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.