SCENE BREAKER: Festival scores star, freeFall scores décor and SaraSolo score = one soloist down

click to enlarge TABLE FOR EIGHT? Bright Lights, Big City at freeFall. - Kevin Tighe
Kevin Tighe
TABLE FOR EIGHT? Bright Lights, Big City at freeFall.

Here’s what’s behind the curtain this week in Tampa Bay theater…

BRIGHT LIGHTS? CHECK. BIG CITY? CHECK. CHEAP TABLES? SCORE! Among other distinctions, freeFall Theatre is famous for immersive audience seating schemes tailored by show, depositing patrons on mismatched institutional day-room chairs for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and funky sofas and pillows for Man of La Mancha. (There’s always traditional riser seating available for patrons who fear proximity to actors.) So the perfect trick for the musical adaptation of Jay McInerney’s 1984 live-fast-die-young novel Bright Lights, Big City opening this weekend was pretty obvious: NYC nightclub seating, ‘80s style, complete with hi-top tables. The problem was that those hi-tops can cost about as much as all the blow that was snorted off them, a stiff bill for an item that would be needed only for a few weeks. Thanks to that post-’80s miracle Craigslist, freeFall propsmaster Timothy Saunders managed to score 14 hi-tops for a grand total of $275, plus two tickets to the show. Which is Reason Number 9 that propspeople are the Greatest American Heroes.

FESTIVAL 2.0 LANDS CELEB #1: The Tampa Bay Theatre Festival just announced that stage & screen star Harry Lennix will appear at the festival’s second annual outing this September. Even if you don’t know the name, you’ll remember Lennix’s chin dimple from memorable turns in the Matrix sequels (as that tall military guy who was such a dick to Morpheus), in Man of Steel (as that tall military guy who was such a dick to Superman) and in an episode of House (as that delightful, dying jazz trumpeter to whom House was such a dick). At the festival, Lennix will teach an acting workshop and showcase the 2013 film H4, which reimagines Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays in modern LA, with Lennix as Henry. FUN FACT: Lennix made his Broadway debut in August Wilson’s Radio Golf, a newer production of which just happens to be taking its final bow this Sunday afternoon at American Stage, with Alan Bomar Jones taking over for Lennix.

SPEAKING OF ALAN BOMAR JONES: Tonight at 7:30 in the Studio Theatre at Hillsborough Community College Ybor, HCC Ybor Theatre students will perform a free staged reading of Bus Start, a new play by the busy Jones himself. Harry Lennix had nothing to do with it. So there.

SOME SHOW MUST GO ON: A family illness has scratched solo performer Zach Dorn from this weekend’s final performances in the inaugural SaraSolo festival of one-person plays in SaraSota. Stepping into the Dorn-shaped hole will be improv artist Christine Alexander with On the Brink of the Next, in which she will improv up an entire original story based on starting points provided by the audience via index card. Those who already saw Alexander in her original SaraSolo slot last Sunday… didn’t see this one. The closing weekend also features such solo acts as John Devennie performing the Poe tale Hop-Frog, Ann Morrison’s The Real Peter Pan and Rod Rawlings with Mark Twain Turns 70 – Words & Songs.

“FIRST THING WE DO, LET’S KILL ALL THE LAWYERS”: Saturday night at [email protected], Judge My Case Productions presents Night Court After Dark, a comedy featuring original songs, dance numbers and “a one-of-a-kind audience participation game,” which sounds like fun but is probably best avoided by those freeFall patrons who like to sit in the back.

Got a tip for SCENE BREAKER? Email Scene Breaker in care of A&E Editor Julie Garisto, [email protected]

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