Friday, December 29, 2006

Last performance for James Brown

I never got to see James Brown live (definitely my bad), but I very early on purchased his "Live at the Apollo" album -- yes, album -- recorded in 1962.

I also saw the 1964 T.A.M.I. movie, which -- as I recall -- showed a very frightened Mick Jagger backstage, worried about trying to follow Brown's kinetic act. Although it might just have easily been The Animals who were concerned. I'll have to watch again. By the way, the initials stood for Teenage Awards Music International, which I didn't know until I just looked it up, but it still doesn't make much sense.

In the 1960s, my Maryland high school was pretty evenly split between the "soul" and the "hippie" music factions. Both sides had merit, but the ones in the soul camp had a much easier time dancing.

For good or ill, Brown influenced Jagger, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen (who lovingly stole JB's show closer), Prince and Paul McCartney (just kidding on Sir Paul).

He had a lot of personal problems with substances and the law, but his music still stands.

And now Brown's last performance was to lie "in state" at that same Apollo theater in Harlem. What a way to go. -- MichaelK/TBPAC

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Amy Speace, Red Molly double up

I caught Amy Speace at a little club in Nashville during the September Americana Music Association conference and she was absolutely one of the highlights.

I knew she was based in New York, but imagine my surprise when I noted a listing for Speace and her band at the catchily named Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction on Avenue A in NYC on a rare free night.

(With a name like that, you might expect a massage during the show, but I digress.)

There are a couple of performance spaces in Mo's, and Amy cranked up in an upstairs room around 9:30. I got to hear some of the great songs I had liked from her CD, "Songs for Bright Street."

At one point, she was joined on some harmony by two singers from Red Molly. I had arrived too late to catch their opening set, and hadn't heard of them before. But I bought a CD, which now has a prime position on my CD player.

I also signed up for their mailing list and you can hear the rest from them directly. -- MichaelK/TBPAC

Hi everybody:
2006 has been an amazing year for Red Molly! We released our first
full-length album, we broke into the top 30 on the Radio & Records
Americana Chart, we won the Emerging Artist Showcase at the Falcon
Ridge Folk Festival (which is where we formed the band two years

Also, we were featured in Bicycling Magazine's Annual Buyer's
Guide, we got our butts into the Naked Folk Calendar, and we met all
of you nice folks, too! We couldn't be happier. THANK YOU so much
for your support all year. It means the world to us.

1. TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2006
We are psyched that "Never Been to Vegas" has been selected as one of
the top 10 albums of 2006 on the Online Folk Festival. We're in very
good company, including Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan! Check out
the whole list here:

Red Molly is starting off 2007 with a bang. We've got shows at the
Howland Cultural Center (Beacon, NY), the Warwick Valley Winery
(Warwick, NY - indoors and cozy), Rosie's Cafe House Concert (Brick,
NJ), the Parkside Lounge (our NYC home), the Golden Apple (Mt. Kisco,
NY), and the New Legacy Concert Series (Ringwood, NJ). Rock on,

See you soon,
Laurie, Abbie and Carolann
Red Molly
Fan website:

The Magic Flute

I’ve posted about the Metropolitan Opera simulcasting their season before and I just got off the phone with Diane at Citrus Park Stadium 20 and you should know there are 247 tickets sold for The Magic Flute on Sat. Dec. 30th. Diane tells me there are only 35 seats left – so if you want to go – HURRY! You can get tickets by calling Citrus Park Stadium 20 at 813.920.9471.

This is going to be super cool!

-Kari G.

TBPAC's Shimberg Playhouse tops in Tampa says CreLo!

Creative Loafing publishes an annual list of Top 10 area theater productions, which is reserved for local productions from professional theater companies (as opposed to the many touring Broadway shows that also come to town).

TBPAC is typically well-represented in this annual list, and this year we're proud to report that all of the top 3 plays came straight from our own Shimberg Playhouse:

1. The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

Edward Albee's scandalous play is about a world-famous architect who falls in love with a goat, has sex with her and then faces the rage and bafflement of his wife and son. As brilliantly acted by Steven Clark Pachosa in a Jobsite Theater production, protagonist Martin Gray was truly in love; and as he challenged all our assumptions about what is permissible, he made playwright Albee's real theme -- the question, is there an infallible source of our moral law? -- painfully clear. Monica Merryman was terrific as Martin's wife, and Eric Burgess as his gay son was desperately in need of a father he could respect. Director Karla Hartley treated this uniquely passionate and philosophical play with all possible seriousness, and the result was stunning.

2. Frozen

The deliberate murder of a child is among the most horrific of all crimes. But author Bryony Lavery, in her riveting play Frozen, asks us whether a man who himself has been abused and damaged since early childhood can be forgiven for such an atrocity. Lavery shows us the twisted, hateful perpetrator -- played brilliantly by Richard Coppinger -- and also the dead child's stricken mother -- played with heart-rending realism by Monica Merryman. Then she asks us to judge. As directed by Stageworks' Anna Brennen, Frozen was chilling and sad and relentlessly original.

3. The Pillowman

A writer, Katurian, is hauled into a police station in an unnamed totalitarian state. As two cops alternately manhandle and interrogate him, he learns that someone has been carrying out the details of his most violent tales. Is it he himself, or perhaps his mentally challenged brother? Is Katurian culpable for imagining such violence, and is there anything in the world besides story, story and story? Jobsite Theater brought us Martin McDonagh's amazing play in a formidable production, with splendid acting by Steve Garland as Katurian and Paul Potenza as his pitiful, unpredictable brother. The experience was fascinating -- and harrowing.

Another round of applause for these great shows - and also for those who took the time to come and support them, helping ensure that theater stays alive and well in Tampa and at TBPAC. Jobsite Theater, the resident theater company in the Shimberg (and yes, my baby) is gearing up for their production of All the Great Books (abridged), which opens Jan. 12.

It's no secret that the Shimberg is my favorite room on the TBPAC campus. An intimate space that seats up to 130, this black box space ensures you're close enough to see every facial expression and always be engaged by the action. We're hearing more and more from subscribers from our more popular Broadway and Opera series that they absolutely love the variety and quality of the productions. If you haven't seen a show in there before - or if you haven't visited us in a few years - we'd love for you to give us a look.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Last minute holiday ideas

We have a philosophical commitment to not make this blog too sales oriented (as opposed to the blog for Jobsite that I run - I'm shameless over there), but I'd really be remiss if I didn't throw out some things that would make swank gifts. I don't feel so bad about it because I'm constantly hearing stuff like "Oh my god - so-and-so is coming?? Don't you guys advertise? What? It's sold out? How's that possible?"

So here you go, lazy shoppers, a list of shows guaranteed to make that special person swoon. Shows with tickets still available (at the time of the writing of this post anyway).

Not sure what someone may like? Hook them up with a gift certificate and they can make up their own mind.

Opera Diva Deborah Voigt - Jan. 5
State Ballet Theater of Russia's Cinderella - Jan. 6
All the Great Books (abridged) - Jan. 12 - Feb. 4
The Ant and the Grasshopper - Jan. 13
Paula Poundstone - Jan. 19
Jon Stewart - Jan. 20
Monty Python's Spamalot - Jan. 23 - Feb. 4
This is How it Goes - Jan. 25 - Feb. 11
Marc Salem's Mind Games - Jan. 25 - 28
LeRoy Bell - Jan. 29
MOMIX - Feb. 1
Tango Pasion - Feb. 4

-- David J/TBPAC

Getting into character

One of the NY cast members of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee decided to hit the streets of NY in character as "Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre." Check out these You Tube videos as she works a corner hot dog stand … in character:
Want to learn more about "Logainne," check out her My Space page.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Broadway, meet Hollywood

As the saying goes, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." That continues to hold true not just for people but for shows. As of recent years, both Rent and The Producers have found their way to Hollywood and now another NYC success is headed West.

According to, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony-Award winning Doubt will start shooting the movie version in late 2007 and should be in the theaters by 2008. It will be written and directed by the show's original playwright, John Patrick Shanley. Though the play has a cast of four the movie promises to have more characters. Casting hasn't been announced yet.

Also in recent Tony-Award winning Broadway actor goes Hollywood is Dan Fogler (AKA "William Barfee" from the NY cast of Spelling Bee). Though working in small films for quite a few years, most recently he can be seen as "Zack" in School for Scoundrels. He's currently filming several new films including Horton Hears a Who and Kung Fu Panda due out in 2008 and just wrapped several more due out in 2007.

- Angela L.

"The next time you see me coming, you better run ..."*

Now I know how an undertaker feels. Nobody's real happy to see you.

I've been going to New York to see Broadway since the early '90s, but I've never been on a streak like this.

Two shows that I saw in the last two months announced closings immediately afterward.

High Fidelity, based on the Nick Hornby book and resulting movie (but with original music), is closing Sunday after only 14 performances and 18 previews. It purported to tell the story of Rob and his record store buddies, their loves and losses (mostly losses) but to their own soundtrack. The success of Rent notwithstanding, apparently Broadway's not quite ready for this. Or, at least the main New York Times critic isn't. Ben Brantley pretty much hated it, calling it one of his top five most forgettable Broadway musicals, and he couldn't remember the other four. Ha.

But that wasn't as bad as his slam of The Times They Are a Changin', the unlikely pairing of Twyla Tharp's circus choreography, Bob Dylan's music and lyrics and a fever-dream of a plot. "Ms. Tharp," Brantley wrote, "is one of the bona fide, boundary-stretching geniuses of modern dance. And when a genius goes down in flames, everybody feels the burn." The show closed on Nov. 19, after opening on Oct. 26. That's 35 previews and only 28 performances.

I now have two souvenir Playbills.

As the most important critic on the most important newspaper in the theater world, Brantley has the power to close shows in a single bound, um, review. It's a huge responsibility.

The critic will say he's doing you a favor, that he suffers so you don't have to. His responsibility is to his readers, not the theater company, actors, musicians, etc.

That's all true. Especially, apparently, the suffering part.

I have to say that, as a Dylan fan, I liked more parts of Times than I didn't. The ringmaster/MC reminded me of more sinister -- or more obvious -- Engineer from Miss Saigon. And they didn't tart up the vocals too much. I was afraid it would sound like Up With People Sing Dylan! I liked the dancing more in Twarp's previous hit Movin' Out, but that's also the best dancing I've seen in stage in years so perhaps that's unfair comparison.

For any of its faults, High Fidelity had wit and heart and some subtleties perhaps lost on a big stage, but I laughed at tiny bits in homage to Talking Heads and Devo. And Jay Klaitz is the new Jack Black who was the new Chris Farley. Klaitz's Barry still brought down the house with his unlikely R&B finale.

I'll be seeing other new shows soon. I hope I'm not bad luck.

Perhaps not. I did see a little show called Wicked on Friday, Oct. 31, 2003 (yep, Halloween, strangely enough) on only its second official performance and it's done pretty OK.

-Michael K.

* Thanks to Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lewis Black gives local High Schoolers Q&A session

I just had the opportunity to sit in on a very cool Q & A session. Lewis Black and Joe Grafisi are in town working on a staged reading of a play Black wrote called One Slight Hitch. They’re rehearsing and revising with local actors all week here at the Patel Conservatory, but took some time out this afternoon to chat with about 50 high school theater students from area schools. While the students were all familiar with Black’s acting and comedic work, this gave them the rare opportunity to get to know Lewis Black the playwright.

He detailed his journey and the persistence it takes to get a play produced, telling the story of a play he worked on in a New York theater where he wouldn’t even be willing to live if he had been offered free rent. But that was just part of the journey. He and Grafisi also talked about One Slight Hitch and how they have worked together to get the piece to the reading stage it’s in today. His advice to the students? Figure out what it is that you want to do and go for it. Don’t let anyone prevent you from doing so, because it’s your life, not theirs.

Black and Grafisi will follow up each of the staged readings this weekend with post show discussions so the audience can also have an opportunity to learn about the process and contribute their own thoughts.

- Tara M.

Tis the season for giving!

TBPAC and Hairspray are teaming up with Metropolitan Ministries to make the holidays a little brighter for Tampa Bay families. Now through Sunday, bring any unwrapped gift to the TBPAC Ticket Office and receive $20 off tickets to Hairspray (excluding Friday and Saturday evening and price levels 4 & 5). Donations benefit Metropolitan Ministries.

In total, 14,000 Tampa Bay area families (including as many as 21,000 children) receive services from Metropolitan Ministries during the holiday - 7,000 of these families during the 10 days leading up to Christmas. At their Holiday Center, families are provided with a Box of Hope (a traditional holiday meal with a turkey and all the trimmings, along with enough food for several days) as well as health check-ups and toys for children.

Already have your Hairspray tickets but would still like to make a donation? No problem. Just drop your unwrapped gift by the TBPAC Ticket Office and we’ll happily include it in the donation!

- Angela L.

Record breaking Broadway

As of Dec. 10 the five time Tony-Award winner The Drowsy Chaperone broke the Marquis Theatre house record reporting grossing sales of $1.07 million for the week. This put the show at #6 on the Top 10 Grossing Broadway show list for the week as reported by the New York Times. The show was ranked behind Broadway blockbusters like Wicked, The Lion King and Jersey Boys but ahead of other solid Broadway performers like Mamma Mia! (#7) and Spamalot (#8).

- Angela L.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just Your Basic Opera Update

I haven’t been posting about the opera lately, because I was busy enjoying the opera. Opera Tampa kicked off the 2006-2007 Homes by Helen Opera Series last Friday with Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Now that the show has passed, I don’t feel so bad about shamelessly plugging the great reviews by The Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times.

For me personally, I took a date to the opera. He even wore a bow tie and looked a little bit like Daniel Craig after a glass of wine and some squinting. (Squinting to make him look older of course).

It was beautiful, it was romantic, it had swordfights, it had codpieces – it was a great night and you should have been there.

So there.

Okay on to other news in the opera…

This story could be bordering on tedious if it wasn’t getting downright ridiculous. Berlin Opera’s controversial on again/off again production of Mozart’s Indomeneo has kind of - lost its head. More specifically, the prop of Muhammed’s severed head. You know, the item that caused all the problems in the first place? Yep. They can’t find it. Sigh. Updates as they happen.

Famed director Franco Zeffirelli was cheered and showered with roses on the opening night of his new production of Verdi's Aida at La Scala on Thursday night, making his triumphant return after a 14-year absence from the opera house where he first made his mark. Not known for being humble, Zeffirelli claimed it is the best opera La Scala has ever seen. Wow. I’m sure it’s good, but please place this in the same file as John Lennon proclaiming the Beatles to be “More popular than Jesus now.”

Keep it in perspective Frank …

Best press I’ve seen so far on Aida? This BBC slide show – go to slide 7 and witness Donatella Versace make her mark as the best “old produce” La Scala has ever seen.


-Kari G.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Lewis Black, Jon Stewart, Aasif Madvi ....

The list keeps getting longer and longer. So many Tampa connections right now to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I've already talked about Aasif Mandvi's Tampa connection, and you hopefully all have your Jon Stewart tickets (don't mess around now - I will thump anyone calling me a week before the show asking if I can get them tickets!).

Perhaps one of the coolest connections right now is a 9-day residency coming up with Lewis Black and his cohort Joe Grifasi - who will be in town to put up Lew's play One Slight Hitch as a staged reading here at the Patel Conservatory's TECO Theater Dec. 14-16.

A staged reading is basically kinda what it sounds like. They've cast the show, they'll have a rough approximation of a set, they'll rehearse a minimal amount - but in the end they'll have scripts in their hands. This is going to be an opportunity for Lew to revisit this play - which he originally wrote in the 1980s. He'll be revising a bit while in rehearsals with the actors (he's strictly here as playwright - his colleague and friend Joe Grifasi is directing) and every night during the public staged readings Joe, Lewis and the cast will take part in post-show talk-backs with the audience to answer questions and solicit feedback on the piece. This will likely lend itself to more rewrites from night to night.

It's really an incredible opportunity not only for the local actors to work with a nationally recognized playwright and director, but it's a great opportunity for the public to get some inside access to the creation of a show and a chance to pick his mind on his creation. I had the opportunity a while back to have dinner with Lewis and talk about his life in the theater, and what I'm trying to do here in Tampa.

Did you know: Before becoming a stand-up comedian, Lewis black studied playwrighting at Yale under the legendary David Mamet? Well, now you do!

This is almost an event too cool for Tampa, right? Staged readings with a New York director where the playwright, who's you know - on TV regularly and is probably one of the workingest comedians of his day, is actually in town at the performances gathering feedback and tweaking his creation through the process.

Wowsers. Next thing you know you might actually be able to buy groceries or gas while you're Downtown.

Nah ... now that's just crazy talk ...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Christmas Story

I originally posted a blog this morning about this movie, a NYTimes article and our event this Friday. Within about half an hour, Angela Lakin also sent me an item for the blog basically covering the same material. My original blog is below, with Angela's contributions following:

I've been a giant fan of A Christmas Story since the first time I saw it, and I can't even tell you when that was. The only other movie I think that predates A Christmas Story as the big holiday movie was Star Wars, and well, I'm just of that age.

I was sent this story today about a guy who bought the bought the house from the movie and turned it into a museum of sorts. Seems the whole town now is starting to get in the act - it's a good read.

Also, I'm pretty sure that WTBS still does the 24 hours of A Christmas Story, for those of you who just can't get enough of such nuggets like "You'll shoot your eye out!"

If you really want to get a jump start on your holidays (I guess it's not even really a jump start, but it still feels early to me somehow), you can come by TBPAC on Friday night for our Holiday Madness sale, where we'll be showing A Christmas Story on the riverwalk. Our last even, The Holy Grail, was very well attended. Grab a blanket and come on down!


My brother, Jon, and I have always loved that movie. Not only because it's a great movie, but because it's educational too. Don’t believe me?
  • Life lesson #1: Tongues stick to cold metal
  • Life lesson #2: BB guns are dangerous
  • Life lesson #3: Swearing = Soap
  • Life lesson #4: Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas
  • Life lesson #5: Bullies have feelings too
  • Life lesson #6: Fuzzy animal PJs are NEVER a good gift…NEVER
  • Life lesson #7 (for the guys): Don't help decorate the house with your "major award." Odds are it's tacky and/or offensive.
- Angela L.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Cabaret: A satisfied customer speaks ...

From an email I received today from Deborah Kobritz in regards to our Christmas Cabaret show, currently playing through Dec. 31 in our Jaeb Theater:
The show was great -- so many songs from my childhood. I have to bring my Mom – I don’t think she will have an opportunity to hear a Christmas concert of such quality anyplace else.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

TBPAC: A bit o' housekeeping

First, go friend our myspace profile if you haven't yet. You know you want to.

Also, a reminder of some show on-sales (we really do try to shill hard in the blog, but I'm also really tired of hearing people say that they don't hear about it when we add shows). These are listed in order of the show date, with the on sale info following:
  • Dec. 9 - Jim Gaffigan - a 10p show was added a few weeks back, get em while they're hot! On sale now.
  • Dec. 14-16 - One Slight Hitch - a staged reading of a play by Lewis Black. Come see the play then offer feedback to Lew yourself afterwards. On sale now.
  • Jan. 20 - Jon Stewart - On sale now to donors, on sale to the public Dec. 1 at noon. Allow me to editorialize a bit here. Get your tickets in advance or pay a ridiculous amount to a ticket broker in order to see the show.
  • Jan. 29 - LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends (Club Jaeb Series) - On sale now. Check out the link to listen to some samples. Good stuff.
  • Feb. 14 - Joe Bonamassa - On sale now.
  • Feb. 17 - Julio Iglesias - On sale to donors on Dec. 4 at noon, on sale to the public Dec. 8 at noon.
And finally, don't forget to go chime in on our open thread on holiday music!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Open Thread: Holiday mixes!

I've read two stories in the past two days about holiday mixes. I just read this one today in tbt* (ok, so I don't really read tbt* that much but it's sorta my job to be in the know, y'know?) . Then there was this one in the Trib from over the weekend that I just didn't get around to reading until yesterday. That one's a 3-disk cycle no less.

There's of course the radio stations that flip to all-Christmas, all-the-time only seconds after most have finished Thanksgiving, but those playlists never quite seem that adventurous, or frankly that interesting. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that music directors in today's globalized radio industry aren't really interested in having taste, just remaining flatlined enough so that the robots don't change the station.

I'm feeling direct today. Anyway, I could (and should) go off on that elsewhere.

I've been making holiday mix cds for several years now. All the way back to high school I used to make people mixed tapes for Christmas (not themed to the holiday or anything, I would have lost massive goth points for that). My latest trend has really been to make two cds - one more traditional or at the very least "grown up" and the other light and silly.

After reading those playlists in the paper, I recognized most of those songs. Among them were some of my perennial inclusions: "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC, Louis Armstrong's "'Zat You Santa Claus?" and Dean Martin's "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

How David Bowie and Bing Crosby's duet of "Little Drummer Boy" was left off both of those lists, I'll never know. That's possibly one of the best Christmas recordings of all time. Or what of the majesty that is Eric Cartman singing "O Holy Night?" I'm also very fond of the Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLaughlin version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and Dar Williams' "The Christians and the Pagans."

But we can all be a critic, right? So, I'm sure there has to be a ton of good holiday music I don't know or have forgotten about. I'd love for you all to share your holiday playlists here in the comments field. Think of it as a virtual tape swap. You leave the track lists, and we can find the music on our own (legally, of course).

I'll throw up a few of mine when I get home ...


Monday, November 27, 2006

The Met Goes to the Movies!

In an exciting first for the company, the Metropolitan Opera will transmit its December 30 matinee of Mozart's The Magic Flute into movie theaters in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.-live and in high definition. This 100-minute adaptation of Julie Taymor's (of Lion King fame) spectacular production, with a text in English, hits the big screen in HD with cinema surround sound. The first of six operas to be broadcast live into movie theaters this season as part of the Met's efforts to reach a broader audience, Flute will be followed on screen by I Puritani (January 6), The First Emperor (January 13), Eugene Onegin (February 24), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville, March 24), and Il Trittico (April 28). In Tampa, Regal Citrus Park Stadium 20 will be showing all simulcasts. To purchase tickets and gain more information click here.

-Kari G.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Christmas lunch

Just before the staff scatters for Thanksgiving preparations, we got an early jump start to our holiday spirits with the dress rehearsal of our annual Christmas Cabaret over lunch in our Jaeb theater. That's one of the advantages of working in a performing arts center; there's no shortage of entertainment.

In this year's production, the five cast members trace the history of Christmas through song, right up through more modern novelty numbers. Those are fun, but the most moving songs are "Mary, Did You Know" and "God Help the Outcasts," which I found out last year came from Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Even on a third hearing, it made me cry (just like "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miz" and a number of movies whose names you won't pry from my fingers).

It's not all sad and poignant; those just the ones that most appeal to me. Go figure. There are plenty of happy songs and much more traditional songs, such as "The First Noel."

Anyway, the show officially opens Friday, right after Thanksgiving.

With this dose under my belt, and the annual Victorian Christmas Stroll at UT's Plant Museum opening next week, I'm in a good place for the holidays.

I hope you are, too. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. And may your holidays be merry and bright. -- Michael K/TBPAC

Marion Bright (1939-2006)

Marion Bright, a member of the TBPAC family for more than 6 years in the Facilities Dept., passed away early this morning following a lengthy illness. Marion was very well liked and will be greatly missed.

I personally remember Marion from my earliest days at TBPAC. Always helpful, always friendly and always working hard around here to keep this place looking good and running smoothly.

Marion always took the time to greet me by name and to ask me about things. An overlooked gesture much of the time these days. Perhaps it's generational, but that's certainly something I would have liked for my generation to have paid more attention to.

Godspeed, Mr. Bright. We're thinking about you.

Spamalot Thanksgiving

Spamalot will perform "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" with a cast of 16 on NBC's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday November 23. They are the fourth musical, and are scheduled to appear between 9:30-9:45 AM. That line-up and timing is subject to change. The other shows are A Chorus Line, The Color Purple and Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. This airs live on the east coast and is held in other parts of the country. Check News Channel 8 here locally (7 on Bright House cable) to see the show!

Spamalot will also be featured on NBC's Today Show in a taped segment in which Natalie Morales, one of their hosts, appears in the show briefly in the French Taunter scene. The segment will also capture her fitting, rehearsal, pre-show prep and curtain call. This is one in a series in which the various hosts "face their fears." This is scheduled for Tuesday November 28 in the 9-10 AM hour. If they get more specific with timing next week, we will let you know.

Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wilson Loria on WMNF

Hi everybody!

This is an interview I gave to FM 85.5. The show is called "Art in you Ear" hosted by JoEllen Schilke.

Click on November 17, 2006 Archives, on the right side of your screen ...

Don't forget: I will be at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center tonight at 8 pm and tomorrow at 4 pm.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

You Tube Cage Match - Culture v. Cretins - Go!

Charles Isherwood of the New York Times has a lot of time on his hands.

Or maybe he’s a terrible insomniac.

Regardless, today’s article, “You Tube’s Greatest Hits” exalts the selection of quality clips for opera, Broadway, and dance on the site better known for, “OMG! Watch My Trailer Park Family Blow Something Up” or “Behold! My Pretentious Film School Short That Got a C Minus For a Reason.”

In the spirit of “research” I decided to do a bit of looking around You Tube for selections from the upcoming opera season - here are a few of my favorites (for different reasons):

Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet
This is an excellent clip of baritone Jason Kaminski singing the “Queen Mab” aria. It reminds me why I always loved Mercutio best of all. In case you need a Freshman English refresher - Queen Mab is the sexy speech that about the fairy Queen Mab, who rides through the night on her tiny wagon bringing dreams to sleepers. Watch it sung in French. Chew on it. It’s good for you. Mmmmm- dreamy…

Deborah Voigt
Actually if you do a search on Deborah Voigt you get a lot of options, but this is my pick.
Deborah Voigt and Luciano Pavarotti sing the Amelia/Riccardo duet "Teco io sto" from the opera “Un ballo in maschera” by Verdi in this performance from 1994. Why did I pick this? Because, frankly, Madame Voigt smokes Pavarotti -don’t believe me? Just read some of the snarky comments from opera aficionados with lots of time on their hands…
(Side note: I just “friended” Deborah Voigt on - now that she’s my “friend” I can’t wait to hang out with her and go shopping and …)

Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Dude, just type in Don Giovanni - you get all sorts of choices. You can watch James Levine direct the famous opening overture (super groovy!), but for sheer beauty, brilliance, and production quality I’m going to go with Renee Flemming singing Donna Anna’s aria.

My snark pick goes to this production of Don Giovanni - I’ve always said that the best entrance you can make in opera is through the gymnasium double doors…

Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Here it is kids. The Anvil Chorus. Don’t mind the Japanese subtitles - once you see this fully staged clip - you’ll be humming the famous little ditty all day. There are so many selections when you type in “Il Trovatore” I don’t know where to begin. I can’t wait to see this in April…

Happy Viewing! Hey, post your favorite clip links in the comments - I want to know what you’re watching!

-Kari G.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been awarded the 2006 National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence. Dedicated to preserving New Orleans Jazz, the world-renowned Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs traditional New Orleans music and derives its name from the venerable music venue--The Preservation Hall which is located in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. (They will also be playing a Creole Christmas program at TBPAC on Dec. 14 - ed.)

Founded in 1961 by Alan & Sandra Jaffe, who sought to perpetuate the traditional jazz music of New Orleans, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has toured the country and the world as emissaries of this unique American art form. "We are honored to be recipients of this prestigious honor." states Ben Jaffe, Creative Director and son of founders Alan and Sandra Jaffe.

Home to such jazz greats as Willie and Percy Humphrey, George Lewis, famed pianist Sweet Emma Barret, Kid Thomas Valentine and many others over its 45 year history, the musical legacy of the Preservation Hall Jazz Bands is being carried on by current band members Carl LeBlanc, Ralph Johnson, Joseph Lastie Jr., Rickie Monie, Frank Demond, John Brunious, Walter Payton, Lucien Barbarin, newcomer Clint Maedgen and Ben Jaffe. "These gentlemen are responsible for perpetuating the traditions that gave birth to the United States of America's gift to the International Arts Community, JAZZ" states Jaffe, continuing "It is these traditions that are in jeopardy. We are committed to rebuilding the New Orleans cultural community brick by brick."

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band embarked on a world tour bringing attention to the critical needs of New Orleans and its musicians. In order to provide immediate assistance to musicians, Ben and his wife Sarah Jaffe founded the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, The fund has provided grants to musicians and businesses in New Orleans; Jaffe adds "The rebirth of New Orleans is intrinsically tied to the resilience of its musical culture."

The National Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, is awarded by the President to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the creation, growth, and support of the arts in the United States. Each year, the Arts Endowment seeks nominations from individuals and organizations across the country. The National Council on the Arts, the Arts Endowment's Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed advisory body reviews the nominations and provides recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients.

"These individuals and organizations have all made enduring contributions to the artistic life of our nation," said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia "Whether by translating the masterpieces of Latin American literature or bringing genius to the design of everyday objects or simply preserving the great musical heritage of New Orleans, their work has enriched our national culture."

The 2006 National Medal of Arts Recipients

William Bolcom, classical composer, Ann Arbor, MI

Cyd Charisse, dancer, Los Angeles, CA

Roy R. DeCarava, photographer, Brooklyn, NY

Wilhelmina Holladay, arts patron, Washington, DC

Interlochen Center for the Arts, school of fine arts, Interlochen, MI

Erich Kunzel, conductor, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati, OH

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, jazz ensemble, New Orleans, LA

Gregory Rabassa, literary translator, Brooklyn, NY

Viktor Schreckengost, industrial designer/sculptor, Cleveland, OH

Dr. Ralph Stanley, bluegrass musician, Coeburn, VA

Monday, November 13, 2006

An interview with Wilson Loria

Wilson Loria will play the Shimberg Playhouse this weekend with his one-person show To the Winners. I hope you enjoy this interview with him.

If you had to describe your show in one or two sentences, what would you say?

It is a solo where an actor makes use of mime, music and dance to tell a story about a young man's search for the answer of a question which was whispered to him on the day he was born.

Above and beyond your description of the show, why do you think people should see it?

There's too much paraphernalia on stage in theater today and the actor is being considered one more element of the whole process. Over there, in back of the stage... With To the Winners -- and also according to my belief of what theater should be -- I try bringing the actor to the apron of the stage, so to speak. I want the actor to be the main element of the performance and that should be a very big reason for people to come and see my work.

It seems your show incorporates a lot of forms - theater, music, dance - tell us about how you developed the piece.

In 2002, I was doing my Master's in Performance Studies at NYU's Tisch School the Arts where and when I met my dear friend and director Fernando Calzadilla, a director from Venezuela. I had written To the Winners as a short novella many many years before that. One day, I decided to transform that story into a monologue. After having completed the text as a play, I asked Fernando to read it, with the perspective of mounting it for the stage. Voilá! He liked it a lot and soon we started rehearsing both at his house and in the same room which served us as a classroom at NYU during the weekdays. Of course, we used it on the weekends. Why a lot of forms? I do believe that the actor should develop his art continuously. If the actor only acts or sings, he or she, in my humble opinion, is just a theater worker and not an artist.

Where have you been with the show, and how was the show received?

To the Winners has been presented in Miami (for its open to the public rehearsal), São Paulo and Curitiba (Brazil), New York, Gulfport (St. Petersburg), Tampa, Orlando, Montreal (Canada), Santo Domingo (the Dominican Republic), and Minneapolis. I believe the show has been received very satisfactorily by the public and the critics, in general. In Canada, for example, To the Winners was awarded Best Text of the 2005 Montreal Fringe Festival.

What's been the most fulfilling moment up to this point for you as an artist?

Being able to develop my work as a solo artist. Everybody knows how hard it is to be accepted as a newcomer. But I believe that people are slowly acknowledging me as an artist. And that's definitely wonderful.

Ok, now to lighten things up - what's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you on stage?

I would not say embarrassing but definitely funny ... This happened when I was about 16 in Brazil. I was in a play where I played the role of a blind person. People in the cast were supposed to place me in front of a microphone stand. Well, the play went on and on and on, my cue was about to happen any minute, and nobody came to take me to the microphone. It stood in front of the stage. Miraculously, I walked straight to it without any hesitation or help from anyone. That was pretty funny. But the story follows ... At a certain moment, a child, from the audience, ran right in front of me and tripped over the microphone stand. Guess what? The blind man, me, once again miraculously grabbed the phone so that it wouldn't fall down on the stage floor.

Who are some of your role models/heroes in regards to your life in art?

I enjoy and respect Robert Wilson's work very much as well as Brazilian actress Denise Stoklos with whom I had the pleasure of working at the legendary theater La MaMa, in New York, a few years ago. Working with Mr. Wilson is still a dream of mine...

Anything else you'd like to add?

I will be presenting To the Winners in Orlando at the Studio Theater on January 26, 27 and 28, 2007. I would also like to add that Broadway is unquestionably important to the world's theater scene. No question about that. But the new artists are the ones who need the most support they can get from the public. How many times does a person need to see Oklahoma, for example? Just kidding ... Please, support the new faces, the new voices, the new theater!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Look Ma! No Talent!

I subscribe to Daily Candy because I like to be told what is hip and emulate that information in a desperate attempt to look like I know what is going on in the world of the tragically cool.

The link promoted today may not be tragically cool, but I assure you, it is tragic. Let’s just call it “The Demise of Culture” shall we?

Behold,, when your talent is just too “misunderstood” or “underappreciated” for mainstream theater, radio or television.

God bless teh internets.

-Kari G.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Top Ten Reasons “You Might Want to Set Your DVR to David Letterman Wednesday Night"

10. The Late Show With David Letterman presents its first piece of fully-staged opera November 8, beginning at 11:35 pm (US Eastern and Pacific time) on CBS-TV.

9. Performers from the Metropolitan Opera will perform the finale from Act I of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia ("The Barber of Seville").

8. Performing will be tenor Juan Diego Flórez, soprano Diana Damrau, baritone Peter Mattei, and basses Samuel Ramey and John Del Carlo.

7. Also performing will be the Met's chorus and orchestra (reduced to 12 and 22 members, respectively, to fit the Late Show stage.

6. The Met’s Il barbiere di Siviglia is directed by acclaimed theater director Bartlett Sher.

5. For the production, Sher brought together the same design team he used for the acclaimed Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza.

4. The new Barber opens this Friday, November 10 at 8 pm.

3. The premiere will be broadcast live on Sirius Satellite Radio's Metropolitan Opera channel (85) and offered in live streaming audio at the company's website

2. The production will also feature in the Met's upcoming program of live high-definition broadcasts into movie theaters, with a simulcast on Saturday, March 24 at 1:30 pm (US Eastern time) / 11:30 am (US Pacific time).

1. March 24th is the day of TBPAC’s Best of Tampa Bay, and also the author of this blog entry’s birthday. So there, bringing it all back to me.

-Kari G.

A note from Catie Curtis

I write to you from a hotel in Santa Cruz, CA with my door open to the ocean. I don't know how anyone gets any work done on the west coast, truly.

My "Long Night Moon" CD release shows with Mark Erelli are at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA on Tuesday November 7th and Wednesday the 8th this week! Then I head up to Eugene for a solo show at WOW hall on Thursday followed by shows with Karla Bonoff on Friday in Portland, OR and Saturday in Seattle.

Go to for more updates on shows and all.



(Catie will be coming to TBPAC on Feb. 26 as part of our Club Jaeb series. -dj)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Not at all a newcomer

Singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer has 20 years of experience in the business and is touring in support of her 10th album. She has a fantastic website, which you can really spend a decent amount of time on. She's also the second artist to play this season as part of our two-year old Club Jaeb series.

Check her out. If you enjoy what you see and hear, consider coming down Monday the 13th. If you'd like to meet other music lovers while grabbing a drink and some light food, come down at 6:30 for the Monday Music Mingle. She's also offering a master class through the Patel Conservatory earlier in the day.

The opener for this season's series, Old School Freight Train, entertained an extremely appreciative audience just last month.

Got an artist you think might be a great fit for the series? Let us know!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Holidays - Pass the Severed Head

It’s not everyday that I get to watch The Daily Show and listen to Jon Stewart talk about opera.

It warms my heart. Then again so does a really good spiced cider with brandy.

Anyway, the controversy behind the Berlin Opera’s production of Mozart’s Indomeneo and its off again/on again production dates have been the fodder for talk shows, 24 hour news stations and newspapers alike. I blogged about it several times.

It just seems like there’s nothing like toting around the severed head of Muhammad and Jesus to get a lively opera discussion going. (Photo from Indomeneo attached)

Deborah Voigt kicked veils in the Lyric’s Salome. Which is cool - but the severed head in that show was of John the Baptist- so who really cares?

Wait a second, what’s with all the severed heads anyway?

Anyway, Mozart’s Indomeneo is on again, so book your flights to Berlin and catch this controversial opera on Dec. 18 and 29. Nothing says the holidays like religious outcry - it’s the “reason for the season” as they say.

I’m sure heads will roll…

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

And on a serious note - best wishes to opera star Russell Watson, 39, recovering from emergency brain surgery to remove a tumor. His tour has been postponed but the opera community wishes him a speedy recovery. No, I’m not inserting another bad head pun here.

-Kari G.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween from TBPAC!

We've already enjoyed our pumpkin-carving contest last Friday (which the Ticket Office won) and it looks like most showed up today at least festive if not in costume.

We hope your holiday is a dark delight!

For those looking to keep the season alive (undead?) you can always check out one of the final four performances of Martin McDonagh's award-winning gruesomely comic play The Pillowman, which closes in the Shimberg Playhouse on Sunday.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Video: To the Winners

Wilson Loria will be here Nov. 17-19 with his one person show To the Winners. I stumbled across this webpage today that has a 5-minute clip of the show. Take a look.

- David J.

Always look on ther bright side ..

SPAMALOT will be performing in the MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE. They will be performing "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life." Before you're overrun with family and gravy, get your day off to a good start!

Normally, NBC features all Broadway performances in the first hour of the parade.

Tune in! Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jon Stewart to TBPAC: just announced!

Jon Stewart was just announced this morning for two performances on Sat., Jan. 20, 2007 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in TBPAC's Carol Morsani Hall.

Donor on-sale: Monday, Nov. 27, at noon
Public on-sale: Friday, Dec. 1, at noon

I caught Jon Stewart the last time he played here and the show was great. It was lot more observational/less political than I would have initially expected and frankly I was really pleasantly surprised by that. He told stories about his wife (a vet tech) and their household full of animals that had me laughing so hard I thought he was going to point me out sitting there in the front row.

These tickets won't last long. That's all I'll say. We really try not to make this a "salesy" blog, but my warning is really only coming as a fan trying to look out for other fans.


Think you had a busy Monday?

Jennifer Aniston is FINALLY in the news for something other than her love life. Last night was the 6th Annual 24-Hour Plays on Broadway which benefits Working Playground, a non-profit organization dedicated to bring the arts into underserved New York City schools. The idea behind the benefit, as Working Playground's website puts it... "24 actors, 6 writers and 6 directors risk their sanity and their reputations on 6 short plays written and rehearsed in a single day." Participating actors, other than Jennifer Aniston, included Anna Paquin, Gaby Hoffman, Kieran Culkin, Rachel Dratch, Julianna Margulies, Sam Rockwell, Liev Schreiber, Fisher Stevens, Elizabeth Berkley and Working Playground board member, Rosie Perez.

- Angela L.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Reviewerspeak: Can you put that in a headline?

I remember reading a review, in The New York Times no less, that said the book was “the best ever written in the English language.” The pity is that I no longer remember the name of the book or the reviewer.

Critics always are striving to make their reviews stand apart - either through startling pronouncements, cosmic musings beyond the presumptive subject matter, pithy turns of phase, or hyphenated, compound-adjective constructions.

Here’s a New York Times’ review with the latest example of that last form, following a concert of the band called Wolf Eyes:

“Without fail Wolf Eyes’ work is described as noise. The term passes no judgment. The guys in the band don’t mind it ... The handful of people who have been coming to their shows for the last 10 years will roll their eyes at the idea that the heaviest, most feral, mega-atavistic, Fauvist-metal, stuck-pig, struck-dumb, electrocuted-porcupine, end-of-all music band of their days still needs explaining. But it does ...”

Got it?

Oh, and as for the headline on that review?

Not Music
But Noise,
With Chaos

- MichaelK, TBPAC

Thursday, October 19, 2006

American Idol of Opera

This might be one of the more entertaining articles about opera that I have read in a while. Both snarky and celebratory, it makes one wonder … If Americans are tuning in droves to watch young people who “think they can dance,” is a televised opera competition so far fetched?

The prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are held regionally each year with winners from their division going on to compete for the opportunity to participate in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Met. This program, which began in 1954, has discovered talent in the likes of Renee Fleming, Jessye Norman and Deborah Voigt (all of whom have or will perform at TBPAC - shameless plug).

An exerpt from the Portlan Willamette Week article linked above:

Competitions for aspiring opera singers are increasingly popular public affairs; they even attract audiences outside of the usual suspects (ahem, blue-hairs and opera queens). That's because for crash-and-burn aria victims, highwire vocal acrobatics and an always-entertaining and unusually tacky parade of gowns, the Met Opera Oregon district … is especially matchless. And at $7 a head for a nearly four-hour operatic orgy, it's some of the most entertaining classical bang for your buck all year.

The article then goes on to discuss both the talented and (ahem) not-so-talented competetors with a verve that should make American Idol’s Simon blush.

So of course, dear readers, I had to find out for myself when we can experience such a glorious parade of divas-in-training in Florida. Turns out, on January 20th at the Trinity Preparatory School Auditorium in Winter Park, we can watch the regional competitions in all of their glory.

Remember, Oratorio, musical theater, or zarzuela are NOT permitted.

But they don’t say anything about brining in a flask and getting your snark on.

-Kari G.

Bumping an old thread: TBPAC 20th anniversary memories

Do you have a memory about TBPAC you'd like to share in honor of our 20th anniversary? Send it to us! I posted my own (lengthy) association earlier last week.


TONIGHT: String Cheese Incident at TBPAC

String Cheese Incident plays tonight in Carol Morsani Hall here at TBPAC. Read a story on them in last week's Creative Loafing here.


Monday, October 16, 2006

TBPAC: Bits and bites

I found a great quote on Old School Freight Train, who opens our Club Jaeb series next Monday. "They look like a bluegrass band, complete with banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and stand up bass. Musically, they like to play the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Jazz, Radiohead, an occasional jig and, of course, their own material, which draws on all of the above. Whatever they play Saturday on the free Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, they'll do it with youthful enthusiasm and veteran skill." -- The Washington Times

Nick Lachey is here Tuesday night to break some hearts with his album about, well, a broken heart.

Robert Dubac's Intellect also opens oin Tuesday night. Wowsers, we sure do stay busy!

Don't miss Demetri Martin on Sunday night. This guy's show was sold clean at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and I understand from several who were there he was one of the top comedians working.

The Pillowman
has been extended through Nov. 5.

Break out your daishiki and birks on Oct. 19 when the String Cheese Incident rolls into town.

Get out and see a show, Tampa Bay! The weather is beautiful, the Bucs managed a win and there's something going on for just about everyone these days.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

20th Anniversary memories

Believe it or not, TBPAC is celebrating a 20th anniversary season right now. My boss is collecting memories from those 20 years from the community, and I decided to throw in my connection to this building. It's posted here below in whole. Do you have a special memory of TBPAC? A story you'd like to share? Please send them to comments AT tbpac DOT org (Y'know, actually make that an email address - we're trying to foil those pesky spam robots).

I know there are staff and board members who have had an official relationship with TBPAC when it was still a dream. I was only 12 years old when they broke ground on TBPAC, but I have still managed a 17-year history with these halls.

In 1990 I made a trip from my performing arts high school in Jacksonville to Tampa for the state thespian festival. For my final three years of high school, the annual week-long trip to Tampa became one of the highlights of my school year. Despite it being a trip with school friends with all of the accompanying benefits and freedoms - it was a chance to really feel like I was a part of something greater, it was a chance for me to learn more about this great art form I'd dedicated myself to and a chance to showcase my talent. In 1991 I performed for the first time on Carol Morsani stage - at the time it was Festival Hall. We'd won our district with a scene from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and we opened the festival with me playing the latter titular character. At the time it was as big as performing at the Met, or Shakespeare's Globe.

While here my junior and senior years, I was recruited by USF and in the end chose to move here for college. While there, I'd try to get to TBPAC whenever I could. Sometimes the theater department would get free tickets to shows and distribute them to us. A good friend's boyfriend was the stage manager in the Jaeb and got us tickets to see the first run of Forever Plaid. If my trips to The Loft fed the iconoclast in me, TBPAC acted as its big, legit sister.

So fastforward to 1998, I'd finished grad school, toured a bit and moved back to Tampa to take a year off. Tampa's always felt more like a real home to me as an individual than Jacksonville ever did. I had connections here, and began work on starting a theater company. We thought at the minimum we could put up one show with our own money. Not too terribly long after that we tried setting up a meeting with TBPAC, as we'd heard they were amiable to allowing young groups to using their Off Center Theater (now the Shimberg Playhouse) during late night time slots or on off nights. While negotiating that with Wendy Leigh (Off Center artistic director at the time) she asked me to read a play and come to an audition for a rock musical she was working out - a weird Mac Wellman piece called Whirligig. Within a few months Jobsite did its first show in the Off Center and I made my professional Tampa debut alongside the likes of Ranney Lawrence and Joe Popp - both of who would become great friends of mine to this day. I'd work with Kissy Simmons, who's now famous for her Broadway role in The Lion King. I'd develop strong relationships with both Wendy Leigh (now Patel Conservatory Executive Director) and Karla Hartley (now Shimberg Playhouse artistic and producing manager) and the most unlikely event - I'd meet the woman who would a few years later become my wife.

About six months after Whirligig I'd be offered a job at TBPAC in the marketing department, working on getting in audiences for off the wall stuff and the produced Jaeb shows. My theater company began to produce more and more in the Shimberg. In 2003 Jobsite was made resident theater company in the space. Just one week ago I had my 7th anniversary of employment at TBPAC, and Jobsite was recognized as best theater company and I was recognized as best artistic director.

17 years later, and I'm still here. In the same town and in the very same building that I fell in love with when I was 15. I always say that I live on borrowed time and that I'm not even supposed to be here. I was never supposed to go down this path. I'm a blue-collar kid from a blue-collar family in a blue-collar town. I won't go so far as to say that TBPAC is responsible for who I am today, but this building and what it represented was most certainly formulative. It showed me what could be when I was a kid, it made me feel like part of something much greater than myself. This institution can also claim partial responsibility for me still living here, and for what I've been able to do with Jobsite. After all, Tampa was originally going to be a place to take a year off before I went on to bigger and better things. Now, I am bigger and better for being here, and I still feel like I am part of something much greater than myself.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

0607 Jobsite Play Series opens tomorrow!

The Jobsite Theater, resident theater company of the Shimberg Playhouse, officially opens their 2006 - 2007 season tomorrow evening with Martin McDonagh's brutally dark comedy-drama The Pillowman.

This multi-award winning play had a stellar run on Broadway featuring heavyweights Jeff Goldblum, Billy Crudup and Zeljko Ivanek. Jobsite's southeastern US premiere features local favorite Paul Potenza, Jobsite regular Ryan McCarthy, Jobsite newcomer (but no stranger to area stages) Steve Garland and Matt Lunsford who has also been seen on several area stages over the years.

Two quotes that really provide excellent soundbites:

"It's JonBenet meets 'Of Mice and Men' in Abu Ghraib" - Chicago Tribune

"This makes Wes Craven look like Mother Goose" - The Guardian

PLEASE NOTE: This play is NOT for the faint of heart or the easily offended. The warnings for this show read like a litany of everything nasty that could appear in a play - graphic depictions of violence (with copious amounts of blood), adult language (particular the F-bomb and it's gerund cousin), adult subject matter, strobe lights, cigarette smoke and prop gunfire.

Between the intense subject matter and how it's presented on stage in a small room and the long run time (the first act is 1:35 and the second act is just under one hour) we certainly expect walkouts and those who don't last past intermission. We feel like we're in good company though, the Broadway production had the same issues with an all-star cast in a city that eats and sleeps with it's theater.

Matt Lunsford, who plays Detective Tupolski, was recently interviewed on the Jobsite blog (Blogsite Theater). Check out his thoughts on the piece here.

Tickets are at a premium right now for opening weekend, so advance sales are strongly encouraged. Once a theater that lived on walkup, Jobsite has established a pattern of very strong presales often resulting in shows that are sold out well before curtain.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

No longer LOST

Good TV has finally returned with last night's premiere of LOST. This is a show I've gotten hooked on this year. At the beginning of the year I rented season 1, then caught up on half of season two before watching the rest of the season live.

It was hard going from being able to binge on the show nightly, watching 2 or 3 episodes a night to just getting a one hour fix. Last night was no exception, I'd DVRed the episode since I had rehearsal and watched it commercial-free before I went to bed.

A good serial like this is rare for me. The mysteries of this show are on par with shows like Twin Peaks, The X-Files and Carnivale.

There are some possible spoilers below, so if you don't want to read them, go ahead and stop here.

In true LOST fashion, last night's episode asked more questions than it gave answers. Who exactly are the Others. Friends or foes? In the last episode last season Henry Gale (who we've now learned is also called Ben) said "We're the good guys." Forgive me if I'm not sold on that answer, particularly with how he interacted with Kate and the new doctor - who may provide a new love interest for Jack? Or so it seemed anyway from her side of things.

What's the deal with Sawyer and Kate in the animal test cages? I loved all the business with Sawyer working out the contraption in the cage to get the fish biscuit. The first thought I had when it popped out was that it was a ... wait for it ... red herring. "It only took the bears two hours ..." The Polar Bears?

We've also now seen another hatch - the Hydra - and got a great shot of the place it seems the Others reside - a small village with actual houses and an overall look of civilization.

I still think that the story between Jack and his dad is far from being told. Is he somehow connected to Hanso/Dharma?

From the teaser for next week's episode, it seems that they're going to get into the thick of things pretty quickly. What happened to Michael and Walt? Are they coming back? I'm really chomping at the bit to catch up with Locke, Sayid and Hurley - not to mention Mr. Echo and Charlie.

I do my best to stay clear of future spoilers, and I even avoid message boards on the show where I might run into them. That said - anyone have a reaction to last night's episode? Any theories? Hopes and/or fears?


The "dansical" is back!

Odds are if you are a fan of Billy Joel and dance (especially the creative vision of Twyla Tharp) you loved the Broadway show Movin' Out. For those who haven't seen the show, basically it's Billy Joel's music (played by a live, on-stage band) pieced together to tell the story of Brenda and Eddie and their other high school friends. But the difference from other Broadway shows is that the music and the choreography tell the story. There's no dialogue. In my opinion, one of the best Broadway shows that I've seen!

Now it seems another musical icon has partnered up with Twyla Tharp ... Bob Dylan. As of Sept. 25, The Times They Are A-Changin' started previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in New York City, after a several month engagement in San Diego, and is set to open this month on Oct. 26. The basic plot for this show is a young man who attempts to break away from his father and his traveling circus. This show promises lots of Dylan songs including "Don't Think Twice," "Not Dark Yet," "Highway 61" and "Masters of War." In addition to dance, the show promises an added acrobatic element especially in the circus scenes.

I'm not a big Dylan fan but if this show is anything like Movin' Out then I could be convinced to change my mind!

- Angela L.

Cover Diva

Deborah Voigt is on the cover of the Opera News “Diva Issue.”

In the words of our president and opera aficionado Judy Lisi, “Making the cover of the diva issue is like making the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.”

Deborah Voigt can be seen in all her diva glory (although probably not in a swimsuit) on the Carol Morsani stage Jan. 5th in her own concert.

-Kari G

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Voigt Podcasts

San Francisco Opera has joined the iPod generation. The first of a new series of podcasts from the company, a conversation with soprano Deborah Voigt, is now available on the San Francisco Opera website.

Users can access SF Opera podcasts from, or from iTunes by searching for "San Francisco Opera Podcast."

Deborah Voigt is part of the 2006-2007 Homes by Helen Opera series and will be performing in Carol Morsani Hall on Jan. 5th.


Looking for Lachey?

Are you looking to get your fill of pop singer Nick Lachey before his Oct. 17 appearance at TBPAC? Search no more, just set your DVRs for the following:

OCTOBER 4th, 2006

OCTOBER 11th, 2006
PERFORMING “I Can’t Hate You Anymore” on LETTERMAN

OCTOBER 12th, 2006
PERFORMING “I Can’t Hate You Anymore” on THE VIEW

Gee, three appearances in one week singing that song, I wonder if he's trying to tell someone something?

Also, if your hot to trot for this former 98 Degrees hunka, tune in to WFLZ this week to get your chance to win a chance to get on stage with Nick at the end of the show. Now that's hot ...


Monday, October 02, 2006

Long Night Moon worth the wait

Catie Curtis' new album, "Long Night Moon" has been out for just less than a month and has been getting some great reviews. Check it out:

"All in all, (Long Night Moon) is one of Curtis' most satisfying albums, and that's saying something. Highly recommended," - All Music Guide

"Any fool can write a love-gone wrong song; it takes a real genius to write a love-gone-right one. No urban songwriter does that better than Curtis." - Boston Globe

One of the album's songs, "People Look Around," was even awarded the International Songwriting Competition's Grand Prize. The song unflinchingly tackles the human toll of Hurricane Katrina and was selected from 15,000 entries from 82 countries. Check out the video for "People Look Around" here on YouTube.

- TaraMc, TBPAC

Crossing forms: Rocking on to the stage

There has been an extreme amount of "remanufacturing" on Broadway the past 10 or so years. I suppose you can always argue that there is in fact nothing new under the sun when blockbusters like Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and even RENT have roots elsewhere.

In my opinion some of the more disappointing product to be spawned by the Great White Way include musical adaptations of films like FAME or Footloose. Although I did have high hopes that the tractor would have made it on stage in the latter. I suppose it was also only a matter of time before one of Sammy Hagar's songs made it into a musical.

Even the weight of Disney's juggernauts like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King didn't guarantee success for Tarzan, one of the first review headlines it got read "Tarzan: Me Critic, You Lame."

Some of the more recent adaptations of films to musicals, like Monty Python's Spamalot and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, appear to have quite a bit more promise.

Now it appears that rockers are going to get into the act. I just read a story in Variety today claiming that Flaming Lips are working on a stage musical based on "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," and "Barely Breathing" crooner Duncan Shiek (who asks that you not hold that bubble-gum phase against him) is almost set to open a new musical adaptation of Franz Wedekind's expressionistic coming of age tale Spring Awakening. Also mentioned in the story are projects based on the songs of The Smiths and Patty Griffin.

I have to admit that I'm very, very interested in seeing both the "Yoshimi" musical as well as Shiek's take on Spring Awakening.

And I suppose I shouldn't be surprised in 2026 when TBPAC's 45th season offers up the Jersey Boys-esque first national tour of Smells Like Teen Spirit: The life and death of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Opera? Banned?

Reuters and CBS News are reporting that the Berlin opera house is canceling their production of Mozart’s "Idomeneo" over concerns they could enrage Muslims and pose a security risk. Instead they will perform “The Marriage of Figaro” and “La Traviata.”

So what prompted fear of Muslim outrage? Last time I checked Mozart never seemed to have a beef with the good people of Islam. I mean, I’ve played a few of his opera’s backwards and all I ever hear is “Wolfgang is dead.”

Certainly I’m kidding, and I mean no disrespect. Upon further reading, it seems in this production of Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” directed by Hans Neuenfels, King Idomeneo is shown staggering on stage next to the severed heads of Buddha, Jesus, Poseidon and the Prophet Mohammad, which sit on chairs.

Okay, that’s probably going to be a problem. First you got the German pope making some rather unfortunate comments about Islam and now you have an image of the Prophet Mohammad (whose image is strictly forbidden - particularly in editorial comic form), beheaded on a Berlin stage.

Rarely is opera political, in fact, many critics point to opera’s lack of relevance in a modern society as a key factor to its decline. Proponents say that opera’s timelessness is part of its appeal.

No matter what side of that argument you stand on, there is no denying that in this situation, opera just got political!

After checking up on director Hans Neuenfels, I realized that the Google translation system might still need to go through some beta testing since the most coherent thing I discovered was that his last name translates into “new rock.” As a result, I really don’t have any insight into this particular director’s intentions or thoughts. I don’t know what he’s trying to say and I don’t know how important severed heads of religious groups are to his vision of “Idomeneo.” I will say that it must be fairly critical, since the idea of removing the images and continuing with the production of the show, as scheduled, did not seem to be an option.

Certainly there should be a level of racial and religious understanding in this world. However, I find it interesting that the Berlin opera chose to pull “Idomeneo” not for fear of offending Christians, Buddhists or the wait staff of Olympia Gardens (Home of the best moussaka!), but for fear of offending the followers of Islam.

I get it, honestly I do, but at what point do we need to be worried about the aspects of self-imposed censorship in the arts? What do you think? Weigh in: I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts…

- KariG, TBPAC

Have we Met?

Okay, the Met just got even cooler…

The Metropolitan Opera, under the new general management of Peter Gelb, is initiating innovative ways to invigorate and rebuild steadily decreasing season ticket numbers and audience members. Using state-of-the-art technology, greater accessibility and good old-fashioned “get-them-in-the-seats” marketing strategies, the 2006-2007 season is full of exciting possibility. Not only is this exciting for The Metropolitan Opera, it’s also exciting to all opera lovers and the supporters of Opera Tampa.

Peter Gelb, formerly of Sony Classics, has long been known for innovative crossover approaches to classical music and artists. Agree or disagree, he is the man who suggested that Yo-Yo Ma record country music and Charlotte Church sing pop songs.

With the 2006-2007 Met season, Gelb has crafted an extraordinary season. For the first time in 20 years, the season opened last night with a new production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly -- this one directed by Oscar-winning film director and screenwriter Anthony Minghella (Truly, Madly, Deeply, The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain).

In an effort to increase the company’s accessibility to a broader public and reinvigorate its connections to contemporary culture, Gelb is staging several events to raise the Met’s visibility with younger audiences. In addition to those members in the Metropolitan Opera’s audience last night, there were two simulcasts of the production: one outside of the Met and one in the heart of Times Square for 650 lucky guests. Both outdoor simulcasts were free and open to the public. In a similar gesture of goodwill (and, let’s face it, good publicity) the Met gave away the 3,000 tickets to the Friday dress rehearsal of Madama Butterfly.

Such interesting marketing strategies are being used to expand the Met’s media presence. Working with the Met’s orchestra union (Local 802), solisits, chorus, and ballet unions (AGMA) and the union for stagehands (Local One), the Met’s archive will be available as part of an audio on-demand service, a new station-on-satellite radio, and the opportunity for the 2006-2007 season to be viewed in movie theaters across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Europe.

Here in the U.S., the cinema company in partnership with the Met is National CineMedia. CineMedia is a venture of AMC, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas. AMC and Regal both have theaters in the Tampa Bay area! Thirty days following the production’s close, PBS will air the operas on both their standard channels and on those stations that offer HDTV.

The Met also will offer their productions through live streaming video on their website, and also have plans to offer digital downloads, video on demand, instant CDs, and even opera ring tones for your phone!

In addition, ticket prices for Met performances have been reduced on 11% of the seats in the house with the cheapest seats reduced from $25 to $15, and innovative new media efforts will greatly increase the availability of opera to new audiences. And the Met has launched a groundbreaking commissioning program in partnership with Lincoln Center Theater; a gallery in the front lobby featuring contemporary artwork connected to operas in the repertory.

The season includes the world premiere of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor staged by film director Zhang Yimou; Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, staged by Bartlett Sher; Puccini’s Il Trittico, directed by Jack O’Brien; Richard Strauss’ Die Ägyptische Helena in a production by David Fielding; and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, staged by choreographer Mark Morris. Plus, an abridged, English-language version of Julie Taymor’s hit production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute inaugurates a new annual series of winter holiday family performances at the Met.

- KariG, TBPAC