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Your weekend arts forecast: Bell, Biv, DeVoe, holidays

Bill DeYoung



Bell Biv DeVoe headlines Saturday's "R&B Music Experience" at Amalie Arena. Publicity photo.

Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe, collectively known as Bell Biv DeVoe, were progenitors of the 1990s musical movement known as new jack swing – combining elements of emergent hip hop with more traditional harmony-based soul and R&B.

They’d split off from New Edition, the singing, dancing “boy band” from Boston that put out “Candy Girl,” “Cool it Now and “Mr. Telephone Man.” Although that group also included the estimable Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant and (later on) Johnny Gill, it was BBD – produced by Elliot “Dr. Freeze” Straite – that got all the attention with swinging tracks like  “Poison,” “Do Me,” “She’s Dope!” and “B.B.D. (I Thought it Was Me)?”

Numerous reunion with Brown, Tresvant and Gill have ensued over the years, but Bell Biv DeVoe endures – and the headline a show Saturday at Amalie Arena, alongside fellow ‘90s travelers Xscape (“Just Kickin’ It,” “Feels So Good,” “Understanding”), Tamar Braxton, 112, Next and H-Town.

Find tickets at this link.

And the Backstreet Boys are still performing, too (another ‘90s boy band!) The BB’s headline the 93.3 FLZ Jingle Ball Friday – also at Amalie – with Big Time Rush and others. Tickets.

Singer, actor and dancer Deejay Young, a Tampa native who performed in the first national tour of  Hamilton, has a holiday concert Friday at 7 p.m. at freeFall Theatre. Tickets here.

Christmas concerts this weekend at Ruth Eckerd Hall and its little brother, the Capitol Theatre: Debbie Gibson (tonight at the Cap); Rockapella (Friday at the Cap); Bowzer, Peter Noone, Gary “US” Bonds, etc (Saturday at REH) and bay area-born and bred saxophonist Mindi Abair (Saturday at the Cap). All tickets are here.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra returns to launch musical holiday bombast (in the form of Ghosts of Christmas Eve) Sunday at Amalie Arena. Find tickets here.

Scotch-drinking comedian Ron White, with a personality as big and dry as his home state of Texas, has two shows (6 and 9 p.m.) Sunday at the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center (tickets here).


The classics for Christmas

Holiday Sparkle, the annual St. Petersburg Opera Company celebratory seasonal show, is onstage in the big room at Opera Central (that’s the SPO headquarters, at 2145 1st Avenue S.) for six performances, tonight through Dec. 22, conducted as always by Mark Sforzini. The first half consists of a full performance of Menotti’s operetta Amahl and the Night Visitors; after intermission, a group of singers will entertain with holiday songs ‘n’ skits. All dates, times and tickets are here.

Michael Francis, who’s been the music director and principal conductor for The Florida Orchestra since 2014, is a native of Great Britain (if you’ve ever heard him speak, you already know this). So it only figures that he’s at the podium this weekend for a program called Classical Christmas Carols, “a cozy concert that evokes a traditional English Christmas” with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, vocal soloists and more. Saturday at 8 p.m., Mahaffey Theater, 2 p.m. Sunday in Ferguson Hall, Straz Center. Program details and tickets are here.



Wonderful Life, the American Stage re-imagining of It’s a Wonderful Life as a one-person show (the one person, in this case, being bay area actor Matthew McGee) begins its nine-stop “mini-tour” of various St. Pete and Gulfport venues tonight. Read all about it here.

Becca McCoy is bringing down the house at Studio Grand Central with her own solo show, the semi-autobiographical The Year of Extraordinary Travel. Sunday’s matinee will be the final performance. Get the deets here.

It’s also último fin de semana (the final weekend) for Christmas Contigo, the holiday comedy at Stageworks The (in Tampa’s Channelside district). Info and tickets here.

(Sunday evening at Stageworks, after the final Christmas Contigo matinee): Trivia Night, with Karla Hartley and Heather Krueger. Find out more here.)

Featuring Michael Raabe at the piano and a cozy “home for the holidays” cast of singers and actors, the Christmastime musical comedy The Night Before continues at freeFall Theater. Tickets are here.

The four-part-harmony musical comedy Plaid Tidings continues all weekend in the Jaeb Theatre, part of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets.

A national tour of My Fair Lady visits Ruth Eckerd Hall for a single performance Sunday at p.m. Find tickets here.

Your weekend arts forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

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