November in the arts: Let’s all Van Gogh to the Dali


Van Gogh’s actual canvases aren’t coming to St. Petersburg – not this year, anyway – but starting Nov. 21 we’ll have what may be the next best thing. The multi-media Van Gogh Alive, created by the Australian company Grande Experiences, will make its first stop in the United States right here at the Salvadore Dali Museum.

Alive, which has thrilled, chilled and inspired audiences in 50 cities from Sydney to Zurich, is immersive to the extreme: It is a Van Gogh environment, with more than 3,000 high-definition projected images at enormous scale, synchronized to a classical score. It’s a 45-minute walk-through experience, which the company, on its website, describes thusly:

Van Gogh Alive transports visitors to another time and place, immersing them in the artist’s’ world. Adults and children alike wander throughout the space, exploring nooks and crannies and engaging with the experience in a manner that transcends traditional installations.

If this Dali run (through April 11) is successful, you can bet we’ll see more of the Aussies’ “Traveling Blockbuster Experiences”; they’ve got immersive Monet and Da Vinci shows in their catalogue.


In “Drilled!: The Musical”: Mario Gonzalez, Chris Loving and Bailee McQueen . All photos provided by Bill Leavengood.

“I thought, I can make fun of everything ridiculous going on in our county through a visit to the dentist,” St. Petersburg playwright Bill Leavengood told us when Drilled! The Musical premiered in 2019. “And that’s where it all started.” Leavengood (Webb’s City: The Musical) recently had a staged version of his musical dental comedy professionally filmed as Drilled – The Covid Edition. Starring Chris Loving, Bailee McQueen and Mario Gonzalez, with choreography by Peyton Lustig and Scenic Design by Brad Miller, the 70-minute Drilled! is a “comic nightmare” that pairs dentistry (with attendant fear) with American politics. Perfect for Election week! It’s a “pay what you can” stream here through Nov. 3.

Tampa’s LAB Theater project opens Jeff Slaff’s drama Lies Thursday. You have two options to check it out – live as part of a small, safe audience, or livstreamed. Running through Nov. 22, Lies was a semifinalist for this year’s O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, and was also the 2019 Grand Prize winner of the 88th annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.


Janis Stevens, in “Marjorie Prime”

California-based actress Janis Stevens, who appeared so memorably at American Stage in Marjorie Prime and Long Day’s Journey Into Night, returns for the second show in the theater’s latest virtual series. Stevens will star in the one-woman show Kate – The Unexamined Life of Katharine Hepburn, by Rick Foster. The 60-minute tour-de-force will be available starting Nov. 11. Its predecessor in the American Stage “Reimagine” season, Rachel Lynett’s Letters to Kamala (featuring, among others, the amazing Dee Selmore (Skeleton Crew), continues through Nov. 8.

The Palladium Theater has that whole “small capacity and social distancing” thing down, no Covidian issues, which means there are a number of new live performances on the calendar this month. To wit: The rock ‘n’ roll band Have Gun Will Travel Nov. 6 (this Friday), the jazz trio La Lucha’s long-postponed CD release party for Everybody Wants to Rule the World Nov. 8, Maestro Mark Sforzini and the Tampa Bay Symphony Nov. 10, vocalist Ona Kirei’s Jazz Tribute to the Beatles Nov. 13, saxophonist Jeremy Carter (another great jazz show) Nov. 20, and blues guitarist/singer Damon Fowler Nov. 25.

Although limited, like everybody else, by Covid restrictions, the Florida Orchestra is still managing to make music (in the Mahaffey Theater) during November, with Byron Stripling conducting, playing trumpet and doing all the honors for Ragtime Kings Nov. 8 and 9. Up next is Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, conducted by Stuart Malina Nov. 14 and 15 sharing those dates with Brass With a Beat, with Daniel Black conducting.

At the Straz Center, we’re looking at a November to remember, with the Jobsite Theatre production of Frankenstein, the Modern Prometheus (with Giles Davies) onstage in the Jaeb through Nov. 8, the musical Always … Patsy Cline (sharing stagetime at the Jaeb) Nov. 5 (this Thursday) through Dec. 6, and the one-woman show Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (starring Andresia Moseley) in the Jaeb Nov. 11-Dec. 2.

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s sixth annual SHINE Mural Festival, reduced in size this year but not in stature, begins Nov. 7 (this Saturday); 10 city walls be be transformed daily through the 14th.

As expected, freeFall Theatre’s “drive-in radio” production of War of the Worlds has been held over, through Dec. 6.

The annual Suncoast Jazz Festival will be held virtually this year, Nov. 20-22.

About the author


Keara McGraw