What’s happening on Tampa Bay stages: Comic Loni Love, composer Elizabeth A. Baker

Plus, ‘Streamers’ opens at Carrollwood Players, the Studio@620’s improv show and Your Real Stories hits the ArtsXchange.
Published August 21

REAL WOMAN: Loni Love

Loni Love has never been at a loss for words, dating back to her first forays into standup in the early 2000s. But now, the whole world is listening. In 2018, she won a Daytime Emmy as one of the hosts of the syndicated daytime show The Real, and this summer, she became the first woman to host the Essence Festival in New Orleans. She also teamed up with none other than Oprah Winfrey to become a spokeswoman for WW (formerly Weight Watchers). But she’s funny first and foremost, and you’ll find out why when she hits the Tampa Improv in Ybor City this weekend. $25 and up. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday. 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.

TOY WONDER: Elizabeth A. Baker

Saying Elizabeth A. Baker plays toy pianos is like saying the Hubble telescope takes photos. The St. Petersburg experimental composer, author and co-founder of the Florida International Toy Piano Festival creates deep and evocative compositions from an array of instruments — toy pianos among them — that feel particularly engrossing in a live setting. She has performed, and her work has been performed, as far away as Europe. But her latest program, Intersect, will bring performers from around the world to her. The performance will feature sounds, words and visuals from artists of color and in the LGBTQ community creating “connections and dialogue” about the world we live in. “It is work that I have presented across North America, but haven’t had the chance to present here at home,” she said in an email. “Hopefully, in coming to this performance, my hometown understands a little bit more about what I’m doing on the outside of our borders, why people are commending me for pushing boundaries in my field, and the uniqueness of the whole experience will be a source of communal pride.” $30 and up. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.

MIX IT UP: The Bitter And

Ever the punsters, local improv troupe The Bitter And is holding a “Murder of Shows” at the Studio@620 this weekend for their season finale. It’s not clear whether it’s murder-themed or they were just being clever. Either way, they’ll be joined by fellow troupes Hawk and Wayne and Okay Google to bring a one-hour comedy set. Then the event switches gears and features musical performances by Black Bear, Mouth Council and Rogerthomas. $10. 6 p.m. Friday. 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620. thestudio@620.org.

VIETNAM PLAY: Streamers

Not that you wouldn’t expect for a play about the Vietnam War to be heavy, but this one sounds especially so. Written by David Rabe in the 1970s, part of a quartet of his “Vietnam plays,” Streamers opens at Carrollwood Players this weekend. It’s set in the army barracks housing and centered around the “streamers,” the parachutists who could fall to their deaths at any time should their chute not open. They’re a motley crue, awaiting deployment, including a new recruit, a street-wise refugee, a sarcastic, bitter homosexual and their two ineffectual sergeants. Enter Carlyle, a seething, psychotic man whose presence sets off an escalating spiral of violence and tragedy. $20-$23. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa. (813) 265-4000. carrollwoodplayers.org.

THEATRICAL JOURNALISM: Your Real Stories

Your Real Stories is a monthly community event that combines journalism with theater. Local persons of note are interviewed, and their stories are turned into scripts and played out by local actors. This month, their Off the Wall presentation features artist-entrepreneur Catherine Weaver, who owns Uniquely Original Arts. She’ll be portrayed by local actor Renata Eastlick. The concept was created by Lillian Dunlap and Jaye Sheldon, born out of their Decades of Day Work project, in which they interviewed people who were domestic day workers. They presented the project at the Studio@620, where it took off and bred a number of community projects, and the organization now operates out of the ArtsXchange. Free. 7 p.m. Tuesday. 515 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg. yourrealstories.blog.

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