Do It This Weekend: Walking with Dinosaurs, Monster's Ball, Pops in the Park, Parranda, Gala's Half-Dressed Carnivale and more

If you scare easily or shudder at the thought of ghosts and dark, scary rooms, perhaps you should sit this one out. The classic ghost tale, Woman in Black, is closely based on English author Susan Mills’ novel, and the stage performance – adapted by Stephen Mallatratt – is said to chill, thrill and terrify audiences. It follows Mrs. Drablow, who lives and dies alone in a desolate house in a dreary part of England. Depressing, right? After Drablow dies, a young lad from London is sent to attend her funeral and sort out her papers. As you may have guessed, the unlucky chap gets caught up in the dark, tragic secrets that remain in the now empty, dismal house ... or is it empty? For those of you who want an extra dose of spook in your experience, there’s a special late night showing on Halloween. Lead actors gracing the stage are Christopher Rutherford, recently in Jails, Hospitals and Hip-Hop, and Shining City’s Glenn Gover. Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 7 p.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 and 7 p.m. Sun., with special performances at 6 and 10 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 31, Gorilla Theatre, 4419 N. Hubert Ave. #D, Tampa, $20-$25, $10 students 30 minutes prior to curtain, 813-879-2914, – Lily Reisman

Bring a picnic and enjoy Pops in the Park, a free concert by The Florida Orchestra, led by guest conductor Gerald Steichen through popular numbers like Gould’s American Salute, Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody, Strauss’ On the Beautiful Blue Danube, John Williams’ The Cowboys Overture, Sousa’s El Capitan March, Strauss’ Thunder and Lightning Polka, selections from The Music Man and more. A pre-concert also includes performances by two finalists from VSA arts of Florida Young Soloists Competition. Use the money you'll save on admission to bring a canned food donation for Tampa Bay Harvest’s food bank. The concert visits two venues this weekend: Fri., Oct. 16, 7 p.m., River Tower Park, 401 E. Bird St., Tampa; and Sat., Oct. 17, 7 p.m., Vinoy Park, Downtown St. Petersburg. Visit for more info.

[image-1]This weekend, award-winning local actress Sharon Scott debuts Mahalia, Just As I Am, her new musical about the life and times of gospel great Mahalia Jackson. The powerhouse vocalist was the first artist to be awarded a Grammy in gospel, but everything wasn’t coming up roses – the show follows her continued struggle with segregation in the South in the midst of Mahalia’s rise to fame. (Pictured: Sharon Scott as Mahalia Jackson) Oct. 16-25, 8 p.m. Fri.-Sun.; preview performance, Thurs., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., The Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg, $15-$25, 727-895-6620, – Franki Weddington

Gala’s Half-Dressed Carnivale is costume party in honor of the half-way point to the new museum's completion, and keeps to the theme with half-dressed models who wander the site while costumed waiters serve sur-really delish cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at a "Gala" event that she and Salvador would surely appreciate. Prepare yourself for the purported "drama and intrigue that culminate with the arrival of a special guest"! Visit for more info. Sat., Oct. 17, 8 p.m. VIP reception, 9 p.m. general admission, Dali Museum Building Site,  Corner of Fourth Ave. S. and First St., St. Petersburg, $15, $250 VIP.

Few things are as gratifying as enjoying yourself while helping a good cause. Well, you can do just that this Friday when you head to Town ’n’ Country for the TNC Block Party Parranda, which celebrates Hispanic Heritage 2009 and National Latino AIDS Awareness. The event benefits the Florida Institute for Community Studies, a nonprofit that works to address area concerns via programs on substance abuse, tutoring, the arts and much more. Enjoy free samples of food from countries including Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico, watch the Sabor Dance Troupe perform, and shake your moneymaker to hot Latin tunes courtesy of Maxima 92.5. Admission is free, but bring money for food, drinks and the Community Art Show, which features works by area youth and other community members. Free services, including HIV testing, are also available. Fri., Oct. 16, 5-8 p.m., FICS Multicultural Family Center, 6704 Hanley Road, Tampa, – Anthony Salveggi

Munch on goodies from Queen's Head (newly voted the best new restaurant in CL's Best of the Bay issue) while enjoying the work of Miami artist Martin Casuso and live tunes by Alan Darcy, Pepper MaShay and Ce Ce Peniston at Taste of Pride. Visit for more info. Fri., Oct. 16, 6-10 p.m., Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

The immigration issue comes home in Maria's Song, a story about a young Mexican mother who seeks sanctuary in a church with her American-born son after authorities raid a Florida labor camp. Visit for more info. Oct. 9-24, 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.. Venue Actors Studio Theatre, 9125 U.S. 19 N., Pinellas Park, Pinellas Park, $15.woman in black, ghost story,

Don't panic: The dinos in the Walking with Dinosaurs arena show aren't going to reenact a scene from Jurassic Park and start eating audience members, but the animatronics in this arena show are so life-like that it almost seems like a possibility. The award-winning epic is based on the BBC series of the same name, and includes life-sized replicas of 10 dino species that collaborate with actors for an entertaining show that explores native dino habitats throughout the history — from the splitting of the continents to the Triassic and Jurassic periods, finally ending with the extinction of these creatures that have fascinated humans for centuries. Oct. 14-18, 7 p.m. Weds. -Fri., 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Sat., 1 and 5 p.m. Sun., St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Dr., Tampa, $17-$62, 813-223-1000, – Franki Weddington

Best of the Bay winning Café Hey is celebrating its two-year anniversary with Monster’s Ball, a not-so-spooky night of music, art, and partying. Super Secret Best Friends, Florida Night Heat, SOG and DJ’s SowsDef and Pocket Chomper stop by to drop some live music in your ears, and lotsa local artists — like Chad Mize and Phillip Clark of BlueLucy, Anthony Zollo (another BOTB alum), Josh Pearson and more – showcase an array of awesome art. Don't let the artists and musicians have all the fun, though — there's body plastering for anyone who wants in on the action, and fire spinning for those who prefer spectator sports. Sat., Oct. 17, 8 p.m.-midnight, Cafe Hey, 1540 N. Franklin St., Tampa, free, – Franki Weddington

After the break: Get the mess scared out of you by the Woman in Black, the Florida Orchestra plays for free at Pops in the Park, shake your moneymaker at Block Party Parranda and more.

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