Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New date for 'Piano Men' in Sarasota

   "The Piano Men" is coming to Sarasota sooner than we were expecting.
Jim Witter
   The show has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. Feb. 15. That's nine days before the original date. The only explanation is that it's "due to a change in scheduling," which doesn't really tell us much.
   If you have tickets for the original date, they'll still be good on Feb. 15. If you have tickets but can't make it to the rescheduled show, you should call the box office at 941-953-3368.
  The show stars pianist Jim Witter. He performs with a backing band and performs the '70s hits of BIlly Joel and Elton John.

   If you don't have tickets but you want to see it, tickets will run you between $15 and $50. Call 941-953-3368 or go to


Monday, October 27, 2014

Jeff Corwin cancels Saturday's show in Tampa

    If you had planned to see Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts Saturday, you'll have to make some different plans. His show, "Tales from the Field," has been canceled without explanation.
   There's no announcement of a new date and no talk about rescheduling, so it's apparently been just plain canceled. 
   If you bought tickets with a credit card you'll get an automatically refunded. If you paid by cash or check you should have your money back by check with a week or two.
   The box office number is 813-229-7827. The Straz website is

Friday, October 24, 2014

'West Side Story' opens at SCF in Bradenton

   People who know musical theater and who have seen rehearsals for the State College of Florida production of "West Side Story" say it could be something special.
   The musical itself is special, of course, with classic music by Leonard Bernstein and memorable lyrics by a young Stephen Sondheim, and an Arthur Laurents libretto about a Romeo-and-Juliet romance that crosses ethnic and gang lines. You probably know every single song in the show.

  The SCF production features a cast of 38, including some actors who will be familiar to local theater-goers. James Hyde (Tony) was Marius in the Manatee Players staging of "Les Miz," Chris McCoy (Riff) was Pinocchio in that same company's "Shrek," and Equity actor Preston Boyd is a local theater stalwart. Melodie Dickerson directs and there's a 15-piece orchestra conducted by Rex Willis.
   There are only three shows, starting Friday, Oct. 24. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. at the Neel Performing Arts Center at SCF, 5840 26th St, W. Bradenton. Tickets are $12 general admission; $6 students and SCF employees. Call 941-752-5252 or go to

Monday, October 20, 2014

2 Cellos add second concert in Tampa

   When 2 Cellos played a concert at Tampa's Straz Center for the Performing Arts a couple of years ago, there wasn't an empty seat in the house.
   The upcoming 2 Cellos shows at the Straz is apparently selling very well too. It's still seven months away, but already the Straz has added a second show.
   The added show is on the same date -- Saturday, May 9 -- but it's a 2:30 p.m. matinee.
2 Cellos
The original show (which is still on, of course) is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

   Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser have have gained stardom by using the cello as a pop and rock instrument. They created a hugely popular version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal," they were the first instrumental act to appear on "Glee" and they've performed with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
   Tickets for their Straz shows are $35-$45 plus service charge. Call 813-229-7827 or go to

Friday, October 17, 2014

'Dixie's Tupperware Party' in Tampa is a hoot

  If you haven't seen "Dixie's Tupperware Party" you're in for a most wondrous surprise.
  It sounds like one of the lamest shows ever. Kris Andersson, who's a man, plays Dixie, who's a woman, and the show is an actual Tupperware party. There are order forms on your table and Dixie tells you what numbers to circle if you want to buy the various containers she's touting.
   It's hard to describe the show, because Andersson relies largely on improv and audience interaction. Dixie's ad libs are so clever that it's usually impossible to tell which parts of the shows are scripted and which are off-the-cuff.  It's also hard to describe how funny the show is, partly because Dixie's so joyously foul-mouthed that it's inadvisable to repeat most of her jokes. Even the handful of audience members Dixie picked at random to make fun of through the whole evening seemed to feel privileged.
  But somehow, Dixie's irresistibly likeable.
Andersson as Dixie
  The show takes serious turn at the end, when the lights lower and Dixie breaks from the silliness to talk about the woman who invented the Tupperware party more than 60 years ago and ended up being the first woman who was ever on the cover of 'Business Week." It seems to be a heartfelt tribute. It really has no place in such a raucous and ribald show, but Andersson makes it effective, even inspirational and almost poignant.
   Even if nothing about the show sounds like it would be your spill-proof plastic cup of tea, it's worth checking out just for Andersson's astounding performance. It's as impressive, in its way, as almost any performance you'll see on any stage, in any show.
   It runs through Sunday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $37.50 plus service charge. Call 813-229-7827 or go to


Krall reschedules Sarasota concert for April 16

   Diana Krall is coming to Sarasota after all.
Diana Krall
   The great jazz chanteuse had canceled her schedule Dec. 13 concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (and in fact her entire national tour), citing severe pneumonia.
    She's apparently feeling better, because the tour's back on, and the Van Wezel date has been rescheduled. She'll be here April 16 and tickets are on sale now.
   If you bought tickets for the original show and you still have them, you can use them at the April 16 show. 
   Krall's touring behind her new album "Wallflower." The release date was pushed back when she canceled her tour. It's now set to come out Feb. 3

   Tickets are $35-$120. Call 941-953-3368 or go to.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

South Florida Museum hosts "Science on the BIg Screen"

   The South Florida Museum in Bradenton has a very cool Friday night film series going on through mid-December.
   "Science on the Big Screen" offers some great films with a science theme, ranging from sci-fi classics such as the 1960 version of "The Time Machine" to last year's excellent documentary "Particle Fever."
Rod Taylor in "The Time Machine"

   The films are screened in the Bishop Planetarium. The planetarium got a new, very high-tech projection system not long ago, and the quality is remarkable. It's a cool place to see a movie because it's inexpensive ($5, or $3 for museum members) and you can buy beer or wine in the lobby and bring it into the theater.
   The films start at 6 p.m. It's a good idea to make paid reservations in advance. Call 941-746-4131.
   The museum is at 201 10th St. W., Bradenton.

   Here's the schedule:
    Oct. 17: "The Time Machine" (1960) Rated PG, 103 mins.
    Oct. 24: "Jurassic Park" (1993) Rated PG-13, 127 minutes.
    Oct. 31: No film
    Nov. 7: "Robot and Frank" (2012) Rated PG-13, 89 mins.

    Nov. 14: "Particle Fever" (2013) Not Rated, 99 minutes.
    Nov. 21: No film.
    Nov. 28: No film.
    Dec. 5: Madame Curie (1943) Not Rated, 124 minutes.

    Dec. 12: Soylent Green (1973) Rated PG, 97 minutes.
    Dec. 19: Iron Man (2008) Rated PG-13, 126 minutes.