You know how there’s all this hubbub about Broadway theaters opening up for a fall season again? Well, it must be fall in Tampa Bay as well, because our theater season is kicking into gear, too. And there’s so much else to do that I had to revert to my previous Weekend Top 10 format and actually pick 10 different events (instead of 10 reasons to go to just one). Get out — or head inside a theater — and enjoy all this crisp fall entertainment!
The always-riveting actor Giles Davies as Dr. Jekyll is reason enough to check out Jobsite’s version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s spooky classic. But in this adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher, the good doctor has not just one Hyde to deal with but multiple alternate personalities, some seductive, some evil, some — well, you decide. The cast includes three of the area’s most charismatic performers — Jonelle M. Meyer, Nicole Jeannine Smith and Brian Matthew Shea — as well as two actors making their Jobsite debuts, Blake Smallen and Taylor Tveten. Shawn Paonessa directs. Through Nov. 14, jobsitetheater.org.
2. Dames at Sea
For their production of the toe-tapping showbiz musical that made Bernadette Peters a star back in the ‘60s, freeFall has assembled a cast of multi-talented New York actors led by Kyra Smith as the wannabe Broadway chorine who makes a big splash (see what I did there?) on a battleship. Oct. 22-Nov. 21, freefalltheatre.com.
It’s not a show, but one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of recent years. Two Graces is the latest endeavor from Marlin Kaplan and Lisa Masterson, the team behind Grace and Gracie in Pass-A-Grille. Their idea of turning the former Reading Room restaurant into a garden-centric space with emphasis on outdoor dining was front page news in the Times last year. And it’s conveniently located right next door to freeFall — so… dinner before Dames, perhaps? UPDATE: At press time, the opening had been scheduled for this weekend, but now it’s been moved up to Wednesday, Oct. 27. 6001 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, facebook.com/twograces.
Stageworks’ musical horror parody seems like just the thing for audiences who like chuckles with their chills. Stay dry or choose to sit in the “splatter zone” as five college students in an abandoned cabin accidentally unleash an evil force, leading to dismembered limbs and catchy tunes like “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons.” Through Oct. 31, stageworkstheatre.org.
I gave the new Studio Grand Central and its Off-Central Players a Best of the Bay for Best Show of Showbiz Chutzpah for bravely launching a new theater in the midst of a pandemic. But it’s been so far, so good for the company, and they’re following up their successful debut production, Rasheeda Speaking, with the intriguingly titled Plot Points in Our Sexual Development, a love story between a lesbian and a male-identified trans person. Staci Sabarsky of the late, lamented Innovocative Theatre directs. Through Nov. 7, studiograndcentral.com.
Photographer Chip Weiner’s enthralling book Burgert Brothers: Another Look pairs vintage images by the early-20th-century commercial photographers, whose archive is owned by the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, with present-day photos Weiner took at the same locations. His shots mirror the originals’ vantage points with such uncanny accuracy that the changes (or lack thereof) are immediately apparent. He presents a virtual talk on the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection on Saturday as part of the Hillsborough library system’s Family Heritage Festival. Sat., Oct. 23, 3 p.m. Register at HCPLC.org/FamilyHeritage.
The first opera by a Black composer ever staged by the Met, Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones has won high praise since its premiere last month. Based on the best-selling memoir by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, it boasts two strong Tampa Bay connections: A key role is played by Ryan Speedo Green, who as the Tampa Bay Times recently reported was born in Tampa, and the assistant director of the production was Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, the newly appointed Producing Artistic Director of American Stage, which launches its new season next weekend with a racially diverse production of The Odd Couple. View Fire Shut Up In My Bones at area theaters on Oct. 23, with encore performances Oct. 27.
St. Pete Opera’s popular variety show is a pastiche of local favorites, including Chris Romeo singing Nessun Dorma and co-starring with Colleen Cherry in the company premiere of Tom Sivak’s short opera Frankie & Gianni, plus poetry from Maureen McDole, Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” performed by pianist Teresa Ancaya, yoga, dance and more. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 22-23, 7 p.m., St. Petersburg Opera Central, piratesandangels.com.
How many of us got our first taste of classical music via Walt Disney’s Fantasia, with that unforgettable segment involving Mickey Mouse and a slew of ornery brooms set to Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice? That’s one of the pieces in The Florida Orchestra’s Symphonie Fantastique program, with Andrew Sewell conducting the titular Berlioz classic and TFO’s Joël Vaisse performing the world-premiere version of Thierry Caens’ Contrasts trombone concerto, commissioned by The Florida Orchestra. Sat., Oct. 23 at 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 24 at 2 p.m., The Mahaffey, floridaorchestra.org.
That there have been so few mass ceremonies of mourning has been one of the many extraordinarily painful aspects of the COVID pandemic. Artist Cathy Tobias is attempting to rectify that with an installation of tens of thousands of ribbons, each one honoring one of the thousands who have died from the disease in Florida. Her memorial is on display in the courtyard of Creative Pinellas’s gallery till the end of the month. A sobering reminder of what we’ve lost, it’s also a beautiful expression of empathy. The Gallery at Creative Pinellas Courtyard, 12211 Walsingham Rd., Largo, through Oct. 31.
Though this takes place Monday night, I couldn’t miss including it in our list because a) it almost always sells out The Studio @620 so make your plans now and b) I’m in it. Artistic Coordinator Bonnie Agan is going for romance and laughs instead of suspense and spooks this month because, she asks, “Haven’t we all been spooked enough?” Three very different sisters, a father and daughter with differing views about his driving, and a grande dame with a blackmailing maid are among the characters being played by Colleen Cherry, Vickie Daignault, Juliana Ditmyer, Robin O’Dell, Jim Rayfield, Paul Wilborn, Bonnie Agan and myself. Mon., Oct. 25, 7 p.m., Studio@620, thestudioat620.org.