi concert April 23 just minutes before he was to take the stage, his next scheduled show is this Thursday (May 4) in Jacksonville.

Veteran country performer Hank Williams Jr. is scheduled to perform at the Mid-Florida amphitheater May 19, with Old Crow Medicine Show. Americana singer/songwriter Sierra Ferrell (Capitol Theatre, May 30).

 

More concerts

Highlights for May at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall include Melissa Etheridge (14th) and The Cult (20th). And let’s not forget the recently-announced Ed Sheeran “intimate” show May 19, the night before the British pop superstar’s cross-America arena tour arrives at Raymond James Stadium (that’s the 20th).

The Psychedelic Furs are at the Capitol Theatre (Ruth’s sister venue) May 18, with Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando opening.

The Doobie Brothers’ 50th anniversary tour, with both lead singers from the “golden” era (Tom Johnston and Michael McDonald), played the Mid-Florida amphitheater in the summer of 2022. It’s back for a May 26 stop at the Mahaffey Theater.

On May 14, jazz musician Bria Skonberg will perform on the Instrument of Hope, a trumpet partially made from spent bullet casings, on the Warehouse Arts District ArtsXchange stage. The instrument is meant to continue the conversation about school shootings.

Due at the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center: Gipsy Kings (May 11) and Pierce The Veil with The Used (May 26).

Comedian Brian Regan. Photo provided.

Comedy

Look for the semi-annual visit from Brian Regan at the Mahaffey (May 12), plus John Crist (May 6, Tampa Theatre), SNL alum Leslie Jones (May 12, Tampa Theatre), Joe Gatto (May 13, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Margaret Cho (May 19 at the Straz Center), Rodney Carrington (May 20, Tampa Theatre) and “Kountry” Wayne Colley (Mahaffey, May 21). Mike Epps, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Earthquake bring their “Straight Jokes No Chaser” show to Amalie Arena May 21.

 

Gallery exhibits

Tom Jones: Here We Stand, making its debut May 13 at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, has nothing to do with the gyrating Welsh singer who gave the world “What’s New, Pussycat.” Jones, rather, is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, and this exhibit is part of his photographic record of tribal life.

Opening May 27 at the Dali Museum, Where Ideas Come From: Dalí’s Drawings brings together approximately 100 rarely seen works on paper from the permanent collection.

Events are subject to change, and others may (and probably will) be added as the month progresses.

Please add us to your mailing list – send all press releases and event info to bill@stpetecatalyst.com.

You can also submit your events to the Catalyst calendar, by clicking here.

 

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