Shows in the 13th annual Orlando Fringe Festival, which begins this weekend, run the gamut, from Orlando Opera singing The Mini Magic Flute to edgy drama such as Neil LaBute's Bash: Medea, starring Mia Perovetz, to Michael Andrew as The Nutty Professor; from Respect: The Musical Journey of Women, a revue created by Dorothy Marcic, to Fiely A. Matias and Dennis T. Giacino as gay roommates in search of a male stripper in The Naked Guy.
A typical madcap Fringe show is Prisoners of Love, starring, above, Elena Day, formerly the Green Bird in Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba, and Andy Sapora, a onetime Flying Karamazov Brother. As a press release puts it, they "put themselves on trial under charges of mixing codependency with love in an original comedy. . . . Their defense will be based on juggling and physical comedy. They intend to appeal to the jury with poetic imagery and, if all else fails, they will try to appear cute." There are seven shows Friday through May 30 at Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E Princeton St. $8.
In all, the 10-day festival offers about 500 performances by 100 artists at various venues in and around downtown Orlando and Loch Haven Park. The free opening night gala is at 8 tonight at Heritage Square Park, Magnolia Avenue and Central Boulevard. From Friday through May 30, shows are scheduled from 6 to 11 p.m. on weekdays and from noon to 11 p.m. on weekends. You need a $5 Fringe button plus the price of the ticket. Advance tickets are available at the Fringe Central North Info Booth, 812 Rollins St., or at the Fringe Web site, www.orlandofringe.com
Pops: "Star-Spangled Spectacular'
Although Richard Hayman hasn't been on the Florida Orchestra's podium for a couple of years, his work is well known to the players and their audiences - not to mention the millions who have enjoyed his work with artists ranging from Johnny Cash to Johnny Carson. A famed arranger for Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Hayman has arranged and conducted recordings for countless stars, and has 45 original compositions to his credit. With his orchestra, he has recorded 23 albums for Mercury Records.
This weekend, Hayman leads the orchestra in a Super Pops program billed as a Star-Spangled Spectacular. Expect all kinds of patriotic compositions, which might include a salute to the armed forces, a patriotic sing-along, Take Me Out to the Ball Game and tunes from musicals such as Oklahoma! And expect some surprises - the program wasn't entirely firmed up at press time.
The orchestra performs at 8 p.m. Friday at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $21-$45. 813 286-2403, toll-free 1-800-662-7286; or www.floridaorchestra.org