Performing Arts Highlights: Oct. 1-14

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Autumn is finally here and although there’s no colorful leaf change in our neck of the woods, there are plenty of colorful performing arts events to add some spice to your life. Here is what’s on deck for the first half of October around Pinellas County, including performances, celebrations, and fundraisers.


12th Annual Gala Benefit: All You Need Is Love

Sunday, Oct. 1, 5 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater

Dream, Believe, Achieve that’s what is instilled in all students at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Performing Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall, which provides an array of artistic programs and the training needed to become successful artists in dance, theater, and music. We also provide these artistic performances throughout the local community. Each year they partner with nearby schools, hospitals, and local organizations to inspire upcoming performing artists, promoting community-wide creativity, dedication, and confidence.

Guests will enjoy cocktails and a silent auction followed by a seated dinner and dancing on the main stage. More than 350 honored guests, including representatives from leading corporations in Tampa Bay are expected to attend.

Proceeds from this event last year provided many educational opportunities, including the prestigious GRAMMY® Museum’s Music Revolution Project now entering our sixth year, and the newly expanded Teaching Without Borders program, which enables our Teaching Artists to provide first-class arts instruction offsite at local schools, hospitals, and community and senior centers. In total, 35,000 students of all ages and abilities in Tampa Bay last year were impacted by these art experiences.

Seating is limited. For more information, contact Eve O’Donnell at (727) 712-2752. Individual tickets are $350. Sponsorships opportunities range from$3,500 to $25,000.



Wednesday, Oct. 4, 8 p.m., The Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg

Sheila Cowley’s play explores the lives of women flyers in the aftermath of World War II. Drawn from oral histories and memoirs of women who served in the WASP program in WWII, Flying explores the aftermath of war and the quiet, daily acts of heroism that never earn a medal.

Synopsis: Susan flew military planes during the war so men could go and fight. Now she’s home, trying to get back into her usual routine. Meanwhile, the town waits for her local hero husband to return. As the town tells glory tales of Bob, Susan tries to put away her memories of flying. She uses Bob’s legend to keep his family airfield going, so when Fisher, his wounded gunner, shows up looking for a job, she’s forced to hire him. As the play progresses, the stories the town tells reveal Susan through what they leave out.

Performance times: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. Saturday matinee at 3 p.m.

$25, $20 for students/seniors/military


Preview, Opening Night, and Other Performances: White Fang

Thursday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 7-Oct. 29, various times, freeFall Theatre Company Auditorium, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage to freeFall Theatre, so this world premiere production has been moved next door to the auditorium and has been postponed from its originally scheduled September premiere date. The year is 1898, the place Northwestern Canada deep in the forests of the Yukon Territory. After the massacre of her tribe, a young girl is rescued from the snow by an old huntsman from a nearby settlement who offers shelter and the strength to survive. Torn from centuries of tradition, facing a new and violent land, she struggles to find her path in the world. An outsider to all, she discovers hope in the friendship of an abandoned wolf, White Fang. With this newfound alliance, the two unite with the land, learning the ways of her ancestors. Lethal with blade and bow, there are few who can match her skill in the wild. But when the time comes and she faces the greatest challenge of all, will these skills be enough to make a difference? Will they be enough to survive? An epic story of love, loss, and redemption from Jethro Compton, writer and director of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Based on the classic novel by Jack London, author of The Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf, this exciting world premiere co-production with UK-based Jethro Compton Productions will transfer directly from freeFall in St. Petersburg to London. Runs through Oct. 29.

Preview Night: $25

Opening and Other Performances: $25-50


AS/40: An Intimate Celebration

Friday, Oct. 6, 6:30 p.m., The Grand Ballroom at The Birchwood, 340 Beach Drive N.E., St. Petersburg

A fundraiser that will include libations, a seated gourmet dinner, special performances by leading American Stage artists to highlight 40 years of powerful stories, and more.

From humble beginnings as a touring theatrical company, American Stage has become a performing arts leader in producing powerful stories, boldly told. This milestone was only made possible because of the talent of more than 3,000 artists, the tireless commitment of our staff, the spirit of thousands of volunteers, the support of trustees and donors, and the participation of more than a million audience members.

Help celebrate 40 years of American Stage serving the community as a vital nonprofit professional theatre while looking to the future together.

AS/40 sponsors receive a variety of benefits designed to showcase their support and bring them closer to the art and artists of American Stage. To sponsor an artist, contact the Advancement Team at (727) 823-1600 x 207 or

$150 per individual, $1,100 for a table that seats 8 persons.


Capitol Steps: Orange Is the New Barack

Sunday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m., Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg

The Capitol Steps have elevated political satire to an art form. Before The Daily Show, Full Frontal, and The Colbert Report, this Washington, DC-based comedy troupe gave audience laugh cramps with their bipartisan lampooning. Originally made up of congressional staffers, the past decade has seen the “Steps” harvest the talents of finely-tuned musical theater professionals from around the country. They were nominated for the Drama Desk Awards of 2007 for “Outstanding Lyrics.” On this tour, the troupe is making their only Tampa Bay appearance at the Palladium with a new show of musical and political comedy. This group puts the “mock” in Democracy! Included in this show will be songs from their current album, Orange is the New Barack.

Reserved: $45, $55, $65.


Grandma Goes Off Her Rocker

Sunday, Oct. 8, 2 p.m., St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1199 Highland Ave., Largo

Grandma clashes with tradition in this production presented by Seniors Actors Guild and Education Services.



Opening Night: 12 Angry Jurors

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m., St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus Arts Auditorium, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater

Tensions run high as 12 people decide the fate of a teen on trial for murder in this updated version of the classic play. An interesting examination by St. Petersburg College’s Associate Theater Professor Scott Cooper of this adaptation can be read here. Runs through Oct. 15.



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