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Your weekend arts forecast: Live Halloween opera and virtual scare stories

Bill DeYoung



Opera Tampa singers rehearse for "The Witching Hour" on the outdoor Riverwalk Stage. Photo: Straz Center.

Opera Tampa’s ambitious production of The Pirates of Penzance, left high, dry and un-performed because of Covid, is the first show on the company’s new schedule, on the books for a grand Jan. 22 opening on the Ferguson Hall stage, in the Straz Center.

In the interim, Opera Tampa has a special Halloween weekend show, on the center’s outdoor Riverwalk Stage, today through Saturday.

This is where Jobsite Theater successfully put on The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) earlier in the month, for safely distanced and wholly satisfied crowds (albeit smaller than usual).

The singers for The Witching Hour are Jordan Blair, Tim Wilt, Alec Brown, Alix Faulhaber, Tim Stork, Ashly Thomas, Melissa Misener, Fernando Valdivia, Robin Stamper and Alda Elizabeth Hilsinger.

Without giving too much away, songs on the program are by a diverse swath of composers including Verdi, Lizst, Saint-Saens, Alen Menkin and Danny Elfman … and reportedly, “The Monster Mash” will make an appearance.

Details are here.


The Read No More: Gulfport Murder House, an every-Halloween, literary variation on the ol’ haunted house, can’t go live, up close or personal this year, for obvious reasons. And so Wordier Than Thou, the sponsoring organization, has created a virtual version. It will stream on Facebook Live Friday, Saturday and Sunday, free (but donations are gratefully accepted).

Traditionally, it works like this: Each room in the house is occupied by a group of folks who “act out” spooky scripts, penned by local writers. Heavy on the psychological and the suspenseful.

Here’s the link.


Also in the Straz Center, actor Giles Davies is performing the one-man show Frankenstein, the Modern Prometheus in the Jaeb Theater. Details are here, and here’s what we wrote about it.

The Florida Orchestra is onstage at the Mahaffey Theater Saturday and Sunday, with CDC-approved spacing and seating reductions. Details are here, and here’s what we wrote about it.

At freeFall Theater, the “drive-in radio” adaptation of War of the Worlds continues in the north parking lot. Details are here, and here’s what we wrote about it.

American Stage’s virtual production of Rachel Lynett’s powerful drama Letters to Kamala continues this weekend. Details are here, and here’s Lynett’ recent appearance on The Catalyst Sessions, discussing the piece.

Friday at thestudio@620: Dirty John’s Screaming Sh*tShow, an “adult comedy” fundraiser for the venue. Details on the 8 p.m. livestream are here.

And, of course, the virtual Palladium Live! series debuts tonight, with a jazz concert from James Suggs, Jeremy Carter and La Lucha. Details are here, and here’s what we wrote about it.






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