Do It Today: Plays at American Stage, Gorilla and Jobsite theaters, plus Ra Ra Riot at Crowbar and Corey Avenue Sidewalk Sale

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[image-1]Christine Decker, a formidable Mother Superior in Doubt, returns to American Stage to play another intimidating creature: Martha, the unholy harridan in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee’s searing portrait of marriage as battlefield. The play also stars newcomers Matt Huffman and Richard B. Watson. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Tues., Wed. and Thurs. at 7:30 p.m. (No Tuesday performances Apr. 5 or 12); 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Pay-what-you-can nights are March 15, 22, 29 and April 19. $29-$50. Students rush tickets are $10, 30 minutes prior to curtain. March 8-April 23. American Stage, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. 727-823-7529. (David Warner contributed to this report.)

[image-2]Sweet Storm. Scott Hudson's Florida love story, set in Lithia in 1960 and based on his parents’ real-life story, received a staged reading as part of the Gorilla Reading Series and now returns to the Gorilla in a full production with its original cast. The critically praised play is directed by James Rayfield and stars Heather Atkinson and Chris Jackson. (Read Mark Leib's review for Creative Loafing: He liked the performances, but felt the play needed a second act.) Show runs Thursdays through Sunday through March 20. March 9 and March 16 are pay what you can at the door. Tickets are $20 on Thursdays and $25 on weekends; $10 student rush and other discounts are available. Call for info. Feb. 24-March 20. Gorilla Theatre, 4419 N. Hubert Ave. #D, Tampa. 813-879-2914.

[image-3]Ra Ra Riot w/The Luyas/Sleepy Vikings Two records deep and quirky Syracuse, N.Y.-based chamber pop outfit Ra Ra Riot has already generated a vigorous indie buzz, their upbeat songwriting textured with the sophisticated sounds of a two-piece string section (violinist Rebecca Zeller and cellist Alexandra Lawn). This tour supports their second LP, The Orchard, released last year via Barsuk Records. (Crowbar, Ybor City; information courtesy of Leilani Polk,)

With the weather being so lovely, it's prime time to take a stroll at Corey Avenue's Sidewalk Sale. More than 17 merchants clear out merchandise and offer deep discounts and BOGO deals while live bands perform. Refreshments are served in participating stores, all of which are within walking distance. Free parking. March 9-12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  Corey Avenue, St. Pete Beach. 727-498-8778.

It's hump day. That means the weekend is almost in sight but just a little off in the distance. Decompress with theatrical productions at one of the bay area's esteemed playhouses. The following are a few of the choices on view tonight:

The stunning multi-character memory play by Dael Orlandersmith, Yellowman, opens this evening. It was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the title role focuses on an African-American woman who dreams of life beyond the confines of her small-town Southern upbringing — and the light-skinned man whose fate is tragically intertwined with hers. The play explores the negative associations surrounding male blackness as well as the effect these racial stereotypes have on black women. The Jobsite production is directed by Karla Hartley and stars Fanni Green and Jim Wicker. Runs through March 27. $24.50, $10 rush. Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. 813-229-7827. Side note: Check next week's issue (March 17) for Mark E. Leib's review of the play.

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