Here’s a List of Theatre Productions Coming to Tampa Bay this January
January 1, 2023
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but to me, the start of a new year always feels like a delicate fresh start, full of life and possibility and the ability to be crushed at any moment. Kind of like a toddler’s pet hamster.
This year, I urge all the creative types as well as the not-so-creative types to tack on “engaging and supporting local art” to their New Year’s resolution lists.
One way to do that: See more live theatre. We’re making that a little easier for you.
Here’s your January lineup of live theatre and shows all across Tampa, St. Pete, and Sarasota. As always, there are five hand-picked “must sees” topping the list.We’ve got a jam-packed month this January, start off on a good foot by seeing something that surprises you.
This list is written and compiled by Abby Baker, and if you don’t see your theater on here, feel free to shoot me an email.
#1 American Stage Crimes of the Heart (Jan. 11-Feb.5)
It’s not everyday that you I yourself hunched over, contacts stuck to my eyeballs and reading a script at two in the morning. Except when I took a crack at the ‘80s classic, Crimes of the Heart. This American Stage production is a drama that takes a look at a Mississippi family who have banded together after one of the three sisters shot her husband. The story alone is deeply sick and interesting, and watching these flawed characters bicker, bond, and show deep wounds of insecurity hidden in southern twang is going to be a wild ride. I think stories like this one are easy to see yourself reflected in, and if you want to access those feelings, this is one show to hunker down with.
#2 Florida Studio Theatre (FTS) Network (Jan. 25-March 19)
Kicking off during the tail end of January, Sarasota’s Florida Studio Theatre is tackling Network, the story of a desperate news anchor whose on-screen meltdown lands him glory at the network. The meltdown? Induced by his looming lay off prompted by low views. The glory? Derived from a fascination with his outburst by the public, causing his ratings to soar. It’s comparable to a publicly-denounced online troll finding popularity because of how unlikeable they are. A lot of people could benefit from seeing this comparison on stage. I need to see this on stage because the main character sounds like a car crash you can’t look away from. Plus, this once on-Broadway show is getting its regional premier.
#3 Straz Center for the Performing Arts Hamilton (Through Jan. 22)
It’s completely expected that Hamilton would make this list, because who has not seen the show since it arrived on Disney Plus? I don’t care. It’s a shameless mainstream production that I think everyone will delight in watching in Tampa, even if you’ve seen it before. It’s a musical that people who hate musicals like. Indulge yourself with the rest of the masses.
#4 Stage West Playhouse La Cage Aux Folles (Jan. 13-29) La Cage Aux Folles! It’s the story mirroring “The Birdcage" that debuted before the Robin William’s film ever existed. In its theatre form, this show is an iconic gay musical that both pulls at the heartstrings and produces belly laughs. Two partnered men, nightclub owners, are ripped from their beautifully colorful lives to entertain a starkly conservative family that one of our beloved nightclub owner’s sons is marrying into. Said son loves this woman, and he’s determined to make a “good impression” on her family by faking it as the white-picket traditional American family. It’s a ton of fun. Plus, the famous “I Am What I Am” song typically finalizes the production, and I’m dying to see it live.
#5 Urbanite Theatre Birds of North America (Jan. 6-Feb. 12) Just based on the name of this Urbanite production, it sounds academic and boring, but the story is incredibly relatable. A father and daughter pair grow apart as the daughter grows up and their political views change. The family connection that was once enough isn’t enough to keep them grounded. I think a lot of people can resonate with feeling isolated around former friends and forever family after the 2016 election, not to mention the global pandemic. Urbanite seems to have a knack for two-person dramas, and hopefully this production follows in The Burdens footsteps. 1487 2nd St., Sarasota Urbanitetheatre.com
Sarasota Opera House Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute(Jan. 16) 61 N Pineapple Ave., Sarasota sarasotaopera.org
West Coast Players Little Shop of Horrors (Jan. 20-Feb. 5) 21905 US-19, Clearwater Wcplayers.com
Jobsite @ Straz Center for the Performing Arts Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Jan. 11-Feb. 5) 1010 . W C MacInnes Pl., Tampa Strazcenter.org
Studio Grand Central Heathers - the Musical: High School Edition (Jan. 27th - 29th) 2260 1st Ave S, St. Petersburg studiograndcentral.com freeFall Theatre USF New Voices (Jan. 13-14) The Agitators (Jan. 27 - Feb. 26) 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg Freefalltheatre.com
Asolo Repertory Theatre Stick Fly (Jan. 3-22) 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota Asolorep.org Florida Studio Theatre (FTS) What the Constitution Means to Me (Through Feb. 26) Something Rotten (Through Jan. 14) 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota floridastudiotheatre.org/play
Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre Elvis Birthday Bash(Jan. 8) TFO: An American in Paris (Jan. 8) Riverdance (Jan. 17-19) The World of Musicals (Jan. 22) 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater rutheckerdhall.com/events
Duke Energy Center for the Arts - Mahaffey Theater Sleeping Beauty (Jan. 6) Gershwin’s An American in Paris (Jan. 7) The Rocket Man Show (Jan. 13) Aretha: Queen of Soul (Jan. 14)
Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony (Jan. 21) Glenn Miller Orchestra (Jan. 22) The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston starring Belinda Davids (Jan. 27) 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg themahaffey.com/shows-and-events