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

Monday, September 25, 2006

This 'Pond' is golden!

The national tour of On Golden Pond starring Tom Bosley and Michael Learned kicked off Aug. 22 in St. Paul, MN. This play, written by Ernest Thompson, has had several incarnations. First it was seen at the Hudson Guild and then opened on Broadway in 1979. Then in 1981 it was released as a movie staring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda receiving three Academy Awards and three Golden Globes. In 2005 the Broadway revival opened at the Cort Theatre staring James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams. Now this critically acclaimed production is hitting the road with Tom Bosley and Michael Learned (and coming here Dec. 5-10). Check out the most recent review from The Tennessean!

- Angela L.

Friday, September 22, 2006

'The mother church of Americana music'

News from the Sept. 22 AMA awards

NASHVILLE -- The Ryman Auditorium, a converted church, has long been the home of country music, but tonight it again became the home of Americana music -- stage for the annual Americana Music Awards.

First, the winners:

Album of the Year: James McMurtry, Childish Things

Artist of the Year: Neil Young

Duo/Group of the Year: Drive-By Truckers

Instrumentalist of the Year: Kenny Vaughan (of Marty Stuart's band, The Fabulous Superlatives)

Spirit of Americana/Free Speech Award: Charlie Daniels

New/Emerging Artist of the Year: The Greencards

Lifetime Achievement Award, Engineer/Producer: Allen Toussaint

Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: Rodney Crowell

Lifetime Achievement Award, Performing: Alejandro Escovedo

The AMA President's Award: Mickey Newbury

Song of the Year: James McMurtry, "We Can't Make It Here"

Winner of two awards, McMurtry's rant against the state of the country (the U.S., not music) was a big crowd pleaser. He attacked overseas outsourcing, minimum wage, tax cuts for the wealthy and poor people fighting wars. He's no stranger to social comment. His "Land of the Bottom Line" is the first song of his that I can remember hearing. (Thanks, WMNF, for that play and so much more.)

Vince Gill sang a lovely version of Rodney's Crowell's "'Til I Gain Control Again."

Then he embarrassed the recipient of the AMA Lifetime Achievement Award with several risky stories about driving after being over served, mushrooms and "food poisoning."

Despite that, the rest of Gill's tribute was heartfelt and delivered without notes, from the heart.

Crowell, who says his last three CDs are the best of a long career, says he's not ready to retire.

And he offered some advice to songwriters, citing people like Guy Clark, with these words: "You gotta get rid of whatever doesn't serve the song, no matter how clever it makes you sound."

Great quote: Somebody once asked Mickey Newbury why he wrote so many sad songs. He supposedly said: "When I'm happy, I play golf. When I'm sad, I write songs."

Biggest surprise: He didn't win Emerging New Artist, but English R&B/soul singer James Hunter knocked everybody out with the title song of his CD, "People Gonna Talk." I need to find that CD.

Biggest tent: Americana always talks about a big tent. It doesn't get much bigger than this. Former punk rocker turned statesman and musical chameleon Elvis Costello presented Allen Toussaint with his award and then performed two songs with him. The two recorded The River in Reverse CD, and have been touring together.

MVP: Buddy Miller, last year's big award winner for "You Worry Too Much," once again led an all-star house band that included Sam Bush.

Performers included Rosanne Cash, Robinella, McMurtry, Crowell, Delbert McClinton, Marty Stuart and Escovedo.

The night ended with everyone on stage singing "Blowin' in the Wind." This is not your grandfather's Ryman Auditorium.

Good news/bad news: Escovedo was supposed to play a 12:30 a.m. set at the Cannery Ballroom after the show, but was forced to cancel because of his travel arrangements.

Where's the good news?

I'm going to bed. Thank you, and good night. -- MichaelK, TBPAC

Blog shock

For those of you who only come by here and read things in real time, take a look backwards on the blog starting with Wednesday if you'd like to read MichaelK's updates from the Americana Music Awards in Tennessee. Looks like he's been rockin' all week.

We've had a very low-tech system set up for him to get me updates, he's been sending me an email or two a day with updates via his Blackberry, and I've been getting them up as I've been able. As a matter of fact, I'm off today (I won't go into my attire here at the computer this afternoon) or these updates from Thursday would have gotten up a lot sooner.



Dreaming in music

NASHVILLE -- We started out hoping to find some acts that might play Tampa.

What may be harder is choosing among all the talent here this week.

It's already overwhelming. I have music in my head every night/morning when I fall asleep. Of course, that might just be the neighbors here at the Renaissance Hotel.

When I checked in, they told me I was on "a jamming floor." Who was I to argue?

Friday night brings the American Music Association awards show at the Ryman Auditorium, and a chance to see some of the many acts I couldn't get to, plus Buddy Miller's butt-kicking house band. Afterward, everyone will head back to the clubs with a midnight show by Paul Thorn and a 12:30 show by Alejandro Escovedo!

- MichaelK, TBPAC

Thursday, September 21, 2006

'What I Am, You Made Me'

On stage at 3rd and Lindsley, in a tiny black dress worthy of the U.S. Open, Amy LaVere thumped a stand-up bass on a spirited set that included two songs from perhaps the most unlikely songwriter to be covered this week -- Leonard Cohen -- including his "Tower of Song."

But maybe it wasn't so unusual. I heard Jeff Buckley's cover of "hallelujah" sometime this week, too, during a recorded music set change.

The Memphis-based LaVere coupled a youngish voice with some fire, grit and swing.

Best Cohen lyric covered tonight: "I asked Hank Williams how lonely does it get/Well, Hank Williams, he ain't answered me yet."

She also did "Day Like Any," about a Tennessee storm, and "That Beat," by Memphis soul singer Carla Thomas.

Best of the rest

In the interest of time and space, I need to telescope a few random thoughts about the rest of the evening.

• Canadian-based The Duhks returned with their popular Celtic fusion sound. This really proves that Americana is a huge tent.
• Former Stray Cat Lee Rocker exceeded my expectations with a rockabilly set worthy of Jerry Lee Lewis. He did revamped versions of "Stray Cat Strut" and "Rock This Town," but another highlight was "Miracle in Memphis."
Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplan, a sort of Americana Montreux, quietly mesmerized with virtuoso instrumentation and an almost-tangible connection with the audience. Their CD, Lost John Dean, has been a huge hit on the Americana charts. And the addition of Kaplan to the previous duo has added some spice to an already-terrific sound.
• The highly anticipated James McMurty (James by gawd McMurtry, as he was introduced) rocked into the early morning for the die-hards. By 1:20, though, my body shut down. Had to cab. No time to wait for the shuttle. Maybe the best $5 I ever spent.

- MichaelK, TBPAC

Now it's going to be tricky ...

... trying to catch acts every hour or so in four locations over the next four or five hours. There's a free shuttle, but when minutes count, sometimes conference attendees have to cab.

- MichaelK, TBPAC

'NYC grit and Nashville sass'

NASHVILLE -- Last year's big discovery for me was the Hacienda Brothers. This year, so far, has been Amy Speace and the Tearjerks. Some material had come into the office a few weeks ago, but it was tucked into my bag to take on this trip.

Based in New York, she has put together a CD that should make a series of Best Of lists in a variety of styles. Her big-sound, four-piece band can rock it or offer more sutble backing on great songs like "Water Landing," "Shed This Skin," "Step Out of the Shade" and "The Real Thing." She has impressive vocal and emotional range, and a winning stage personality.

"The talented Ms. Speace and the Tearjerks" is lately taking her Americana away from twangy contemplation toward tangy confrontation." -- The Village Voice

Her PR boasts that her sound "spans both NYC grit and Nashville sass," and it's true.

Honest quote/lyric #2: "I'm old enough to know better, but too young to care."

I expect you'll be hearing more from her real soon.

There's more here.

- MichaelK, TBPAC

I'm deliberately avoiding any Rose puns in this headline

NASHVILLE -- Eileen Rose followed with a revelatory set full of quiet gems. She's received some great reviews over the years from Time Out, MOJO, Rolling Stone and others, but her stateside profile isn't what it should be -- perhaps because she's been living in England for the last 12 years or so.

- MichaelK, TBPAC

But it's so early

NASHVILLE -- Just because there's not enough music at the regular showcases (!) Wildwood Records, Judy Collins' label, and Naverre Entertainment offered an early triple set at the "world-famous" Station Inn.

Opener Ralston Bowles offered one of the week's funniest lines on his "Velvet Elvis": "Makes me wonder when he crossed that line, from a living person to a textile shrine."

I don't think I've ever heard the word textile in a lyric before. This song would be a good counterpart to "Dashboard Jesus." (By the way, if you want to be exposed to a subculture you perhaps didn't know existed, google Dashboard Jesus.)

- MichaelK, TBPAC

Another party heard from

NASHVILLE -- Here's how the local newspaper weighed in on the Americana meaning in today's edition:

Well, it's modern music that's based on American roots forms, and there are more tendencies than hard-and-fast rules. In a lot of instances, it sounds a whole lot like country. In fact, platinum country act turned platinum non-country act Dixie Chicks will compete in the "best song" category at the awards show. While country radio booted the Chicks from playlists, Americana stations continue to embrace the band. Americana is a rather amorphous genre, though, and many artists also delve beyond country into rock, folk, blues and jazz. If Neil Young's "Heart of Gold," Don Williams' "Amanda," Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" or Dobie Gray's "Drift Away" were released today, they would all be classified as Americana. And Americana is not limited to Americans: Brits Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler and Nick Lowe are always invited to the party.

"It's music that is coloring outside the lines, but somehow is connected to that big pool that is folk and country and storytelling and doesn't fit any particular mold," said Emmylou Harris.

For more, go here.

Michael K, TBPAC

Looking for hay in a haystack

NASHVILLE -- One of my goals in attending the Americana Music Association annual conference is to find acts that our Judy Joseph, our VP of programming, can book at TBPAC, particularly in our Club Jaeb series that we started last year.

We're open to folk, blues, alt-country -- in short, pretty much everything that fits under the Americana label.

I have high hopes for tonight because some of these artists are at just the right point in their careers to appear in an intimate 268-seat theater like the Jaeb.

The search is on.

- MichaeK, TBPAC

South of the West

Dave Alvin, who's been mentioned in this space before, is tearing it up with a relaxed set backed not by his alt band The Blasters or The Knitters, fellow members of punk band X, but by The Guilty Men, which includes the tireless Chris Gaffney of T.H.B. on accordion and guitar. Alvin turns the Jackson Browne "Redneck Friend" romp into a blues number.

He tells the story of his new CD, West of the West, as well as his distinctive radio commercial voice, on NPR.

He also has one of the most personal, interactive web sites I've seen.

But now, it's closing in on 1:30 a.m. and the hotel beckons.

Look for more news from the AMA conference in this space on Friday.

– Michael K, TBPAC

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Show some mercy

NASHVILLE -- It's midnight, Tampa time, and it's been a long day.

But back to the Mercy Lounge where I started the evening with Tom Giliam's Tractor Pull.

Up-and -comer Mindy Smith proved young and tiny (almost frail) in person, as well as brave. She'll cover Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and "Just Because I'm a Woman," which in this town qualifies as fearless. Parton has said Smith's version of "Jolene" is her favorite.

Song highlights: "Out Loud" and "One Moment More." Check them out here.

- Michael K, TBPAC

Telling the truth

Veteran songwriter Chris Smither jumped into a spot vacated by the apparently disbanded Pinmonkey and showcased his new CD, Leave the Light On.

Songs included "Origin of the Species" and "Diplomacy," comic takes on those subjects.

But his real strength is in his truth telling.

He said he used to do write a lot of blues whining songs, but that now he writes "more sophisticated kind of whining" songs, because "I hate to think that I hadn't learned anything in 40 years."

- Michael K, TBPAC

Swamp country

NASHVILLE -- Over at the Station Inn -- where Compass Records held a great party featuring Alison Brown last year -- self-confessing, "cross-dressing tomboy" Elizabeth Cook shows off her singing and her dancing in front of a band led by her husband Tim Carroll (who she "married in a fever," as the song goes.)

She says she means that she likes to dress in vintage cocktail dresses, but baits her own hook when she goes fishing.

Her site notes that The New York Times named her as one of the top 10 unheard artists in 2005.

Cool, country song: "Where the Blues Begins."

She also expresses the feelings of many about this Americana label. After one song, she said, "Is that Americana? I just don't know, you know."

We know. Doesn't matter, just like the BBQ law, doesn't matter as long as it's good.

She says she does swamp girl rock 'n' roll "just like Minnie Pearl."

Local news alert: She grew up in Wildwood, Florida.

– Michael K, TBPAC

Top this!

NASHVILLE -- Just like the year when they rocked out a tiny basement club, the Hacienda Brothers set a pretty high bar.

Even before I knew there was an official connection between the wonderful songwriter Dan Penn and the Hacienda Brothers, I had noticed their affectionate, yet original, takes on some of his songs.

Now it's apparent the California band members are truly protégées of Penn's, even as they have pioneered what they call Western soul. The music, pushed by accordion and steel and guitar, can swing like Western, but the lyrics and the vocals are throwback soul.

NPR recently interviewed Dan Penn, and he mentions the guys.

Last night at the club 3rd and Lindsley, Penn sang a line or two and led standing ovation.

If you don't know Penn, you -- if you're of a certain age -- know his hits for others. "I'm Your Puppet." "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man." "Sweet Inspiration." "Cry Like a Baby." And perhaps the best, "The Dark End of the Street," with the best version, as Penn says on his live CD "Moments From This Theatre, done by James Carr. The CD, recorded in Dublin, recently was released in the States.

I later find out that the song's also been covered by Dolly Parton, Wilson Pickett and -- these guys were Americana before it existed -- The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Anyway, The Hacienda Brothers are led by Chris "Gaff" Gaffney on guitar, vocals and accordion; the ever-smiling Dave Gonzalez on guitar and vocals; and the pedal steel of David "DB" Berzanski.

In addition to tearing up "Cry Like a Baby" and other Penn songs, they also did a great version of Gamble and Huff's soul classic "Cowboys to Girls." Many are on the new CD, What's Wrong With Right?

If you missed them when they played for WMNF in our area recently, don't miss them again. We need to get them back, maybe with Dan Penn?

– Michael K, TBPAC

Opera 101a hit!

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Opera Tampa League and The Producer’s event, “Wine and Opera 101” graciously hosted by Flemings and the tireless work of Stephanie Amberg. Over 100 supporters of both organizations had the opportunity to sample many of Fleming’s signature appetizers, each carefully balanced with delicious French and Italian wines (I enjoyed the Chateau de Cruzeau, Pessac-Lognan France, 2002 paired with the miniature tenderloin bouchee). Standards and arias were also on the menu as guests were serenaded with performances by Rosemary and Stan Collins. Guests enjoyed several selections including, Just One of Those Things by Cole Porter, and Verdrai carino from the upcoming production of Don Giovanni.

Social Chairs of Opera Tampa League, Lea Davis, and The Producer’s, Karen Johnson, provided a wonderful opportunity for supporters of TBPAC productions to get together and share their love of live music and theater.

The Opera Tampa League raises annual funds through sponsorships, special events and individual contributions. Opera Tampa produces Grand Opera, and such lavish and spectacular productions cannot be presented without the support of our ever-growing Opera Tampa League community.

The Producers Volunteer Group is dedicated to supporting the programs and projects of The Center. This dynamic group provides opportunities to volunteer, network, socialize, host special events and work toward the common effort of supporting The Center and building increased awareness of its diverse programs.

Both the Opera Tampa League and The Producers provides financial support to TBPAC and engage in events that include social hours and receptions before selected performances.

For all of you Opera lovers, I have some exciting news straight from the Metropolitan Opera - so watch this space in the next few days!

-Kari G.

Nashville skyline

NASHVILLE -- Back in Nashville for the annual Americana Music Association conference. More than 1,000 musicians, promoters, record label reps, radio celebs, music journalists and fans gather here to celebrate Americana music, even if they still can't easily define it.

That's OK. It's a big tent. Roots music. Alt-country. Newgrass. Rebel country. Honky-tonk. The label covers a multiple of styles, as long as the music is from the heart and unplastic. Yeah, I know that's not a word.

There are daily conference sessions on topics like Building Fan Relationships and Pitching Music for TV and film. But the best part involves the nightly showcases at four main intimate venues (and a few spin-offs) with different music every hour from 8 or so until after 1 a.m.

(News flash: Tennessee is NOT an indoor clean air state.)

Stay tuned for more from the AMAs, concluding Friday night with an all-star concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium and the AMA awards.

(News flash: It's a state law that every Nashville restaurant has to serve BBQ. No, really, it is. Fortunately, it's all good.)

- Michael K, TBPAC

TBPAC: 2006 Best of the Bay Awards

TBPAC's Louise Lykes Ferguson Hall was honored as Best Sounding Venue in Creative Loafing's 2006 Best of the Bay issue.

Jobsite Theater, resident theater company in TBPAC's Shimberg Playhouse was also recognized with five Best of the Bay Awards - including Best Play, Best Theater Company and Best Artistic Direction.

- David J.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Kill some time and a killer rabbit!

Looking for a way to kill a little time (e.g. your brain is fried and you'll scream if you have to answer one more email)? Here's a rather amusing game courtesy of Monty Python's Spamalot. THE GOAL ... catapult the cow over the castle wall and hit the knights and killer rabbits. You think I'm making that up? Go check it out for yourself. Highest score from the marketing staff is Pablo A. with 1500. Think you can beat it?

- Angela L.

This just in: Dvorak fans likely to inhale, drinking makes you money

Thanks to TBPAC's own Angela Lakin for sharing this story with me from BBC news. The story focuses on a study that tried to find out how a person's taste in music linked to their lifestyles. I honestly find it fascinating that they found 1/4 of classical music listeners had tried marijuana, but I'm not at all surprised that fans of musicals came off the tamest of all. I could probably say more, but hey musicals help pay my salary over here, so I probably shouldn't look that horse too far in the mouth.

I'm also reminded of another story I read last week that basically said drinkers earn more money at their jobs than non-drinkers. I think it could also be people with higher paying jobs are driven to drink by the pressure/garbage they endure.

I wonder how many Jon Gruden had last night?

- David J.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Usher's in the house

Variety reports that the House of Usher, otherwise known as the NYC set of "Chicago," brought in an additional $250,000 in the R&B star's debut week as attorney Billy Flynn.

To stay fresh and generate audience and media interest, "Chicago" has specialized in so-called stunt casting, bringing in stars and celebrities from other fields. Usher, though, won generally good reviews from the critics for his singing and dancing, but also was slightly chastised for not generating the same kind of heat he does in his concerts.

Usher follows such in-like-Flynn stars as James Naughton, who originated the role in the revival, plus Huey Lewis, John O'Hurley, Alan Thicke, Gregory Harrison and George Hamilton.

Shameless plug follows: Naughton, by the way, headlines TBPAC's Broadway Ball on Saturday, Oct. 14. This is one of our biggest fundraisers, and sells out every year. You can eat on stage at Carol Morsani Hall, see an exclusive performance by Naughton and bid on fabulous auction prizes. For more information, go to 222.1037 or go to www.broadwayball.org.

- Michael K, TBPAC

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Guys raise over $2,000 for the Tampa Firefighters Museum

Jobsite Theater, resident theater company in the Shimberg Playhouse, stepped onto the Jaeb stage next door to perform a benefit performance of Anne Nelson's The Guys. While final numbers are not ready, they look to have raised over $2,000 for the Tampa Firefighters Museum.

In attendance last night among local firefighters, artists, and those just looking for a way to honor the memory of those who lost their lives that day were Tampa Firefighters Museum board chair Jim Judy and City of Tampa "arts czar" Paul Wilborn. The lobby of the Jaeb stayed full for close to half an hour after the 65-minute performance with the audience talking to actors Paul and Roz Potenza.

Paul and Roz, native New Yorkers who now make Oldsmar their home, brought this play back in late 2001 after they visited their brother, an FDNY trustee, at ground zero. They saw the play in Tribeca's Flea Theater while visiting.

Paul and Roz have a deep connection to this piece (they performed it last in 2003 in the Jaeb theater and at a few area high schools) and the commemorative 9/11 performance was their 3rd and final performance this week of the play. After last night's show Paul told me that he's ready to let it go again until the next time, and is a bit relieved to do so. No matter how much one may love performing a piece like this, it's exhausting work.

Everyone left last night feeling the better for being there. After seeing the numbers this morning, we're even happier that we've raised so much money for a local charity.

- David J.

Aw, shucks - Orlando has Tampa envy

Their headline, not ours.

- David J
(Thanks to Michael K. for the heads-up!)

New additions to the TBPAC lineup

Deepak Chopra is confirmed for Sun., March 25, 2007 in Carol Morsani Hall at 7:30pm. The ticket prices are $100.00 for a VIP section which includes the lecture plus a meet and greet, there are also tickets prices at $45.50 or $35.50 for just the lecture.

The schedule is:
Meet and Greet 6-7pm in Maestro's
Lecture and Book Signing 7:30-10:30pm

String Cheese Incident plays Carol Morsani Hall on Thu., Oct. 19 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $35.50 and $29.50 and go on sale to donors on Wed., Sept. 13 at noon and to the general public on Fri., Sept. 15 at noon.

Tourgasm, featuring comedians Robert Kelly, Jay Davis, and Gary Gulman (note that Dane Cook is NOT appearing on this new tour) plays Carol Morsani Hall on Sun., Oct. 8 at 8pm. Tickets are $34.50 and are on sale now.

They just love keeping me busy around here ...

- David J.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Jobsite Theater remembers 9-11 tonight in the Jaeb Theater

There has been a lot of "5 years later" 9-11 coverage in the media this past week, and it's been an enormous chatter point today in blogs, on the radio, on TV (CNN is showing their entire broadcast day from 9/11/01 today until midnight) and in the papers.

Jobsite Theater, TBPAC's resident theater company in the Shimberg Playhouse, moves next door into the Jaeb Theater tonight for a benefit performance of Anne Nelson's play The Guys at 8pm. Proceeds from this performance will benefit our own local Tampa Firefighters Museum.

In short, the 65-minute play centers on Joan, a journalist, who has gotten a call from a friend of a friend on behalf of Nick, a fire captain who has lost most of his men in attack on the World Trade Center. Nick and Joan spend an afternoon together honoring the memory of these men as Joan helps Nick compose the eulogies he must present at their services. This show has an enormous amount of heart and fond humor. It's not at all political, it doesn't beleaguer the events of the day, it's not a soapbox or a mouthpiece - it's an honest story, a human story and an important reminder of those who gave their lives in the line of duty that day.

The entirety of the play is based off of Anne Nelson's actual experiences following 9-11.

Jobsite has an opportunity to raise close to $5,000 for the Tampa Firefighters Museum, an organization whose struggles with fundraising have been documented in the local papers. Jobsite tries to do at least one event a season that benefits a local charity. In June, Jobsite ran a food drive for Metropolitan Ministries.

- David J.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New world music publication

Global Rhythm bills itself as "the destination for world music."

TBPAC is no stranger to this wide-open form. During the 2006 - 2007 season we have Ba Cissoko, Altan, Gipsy Kings and others bringing their diverse music styles to our stages.

- David J.