Performing Arts Highlights: Sept. 1-14
Welcome to the first installment of a new bimonthly column in which I highlight unique, must-attend performing arts events. Let’s see what’s happening in Pinellas County during the first half of September.
My Unspeakable Confessions: Gala Dali Declines to Explain Herself
Thursday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m., Dali Museum, One Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg
To commemorate Gala Dali’s Sept. 7, 1894 birthday, the Dali Museum will present an encore performance of a one-act play that explores the secrets, fears, promises, and lies conveyed through her fascinating relationship with the Tarot.
Written by award-winning playwright and University of South Florida St. Petersburg writing instructor Heather L. Jones, and starring award-winning actor, writer, and producing artistic director Roxanne Fay, “My Unspeakable Confessions” was commissioned by the Dali Museum and first performed in 2011.
Museum parking is free Thursday nights after 5 p.m. If the lot fills up, there is street parking nearby.
$10 for members, $15 for nonmembers.
Oliver! The Musical
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 8-9, 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 10, 2 p.m., Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo
Theatre eXceptional and Blue Butterfly Productions present this romp through the hidden depths of old London town with mischievous young Oliver. Based on the classic Dickens tale the story of love, loss, and hope, Oliver! has wonderful music, delightful dancing, humor, and an unforgettably talented cast.
As always, Theatre eXceptional provides a full musical production (with live orchestra) and features a blended cast of talented professional actors with and without disabilities.
Saturday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 10, at 3 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 11, at 1 p.m.
Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater
Roz and Paul Potenza revive their roles in a play first produced locally by Jobsite Theater, which follows Joan (Roz Potenza), a New York City editor, and Nick (Paul Potenza), an FDNY captain who lost most of his men and asks Joan to help craft the eulogies. Shawn Paonessa directs. (Editor’s note: Check here next week for an in-depth interview with the Potenzas, which will touch on the show and their acclaimed stage careers.)
$24, $12 with a valid student or military ID.
Hat Trick Theatre Auditions
Saturday, Sept. 9, Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater
Hat Trick begins its third season as the resident theater company at Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Murray Theatre, and it’s time for their 2017-18 auditions.
Audition blocks will be available from noon to 5 p.m. (except 1-2 p.m.), based on availability. Slots fill up as people reserve their places—first come, first serve — so be sure to send your first and second preferences, along with your phone number, to auditions@hattricktheatre.
Break a leg!
The Spotlight Series: Behind the Scenes of The Royale
Sunday, Sept. 10, 1 p.m., American Stage Lecture Series, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg
Peek behind the curtain at this informative and entertaining presentation led by Professor Emerita Dedee Aleccia, who will provide insight into the background and central themes of The Royale. Director Lisa Tricomi, choreographer Carolynn Esparza and actor Aygemang Clay will provide various insider perspectives on their creative processes, respectively.
Free for members, $10 for nonmembers.
Preview Performance: Take Me Out
Thursday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., The Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg
Catch a preview performance of Richard Greenberg’s Tony Award-winning “Take Me Out,” a play that focuses on a baseball star who comes out of the closet and his teammates’ reactions. The drama unfolds over the course of a season and themes of homophobia, racism, class and masculinity are explored.
At the time of the play’s writing, no Major League Baseball player had come out publicly during their career. Take Me Out imaginatively explores how such an event would unfold. Directed by Bob Devin Jones, featuring Philip Rankin and Drew Smith.
Webb’s City: The Musical, Concert Version (Opening Night)
Thursday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m., The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg
The hit musical written and directed by Bill Leavengood, with music, lyrics, and musical direction by Lee Ahlin, about St. Pete’s famous drug store returns to the Palladium in concert format. As a special treat, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman will make a cameo appearance (as “Mayor of St. Pete, circa 1930″) on opening night.
In 1999, the Pinellas County Millennium Celebration commissioned Leavengood and Ahlin to create a musical based on the life and times of J. E. “Doc” Webb, the colorful St. Pete entrepreneur called the “P.T. Barnum of Retail.” In 1925, Webb opened a tiny drug store on Ninth Street and over the next five decades transformed it into a 77-store complex covering ten city blocks. In its heyday, Webb’s City attracted 60,000 visitors per day.
Now the Palladium Theater and American Stage, with underwriting by Jim and Suzanne MacDougald and Larry and Joyce Beltz, present this brand new multimedia concert version featuring all of the great music from the original, expertly woven together with narration, scene highlights, and iconic images from five decades of St. Pete and Webb’s City history.