SCENE BREAKER: The Hat Trick has landed, a Gorilla goes forth, and Manhattan takes another Tampan

Here’s what’s behind the curtain this week in Tampa Bay theatre...

“WHO’S LOOKING FORWARD TO A CAREER IN FREEFALL?” More than just a popular Bay Area actor, drag artist and pretty face, Matthew McGee (The Scott & Patti Show, freeFall Theatre’s Into the Woods) is also freeFall’s Community Outreach Director. In that capacity, McGee stepped up for the Great American Teach-In today, talking with kids at St. Pete’s Gibbs High School and Pinellas Park’s Skyview Elementary about careers in professional theater. McGee says students peppered him with questions about “acting, freeFall and drag,” which just goes to show how much school has changed. Or hasn’t. Tomorrow McGee hits Buchanan Middle School in Tampa.

HOME IS WHERE YOU HANG YOUR HAT TRICK: The rambunctious Hat Trick Theatre company (William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, Unnecessary Farce) has had more homes than John McCain, including the Silver Meteor Gallery, the Shimberg Playhouse and the Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center up in the uncharted wilderness of Pasco County. But this spring, Hat Trick will move into the newly renovated, 150-seat Murray Studio Theater at Ruth Eckerd Hall as the Murray's resident company. The move is something of a homecoming for Hat Trick — which dabbles in all genres but specializes in productions featuring physical comedy and stage combat — as several key players made their bones with the now-defunct Eckerd Theater Company (ETC).

IT STOPS BEING A COMEBACK IF YOU JUST KEEP GOING: Winner of the “Best theater comeback” BotB award this year for its sparkling run of An Iliad, the Gorilla Theatre has proved the award no fluke by announcing a 2015 mainstage season and other programs on a spiffed-up website. Upcoming productions include Jane Martin’s H2O and Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, a flip side to The Odyssey.

SAY “CHULALONGKORN” THREE TIMES FAST: Then just 15 years old and living in South Tampa, Jon Viktor Corpuz took a long car ride a few years back to try his luck at an open call in New York City, and landed a gig in the one-night promotional skit “

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-->”" target="”_blank”">Godspell Cast of 2032” on Broadway. Now still in his teens and a NYC resident, Corpuz has since done Shakespeare with Julie Taymor and played a featured role in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular . And come April, he’ll appear at Lincoln Center as Prince Chulalongkorn in the umpteenth New York revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I , starring Ken Watanabe. In your FACE , Justin Bieber.

LAUGHTER FROM THE 23RD ROW: As part of its Spotlight Series of afterplay chats, American Stage Company will follow Sunday’s performance of Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor with a talkback featuring the cast. It’s a crackerjack group, so unscripted hilarity is likely.

INVITE THE KETTLES OVER FOR THANKSGIVING — MA MIGHT COOK: Monday night, the WMNF Radio Theatre Project will record a live radio adaptation of Betty MacDonald’s 1945 memoir, The Egg and I, at Studio@620. The story was popular on the old Lux Radio Theatre, in part for introducing listeners to comic rubes Ma and Pa Kettle, who later had their own film series. Also featuring another episode in the continuing “Noel Berlin, Cabaret Detective” series, the taping is open to the public.

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

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