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The month of November in the arts

Bill DeYoung



The Florida Orchestra goes high-tech with November performances of music from the "Final Fantasy" video game series. Image: TFO (screen grab)

The Florida Orchestra excels at many things, and way up near the top of the list is the every-so-often marriage of live symphonic music, video technology and pop culture. If Carly Simon were here, she’d probably insist that nobody, in fact, does it better.

A pair of concerts Nov. 20 and 21 will showcase more than 100 musicians, along with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay Chamber Singers, performing new arrangements of composer Nobuo Uematsu’s score for the Final Fantasy VII video game series, specifically the newest, Final Fantasy VII Remake.

With high-definition video scenes from the new game, created specifically for this show (it’s part of a nationwide tour, with different orchestras in different cities); Arnie Roth conducts.

The concerts will take place in the acoustically nearly-perfect Mahaffey Theater, at 8 p.m. on the 20th, and at 2 p.m. next day.

Cosplay is encouraged.

The TFO November schedule includes a typically eclectic mix of classical music and pops, including soloist Stefan Jackiw on Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (Nov. 6 at the Mahaffey, Nov. 7 at Ruth Eckerd Hall), Vladimir Kulenovic conducting Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (Nov. 13, Mahaffey; Nov. 14, Straz Center), and a Mahaffey concert Nov. 19 with an onstage rock band, joining the orchestra for the combined music of Elton John and Billy Joel.

Opera for kids

St. Petersburg Opera Company’s family show, Pinocchio, returns Nov. 13, 14, 20 and 21. It’s a clever (and fun) re-telling of the puppet-to-a-boy fairy tale, with original lyrics set to opera standards from the likes of Verdi, Offenbach and Donzinetti. It’s performed, with a live chamber orchestra, at Opera Central on 1st Avenue S.

Weirdness for all

The Tampa Convention Center welcomes the Oddities and Curiosities Expo Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a touring gaggle of vendors selling taxidermy, preserved specimens, original artwork, horror/Halloween inspired pieces, antiques, handcrafted oddities, quack medical devices, creepy clothing, odd jewelry, skulls/bones, funeral collectibles and more. It’s all legal to buy, sell and possess, according to the disclaimer. And after that, what else is there to say?

Fine arts and more

The annual Creative Pinellas Arts Annual Weekend, Nov. 13 (live) and 14 (virtual), brings together a gallery exhibition with over 100 art pieces from 30 artists, and it spills into the Walsingham Road courtyard for an outdoor celebration featuring dance, music, poetry, food trucks, live painters and more. Performers and live artists include Helen Hansen French, David Manson’s EMIT Trio, Ricardo Delgado, Linda Costa, Alex Jones, Jon Ditty, Victoria Jorgensen, Jujmo, Tenea D. Johnson, the Ukulele Society, Amy Collins, Tom Sivak and Sheila Cowley. This is Creative Pinellas’ big yearly fundraiser. 

At the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, artist James Warhola, whose uncle was none other than Andy Warhol, will speak Nov. 6. Illustrator of more than 300 science fiction and fantasy book covers and two dozen children’s books, Warhola will talk about his famous relative (Warhol’s West continues through Jan. 9 at the museum) and stay on through Nov. 7, when he’ll conduct a workshop on “creating story characters.”

While the bay area holds its collective breath for the arrival of Picasso and the World of the South in January, the Dali Museum doesn’t have a new exhibition in November, but the St. Pete Sax Quartet is performing Nov. 18 – the program, in conjunction with the ongoing exhibit The Woman Who Broke Boundaries: Photographer Lee Miller, will spotlight music from woman composers.

Hello Christmas my old friend

Tropicana Field officially transforms into the walk-through Enchant Christmas light maze, forest and village Nov. 26. This year’s edition of the immersive show, which will be in place through Jan. 2, is called “The Mischievous Elf.”


The month’s biggest concert? Well, since Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre has nothing on the books, it would have to be James Taylor and Jackson Browne, Nov. 11 at Amalie Arena.

The month of November at Ruth Eckerd Hall (and the Capitol Theatre) includes, among others: Melissa Etheridge, Nov. 9; Trey Kennedy, Nov. 10; Bruce Hornsby, Nov. 10 (Capitol); Marty Stuart (Nov. 12, Capitol); Tedeschi Trucks Band, Nov. 16; Gipsy Kings, Nov. 20; Mannheim Steamroller, Nov. 21.

At the Palladium: Intern John, Nov. 5; Tampa Bay Symphony, Nov. 9; Gin Blossoms, Nov. 11; Livingston Taylor, Nov. 16.

At the Mahaffey: Nov. 14 brings the annual WQYK “Guitar Pull,” with country singers and acoustic guitars: Parker McCollum, Matt Stell, Maddie and Tae, Jordan Davis and Chris Young.

In “Shockheaded Peter,” from left: Katrina Stevenson, Spencer Myers, Coleen Cherry and Kasondra Rose. James Zambon Photography.

Theater (or, if you prefer, theatre)

Back in June, the bizarro musical Shockheaded Peter became the third-best-selling show in the 22-year history of Jobsite Theater. With a run of sold-out performances, artistic director David Jenkins came to believe the company was “leaving money on the table” by ending the show on a pre-arranged schedule, so he immediately began looking for a way to bring it back.

Long story short, Shockheaded Peter returns, with the original cast and musicians intact, Nov. 26-Dec. 4, with previews Nov. 24 and 25. (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the “October” show, is onstage through Nov. 14).

Also running for a good long while (through Nov. 21) is the American Stage season opener, The Odd Couple. And Lab Theater Project’s Skin Hungry is onstage through the 14th. And Plot Points in Our Sexual Development, at Studio Grand Central, sticks around through the 7th.

Tampa Repertory Theatre, partnering with ThinkTank, has the British smash The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in repertory with The Giver beginning mid-month. The two shows will be presented at the Stageworks Theatre location, in Tampa’s Channelside District.

Dames at Sea continues at freeFall through the 21st. The theater company’s got some new events on the boards this month, including the musical cabaret So Far, So Good with Alison Burns and Lulu Picart (Nov. 4), the Nov. 12 debut of Movies with Matthew, in which resident cinephile Matthew McGee takes a fun-filled “deep dive” into a film (the first in the series will be 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn). On Nov. 17, Jim Rayfield goes behind the scenes of freeFall’s upcoming holiday show with a program titled How Do You Learn All Those Lines?






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