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The month of January in the arts

Bill DeYoung



DRUMLine Live, coming to the Mahaffey Theater Jan. 9, is an international tour based on the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching band tradition. Photo provided.

As 2021 goes out like a lion, so 2022 will come in like … well, a lion. The specter of Covid has cast a shadow over every aspect of community life, including the arts, and even as this is being written the latest pandemic wave is quickening. Some events are being canceled, postponed or just moved back in the hopes that the wave will pass in time.

Hope, nevertheless, springs eternal, and with a little luck, and common sense, most if not all of January’s scheduled events will go on as planned.

Here are some things to look forward to:

The Mahaffey Theater. Along with the regularly-scheduled Florida Orchestra concerts and a fair amount of tribute shows, the Mahaffey has a few choice one-nighters this month, including the State Ballet Theatre of the Ukraine’s Cinderella (this Sunday, Jan. 2 at 3 p.m.); DRUMLine Live (featuring the “soulful, high-stepping style” of the Historically Black College and University [HBCU] marching band experience) Jan. 9; the Grammy-winning singer Ledisi saluting Nina Simone Jan. 12; Erasure Jan. 16 and Pink Martini, with vocalist China Forbes, Jan. 18. Info and tickets here.

St. Pete Comic Con. The city’s first-ever comic book convention, with comics, anime, science fiction & fantasy and cosplay, happens Jan. 8 and 9 at the Coliseum. Organized by Dewey Caruthers’ Florida Comic Cons and I Love the Burg, the event will include appearances by three anime voice actors, four comic artists, and six of Florida’s top cosplayers – plus games, contests and panel discussions. Details can be found here.

Tampa’s professional theaters. Jobsite – famous for its blisteringly good adaptations of Shakespeare – comes out gyns blazing with Romeo and Juliet (Jan. 19-Feb. 6); Stageworks goes into the courtroom with the classic drama Twelve Angry Men (Jan. 7-23). And Lab Theatre Project’s annual Lab Laughs comedy shorts show has a Jan. 20-23 run.

St. Pete’s professional theaters. There’s no Mainstage production at American Stage in January – instead it’s the 2022 edition of the 21st Century Voices New Play Festival, with staged readings of new works selected from a nationwide competition (Jan. 7-9). And after smacking one out of the park with its original holiday musical, freeFall is back starting Jan 28 with I Love to Eat (a love story with food), a comedy about well-known gourmand James Beard.

Both Tampa Repertory Theatre and Studio Grand Central will return with new shows in February.

Ruth Eckerd Hall. January highlights at Ruth’s place include: A touring production of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys (Jan. 12 and 13); Florida’s great country/Americana band The Mavericks (Jan. 14); Stomp the Musical (Jan 18 and 19); Joss Stone and Corrine Bailey Rae (Jan 22); Dwight Yoakam (Jan. 27); Randy Rainbow (Jan. 28); Alan Parsons Live Project (Jan. 29) and Beautiful – the Carole King Musical (Jan. 31 and Feb. 1).

Capitol Theatre. Ruth’s sister venue, in downtown Clearwater, has (among others) Al DiMeola (Jan. 7); Fabulous Thunderbirds (Jan. 9); Marc Broussard (Jan. 11); the Steeldrivers (Jan. 13); Puddles Pity Party (Jan. 15); Judy Collins (Jan. 16); the Righteous Brothers (Jan. 21 and 22); Michael Bolton (Jan. 25) and Leo Kottke (Jan. 28).

A good number of these Ruth Eckerd Hall/Capitol Theatre concerts are reschedule dates for shows that were postponed in 2021. As always, consult the venue’s website, or call, before making plans. Info and tickets here.

The Florida Orchestra. TFO will end the month with a trio of performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, accompanied on the “Ode to Joy” chorus by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay (Jan. 28, Straz Center; Jan. 29, Mahaffey; Jan. 30, Ruth Eckerd). On the 14th and 15, the orchestra – in collaboration with the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, while is proving projected images – has a “Wild West” theme happening, with a concert pairing Copland’s Rodeo/Buckaroo Holiday and The Red Pony, James Newton Howard’s Suite From Wyatt Earp, Jeff Tyzik’s arrangement The Great Western Suite and more. Violinist Karen Gomyo returns to play Brahms’ Violin Concerto Jan. 22 and 23. Info and tickets here.

The David A. Straz Center. Jan. 11-16 brings the touring company of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical to Carole Morsani Hall. And Sex N’ The City: A Super Unauthorized Musical Parody moves into Ferguson Hall Jan. 21. Info and tickets here.

Palladium Theater. The amazing midwestern singer and guitarist Willy Porter has a Jan. 14 date in the St. Pete venue. Other shows include jazz pianist Dave Meder Jan. 7, the Mile-End Trio (classical music, this time with a guest vocalist) Jan. 19, Tampa blues guitarist Selwyn Birchwood Jan. 21, and the Al Downing Jazz 50th Anniversary Celebration – with all-star players – Jan. 16. Info and tickets here.

Dali Museum. Just letting you know – it’s still a ways off – that the Picasso and the Allure of the South exhibit is scheduled to open Jan. 29.

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