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TFO Masterworks: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The Pre-Concert Conversations before Florida Orchestra Masterworks concerts are a treat, especially when led by Music Director Michael Francis, who’s as talented a raconteur as he is a conductor. He’ll have lots to talk about when it comes to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto; the work prompted one 19th-century critic to carp that the violin wasn’t just played, it “was beaten black and blue.” Wikipedia provides additional juicy background — Tchaikovsky’s “disastrous marriage,” a secret gay liaison, complaints by violinists that the work was too difficult to play, the fact that it’s been used everywhere from The Goonies to Monty Python. But the chief reason there’ll be so much to talk about is that it’s a magnificent piece of music, and you can rest assured that violin soloist Jeffrey Multer, TFO’s concertmaster, will play the hell out of it. Also on the program is the Fifth Symphony of Shostakovich, who wrote it under pressure from another noted music critic: Josef Stalin. Fri., May 24, 8 p.m., Straz Center, Tampa; Sat., May 25, 8 p.m., Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; Sun., May 26, 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. floridaorchestra.org.
The Joe Jackson “Four Decade” Tour. Jackson tours in support of his latest studio album, Fool, and looks back through his 40-year career as well. The show will include selections from five of his 20 albums, each representing a decade. 5/25, 8 p.m., Tampa Theatre, tampatheatre.org.
Tampa Museum of Art: Oswaldo Vigas: Transformations. An exhibition celebrating one of South America’s most ambitious and celebrated modern artists, Oswaldo Vigas (Venezuelan, 1923-2014), who drew on a broad mixture of sources and stylistic approaches for his art, mingling indigenous South American traditions with Western modernism into a distinctly personal language (through 5/27). tampamuseum.org
Ariana Grande. She’s transcended tween-age stardom to become a pop-music force and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, and the only thing that’ll drown out the squeals of her audience at the Amalie Arena is her own astonishing multi-octave range. amaliearena.com
Long Day’s Journey Into Night. American Stage tackles Eugene O’Neill’s wrenching drama of family and addiction. americanstage.org.
The Lorax at Movies in the Park. The 10th season for Preserve the ’Burg’s Movies in the Park comes to a close with Dr. Seuss’s cautionary classic The Lorax in St. Pete’s North Straub Park, 400 Bayshore Dr., NE, where there’ll be music by Boxcar Hollow and a screening as soon as skies start to darken. Bring chairs, blankets and a picnic, or shop for goodies from the food vendors. preservetheburg.org.
“Countess” Luann de Lesseps, who has parlayed her Real Housewives fame into a cabaret career; her show, Countess and Friends, comes to the Capitol on May 31. (Pray she sings her mesmerizingly bad but still kinda catchy “Money Can’t Buy You Class”; think of her as the 2019 Florence Foster Jenkins.) rutheckerdhall.com.
Four Guys from Jose and… Una Mujer Named Maria. Four Latinos with the same first name but different roots (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Mexico) meet at a Burrito World in Omaha and discover a shared dream of staging a show of Latin standards — and share an interest, too, in the same beautiful woman. Expect songs like “La Bamba” and “Guantanemera” in four- and five-part harmonies and what sounds like a very good time. 5/31-6/16, stageworkstheatre.org.
Stupid F**king Bird. Tampa Rep stages Aaron Posner’s cheerfully profane adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull. 5/31-6/16, tamparep.org.
Florida CraftArt Members’ Show. A juried exhibition of original handcrafted works by Florida CraftArt members, including home accents, furniture, jewelry, wearable art, ceramics, gifts and more. Opening meet-the-artists reception, 4/26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, floridacraftart.org.
Hedda. Hot young Brit playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s adaptation of Hedda Gabler, updated to 21st-century Notting Hill. An excellent cast (including Emily Belvo, Christopher Marshall and Katrina Stevenson) bodes well; director Stuart Fail makes his Jobsite directorial debut. 5/8-6/2, jobsitetheater.org.
Museum of Fine Arts: Theo Wujcik: Cantos. A celebration of the work of master printmaker and painter Wujcik (1936–2014), a fixture of the Ybor City art scene whose expansive practice engaged deeply with art historical tradition and the global contemporary art world (4/13-6/2). mfastpete.org.
Come from Away. The multi-award-winning Broadway musical inspired by the warm welcome given by residents of Gander, Newfoundland to the passengers of 38 planes forced to land in the small town after 9/11. Acclaimed as a heart-warming reminder of our shared humanity, it sounds like just the right tonic for these argumentative times. strazcenter.org.
“Weird Al” Yankovic. He’s gotten so big that he’s now touring with a symphony orchestra, Really. A 40-piece symphony orchestra. When he brings his “Strings Attached” tour to Ruth Eckerd, we’ll find out then what “Eat It” sounds like when embellished with cellos and French horns. rutheckerdhall.com.
Buyer & Cellar. An inspired matchup of performer and material at freeFall: the award-winning actor Chris Crawford, who can do farce and drama with equal amounts heart and aplomb, in Jonathan Tolins’s much-lauded one-man play about “an underemployed Los Angeles actor who goes out to work in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu. Calif., basement.” Yep, her basement, where La Streisand infamously installed a full-on shopping mall. The NY Times said the play delves into “the solitude of celebrity, the love-hate attraction between gay men and divas, and the melancholy that lies beneath narcissism,” calling it “a seriously funny slice of absurdist whimsy [that] creates the illusion of a stage filled with multiple people, all of them with their own droll point of view.” If anyone can embody all those people (including Ms. Streisand), Chris Crawford can. 5/11-6/9, freeFall Theatre, 727-498-5205, freefalltheatre.com.
Meet the Chefs. Imagine being surrounded by all your favorite chefs in one room, all of them eager to please you with samples of their best goodies. Imagination becomes reality on June 12 at The Vault in Downtown Tampa when Creative Loafing hosts its fifth annual Meet the Chefs event. The area’s best — like Rooster & the Till’s Ferrell Alvarez, Jonathan Wilson of Armani’s and the team from CW’s Gin Joint, Gui Alinat and Cody Tiner — are joined for the first time by chefs like Rachel Bennett (The Library) and Anne Kearney (Oak & Ola) whose restaurants are new but whose credentials are impeccable (Anne’s a past James Beard winner and Bennett was a semi-finalist in the most recent awards round). The chefs’ event kicks off Tampa Bay Restaurant Week (6/13-23), during which participating restaurants offer specially discounted prix fixe menus. (Meet the Chefs: 7-10 p.m., The Vault, 611 N. Franklin St., Tampa; VIP hour 6-7 p.m., meetthechefstampabay.com, tampabayrestaurantweek.com)
The 2019 AKC All-Breed Dog Show. If you’re a devoted fan of those annual dogstravaganzas that pop up on TV around the holidays, you’re in luck. Now you can see the doggies live and in person — more than 2,500 of ‘em, representing more than 212 breeds, all galloping onto the Florida State Fair Grounds June 12-16 (4800 US Hwy. 301 N., Tampa) for the 2019 American Kennel Club Dog Show. There’ll be Dock Diving and Scent Work and BarnHuntin’ and more goldarned cuteness than any one dog-lover can stand. (I’m rooting for the terriers.) floridastatefair.6/events/2019/akc-all-breed-dog-show
Paul Wilborn Reading: Cigar City: Tales from a 1980s Creative Ghetto. If you’ve read his newspaper stories, laughed at his radio plays, seen him in action as the genial major domo of The Palladium or in his anecdote-rich cabaret performances, you know Paul Wilborn is a born storyteller. Now he’s turned his stories into, well, stories. Drawing on his own experiences as a young reporter in the glory days of boho Ybor, his debut short story collection, Cigar City: Tales from a 1980s Creative Ghetto, is rich in lived detail, with acutely observed depictions of the artists, reprobates and other unforgettable characters he met in those days, and vivid evocations of the sights, sounds and smells of Ybor days and nights. Affectionate but not sentimental and often laugh-out-loud funny, Wilborn’s stories capture the romance and the hard truths of a world we won’t likely see again. Oxford Exchange, Tampa, June 13, 6:30 p.m.
At The Dalí: Goya & Augmented Reality. There’s an embarrasment of riches in area museums at the moment, including the profoundly moving Edward S. Curtis photography exhibit at the James (through 7/21) and the invigorating Abstract Expressionism show at the Tampa Museum of Art (through 8/11). Now the Dali has added another exciting pair of shows into the mix, both opening June 15: Visual Magic, a look at some of the museum’s best-known paintings through the lens of Augmented Reality, a technological feat Dali surely would have approved of; and Before Dali: Goyas — Visions & Inventions, a selection of powerful works by Dali’s Spanish antecedent, the game-changing Goya, whose Los Caprichos suite of prints may haunt your dreams long after you see them. thedali.org.
St Pete Pride. As if throwing the biggest LGBTQ+ pride celebration in Florida weren’t enough, St. Pete Pride is adding starpower to the mix. In addition to the usual festivities — the pre-parties on Wednesday at Sirata Beach Resort and Thursday at the Museum of Fine Arts; the rollicking night parade down Bayshore Drive on Saturday; the vibrant street festival all day Sunday in the Grand Central District — SPP is also doing two count ‘em two free concerts. Lisa Loeb, the brainy-sexy 1990s pop star still making music (and her trademark eyewear), headlines the SP2 concert on Friday night, and Rita Ora, the pinup-sexy (but still brainy) 2019 pop star, takes the stage after the parade on Saturday, both at North Straub Park. 6/19-23, full details at stpetepride.com.
James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art: The Cultural Connections of Edward S. Curtis. In the first three decades of the 20th century, American photographer Edward S. Curtis traveled the country to document “vanishing” Native American cultures with his cameras, producing thousands of images. His respect for Native people was ahead of his time, and the relationships he nurtured allowed for information-gathering that would have otherwise been lost to history. thejamesmuseum.org.
Museum of Fine Arts: Feast for the Eyes: European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection. Forty superb Old Master paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries by major Italian, Spanish, German, and Netherlandish artists (3/23-7/28). mfastpete.org
Tampa Museum of Art: Abstract Expressionism: A Social Revolution, Selections from the Collection of Preston H. Haskell. Abstract Expressionism as a unifying direction in post-WWII art, reflected in 25 works by such seminal artists as de Kooning, Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, and Mark Rothko (4/11-8/11). tampamuseum.org