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Looking forward: May in the arts

Bill DeYoung



The ABBA-tastic musical "Mamma Mia!" continues to pack 'em in at Demens Landing. Photo by Beth Reynolds.

The Movies in the Park series is 10 years old, and sponsoring organization Preserve the Burg has announced five feel-good, family-friendly flicks for 2019, to be screened – for free – at North Straub Park on consecutive Thursdays, starting this week.

Food and beverages (including beer and wine) are available, Coast Bike Share will valet-park your bicycle (should you arrive on one) and, as always, Carrie Jadus has created a compelling painting for the series’ poster and advertisements. Each evening starts with a live local band at 7 p.m., with the movie unspooling at sundown. Donations appreciated.

Here’s the schedule: May 2: – Raiders of the Lost Ark (replacing the previously-announced Goldfinger), with music by Danfield; May 9: Groundhog Day, with music by Botomatics; May 16: Ghost, with music by Jun; May 23:  La La Land, with music by Uproar; May 30: The Lorax, with music by Boxcar Hollow.

The innovative freeFall Theater is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, too, with a party Saturday (May 4). They’ll screen a specially-made anniversary video, A Decade of Daring, and artistic director Eric Davis will officially announce the 2019-2020 season over hors d’oeuvres, dessert, wine and beer. Event tickets are here.

The theater opens Buyer & Cellar May 11. This one-man comedy, by Jonathan Tolins, stars Chris Crawford as an under-employed Los Angeles actor who takes on “the oddest of odd jobs” – as caretaker of a phony “shopping mall” in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement.

We’ll just let that sit there, for now. Buyer & Cellar, directed by Timothy Saunders, will run through June 9.

Over at American Stage, Mamma Mia! is, of course, playing to giant (frequently sold out) crowds at Demens Landing Park, where it will live on through May 12. Next up, back in the theater proper, is director Brendon Fox’s interpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The sobering, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama bows May 29.

Bryan Adams

Fresh off its recent Santana sellout, Big3 Entertainment (the Mahaffey Theater folks) are back at Al Lang Stadium May 7 with a concert by Canada’s Bryan Adams, of “Cuts Like a Knife” and “Spirit of ‘69” fame. Interpol plays the Mahaffey itself May 8.

Some great concerts in Clearwater, under the Ruth Eckerd Hall umbrella: Although Tom Jones (May 10) is sold out, there are tickets-aplenty to see and hear comic Chelsea Handler (May 16), and Broadway and TV dynamo Kristin Chenoweth (May 17). Those shows are in the big hall – the always-entertaining David Crosby (who’s been on a creative roll the past few years) plays REH’s Capitol Theatre May 23.

Yours truly will give a talk Thursday, May 9 at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, as part of the Happy Hour With the Historian series. It’s a multi-media look back at the Skyway Bridge disaster of 1980. Call (727) 894-1052 for reservations.

St. Petersburg Opera Company is back May 17-21 with a program consisting of two one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini at the Palladium, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. They’re the opening notes in SPO’s 2019 Puccini Festival, which will continue with a production of Madama Butterfly in June.

May 17 at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts: Theo’s Inferno, a fundraiser wrapped inside a 1980’s-style dance party like those frequented by the late Ybor City artist Theo Wujicik. Cantos, an exhibition of his work, is currently on view.  DJ Gabe Echazabal will spin Wujicik’s favorite tunes, new wave-style. Ybor City-themed food will be provided, along with an open beer bar.





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