Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gulf Coast Rhythm & Ribfest adds Doug E. Fresh to lineup.

   Old-school hip-hop star Doug E. Fresh has signed on to the already impressive entertainment lineup for the 2014 Gulf Coast Rhythm & Ribfest.
   He joins previously announced headliners T-Pain,
Tracy Lawrence, Lyfe Jennings and Musiq Soulchild.
Doug E. Fresh
   The festival runs April 11-13 at the Manatee County Fairgrounds in Palmetto. 
   Lawrence will play Friday and Jennings and Soulchild Saturday. Fresh and T-Pain are slated to play Sunday. 
   Tickets are on sale now at and at Circle K stores. They're $15 for Friday, $20 for either Saturday or Sunday and $30 for both days. Children 12 and younger are free as long as they come with an adult.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mandy Patinkin perfoms in Sarasota

  Mandy Patinkin can do it all, from splashy Broadway quasi-operas -- a lot of people first heard of him through his performance as Che in "Evita" on Broadway -- to television drama. He starred as the troubled doctor Jeffery Geiger on "Chicago Hope" and he's most recently starred with Claire Danes on the Showtime hit "Homeland."
  He's also drawn critical raves for his concert appearances, and he'll be coming to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota Tuesday, April 1, with a concert he's calling "Dress Casual."
   It's a cabaret-style show, even though it's in a major Performing Arts Hall. Patinkin offers everything from Broadway tunes to pop standards to traditional American folk songs, and intersperses stories of his personal life and his show biz life.
   Speaking of his show biz life, fans of "Homeland" will be glad to know he'll be back on the show next season. That wasn't clear at the end of the previous season.
   "Oh, I'll be back," he said. "They kicked me out of the CIA but I'm coming back as an independent agent.
   His Van Wezel show is at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1. Tickets are $35-$70. Call 941-953-3368 or go to

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Woolf wows (two) Idol judges with "Fun"

   The top 10 took on the top 10.
   On Wednesday’s performance episode, Bradenton’s Sam Woolf and the other nine “American Idol” finalists were required to sing a song that had been on the Billboard top 10 at some point between 2011 and now.
   The contestants chose songs by everyone from Pink to FloridaGeorgia Line and from Lady Gaga to Hunter Hayes.
   After a couple of decent performances that opened the show and drew positive but unenthusiastic responses from judges, Alex Preston kicked up the energy with a performance of One Direction’s “Story of My Life” that all three judges – Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. – agreed was the best of the night.
    Sixteen-year old Malaya Watson followed with a gorgeous rendition of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars.

   Woolf, the 17-year-old Braden River High School student who has impressed judges with his vocals and won the hearts of teenage girls with his looks, was the last to perform. Last week, he had finished in the bottom three for the first time, after performing the Beatles’ “Come Together.”
    This week, he chose a song that he said was a better representation of who he is an artist.
    The song was “We Are Young,” the 2012 hit by Fun. Woolf told host Ryan Seacrest it was a song hat he felt comfortable with.
    He went back to performing with a guitar, standing at a mic stand. Last week he sang with a handheld microphone, walking across the stage as he sang..
    This week's performance was  livelier  than some of his past ones. Lopez swayed and sang along and Urban smiled through the entire performance.

   “I loved it,” Lopez said. ”I liked it so much more than what you did last week.”
   Urban indicated, as he has before, that he was sure Woolf would be back next. He said he had a lot to say to Woolf, but that he knew he’s had other chances to talk to him.

   Only Connick was less than enthusiastic about Woolf’s performance. He said he hoped Woolf would “own” the songs that he performed, the way he owned his early performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House.”
   "You can do this,” Connick told him
    Woolf indicated to Seacrest that he thought this week’s performance was one of his best.
   Woolf and his fans will find out whether he’ll make it to the top nine tomorrow night, in a one-hour results show that’s scheduled for 9 p.m. on Fox.

Florida Orchestra offers premiere of Rogers work

  David Rogers is well-known to area music lovers. Before he left the Tampa Bay area last year to become executive director of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Rogers co-founded and performed at the prestigious Bonk Festival of New Music, which presented memorable concerts in Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tampa for 14 years. He also taught composition at the University of South Florida and played with the avant-garde rock band Handshake Squad.
   He'll be back in the area this weekend to see the world premiere of his work "Euphemism No. 3." The Florida Orchestra will perform a masterworks concert featuring
David Rogers
that piece, Bartok's "Piano Concerto No. 1" and Sibelius' "Symphony No. 4." Stefan Sanderling, the Orchestra's erstwhile music director, conducts.
   The concert will be performed three times, Friday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. St .Petersburg's obviously the closest one for Bradenton-area residents. That one starts at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets will run you $15-$45.
   Rogers will be part of the pre-concert presentation about an hour before each show.
   Call 727-892-3337 or go to

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota extends "Freud"

   Florida Studio Theatre's production of "Freud's Last Stand" just opened a few days ago, but it's so popular that its run has already been extended.
    It's now set to run through March 30 in FST's Keating Theatre.
FST's "Freud's Last Session"
   The drama by Mark St. Germain revolves around a hypothetical meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, played by George Tynan Crowley and Jeffrey Plunkett. It's set at the end of Freud's life, and he and Lewis, two of the leading intellectuals of their era, discuss the existence of God and other big issues.
   Tickets range from $32 to $34. Call 941-366-9000, or go to online at
   FST is at 241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Counting Crows come to Tampa's Straz Center

   It's been seven years since Counting Crows last released a studio album, but singer Adam Duritz and the boys are still together. And they'll be in Tampa June 11.
Adam Duritz
   They're coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts along with Toad the Wet Sprocket, who came out with their first album of the 21st century last year.
   Counting Crows, of course, hit the big time in 1993 with their huge single "Mr. Jones" and their great album "August and Everything After." They've posted strong sales ever since, and one of their songs was nominated for an Oscar ("Accidentally in Love," which was used in "Shrek 2") and they're known for energetic, improvisational shows. They've got a new studio album coming out in the fall.
   Toad the Wet Sprocket has been around since the late '80s, with the same four members. They're a solid indie band with a devoted following.
   Tickets are $49.50 to $89.50 plus service charge. A VIP ticket package is available for $290 plus service charge. Call 813-229-7827 or  go to

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden to perform in Tampa

   Just a few years ago, Trent Reznor, aka Nine Inch Nails, was publicly snarking about Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden.
   Apparently there are no hard feelings. Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden are co-headlining a U.S. tour. (The tour had been rumored for a while but was just announced on Sunday.) It's slated to stop at the Mid-Florida Credit
Nine Inch Nails
Union  Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 11.
   Opening the show for the two giants of '90s rock are Death Grips, a punk hip-hop group from Sacramento.
   As of Monday morning, the Tampa show was listed on the Nine Inch Nails website, but not on the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre or Live Nation site. So it's definitely scheduled but tickets aren't available yet. Check for the latest details.