GRAND MASTERS: BEETHOVEN AND BRAHMS
It’s last call for the Florida Orchestra’s masterworks season. And why not close out the 50th season with two passionate cannon blasts, Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, better known as the "Pastoral"?
Spanish pianist Javier Perianes, right, will perform the turbulent and challenging concerto, with orhcestra music director Michael Francis, above, conducting. Concerts start at 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.
If you want to know more about the works, Francis will take the audience through Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in the final "Inside the Music" presentation of the season. Like the free preconcert lectures, these events break down the building blocks of the piece and biographically relevant details. Unlike those talks, the orchestra will be there to perform selected themes and snippets, then the entire piece. 7:30 p.m. today, the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Pay what you can at the door.
BACK AFTER 15 YEARS: BALLET NACIONAL DE CUBA
The Ballet Nacional de Cuba last appeared at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in October 2003. The bid to land a return engagement, performing Giselle, took three years and a lot of patience. Founded nearly 60 years ago by prima ballerina Alicia Alonso, the company survived the Cuban revolution and the subsequent decline in the economy. Ballet remains a principal export, with some dancers earning more than doctors.
"As someone who is devoted to the arts and supports artistic excellence for Tampa — and as someone fond of Cuban culture — facilitating the performance of Ballet Nacional de Cuba is a dream come true," David Straz Jr. said in a prepared statement.
8 p.m. May 23 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $29.75 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
HAT TRICK: WAITING FOR GODOT
One of the principal works of 20th century theater showed that nothing has to actually happen to make a great play. Hat Trick Theatre closes its season with Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, in which a yin-yang pair of characters wait for the arrival of a mysterious gentleman who is going to make everything better. Runs today through May 26 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $24. (727) 791-7400. For showtimes, go to rutheckerdhall.com.
CHANGING THE FUTURE: STAGEWORKS 2018-19
Stageworks Theatre’s Karla Hartley describes the coming season as a chance to take a hard look at the past in order to face an unknown future. The season opens with Judgment at Nuremberg (Sept. 28-Oct. 14), which rejects "following orders" as a defense for any and all military actions. The Revolutionists (Nov. 2-18) by Lauren Gunderson, one of the hottest current playwrights out there, follows Marie Antoinette and a disparate crew of characters who are trying to fend off an angry crowd in the French Revolution. Singing 1960s relics return for the holidays as The Winter Wonderettes (Dec. 8-23), serving up Christmasy tunes at the Harper’s Hardware holiday party.
The premiere of Ready Steady (Feb. 8-24), David Jacobi’s romantic comedy with a side of political commentary, comes to Stageworks via the National New Play Network. There’s a reason Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap (March 22-April 7) has lived on as the longest-running play of all time (at London’s West End since 1952), with a suspenseful plot and no character escaping suspicion. Four Guys Named Jose (May 31-June 16, 2019) continues a trend started at Stageworks this year with English and Spanish performances, this time in David Coffman and Dolores Prida’s play with music about four men who share a dream and a romantic interest. (813) 374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org.