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Weekend forecast: Wheel. Of. Christmas!

Bill DeYoung



Saturday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall, it's Wheel of Fortune Live! Publicity photo.

Sure, there are more than a dozen concerts – and live theater shows – taking place between tonight and Sunday in St. Pete, Clearwater, Tampa and elsewhere around here. In fact, this is pretty much the last weekend for such things before the big Christmas-week shutdown begins – even performers have families to get home to. We’ll get to that in next Thursday’s edition of the Forecast.

But hey, in the meantime, America’s Game!

Only the arrival of Pat Sajak and Vanna White in a one-horse open sleigh could make Saturday’s event at Ruth Eckerd Hall be any more exciting (note: they WILL NOT be there). It’s Wheel of Fortune Live!, it starts at 7 p.m., and here’s the official pitch:

Contestants are randomly selected from the audience to join our host onstage and spin a replica of the iconic Wheel, solve puzzles, and WIN incredible prizes like trips to Paris and Hawaii or BIG MONEY up to $10,000 in cash.

Even those not called to the stage get to participate in games – solving puzzles right from their seat.


Registration at the venue begins two hours before the show. Read more here, and find show tickets here.


Comedy tonight

Two of our area’s favorite standup comics make return visits tonight – the wonderfully funny John Mulaney – late of Saturday Night Live – plays the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center at 8 (only a few tickets remain at this link), while the wonderfully blustery Lewis Black will stalk the Mahaffey Theater stage at 8 (tickets are here).

The Catalyst spoke with Lewis Black in 2021; read that interview here.

Comedy Friday: Standup Tony Hinchcliffe, host of the long-running podcast Kill Tony, has a 7 p.m. show at Ruth Eckerd Hall (Friday!). Tickets.


The Mountain Goats

The Floridian Social Club has been in the news this week – the three-year-old nightclub and theater in a 99-year-old building is for sale – and here’s a bit more: Quirky North Carolina singer/songwriter John Danielle’s ever-evolving band the Mountain Goats has a show there tonight (Dec. 14) at 7. Find tickets here.


He’s a joker

Tonight at the Sound amphitheater (at Coachman Park): The good ol’ Steve Miller Band, with Samantha Fish opening. Showtime is 7; tickets are here.

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges performs Friday at the St. Pete Pier. Photo: YouTube.

Everybody loves ‘Cris

Rapper Ludacris, known to his family as Chris Bridges, performs Friday at Spa Beach on the St. Pete Pier. The concert is part of the Rise Up St. Pete series. Ludacris has six multi-platinum and three gold albums; he’s also an actor (Hustle & Flow, Crash, the Fast and the Furious series, End of the Road) and a philanthropist who puts his money where his mouth is.

Doors at 5, show at 6, tickets here.


More concerts

Country music’s Trace Adkins is back in town, and he’s singing Friday night at 8 at the Seminole Hard Rock Live Event Center. Tickets.

Saturday at the Capitol Theatre, from New Orleans it’s the ‘80s classic rock band Zebra – one of the few groups of that era to include all the original members (Randy Jackson, Felix Hanemann and Guy Gelso). The show’s at 8, and tickets are here.

If you missed Tuesday’s sold-out Side Door Café show with Tampa bluesmen Selwyn Birchwood and Damon Fowler, playing acoustic and swapping stories, fear not: They’re doing it again Sunday (at 5:30 p.m.) at the Safety Harbor Arts & Music Center. Find tickets here, if there are any left.


Holiday music

Seven veterans of contemporary Broadway productions combine talents for Friday’s A Very Broadway Christmas, a cabaret-style concert at the Mahaffey Theater (shows at 4 and 8 p.m.). There’ll be a singing and dancing ensemble, too, a small orchestra and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay to boot. Read our story from earlier this week here.

Bruce Hangen conducts The Florida Orchestra for five Holiday Pops concerts this weekend. Featuring the Tampa Oratorio Singers and Lumina Youth Choirs, the program includes a healthy cross-section of holiday-infused classical music (“Waltz of the Snowflakes” from The Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah Chorus) the sacred and the secular. With “Mele Kalikimaka” for good measure.

Here’s the schedule: Friday 8 p.m.: Morsani Hall, Straz Center; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.: Mahaffey Theater; Sunday 2 and 7:30 p.m.: Ruth Eckerd Hall. Find all tickets – and the full program – here.

At the Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg Opera Company, with the small orchestra conducted as always by Mark Sforzini, is onstage with the annual Holiday Sparkle concert, a mix of serious music, holiday music, some silly music … and a bit of costumed comedy. It’s all great fun Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Find info and tickets here.

Catch the jazz twosome Orilla (Alejandro Arenas and Ona K) and their Holidays Around the World show Friday at freeFall Theatre. Guitarist LaRue Nickelson will join them for holiday music from Colombia, Spain, France, the United States and more. Tickets for the 7 p.m. performance are here.

Saturday brings gospel (and secular) music legends the Blind Boys of Alabama to the Central Park Performing Arts Center in Largo. Tickets for the 8 p.m. Holiday Show can be found here.

Two-time Tony Award winning singer/actress Sutton Foster and her Christmas Time is Here show visit the Capitol Theatre Sunday. Tickets for the 7 p.m. performance can be found here.

Victoria Omoregie stars in “acts of faith,” continuing through Sunday at American Stage. Photo provided.

On theater stages

A Christmas season magic show: “Illusions, close-up magic, mentalism, daring escape, and technological spectacle” are promised with The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays, a family-friendly (it’s at 6 p.m.) Sunday performance at the Mahaffey Theater. Tickets and info are here.

With performances throughout the weekend, these shows will say farewell with their Sunday matinees: the American Stage drama acts of faith (tickets), Stageworks’ musical The Great Christmas Cookie Bake-Off! (tickets) and the comedy Scrooge MacBeth at the Off-Central (tickets). At freeFall Theatre, Miracle on 34th Street – A Live Musical Radio Play will run through Dec. 24 (read all about it here).

The Weekend 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.

You can also submit your events to the Catalyst calendar, by clicking here.
















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