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Your weekend arts forecast: More holidays, Jack White and …

Bill DeYoung



Jack White headlines Sunday's Next Big Thing event at Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre. Photo: Big Hassle.

The Christmas season is off and running this weekend, and will of course continue hot ‘n’ heavy throughout the month (or cool ‘n’ heavy, if the weather does us a favor).

AIt’s Opening Night for the 2022 version of The Night Before, freeFall Theater’s chestnuts-roasting musical comedy, written by Matthew McGee with music by Michael Raabe. The show runsthrough Dec. 24; tickets are here.

At Studio Grand Central, St. Pete’s intimate black box theater, Saturday night’s event is called Ha-Ha-Holiday Cabaret. The ha-ha part refers to shopowner (and actor, and comedian) Ward Smith, who’ll yuk it up along with Mike Rivera and “Florida’s Funniest Female 2018” Sheena Reagan. Actors and singers Anthony Gervais and Sydney Reddish, with accompanist Chris Kinney, are part of the one-night-only festivities, too. Find all you need to know at this link.

J.L. Rey directs Christmas Contingo, a new play opening Friday (and running through Dec. 18) at Stageworks in Tampa. It’s Noche Buena for Iris Delgado Piñeira, who’s bringing her fiancé home to meet the family in Hialeah. Carlos-Zenen Trujillo wrote this English-language comedy about a Cuban-American Christmas. The Tampa Bay Latin Chamber has a preview performance w/fundraising cocktail hour tonight at Stageworks. All information can be found here.

From Atlanta-based Destination Theatre, Destiny Freeman is Scrooge and Cory Phelps appears as everybody else in A Christmas Carol? By Charles Dickens (kind of) at thestudio@620 for three performances: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Subtitled “The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told By Two People,” they’re calling it A Christmas Carol Meets Whose Line Is It Anyway? Tickets are here.

The Straz Center production of Plaid Tidings is onstage through Dec. 24 at the Jaeb Theatre. This is a locally-cast and -directed take on the holiday sequel to the 1950s “dead vocal quartet” comedy Forever Plaid. All info is at your fingertips, here.

Singer Morgan James, who’s loaned her strong, soulful voice to the great Postmodern Jukebox, is in concert at Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Sunday. James has a new Christmas album out; her resume includes every-song covers of Joni Mitchell’s Blue and the Beatles’ White Album. By the way, she played Teena Marie in Motown the Musical on Broadway. Show tickets are here.


Jack White

97X Next Big Thing, at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre, has rapper Machine Gun Kelly topping the bill Saturday, and rock ‘n’ roll deity Jack White headlining Sunday, and. There are two afternoons of other bands and artists – all details and tickets are here.


Other concerts

Tonight at the Tampa Theatre: It’s double the impact, as blues guitarist Tab Benoit share the bill with New Orleans’ might Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Tickets here.

L.A.’s Grammy-nominated neo-soul band Moonchild plays the Floridian Social Club (St. Pete) tonight and Friday. Info and tickets here.

Drivin n Cryin, one of the handful of great bands to come roaring out of Athens, Georgia, is at Rock Brothers Brewing (Tampa) Friday. Info and tickets here.

Friday at the Capitol Theatre, it’s a longtime local favorite, comedian Paula Poundstone. Tickets are here.

Jeff Schorr at Craftsman House Gallery has been bringing in one exemplary acoustic show after another; New York singer/songwriter and guitarist Drew Eberhardt is the latest bookee (is that a word?) and he’s playing a 5 p.m. show Sunday inside the homey Central Avenue art gallery. For info and tickets, call (727) 323-2787.

The legendary Herb Alpert plays Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre, with singer Lani Hall, Saturday. The Catalyst spoke with Mr. Alpert this week; read that interview here.

Happening Saturday, Jobsite Rocks! is the annual midseason cabaret for Tampa’s Jobsite Theater (MIA for the last two years, it’s back with something approaching a vengeance, at New World Brewery Music Hall). Many of the company’s collection of performers – call them “regulars,” if you must – will sing, dance, juggle, do striptease, do the Hustle, conduct science experiments and more, to entertain (and to raise money for the venue). All the details can be found here.

Bay area native Rod Wave, whose hip hop career has been skyrocketing, performs Sunday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. Tickets are here.


Broadway on the bay

The official cross-country touring production of the Tony-winning Best Musical of 2019, Hadestown, is at the Straz Center (in Morsani Hall) through Sunday. Tickets here.

The official cross-country tour of the 2016 Broadway musical Anastasia, very loosely based on animator Don Bluth’s 1987 film of the same name, has performances at 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Find out more – a lot more – here.


TFO this weekend

Michael Ippolito’s Violin Concerto has its world premiere this weekend, courtesy of Michael Francis (conducting) and The Florida Orchestra. Ippolito was commissioned to write the piece for TFO 1st violinist Jeffrey Multer.

The program, Friday night at the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Mahaffey Theater, also includes Tchaikovsky’s fiery Symphony No. 4, and Elegy by Grace Williams. Find more info and tickets here.


Art scene

Gulfport’s downtown streets come alive Friday (5-9 p.m.) with the monthly, curated First Friday Art Walk. Saturday and Sunday bring the city’s sixth annual ArtJones studio tour: Meet the artists of Gulfport.

This self-paced tour features 27 fine artists across nine stops, representing a wide variety of mediums, including painting, ceramics, sculpture, woodworking, photography and jewelry.

Read more about ArtJones here, and look for a story Saturday in the Catalyst.

Newly opened at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, Borrow and Steal: Appropriation from the Collection features “appropriation art” (the use of unsanctioned images) from woman artists including features works by iconic women artists including Ellen Gallagher, Guerrilla Girls, Deborah Kass, Barbara Kruger and Kara Walker.

Creative Pinellas was forced to postpone the party that traditionally opens its Arts Annual weekend – it was one of those pesky hurricanes – and now it’s been rescheduled for 6-9 p.m. Dec. 15, at the Walsingham Road gallery. Find all info here.


Your 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.

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





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