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St. Pete arts forecast: November

Bill DeYoung

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Just in time for the mid-terms: Capitol Steps ("we put the mock in Democracy") comes to the Palladium at 6 p.m. Nov. 4.

The Northeast Exchange Club’s Ribfest is back this month, for its 30th anniversary, and as always it’s a combo platter of BBQ, music and do-gooding for local charities (“Rockin’ Ribs … Helpin’ Kids”). Organizers say Ribfest has generated $4.8M for 40 bay area charities since it began.

Ribfest takes over Vinoy Park Nov. 9-11. Along with an admirable handful of local bands, the performance stages will feature tribute acts (U2, the Police and the Allman Brothers Band) and a couple of bona fide headliners – Barenaked Ladies, Los Lonely Boys and country singer Josh Turner.

One act, Robby Steinhardt and the Music of Kansas, could be looked upon as just another rock tribute act … except for the presence of Steinhardt, who was a founding member of the mega-platinum ‘70s band Kansas. That’s his violin giving “Point of Know Return,” “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry on Wayward Son” their distinctive sound.

Robby Steinhardt

The classically-trained Steinhardt wasn’t the band’s lead singer – that distinction fell to Steve Walsh. But he was an integral part of Kansas’ complex vocal harmonies, both onstage and in the studio.

Steinhardt has lived in the Tampa Bay area for decades, and the band he’s bringing to Ribfest was always known as Stormbringer. Along with Steinhardt on violin and vocals, it features Rick Moon on lead guitar, and vocalist John Vasalakis.

Kansas, the band, still exists – although Steinhardt and Walsh, along with songwriter and guitarist Kerry Livgren, have long since bailed. Only the drummer and second guitarist remains from the original lineup.

Which leaves Robby Steinhardt as the literal face, voice – and violin – of the Kansas rock fans know and love. He is, therefore, the real deal.

The band takes the Ribfest stage at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.

More for the month …

The Florida Orchestra has a matinee and an evening show at the Mahaffey Saturday, Nov. 3, with an all-Disney program. You know “Tale As Old As Time” is officially licensed by Disney Concerts, Inc., because the music from Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Enchanted, The Lion King and the rest of the beloved oeuvre will be augmented by high resolution film clips. Four singers join the orchestra for a family-friendly visit through the wonderful world of mouse music.

Other TFO concerts at the Mahaffey include the Tampa Bay premiere of Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time (in partnership with the Florida Holocaust Museum), paired with selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, performed with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay (Nov. 10). Conductor Michael Francis and the orchestra perform Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony Nov. 17 and 18.

The Mahaffey’s impressive non-classical November lineup includes Daughtry (Nov. 8), Simple Minds (Nov. 9), Ray LaMontagne (Nov. 11), Christina Aguilera (Nov. 13), So You Think You Can Dance (Nov. 15) and Il Divo (Nov. 20).

Bob Devin Jones of thestudio@620 is directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Williams Park – Shakespeare under the stars, for free! – Thursdays through Sundays, through Nov. 11. Read more about it here.

The November schedule for thestudio@620 itself includes (among other things) a solo dance event by Alex Jones (Voices, Nov. 16 and 17) and the latest edition of the always-thrilling Radio Theatre Project (Nov. 26).

Just in time for Election Day, the legendary D.C.-based Capitol Steps comedy troupe comes to the Palladium Theater Sunday, Nov. 4. Show starts at 6 p.m. Don’t forget to vote!

Mark Sforzini

St. Pete Opera Company maestro Mark Sforzini’s other job, conducting the Tampa Bay Symphony, brings him (and the band) to the Palladium Tuesday, Nov. 6 with “Symphony Shenanigans.” The 80-member orchestra will perform works by, among others, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Delius.

There’s an “opera for all ages” at Opera Central – the St. Pete Opera home base – Nov. 9, 10, 17 and 18. The hour-long Pinocchio was adapted by John Davies from the timeless puppet-to-real-boy story; Andi Zdrava conducts a chamber orchestra, performing music by Mozart, Donizetti, Offenbach and Pergolesi.

A reminder that the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s monthly ArtWalk takes place Saturday, Nov. 10. All details are here.

It’s beginning to look at lot like … you know. Both our professional theaters –American Stage and freeFall – have Christmas-themed shows on the boards in December, and if you’re so inclined, you can catch them at the tail end of this month. To wit: Laurie Gunderson and Margot Melcon have written a sequel –of sorts – to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, in which the newly-wed Mr. and Mrs. Darcy welcome Elizabeth’s sister Mary into their home for the 1815 holiday season; Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley opens Nov. 28. In preview at freeFall Nov. 30 is the comedy Every Christmas Story Ever Told, in which three actors speed-romp through the holidays at a dizzying pace (the show opens Dec. 1).

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