St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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Stage: hot ticket

By JOHN FLEMING, Times Performing Arts Critic
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 26, 2002

Turning misfortune into music

If not for Paul Wittgenstein, the world would have never had Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand. Wittgenstein, a Viennese pianist, had his right arm shot off while serving in the Austrian army during World War I. Rather than let that misfortune ruin his musical career, he commissioned more than a dozen left-hand works for piano from such eminent composers as Hindemith, Prokofiev, Britten, Strauss and Korngold. Many of the others are well worth hearing, but the Ravel concerto, which premiered in 1932, is a jazzy masterpiece.

French pianist Pascal Roge, above, is the left-hand soloist with the Florida Orchestra in its masterworks season-opening concerts this weekend. Also on the program, with guest conductor Pavel Kogan, are Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien and Respighi's Pines of Rome.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets: $20-$42, with student rush tickets available one hour before concerts at $12. (813) 286-2403 (Hillsborough) or toll-free 1-800-662-7286.

Fiddling with dance

[Publicity photo]

Choreographer and dancer Michael Foley, above, is the featured artist as Moving Current Dance Collective opens its sixth season. Foley's Unkilted, for five dancers with fiddle and pipe music from Cape Breton, makes its debut on a program called SubTexture. Foley dances in his work as well as in Unseen Eyes, a new work by co-director Cynthia Hennessy. Other choreographers represented are co-director Erin Cardinal, Frankie Hart and Lisa Tobias.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Theater 2 of the University of South Florida in Tampa. Tickets: $6 and $12 (cash only). (813) 237-0216.

A lawyer, a priest and an atheist

It was director Wendy Leigh (also director of The Pavilion at American Stage) who brought together the principals who make up So a Lawyer, a Priest and an Atheist Walk Into a Bar . . . They are, from left, John McGivern (who went to seminary before going into show business), Doug Cooney (a lawyer turned performance artist) and Rob Nash (a writer and comedian). Under Leigh, the threesome developed the theater piece that premieres this weekend at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Shimberg Playhouse.

"They're all raised Catholic, all gay," Leigh says. "They're smart, they're funny, they're great performers. There's some interaction, but it's basically a triple bill. They all started out Catholic and have come to different places spiritually. It deals with their professional journey as well as their spiritual journey."

Lawyer, Priest, Atheist has shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15.50. (813) 229-7827 or toll-free 1-800-955-1045 or

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