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Weekend forecast: Hill Country blues, Gershwin in ‘Blue’

Bill DeYoung



Brothers Cody (left) and Luther Dickinson are at the center of the North Mississippi Allstars. Publicity photo.

Sometimes a big storm blows in almost without warning.

Such is the case this weekend – Saturday night, as a matter of fact – when one of the best electric blues guitar players in the country, if not the world, pays a return visit to St. Pete’s Jannus Live downtown.

He’s Luther Dickinson, and he’s been the center of the cyclone that is the North Mississippi Allstars since the band’s inception in the mid 1990s.

Luther and his brother Cody, a multi-instrumentalist who plays drums, for the most part, with the All-Stars, are the sons of legendary Memphis musician, composer and record producer Jim Dickinson.

This is raw, gritty Mississippi Hill Country blues, heavily electrified and boogiefied, absorbed through the skin while the Dickinson Brothers were growing up alongside the children of Hill Country bluesmen R.L. Burnside, Otha Turner and Junior Kimbrough.

Find tickets here.

The classics

Another great American musician, George Gershwin, is being feted this weekend by The Florida Orchestra. Rhapsody in Blue, one of the composer’s many masterpieces (and arguably his most famous) is 100 years old in 2024; it’s the centerpiece of the program Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

Featuring Aldo López-Gavilán on piano, Rhapsody in Blue is joined by Wynton Marsalis’ Herald, Holler and Hallelujah, Alternative Energy by Mason Bates, Leonard Bernstein’s Three Dance Episodes from On the Town and, with Principal Clarinetist Natalie Hoe, Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto.

Michael Francis conducts. Find tickets here.

The Tampa Bay Symphony plays the Palladium Theater’s Hough Hall Sunday afternoon at 2:30. It’s a repeat performance of the symphony’s Valentine’s Week concert “Music of the Heart,” with Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, ​Incandescence (Ukraine’s Undying Light) by Brandon Walker and a performance of the 38th Annual Jack Heller Young Artist Competition Winner.

Mark Sforzini conducts. Find tickets here.


Of course, it’s not just the North Mississippi Allstars and The Florida Orchestra (both in St. Pete) – there are more concerts, on both sides of the bay:

The Gasparilla Music Festival, Friday through Sunday at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa, features more than 50 bands and musical artists, from all genres, on four stages. Here’s our story about Gasparilla from earlier this week.

Bryan J. Hughes

Friday at the Side Door Café, in the Palladium Theater, it’s an album release party by jazz singer Bryan J. Hughes and a band he calls The Crew, with some of the bay area’s finest players. Find tickets here, and listen out for Friday’s Arts Alive! podcast, as Hughes talks about the band, the music and the album.

Rod Stewart has passed through a number of times over the past couple of years. His Friday show at the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center in Tampa is sold out.

You can, however, still find tickets to see comedian Ralph Barbosa Saturday at the Tampa Theatre here.

Broadway singer/actress Judy Kuhn performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Central Park Performing Arts Center in Largo. Tickets are here.

Returning to Ruth

Friday brings the return of jazz chanteuse Diana Krall to Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets.

Yet another big REH return: Composer David Foster with his vocalist wife, Katharine McPhee. It takes place Saturday, and tickets are here.

Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, yet another frequent local flier, brings his band to Ruth Eckerd Sunday. Tickets.

Tanzania’s Zuzu Acrobats. Publicity photo.

Acrobats from Africa

The Tanzanian troupe known as the Zuzu Acrobats visit Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center Friday at 8 p.m., and again at 11 a.m. Saturday (for a family performance, ith special prices for children). “This interactive show includes human pyramids, dish spinning, stick balance, contortion, chair balance, unicycling, juggling, hand to hand balance, pole acts, hoop diving, as well as comedy and more.” Find info and tickets here.

At 620

Alexander Jones, the founder and director of the ever-innovative dance company projectALCHEMY, is at The Studio@620 Friday for a 7:30 p.m. retrospective solo performance called Home. After the one-hour performance will be a reception to celebrate the company’s five-year residency at 620. Find tickets here.

The Florida Highwaymen: La-Florida, Re-bound opens Saturday at The Studio@620, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. This is a touring collection of amazing landscape paintings by African American artists from southeast Florida, so called because they sold – in the 1950s and ‘60s – their oil paintings out of their car trunks on roadsides. Dr. Renee Mills, daughter of “Highwaywoman” Mary Ann Carroll, will give a gallery talk Sunday at 3 p.m.

“The Chinese Lady” at American Stage. Photo provided.

On theater stages

It’s the final weekend for the Tampa Repertory Theatre’s Straight White Men at the USF Theatre Centre (find tickets here) and for American Stage’s outdoor excursion Diaries of Adam & Eve, at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (tickets here).

On American Stage’s Mainstage, the based-on-history drama The Chinese Lady continues through Feb. 25. Read about this show here.

Based on a Kurt Vonnegut novel, the Ashman/Menken musical God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater continues at freeFall Theatre through March 10. Read about this show here.

At Stageworks Theatre in Tampa, the drama I Am My Own Wife, with RP McLaughlin as real-life German transgender woman Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, continues through Feb. 25. Tickets are here.

And the Broadway touring company of the musical Moulin Rouge is onstage in Morsani Hall, inside the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, through Sunday. Tickets.

Your weekend arts forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

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