SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: TAMPA REP
With its final play of this season, The Other Place, running through June 25, Tampa Repertory Theatre sets its sights on the fall. On tap for 2017-2018 are two southeastern premieres and A View From the Bridge, Arthur Miller's bare-knuckle examination of tumult in an Italian-American family in the 1950s.
Tampa Rep's play selection in recent years reflects the theater's mission to perform "classics, known and unknown, with a special emphasis on American plays in the 20th and 21st centuries," from The Children's Hour and The Iceman Cometh to highlighting more recent talents such as Will Eno (The Realistic Joneses) and George Brant (Grounded).
"I enjoy farces the way I enjoy popcorn or cotton candy every now and then, but that isn't the kind of thing I want to do with Tampa Repertory," said producing artistic director C. David Frankel, right, who also serves as an assistant director for the University of South Florida's theater program. That said, don't be surprised if a couple of David Ives adaptations of French comedies find their way to their stage in 2018 or 2019.
Tampa Rep's seventh season opens with Flying (Sept. 15-24), a co-production with the Studio@620. Written by St. Petersburg resident Sheila Cowley, the play reflects the aftermath of World War II through the eyes of a female former pilot whose husband is considered the war hero. With Gnit (Jan. 12-28), Will Eno's playful interpretation of Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt, an adventurer travels through America. Frankel considers Eno a talent reminiscent of Thornton Wilder.
"He is a very human writer who cares about the small, difficult challenges that face people," he said.
A View From the Bridge (June 1-17, 2018), recently revived on Broadway, plays out in the working class neighborhood of longshoreman Eddie Carbone, who has taken in two undocumented relatives. The play tackles issues of family bonds, immigration and gender roles in sizzling Miller style.
"It's very much of its period, but it also speaks to contemporary audiences," Frankel said. A View From the Bridge will be staged at the University of South Florida's main campus, as will Gnit. The company will produce Flying at USF's Ybor City campus.
NEW MUSICAL: UNDER FIRE
In 1979, ABC News reporter Bill Stewart and translator Juan Espinoza were murdered while covering the Nicaraguan revolution. The double execution by Nicaraguan guards at a roadblock was captured on film. The incident sparked an international uproar, ending the Carter administration's relationship with the regime and hastening its downfall.
Like the 1983 movie of the same name, the new musical version of Under Fire by Barry Harman and Grant Sturiale is largely fictionalized. Freefall Theatre will hold a staged reading of the premiere work, which asks questions about objectivity and a journalist's role in highly charged conflicts. The cast includes T. Robert Pigott, Alison Burns, Alan Mohney Jr., Hannah Benitez, Emanuel Carrero, Stephan J. Jones and Heather Baird. Michael Raabe leads a live band; Eric Davis directs. 8 p.m. Saturday. 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 498-5205. freefalltheatre.com.
SILVER METEOR: PLAID SKIRTS
Four old friends gather at their old high school in an effort to save it. A current student interrupts their reunion with a crisis, triggering old feelings and awakening secrets. Judy Zocchi's new play, Plaid Skirts, stars Roz Potenza, Samantha Parisi, Michele Young, John D. Hooper and Laurel Floen. Caroline Jett directs the Lab Theatre Project show. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. 2213 E Sixth Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 586-4272. firstname.lastname@example.org.