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Weekend arts forecast: Record-breaking ‘Ragtime’

Bill DeYoung



"Ragtime" (at Demens Landing Park) became the third-best attended show in American Stage history. Photo provided.

American Stage is beginning its next-to-last weekend of the musical Ragtime, under the stars in Demens Landing Park. The multiple Tony-winning show, with book by late St. Petersburg native Terrence McNally, closes May 14; find tickets here.

Thus far into the run, American Stage reports, 11,475 have seen Ragtime, under Erica Sutherlin’s direction, making it the third highest selling production of all time (pulling in front of 2017’s Hairspray).

Ragtime got rained out April 29 (that’s what happens sometimes when you mount a production without a roof over its head), and hopefully the weather warriors will hold their peace through this weekend and next.

Sunday (May 7) at noon, Equality Florida and American Stage will dedicate a plaque at the Sunset Beach home where McNally spent the first three years of his life. Details here

The touring company of Ain’t Too Proud, the Tony-winning Broadway musical subtitled The Life and Times of the Temptations, is onstage in Morsani Hall, inside Tampa’s Straz Center, with six shows (evenings and matinees) through Sunday. Tickets.

Laura Hirschberg’s mythological saga Fire Thief is in its debut weekend at LAB Theatre Project in Ybor City (we spoke with the playwright this week), while the 11-woman monologue-fest Talking With continues its onstage run at Stageworks Theatre, in the Channelside District of Tampa (read about the show here).


It’s oratorio time

Donnie Ray Albert

Michael Francis conducts The Florida Orchestra and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay for the weekend’s performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah, setting to music (and words) stories from the Old Testament. Guest baritone Donnie Ray Albert is the voice of Elijah; the concerts are Friday 8 p.m. (Straz Center Fergusen Hall), Saturday 8 p.m.(Mahaffey Theater) and Sunday 7:30 p.m. (Ruth Eckerd Hall). Details and tickets are here.


Concerts and comedy

At the Jaeb Theatre (Straz Center) Friday and Saturday: Six Chick Flicks, an evening of songs and snark as comedians Kerry Ipema and KK Apple (Upright Citizens Brigade) condense six “female-centric” films into 10-minute highlight reels. To wit: Beaches, Dirty Dancing, Legally Blonde, The Notebook, Pretty Woman and Titanic. Tickets.

Standup comedy at the Tampa Theatre has become quite the thing. Friday delivers Steve “America’s Favorite Husband” Trevino (for two performances), while Saturday’s funnyman is viral sensation John Crist (for two performances). Find all tickets here.

Ybor City’s Cuban Club is the site of the first WMNF Tropical Heatwave concert in seven years, Saturday night. Get all the details here

Christian rocker Zach Williams is at the Mahaffey Theater tonight. Tickets.

Tonight at the Capitol Theatre, the Cream of Clapton Band isn’t exactly a tribute act, although they reproduce the hits and more: Clapton is uncle to lead guitarist and vocalist Will Johns, and keyboard player Noah East is the son of Clapton sideman Nathan East. Tickets.


Visual arts

At the Creative Pinellas gallery (in Largo) from 6 to 8 p.m. today, the 10 recipients of the group’s Emerging Artist grants for 2023 will be introduced and celebrated with a reception. Read all about it in our story from Tuesday.

Gulfport’s Brenda McMahon Gallery is turning 4, and there’s a party: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, with a collection of artists who’ve exhibited there in the past, present (and and future), with music from Gale Trippsmith & Joey Interrante. Here’s McMahon’s Arts Alive! podcast.


Just an FYI

Saturday is Morgan Wallen concert day at Raymond James Stadium. Tickets to see the unpredictable country star have been sold out for months.

Tonight’s Marlon Wayans comedy concert in the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center is also sold out.

No tickets remain for Bay area jazz vocalist Bryan Hughes’ Sinatra Songs show, tonight at the Palladium Theater Side Door Café.

The previously-announced May 4-7 performances of Master Class at thestudio@620 have been canceled, with no reason given. According to the venue, the show will go on as scheduled May 11-14.

The Weekend arts forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

Please add us to your mailing list – send all press releases and event info to bill@stpetecatalyst.com.

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