Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 05.13.10

Posted May 12, 2010 at 7:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ Sarasota’s MJ auditions for ‘America’s Got Talent’
It’s no secret that 12-year-old Sarasota singer Chris Eisenberg is headed for big things. But whether he made the cut to compete in “America’s Got Talent” is still hush-hush.

Eisenberg, a sixth-grader at Brookside Middle School, auditioned for the NBC talent show last month in Orlando. According to his father, James Amato, little can be said about the process or the results, other than that Eisenberg enjoyed the experience (and challenge) of participating in a mass audition. You know how strict those television contracts can be. Contestants must remain mum for months, despite the urge to shout good news from the rooftops.

Eisenberg made waves this season when he performed as a young Michael Jackson in the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s “Motown ’60s Revue.” The show was such a sold-out success, WBTT added four performances to its February schedule.

If Eisenberg’s hometown popularity is any indication of his television bankability, we predict ratings of gold.

Jacobs in drag leaves audiences howling for more
Somebody needs to give Nate Jacobs an award. His Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe was on fire this season. After enjoying sold-out shows all year, the troupe wrapped its 10th anniversary Sunday night with its final performance of “Jar the Floor,” at Art Center Sarasota.

Like almost every other WBTT production, “Jar the Floor” was full of heart, wit and surprise performances, including Jacobs’ uproarious turn as the brassy Lola, a flirtatious grandmother with an age complex and biting sense of humor.

The show’s leading ladies — Tammy Elaine, Alice M. Gatling, Jaszy McAllister and Amanda Schlachter — were all wickedly talented and brilliantly cast.

Now factor in this dramatic twist: Jacobs, the troupe’s founder and artistic director, learned Lola’s role in less than 48 hours after actress Paula Farlin bowed out three days before opening night. We repeat: Give this man an award.

+ White’s skit spoofs Sarasota
Those of you who tuned into “Saturday Night Live” May 8 probably caught Golden Girl Betty White in a geriatric “CSI” spoof set in Sarasota.

White played the crime-fighting great aunt of “CSI: Miami” star David Caruso. She even sported a red wig and a pair of Caruso-esque shades.

Paired with SNL alum Rachel Dratch, the 88-year-old White, who hosted “SNL” for the first time in her career Saturday night, trolled Sarasota, investigating the deaths of elderly patients in nursing homes.
As if Courtney Cox’s “Cougar Town” hasn’t made Sarasota’s reputation crusty enough …

+ Dance-centered musical opens to nostalgic crowd
The stars of “Backwards in High Heels” partied old-Hollywood style at an opening night after party Friday, May 7, at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

After dancing on stage for two hours, actresses Christianne Tisdale and Anna Aimee White smiled for the flashbulbs in the Asolo lobby. White stars as the effervescent Rogers, and Tisdale juggles the roles of Ethel Merman, Bette Davis, Martha May, Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich.

“Most little girls my daughter’s age grew up watching Madonna music videos,” said White’s dad, Tom, who flew in from Nebraska with his wife, Karen, for the show’s opening weekend. “Anna grew up watching old Gene Kelly movies.”



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