Beauty & the Burg – Arts Beat by Cindy Stovall

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BY CINDY STOVALL

I’m baaack, and I want to thank you for all the lovely feedback on my maiden article in the previous issue of St. Pete Life. It really is a joy and a privilege to bring you news from the ‘Burg’s ever-expanding arts scene, just as I have for the past four years on my podcast. If you’d like to submit an event, gallery reception, stage show or other arts happening for consideration, please email me at cstovall5@gmail.com. Here’s a sampling of upcoming arts events in St. Petersburg.

freeFALL Theater presents “Daddy Long Legs”

On Stage

freeFall Theatre continues an engaging and beautiful season of professional theater with the current musical adaptation of a 1912 Jean Webster novel “Daddy Long Legs.” It is the story of an orphan girl, Jerusha ‘Judy’ Abbott, sent to college by a mysterious benefactor and continues through April 8. Then, opening on May 5 is “The Machine Stops,” a story by E.M. Foster, and adapted for the stage by Artistic Director Eric Davis. The story, originally written in 1909, is set in a world where humanity lives underground and relies on a giant machine to provide their needs. It predicts technologies such as instant messaging and the Internet; runs through May 27.  www.freefalltheatre.com                   

American Stage recently celebrated its 40th year of bringing quality professional theater to the Tam

pa Bay area. That mission continues in earnest as “Marjorie Prime,” a smart and poignant sci-fi character study, finishes its run on April 1. It makes way for a doubleheader of great theater as the always anticipated American Stage in the Park presents the Mel Brooks classic “The Producers,” starring local fave Matthew McGee, and the Main Stage presents “Strait of Gibraltar.” Check out the full article in this issue for date and ticket details. You can listen to my Beauty & The ‘Burg podcast at www.heliumradio.com for more interviews with the American Stage team. www.americanstage.org  

The Palladium Theatre, the ‘Burg’s historic and beautiful multistage venue, continues its tradition of bringing you world class music with The Palladium Chamber Players 2018. Each fourth Wednesday of the month during the Spring season, director and concertmaster Jeffrey Multer brings us great classic works by iconic composers, played by some of the world’s most celebrated musicians. On March 28, the Chamber Players welcome Julian Schwarz for your Bach & Beethoven fix. Next month, the show is on April 25 and features Andrew Chilcote and the music of Schubert. It’s a stunning program that we are so fortunate to have here in Tampa Bay. www.mypalladium.org

Museum Happenings

The Museum of Fine Arts ushers in Art in Bloom from April 22-26. This annual rite of Spring is in its 21st year at MFA  when artists, florists, garden club members and other creatives converge on the galleries to convert the

 museum into a great decorated greenhouse. Pieces of art from the permanent collection and current exhibitions are interpreted in magnificent flora and fauna. It’s really a sight not to be missed and you can see it for the price of museum admission.

Many wonderful events accompany AIB including: “Flowers After Hours,” a cocktail party and benefit to open the event on Thursday, March 22,  at 6:30. The AIB luncheon, “What Can I Bring” with guest lecturer Chef Elizabeth Heiskell, takes place on Friday, March 23 at 11 am at the Vinoy. Come by the museum on Sunday for “Conversations with th

e Designers,” an opportunity to ask questions about the floral designs. I will be one of those designers, so come see me! For a full listing of details and Art in Bloom events, visit: MFAstpete.org or stuartsociety.org

The Imagine Museum recently opened its doors to great fanfare. Celebrating the history, future, and excellence of the art of Studio Glass, Imagine showcases every thought, reflection and beam of light impacting the presentation of the glass. From Littleton to Chihuly and beyond, so many artisans are represented, you’ll love getting lost in Imagine. www.imaginemuseum.com

Alternative Selections

Second Saturday ArtWalk, as the name implies, takes place every second Saturday throughout St. Pete’s five art districts, year ‘round. Park and hop on the trolley that weaves in and about over 40 galleries, shops and studios. Many receptions and openings happen during the ArtWalk and you’ll invariably meet so many of your friends along the way. Highlights like Duncan McClellan’s expansive glass gallery and garden in the Warehouse Arts District, and Leslie Curran’s Articles gallery in the Edge District are fan favorites. But there are so many more, and you just can’t see it all in one night, so come out on April 14 and May 12. Print out your map at stpeteartsalliance.org  

The Sunlit Festival is a “smorgasbord” of literary events taking place across the ‘Burg from April 9-22. Organized and hosted each year by Keep St. Pete Lit, there will be live performances, lectures, author events, an antiquarian book fair and a short story contest with cash prizes! Experience the kickoff event at the Chihuly Collection on April 5, complete with speakers from the lit community and delicious nibbles. For a complete listing of events and info, go to www.sunlitfestival.org.  As founder Maureen McDole says, “Read and write on.”

If you’re a fan of old timey radio, you can relive or discover for the first time, a series of live radio readings reminiscent of “The Shadow,” “Fibber McGee & Molly,” and Arthur Godfrey. The Radio Theatre Project takes place each third Monday of the month from September through May at The Studio@620. Creator Mimi Rice has realized this wonderfully anachronistic concept, and RTP has become “a thing.” A troupe of performers and frequent local guest stars make us laugh and forget the cares of the day. Program director and beloved local actress Bonnie Agan shares the stage with regulars like announcer (and former Pine Valley gynecologist, Dr. Claytor of All My Children) Bob Heitman (see, the stuff writes itself), Paul Wilborn, Eugenie Bondurant, David Warner, Rich Rice, Colleen Cherry, the brilliant Foley artist, Matt Cowley, and many more. The skits, plays and short vignettes will leave you buoyant and longing for the 1930’s. Everything old is new again! www.studioat620.org

‘Til next time….

Cindy Stovall’s Beauty & the Burg podcast covering the arts in St. Petersburg airs live on Wednesdays at 6 pm at heliumradio.com. Archives of previous shows are available.