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 http://podcast.sfopera.com, 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.