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Looking ahead: The month of September in the arts

Bill DeYoung



Steve Martin's comedy "Meteor Shower" opens Sept. 6 at Jobsite Theater. Photo: Pritchard Photography.

What’s felt like a long theater blight has really only been a month or two, but now that summer’s finally drawing to a close, the bay area’s professional theaters are close to raising the curtain on their 2019-2020 stuff – some sooner than others.

First onstage is Jobsite Theater, doing wonderfully eclectic and entertaining things in the Shimberg black box theater, in Tampa’s Straz Center complex. On Sept. 6, Jobsite opens Meteor Shower, a comedy by none other than Steve Martin (it’s his third play, if you’re counting).

Here’s the pitch: Two married California couples are having dinner and drinks with the aim of watching the night’s once-in-a-lifetime meteor show, and “over the course of a crazy, starlit dinner party, the wildly unexpected occurs.”

Two more couples, at another dinner party, are at the center of Tom Marguiles’ Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy Dinner With Friends, opening Sept. 13 at Tampa Repertory Theatre.

On Sept. 27 Stageworks Theater launches its new season with the classic thriller Wait Until Dark (it was famously made into a film, with Audrey Hepburn, in 1967).

Here in St. Pete, freeFall Theater Company goes all psychological with a production of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, starting Sept. 28.

We’ll hear from American Stage in early October.

In The Midnight Hour

Sophisticated soul and contemporary hip hop take center stage Sept. 11 on the Palladium’s big stage with a concert by composers/musicians Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest) and Adrian Younge, perhaps best known (together) for providing the soundtrack for the Netflix series Luke Cage. They’re touring with a 10-piece jazz ensemble called, like their joint 2018 album, The Midnight Hour. The unit includes vocalists Loren Oden and Angela Muñoz, as well as guitarist Jack Waterson. PLUS horns. PLUS strings. PLUS a whole lot of cool. The Midnight Hour blew out the walls at the Orpheum in Ybor City last December.

Check it out here:

“I just want people to know that you could do anything you set your mind to,” Younge told Billboard. “We’re playing mad instruments, composing shit, playing orchestra on it. We’re trying to bring black excellence to this level of music right.

“I feel like soul music has lost a lot of that element of sophistication. That’s what I want people to feel when they listen to this album. I want them feel the regal-ness, I want them to feel the opulence, I want them to feel the soul.”

Tickets here.

Celebrating dance

An exciting first: Many of our most creative artists are participating in the 2020 Dance Hall Festival, starting Sept. 14 at thestudio@620. The-month-long celebration of dance begins with a reception that night for photographer Tom Kramer, whose remarkable dance shots will hang in the space through the duration of the festival.

Here’s the schedule: A Decade of Dance: Photographs by Tom Kramer Opening Reception Saturday, Sept. 14, 5-9 p.m.; Triggered: An Evening in a Brain with Rogue Dance, Saturday Sept. 21, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m.; Momentum Choreographers Showcase with project ALCHEMY, Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday Sept. 29 at 3 p.m.

Mad Science by Sheila Cowley/Tom and Paul Kramer Anniversary Celebration Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.; Dundu Dole African Ballet Friday, Oct. 4; Theatre Grottesco, presented by St. Petersburg Performs, Thursday Oct. 10; Choreographic lecture and demonstration with Andee Scott Friday, Oct. 11; 620 Dance Hall Finale with VYB Dance Saturday, Oct. 12.

TFO returns

Michael Francis Conductor
Photo: Marco Borggreve

Speaking of long summertime slumbers, the Florida Orchestra will return at the end of September, with Maestro Michael Francis conducting Gershwin: Cuban Overture, Grieg: Piano Concerto, Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Mason Bates: Mothership and Ravel’s Bolero. With Aldo Lopez-Gavilan playing piano, the concert is at the Mahaffey Theater Sept. 28 (and at the Straz Sept. 27, and again at a Ruth Eckerd Hall matinee Sept. 29).

And still more music

Now that the word seems to be out on just how cool the Florida Bjorkestra shows are, pianist/arranger Jeremy Douglass and company are ramping up their output. To wit: There’s a Palladium/Side Door performance on the books for Sept. 6, featuring the Bjorkestra (with Matthew McGee) performing tunes from The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Other concert we all might want to consider: The BoDeans play Largo’s Central Park Peforming Arts Center Sept. 20, followed by legendary jazz drummer Billy Cobham on the 21st; Deep Purple pulls into the Mahaffey Theater Sept 27; Bone Thugs N Harmony have a Sept. 29 date at Jannus Live.

As always, events, shows and other stuff will be announced and added to the St. Pete calendar as the month progresses. Stay tuned to the Catalyst for updates.

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