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Your weekend arts forecast: Three one-nighters and a show in the park

Bill DeYoung



"Footlose - The Musical" from American Stage has arrived. Chaz D. Photography.

Lots to talk about – let’s start with a trio of unique one-night performances.

Eliri Ward – at freeFall tonight.

Tonight at freeFall, New York singer/songwriter Eleri Ward is in concert performing Stephen Sondheim songs – along with others from musical theater – with just voice and acoustic guitar. Ward’s A Perfect Little Death is available on all streaming services; Forbes called it “a harmonious marriage of musical theater and indie folk music, with hauntingly beautiful arrangements.”

Said Ward: “If I’m the reason that someone knows who Sondheim is or gets his work for the first time, then I feel like I’m kind of doing my duty, you know?”

Tickets are here.

Musician, composer, arranger and conductor David Amram, 91, is at the Palladium Theater Side Door Friday night, playing with a local jazz combo as actor Jim Sorensen reads the prose and poetry of Jack Kerouac. Amram was one of the Beat legend’s closest friends and collaborators. Info and tickets are here.

LERÔS will be at Studio Grand Central Saturday.

Singer/songwriter and classical guitarist Jessy LeRos, who goes under the stage name LERÔS, is a native of Venezuela and a resident of Tampa. He’s in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at Studio Grand Central; tickets and more info are here.


Park dancin’ and more theater

The curtain finally comes up on American Stage’s “in the park” production of Footloose the Musical this week – there’s a pay-what-you-can preview performance tonight, and the official Opening Night is Friday (Saturday’s show is sold out).

This happens at Demens Landing Park, which is accessible from Bayshore Drive, just a little south of The Pier. All tickets and additional information can be found here.

Footloose was, of course, supposed to be American Stage’s park show in the spring of 2020, but since there was no theater going on anywhere then, it was put on hold. As for spring 2021,nobody thought that was the right time to come back.

So here we are. Footloose has a cast of 22 singer/dancer/actors, a live band, a bunch of great pop hits (as well as original tunes) and two years of the bay area’s pent-up anticipation.

Across town at freeFall Theatre, Karole Foreman continues her extraordinary tenure as jazz vocal icon Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. At Tampa’s Stageworks Theatre, St. Pete actor Matthew McGee is Agatha Christie’s eccentric detective Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express.

At the David A. Straz Center’s Jaeb Theatre, a production of the musical Little Shop of Horrors is onstage through May 1. Nick Hoop stars as hapless schlub Seymour; Jobsite artistic director David Jenkins directs. Tickets and info here.


Sunday movies

Little Satchmo, screening Sunday afternoon at Green Light Cinema, is a one-hour documentary about Sarasota’s Sharon Preston-Folta, whose father was music icon Louis Armstrong. This fact was never revealed during his lifetime. Preston-Folta will be on hand for a Q&A following the film. Tickets are here.

The Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg screens the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck romance Roman Holiday (1953) Sunday. It’s part of a 12-4 p.m. event in the Marly Room, for which guests are encouraged to dress in “period finery.” More info, and tickets, here.


Walkin’ the ArtWalk

The Warehouse Arts District – specifically, the 22nd Street South campus where Soft Water Studios, MGA Sculpture Studios and the Arts Xchange are located – has become something of a place-to-be during the monthly Second Saturday ArtWalk.

That’s because there’s always live music at Seven C Music, the guitar shop and showroom at 535 22nd Street S, which has air conditioning (hello, spring weather!) plus an indoor bar and café. There’s a drum circle, too.

As always, the Second Saturday ArtWalk (5-9 p.m.) is a monthly stroll-by of more than 40 working artist studios and art galleries in just about all the city districts. There’s no charge to be dazzled and impressed.

New things of note: It’s opening night for the Suncoast Center Inc.’s “Art Heals 2022” exhibition in the Tully Levine gallery, inside the Arts Xchange. At MGA, check out the beginnings of  “Tip of the Spear,” a giant sculpture of an eagle preparing to strike its prey. This sculpture, destined for Patriot Park in Clarksville, Tennessee, honors the “Screaming Eagles” of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

Here’s the official list of who’s doing what during Saturday’s ArtWalk event.


And still there’s more

Tonight at Craftsman House Gallery: A trio of front-rank Nashville bluegrass players. Richard Bennett, Shawn Lane and Corey Walker perform at 7 p.m. Call 727-323-2787 for ticket info.

The Tampa Bay Blues Festival, Friday through Sunday at Vinoy Park, has a stellar lineup including Jimmie Vaughan, JJ Grey & Mofro, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Samantha Fish, Ronnie Earl, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Mindi Abair & the Boneshakers and others. Read the Catalyst interview with Sunday night headliners Larkin Poe here.

For you Ronnie Earl fans, the guitarist and his band (the Broadcasters) have a pre-Blues Fest gig at the Palladium tonight (Thursday, April 7). Tickets here.

The Florida Orchestra’s Broadway Pops concerts – Friday Straz Center, Saturday Mahaffey Theater, Sunday Ruth Eckerd Hall – features a trio of veteran musical theater performers singing along with the band. One of these is England’s Scarlett Strallen, who had the title role in Mary Poppins in the West End and on Broadway. Look for our conversation with Scarlett Friday in the Catalyst. TFO tickets are here.

It’ a typically eclectic weekend in Clearwater, taking stock of what’s onstage at Ruth Eckerd Hall and its Capitol Theatre: Soprano sax kingpin Kenny G (Friday, Cap); stage star Kristin Chenoweth (Saturday, REH); singer/songwriter Larry Fleet (Saturday, Cap) and former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson (Sunday, Cap). All tickets here.

The Catalyst spoke with Chenoweth three years ago, the last time she bounced into town. Here’s that interview.

Several hundred original, rolled movie posters remain in the Beach Theatre vault, and they’ll all be available Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., during the Corey Avenue Market (the theater is right there on Corey). Here’s our original story about the poster sale, proceeds from which are going towards Beach Theatre restoration. And here’s the list of what’s still available.

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


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