Here’s what’s behind the curtain this week in Tampa Bay theater…
IF ANDY KAUFMAN FRIENDED HIM, THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME: If strict observance of reality is not really one of your hangups, you can now Friend artificial human “Barney Cashman” on Facebook. The amiable, schlubby fishmonger at the center of Neil Simon’s classic ‘60s extramarital flingcom Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Cashman is the temporary alter-ego of actor Greg Thompson, who opens the role in tomorrow night’s preview at Stageworks Theatre. BC’s bogus Facebook page features his own sixties-stuck stati plus visits from the actresses (and/or their characters) who are the objects of Cashman’s comically inept affections: Natalie Symons, Erin Foster and Susan Haldeman.
THEY WEREN’T ALSO CALLED “STINKARDS” FOR NOTHING: When 500 or so “groundlings” packed the garbage-coated, SRO yard in front of the stage at the Globe Theatre in Shakespeare’s day, enjoyment of the afternoon’s play was often undermined (or enhanced) by any or all of the following activities: fisticuffs, pickpocketing, indiscriminate urination, events of a prostitutionary nature, and the hurling of rotten tomatoes and/or other objects at the actors and/or the snotty swells in the upper boxes. (Think the Trop, when the Yankees visit.) Although the new Tampa Shakespeare Festival, now rotating Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet at Water Works Park downtown, has preserved some traditions of Elizabethan theater — outdoor stage, lavish costumes, big voices, scenery left to the viewer’s imagination — it has thusfar largely escaped groundlingism among its 250 (and counting) patrons, save for a little boy who pointed a toy gun at Romeo and peeped BANG! during the balcony scene on opening night. The company is also bucking Globe policy by welcoming pets and/or children to the show, and by not charging admission. The groundlings paid a penny. Tuppence for an upgrade to a chair.
MOVABLE TYPECASTING: According to co-star Matthew McGee, American Stage’s Gutenberg! The Musical! tunefully quotes dozens of classic Broadway shows. McGee suggests patrons might make a game by keeping a running tally of the aural allusions they can catch and name. Also starring Joey Panek, the two-man (plus pianist) musical spoof is about a pair of aspiring playwrights who perform a backers’ audition for their new musical about the only Bible printer anyone’s ever heard of. FUN FACT: The real Gutenberg fumbled his financing and wound up losing his press and half the bibles in court to his investors. He was a lot like a playwright.
HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE ARCHDUCHESS HARRIET GRISELDA FINSTER AARHORN SCANDOP-BOOMLF? If you’ve been to see Jobsite Theater’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, or if you’re still planning to attend over the run’s remaining three weekends, or if you are just unproductively curious about all things, you might enjoy this quick slice of history and context about the play’s themes and inspirations from the show’s dramaturg, Dr. Antonia Krueger from the Theatre faculty at Eckerd College.
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