Cardboard cutouts clad with cartoon superheroes and banners featuring beloved Hollywood starlets bedeck the walls of the Movies at Wellington lobby, reminding patrons why film viewing has become such a time-tested American pastime. Buttered popcorn kernels glint through front counters like diamonds in a jewelry-store case, luring those who want a snack while watching the newest releases in digital projection or innovative RealD 3D display. Guests can also question ticket takers about birthday-party packages for 25 guests, which offer unlimited popcorn, soda refills, and a tour of the attic, in which the projectionist stores his hand puppets.
Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space?s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader?s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include independent film and live stage shows, shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
Classical, opera, and popular orchestral compositions make up the repertoire of the Southwest Florida Symphony, which has made quality programming its mission since 1961. Aiming to make music accessible to all, the symphony visits schools, offers scholarships, books youth-friendly concerts, and provides a friendly First-Timer’s Guide for new audience members unfamiliar with the proper way of applauding.
The Sarasota Film Society's two theaters—foreign-and-independent-film-spotlighting Burns Court Cinemas and mainstream-flick-running Lakewood Ranch Cinemas—function as a nonprofit organization dedicated to heightening film entertainment and education options in the area. A one-year single membership grants a free pass for one movie (an $8 value) and one popcorn (a $4 value), as well as $5 tickets and free popcorn refills (a $4 value each) at all regular screenings for the remainder of the year. Early access to tickets means members never have to feel the shame of being the last person they know to cry about a Pixar movie, and discounted tickets to all Film Society festivals and special events allows members to compare their Sergio Leone trivia thresholds. Alternatively, two movie tickets (a $16 value) and one large popcorn (a $4 value) valid at either theater rescue customers from another night of staying in to watch their DVR's directorial debut about the living room's seedy underbelly.
As a part of its continuing mission to promote the cultural and economic impacts of independent filmmaking, the not-for-profit St. Petersburg–Clearwater Film Society hosts the annual Sunscreen Film Festival. Each day of the four-day festival packs in more than 12 hours of short- and feature-film screenings, as well as workshops on the filmmaking process, such as "Tips for Creating a Talking Picture." Local documentarians and producers of comedic shorts, genre pieces, or feature-length films showcase their work for eager audiences and industry professionals. Myriad workshops cover aspects of screenwriting and acting as well as promotional arts such as how to land an agent or how to use social media as an advertising and networking tool. Many nights also feature concerts and after parties, allowing auteurs, musicians, and audience members to mingle.
A Broadway hit and 12-time Tony Award winner, Mel Brooks' The Producers features the exploits of con men Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, whose attempt to produce a flop on the Great White Way goes mirthfully awry. Accompanied by a live orchestra and the full-color guffaws of fellow audience members, The Producers ensures a side-stitching, knee-slapping, stranger-high-fiving good time. Currently in its 25th season, Lakeland Community Theatre has given thousands of local performers a spot on stage and ushered untold numbers of plot twists past the awe-struck eyes of more than 325,000 audience members. Its performance space in the Lake Mirror Theatre Complex is sited a short distance from an array of shops and restaurants, ensuring an evening of ample eye, ear, and mouth feasting.