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Your weekend arts forecast: Tempts, Tops and more

Bill DeYoung



In Tampa Repertory Theatre's production of "The Elephant Man": Paul Potenza and Georgia Mallory Guy. Photo provided.

The Temptations and the Four Tops were Motown Records’ top male vocal groups in the 1960s, turning out one hit after another, as fast as Berry Gordy’s big machine could press the records. The Tempts gave us “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” among myriad others, while the Tops’ catalog: “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” “Bernadette,” “It’s the Same Old Song” and more were unsurpassed as highly dramatic – and darn catchy – pop records.

An important thread in the fabric of an era.

But that was long ago, to paraphrase Hoagy Carmichael, and now our consolation is in the stardust of a song. Or songs, as the case may be. Because that’s what remains – the incredible music. All the dynamic original Temptations vocalists are long dead – David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards. And the Four Tops’ distinctive lead singer Levi Stubbs is gone too.

When the Temptations and the Four Tops share Friday’s bill at Ruth Eckerd Hall, the hits, no doubt, will reverberate, the groups will do the old dance steps, and a good time will be had by all. Each group has one remaining founding member, neither of them a lead singer.

So is the brand really the Tempts and the Tops? Your call. Tickets are here.

The classic Temptations. Photo: Motown Records.

Closing time

Tampa Repertory Theatre’s powerful production of the English drama The Elephant Man ends with Sunday’s matinee, at the performing arts center on Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus. Paul Potenza (read about him here) brings the pitifully deformed John Merrick to life without the use of prosthetics. Showtimes and tickets.


More concerts

The peerless tenor Andrea Bocelli is on his “Valentine’s Tour.” Better late than never, of course – there’s a stop tonight (Thursday, Feb. 16) at Amalie Arena. Tickets.

Wake up, Maggie. Sir Rod Stewart was at Amalie Arena last September. He’s back in our neck this week, for a concert tonight at the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center. Tickets (here) start at $275.

Tampa jazz and rhythm ‘n’ blues legend Belinda Womack has a show Friday on the freeFall Theater stage, fronting a four-piece band. Tickets.

Friday at the Capitol Theatre: Country music multi-instrumentalist (and historian, and God knows what else) Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives band. Tickets.

Saturday at the Cap: Roots singer and guitarist Paul Thorn. Tickets.

The Telegraph Quartet (Eric Chin and Joseph Maile, violins; Pei-Ling Lin, viola; Jeremiah Shaw, cello) performs Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Marly Music Room at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. Tickets.


Where’s the orchestra?

Pianist Joyce Yang joins The Florida Orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, the centerpiece of this weekend’s concert (Friday Straz Center, Saturday Mahaffey Theater, Sunday Ruth Eckerd Hall. The program also includes Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5. Find tickets here.

Joyce Yang, meanwhile will return next weekend (Feb. 24-26) to join TFO for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. “Rachmaninoff requires the performer to be mentally sharp and physically fit, because of the extreme technical challenges,’’ Yang told TFO’s Kurt Loft. “The process of getting ready is similar to an athlete preparing for an ultra-marathon.”

Musical director Michael Francis will lead a discussion “Inside Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5” tonight (Thursday, Feb. 16) at the Mahaffey. It’s “pay what you can” at the door, and includes a full performance of the piece.


More theater

Tonight (Thursday, Feb. 16) actor Cranstan Cumberbatch performs A Man Dreams, an immersive, interactive multimedia and theatrical presentation centered around the pursuit of dreams, at the Dali Museum. Tickets for the show (6-7 p.m.) are $5 for Dali members, $10 non-members.

At Stageworks Theatre in Tampa, the dark comedy The Smell of the Kill continues; it’s the story of three women whose husbands are locked inside a really, really cold walk-in freezer (no, really). Read about it here.

At the Off-Central (St. Pete), the seriously dark comedy This is Our Youth – about two directionless young men, one directionless young woman and a lot of talking shade – is in its second weekend. Read about it here.

And The Agitators, an historical drama about the friendship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, continues at freeFall Theater (also in St Pete). Read about it here.


Other stuff

Standup comedian, podcaster and reality show personality Burt Kreischer, who performs Friday at Amalie Arena, is a St. Pete native, raised in Hillsborough. He graduated from Tampa’s Jesuit High School in 1991. Tickets.

As part of thestudio@620’s Social Justice Initiative, Dr. Micah E. Johnson is there Saturday with Never Had a Friend, combining multiple types of performance art. Johnson, an assistant professor of mental health law and policy at the University of South Florida, says the program (at 7 p.m.) “delivers an unprecedented view of urban poverty through the eyes of a child.” Following the show: A discussion with Johnson and 620 director Bob Devin Jones. Find details and tickets here.

The all-community One City Chorus annual concert happens at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Palladium Theater’s Hough Hall. Here’s the story from Wednesday’s Catalyst.

Your weekend arts forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

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