50TH ANNIVERSARY: FLORIDA ORCHESTRA
The Florida Orchestra opens its 50th season with Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, one of the most explosive pieces of classical music being played today. (The Buccaneers often use it to rev up the crowd.)
"It's a spectacular way to open the 50th anniversary, one of the most iconic pieces of all," music director Michael Francis said.
Soloists include soprano Madison Leonard, fresh off a run with the Washington National Opera (as the High Priestess in Aida); tenor John Kaneklides, a St. Petersburg Opera favorite; and Canadian-American baritone Michael Nyby, who has won praise for his interpretation of the Carmina Burana.
8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.
Freefall Theatre is ready to go with a world premiere of White Fang, based on Jack London's novel about a fighting hybrid wolf-dog. It's a story about being shuffled among three different owners in the Yukon territory, adapted by British playwright Jethro Compton, who is also directing the show.
The theater had to undergo its own survival story following roof damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The show will be held in the auditorium as workers restore Freefall's black box performing space. Opens Friday and runs through Oct. 29 at 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $50, $25 younger than 18. A preview starts at 7 p.m. Thursday and costs $25. (727) 498-5205. freefalltheatre.com.
MAKING LIGHT: CAPITOL STEPS
They started during the Reagan years, congressional staffers letting off steam with skits. Within a few years, the Capitol Steps proved so popular they quit their day jobs. The satirists have been poking bipartisan fun ever since, only now they're professional performers who tour the country.
Judging by the song titles from their recent album, Orange Is the New Barack, the Steps' writers are hanging with a quick pace of current events. Recent tunes include a Mexifornia Medley about President Trump's wall, Hillary's version of I Will Survive, and the disquieting How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea? 7 p.m. Sunday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $45-$65. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.
WHIRLWIND TOUR: BILL BURR
Bill Burr has quite a weekend planned.
"This is my three-day run," he said by phone recently. "Thursday, I fly in early, I go to the Patriots-Buccaneers game. Friday, I get to live my dream and do my stand-up act. Saturday, I go to Florida-LSU. I love Florida."
When you're one of the biggest comics in America, you can do just about anything. After years of grinding it out in clubs, the widely respected, perpetually aggrieved Boston native has moved to comedy's A-list, with a host of successful specials, an animated Netflix sitcom (F Is for Family), a popular podcast (Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast) and more and more acting roles (Breaking Bad, Kroll Show, Daddy's Home). He has been coming to Tampa Bay for years, first in clubs like Side Splitters, and now with shows at 7 and 10 p.m. Friday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. SE, St. Petersburg. $42.50 and up. (727) 892-5767.
Jay Cridlin, Times pop music/culture critic
POSTPONED: ORLANDO PHILHARMONIC: STAR WARS LIVE
Composer John Williams has been nominated for more Academy Awards than anyone else alive. On the all-time list, only Walt Disney has him beat. His most famous work, Star Wars, was named the greatest score ever by the American Film Institute.
Forty years later, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra brings those sounds to the stage with Star Wars Live. In a surprise appearance in April, the composer even joined to conduct some of those hit numbers, from the main theme to the Imperial March and Princess Leia's Theme. 8 p.m. Tuesday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $52.75 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.