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What’ll we do with ourselves? The arts weekend in St. Pete

Bill DeYoung

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La Lucha

Sandwiched as we are between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, there aren’t any holidays on the immediate horizon. What to do this weekend?

For those of us who eschew short days with a big crowd on a busy beach, and would rather not spent $800 at the movies, the performing arts offer some pretty impressive alternatives.

Here’s what’s going on in St. Pete.

  • The city’s professional theaters – both of them – are in full swing. Bad Jews, Joshua Harmon’s smash hit black comedy about a family crisis, enters its second weekend at American Stage. And Sunday night – long after the Bad Jews matinee – Alabama cabaret singer Paula Broadwater will perform, with piano accompaniment, in the lobby cabaret room. You might have seen her in the St. Pete Opera’s 2017 production of Into the Woods (she was Jack’s mother, with the beans and the cow and all that). The cabaret, You Are What You Think, starts at 7 p.m.
  • At freeFall, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) was originally scheduled to end two weeks ago. But the riotous sendup of Broadway’s biggest composers – from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Andy Lloyd Webber – turned into such an unexpected hit that it’s been extended. The last performances of this seriously funny juggernaut are absolutely, positively July 20-22.

    “The Musical of Musicals (The Musical).”

  • In Largo: Duncan Sheik’s music propels the electrifying 2006 coming-of-age drama Spring Awakenings, which won eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical). Set in repressive 19th Century German, the controversial book was written by Steven Sater. Spring Awakenings is onstage through Sunday (July 22) at the Central Park Performing Arts Center (matinee alert: 2 p.m. on Sunday).
  • Tonight (Friday, July 20) is the final day for the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts’ 2018 Beer Project, during which you can learn about history, do your part to preserve antiquities and imbibe in unique craft beer brews, all at the same time.
  • In Clearwater: Tonight at the Capitol Theatre, the Canadian musical wizards known as Classic Albums Live will perform, in its entirely, Pink Floyd’s timeless Wish You Were Here. Shine on, you crazy diamonds. The Cap is screening the film version of Rent Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon they’re showing The Sound of Music.
  • Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure and Pepper play Vinoy Park Saturday afternoon (4:30 showtime; ridiculous heat index).
  • La Lucha, a local trio of musicians whose specialty is Latin-influenced jazz (as a starting point) performs at 3 p.m. Sunday at thestudio@620 (they also proudly boast of “twisted arrangements of pop songs and original compositions.” Think metal meets jazz meets bluegrass meets TitoiPuente. The group – Alejandro Arenas (bass) John O’Leary (piano) and Mark Feinman (drums) has released three albums. The event is called the “Summer Music Party.”
  • At the Palladium Theatre: Comedian Intern John (from radio’s Kane Show) performs tonight (July 20); on Saturday, it’s an independently-produced “gospel play” called I Can’t Make You Love Me.
  • The Palladium’s got a cool/hot (whichever you prefer) summer series starting July 27. It’s called Summer of Soul, a series of concerts from R&B, soul, jazz and blues artists, going through mid-September. Among the highlights: Little Jake and the Soul Searchers (Aug. 4), a salute to (Tampa native) Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson (Aug. 16), the great soul crooner Latimore (Aug. 25) and the aforementioned La Lucha (Sept. 14). A Palladium favorite, the Selwyn Birchwood Band, returns for shows Sept. 7 and 8.
  • The St. Petersburg Museum of History wants everyone to know that it’s still open for business, despite its proximity to the ongoing construction site that is the St. Pete Pier.  The current exhibit is The American Soldier, a collection of of award-winning photographs of American soldiers from the Civil War to the present. The American Soldier has been on display at the Smithsonian, and other museums across the nation.
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