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Tops this week: ‘Marjorie Prime’ opens at American Stage, solo virtuoso Deb Margolin


Facts are stubborn things, except when they’re not. In Jordan Harrison’s 2015 Pulitzer finalist, Marjorie Prime, set in 2050, a widow in her mid-80s gets a new companion. Walter Prime, a holographic creation that looks and speaks like her late husband, Walter. He helps Marjorie cope, in part by gradually erasing some details of her past and adding more pleasant memories.

"We all have histories that we replay," said director Stephanie Gularte of American Stage. "And wouldn’t it be nice if we could make that history a little more interesting?"

The show is a co-production with Capital Stage of Sacramento, Calif., which Gularte co-founded. The producing artistic director of American Stage said she finds collaboration energizing. It will also save costs, since one cast will perform the show opening this weekend, then do it at Capital Stage on May 2 through June 3. Two cast members, Brock D. Vickers and Steven Sean Garland, hail from Florida or Georgia while Janis Stevens and Jamie Jones are based in California. (Locals may remember Stevens, however, from her performance in 4000 Miles and as the director of last season’s Sex With Strangers.) Runs Friday through April 1 at Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $39. A preview starts at 8 p.m. Thursday and costs $29. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org.


Playwright and performance artist Deb Margolin will be on stage for just one night, but those two hours could change your life. That’s how magnetic she is. Margolin, who teaches playwriting and performance at Yale University, won an Obie Award for sustained excellence in performance. Her one-woman show, 8 Stops, is about "the interstitial moments in life where nothing happens in the Aristotelian sense of the word, a comedy about the grief of endless compassion."

Margolin told the Tampa Bay Times she feels most alive on the stage. "I get instantly aware of the wide waste of privilege," she said. "Who gets to do that, who is more lucky than I?"

Her mantra, she tells students, "is to say, ‘What can I not die without having talked about?’?"

7:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of South Florida’s Theatre 2, 3829 USF Holly Drive, Tampa. Free. theatreanddance.arts.usf.edu.


Margaret Cho was born in San Francisco in 1968, the peak of the counterculture. The daughter of Korean immigrants grew up in the Haight-Ashbury district among "old hippies, ex-druggies, burnouts, drag queens and Chinese people," Cho has said. "To say it was a melting pot — that’s the least of it."

Cho has starred in ABC and Lifetime sitcoms, a solo Broadway show, been nominated for multiple Emmys and Grammys, and won an LA Pride lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the LGBTQ community. Cho described her second comedy music album, American Myth, as a "glamorous and glittering tribute to family, comedy, anger, fame, gayness, grief, fat pride, love and hate." 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday, and 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, at Tampa Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $25. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.


Hat Trick Theatre has already extended the scheduled run of What the Bellhop Saw by a week. Georgie Leach is splurging on a pricey New York hotel for a romantic getaway, which turns out to be the site of a potential terrorist attack. Characters in the farce include a bumbling FBI agent, a writer, an ambitious hotel maid and a bellhop with tricks up his sleeve. Opens today and runs through March 25 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $24. (727) 791-7400. For showtimes, go to rutheckerdhall.com.

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Tops this week: ‘Marjorie Prime’ opens at American Stage, solo virtuoso Deb Margolin