Thursday, March 29, 2007

Can't take your ears off of them?

OK, OK. The song is actually "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" but you get where I was going.

Turns out fans of the Broadway smash "Jersey Boys" can enjoy days and days of the original Four Seasons songs when Rhino Records releases a boxed set on June 5 called "Jersey Beat -The Music of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons." It includes 76 tracks and will also include a DVD of rare live performances. Jersey Beat. Like Mersey Beat. Get it? AngelaL/TBPAC

Spellers, your word is improv

In live theater, almost anything can happen. And when it does, frequently you have to improvise.

Last night I learned the improv history behind the "Putnam County Spelling Bee" school cheer.

If you've seen the touring show, you'll probably remember that "Rona Lisa Peretti" starts the show by teaching the audience a little school cheer. It's rather amusing and gets the audience involved.

Well, apparently this bit was added shortly after their stop in Baltimore. While in the middle of the show, the audio board (which controls everyone's mics) crashed.

Since the board is run by a computer, "Rona Lisa" was told she needed to fill about seven to 10 minutes while the computer rebooted.

That's an eternity on stage. But, being a pro, and because of the nature of the show, she decided to interact with the audience and teach them a little school cheer.

Soon after, the cheer was incorporated into the touring production!

And now you know. -- AngelaL/TBPAC

And check out cast members of "Spelling Bee" on this morning’s Studio 10.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

You have to watch this video of Logainne Schwartandgrubenierre from the NY cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (which is in town right now with the tour cast).

This has to be the funniest thing I've seen in weeks.

My side hurts ...


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New TBPAC podcast: Jersey Boys!

Listen directly here, or go see the back-catalogue of podcasts here.

In Brief

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has had a luminous and long career in the opera world. A world renowned soprano, Dame Kiri isn’t a woman known to get her panties in a bunch.

But that’s exactly what happened when she pulled out of a series of 2005 concerts with the Australian singing legend, John Farnham.

The reason? In the same vein as Tom Jones, it seems women like to throw their “unmentionables’ at Farnham during concerts.

Dame Kiri wasn’t going to let that fly.

"I was concerned about the knickers or underpants ... being thrown at him and him collecting it and ... holding it in his hands as some sort of trophy," said the singer, whose international performances included the 1981 wedding of Britain's Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.

Farnham’s camp contends that the opera diva was actually upset over Farnham missing her birthday party.

It’s her party and she’ll pull out of a tour if she wants to …

In the end, the courts ruled in favor of Dame Kiri. Whether the tour fell through due to a revulsion of thongs flying through the air, or just hurt feelings for a party with pony rides (I made the pony part up – but if I were a famous opera diva, my birthday party would have pony rides!) there wasn’t a concluded contract worthy of “breaking.”

The moral of the story lies somewhere under there …

Just made you say underwear!

-Kari G.

Gil's triumphant tour

We wrote recently about Brazilian Gilberto Gil's upcoming appearance in Austin at the South by Southwest festival. Now, he's ready to take on New York City, before he comes to Tampa and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on March 31.

From all appearances, it should be a relatively easy takeover.

Sunday's New York Times gave him a rave preview of his scheduled concert at Radio City Music Hall.

"At various moments in his career, Gilberto Gil put forth some of the last century's great pop records. ... Happily, his latest record to be released here, "Gil Luminoso," can be listed among those. ... Underneath his records has always been this: a brilliant small-scale singer-songwriter with guitar. Do your best to see Mr. Gil. ... He seldom plays here ... and few performers are better at radiating genenosity."

Gil also spent some time recently with National Public Radio.

Check it out, here.

Now I'm really looking forward to his concert here. MichaelK/TBPAC

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More info on the 3/31 Cigar City Chronicles pre-show talk

The scholar for the Saturday, March 31 1:30pm talk at the John F. Germany library will be Rodney Kite-Powell, curator of the Tampa Bay History Center. For details on other talkbacks in conjunction with this show, see this post.

Rodney Kite-Powell is the Saunders Foundation Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center, where he joined the staff in 1994. His academic degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Florida and a Master of Arts in History from the University of South Florida. Born and raised in Tampa, he has written extensively on the history of Tampa and Hillsborough County. In addition to his duties at the History Center, Mr. Kite-Powell teaches a summer course on the History of Florida at the University of Tampa.

Learn more about Cigar City Chronicles: A musical history of Tampa here.


Up and away into the wild blue yonder

We have been chronicling the entire production process for The March of the Kitefliers over at Jobsite's blog - Blogsite Theater.

We're running an entire series of artist profiles on everyone who is giving this show life, we're posting pictures of the progress of the set, we're doing a weekly podcast series, giving behind-the-scenes looks on what it's like getting a new play into a national spotlight and a lot more. Check it out if any of that interests you.

We're very hopeful this is just the beginning for this play, which had an unprecedented run originally in 2005. Since then, the script's been tweaked and every element of production re-evaluated and now we're trying to get it in front of eyes outside our area. The show is being shopped to several other regional companies, and we even have some very special producers from NY coming down to take a look at it. It's an exciting time.


DISCLOSURE: I am producing artistic director of Jobsite Theater as well as a principle actor in the cast. Still doesn't mean the show won't rock your socks off. ;)

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee updates!

Looking for spelling bee participants!

In honor of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the New Magic 94-9 is hosting an old fashion spelling bee at the WestShore mall this Sat., March 24, at 1 p.m.

We're looking for five teams of spellers (each team consists of 4 people, 16 years old and up) to participate in the spelling bee. The event will be moderated by Magic 94-9's Ann Kelly.

If you'd like to participate, email me at by Thu., March 22. If your team is the last team standing in the bee, you'll receive 4 opening night tickets to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee plus each team member will receive a $50 gift card from WestShore Plaza! And all participants will receive a gift bag from WestShore Plaza just for playing.

FREE! Discover Broadway at Carrollwood Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, March 28, 5-5:45 p.m.

Join us for a special Q&A with cast members of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!

Looking for more information about The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?

Barnes & Noble address: 11802 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, FL 33618

*Please note, this show is intended for mature audiences.

- Angela L.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Enter to win Hal Sparks tickets!

We're running a contest jointly through both CULTURE SHOCK and MySpace for the upcoming Hal Sparks show next week (3/22).

We're going to make this one easy on you. And you have 10 chances to win.

You remember that series of shows Hal did on VH-1, right? I Love the '70s, I Love the '80s and I Love the '90s?

All you need to do is post your favorite child/teen memory from that era that was very, very decade specific.

For instance, tell us about those nehru bell-bottoms you saved up for back in the '70s or the time you made out with your first girlfried to Nevermind in the back of your CRX.

If you haven't noticed, we've been begging for some comments, some conversation over here. I even got a promotion approved to try to help!

And while you're at it, check out the post I did full of Hal Sparks video clips. There's also one of him up on our MySpace page. He's a very funny guy!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Christmas in March?

You might have had to do a double take if you were in Channelside around lunch on Tuesday. With the Christmas music and red/green balloons you could have sworn a year had passed and Christmas was back. No worries … it's still March. The Radio City Rockettes, and Santa, just stopped by for the day to do a little promotional tour announcing their return to Tampa in December. Nearly 100 Tampa Bay folks came down to Channelside at noon to form Tampa's longest kick line. Check out a couple of the pictures!

LOW RES Rockettes TBPAC ©Rob Harris 0150

LOW RES Rockettes TBPAC ©Rob Harris 0193

- Angela L.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

See acts like Bright Eyes, Godsmack or Earth, Wind & Fire - FREE!

Want to earn service hours, help your community and see a killer show for free?

Well, there's a teeny-tiny catch (isn't there always?), but in the grand scheme of things, it's a great deal! TBPAC is looking for ushers for pop, rock, comedy, Latin and urban shows.

All we ask for in return is a few hours of your time in advance, and for you to do a bit of work for us the night of the show. Ushers hand out programs, help folks to their seats, answer general questions and usually work a door in the hall to help folks get in and out.

To join TBPAC's usher corps for these special shows, you simply need to call Patron Services by April 13 to sign up for the requisite three-hour training class held at the end of the month. We have upcoming opportunities in May for Rafael, Bright Eyes, Godsmack or Earth, Wind & Fire. New shows book all the time. If it works out for us all, you could be added to our rotation for shows like this.

Please make specific mention that you're interested in ushering one of the many pop/rock shows during the month of May and possibly beyond. Please call Gloria Heath at 813.222.1065 to sign up!

Take advantage!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

GODSMACK - On sale March 17 at noon!

And here it is, the other rock on-sale I was talking about in the Bright Eyes announcement.

Godsmack will play TBPAC's Carol Morsani Hall on Fri., May 11. Tickets are $41 and go on sale this Sat. at noon. These guys sold out the Sundome last summer, and we expect tickets to go pretty fast for this date considering we have about 1/3 of that capacity.

Listen to 98Rock this week for your chance to win tickets before you can buy them.

What a wicked few weeks

Sold-out shows put a different kind of (good) stress on our organization.

As we breathe deeply after three Wicked weeks, it's pretty impressive what we managed to do.

We had nearly 60,000 people come through our doors to see Wicked, and that wasn't even the only thing we had going on. Classes at the Patel Conservatory, business meetings here during the day, Nine Parts of Desire, Cigar City Chronicles, Altan, Catie Curtis, Ladysmith Black Mambazo ... We certainly stay busy. In that time our marketing department staff alone executed marketing campaigns, met groups coming on buses, conducted lotteries before every performancee, provided customer service advisories, handled a mountain of special requests and liased with the media on a daily basis.

And, of course, the success of the show wasn’t just on us in our area. The entire TBPAC staff played a part. For Wicked we fed over 7,000 people a full meal in our three on-site restaurants: Maestro's, Maestro's on the River and Maestro's Cafe. We valeted roughly 5,000 cars. That's just the beginning, we could dig real deep into this and find out how many rolls of TP we went through, or how many patrons walked up 5 minutes before curtain angrily miffed that they couldn't just buy front row tickets.

It's important to note that the hard work isn't over when we book a show, even a great one like Wicked that we knew would be a sure-thing. The shows aren't the only stars who work in this building, we have a great staff, too!


Gilberto Gil practices what he preaches

As the minister of culture for Brazil, Gilberto Gil is speaking at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin on Wednesday just before he transforms into a pop star on a three-week North American tour, which includes stops at Radio City Music Hall and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

In a front-page Arts&Leisure section article on Sunday, The New York Times focused on the convergence of his worlds of politics and the arts.

"He doesn't just make music, he also makes policy," the Times article said.

His style has been called "Afro Zen," which is intriguing all by itself.

With cut and paste techniques -- the musical equivalent of William Burroughs' literary technique -- Gil and other "Tropicalistas" in the late 1960s foreshadowed today's digital sampling.

As one of the pioneers of world music, he mixed samba, salsa and bossa nova with rock and folk.

"Music is something visceral in me, something that exudes from me, and even when I'm not thinking about it, I will still be making music, always," Gil told the Times. -- MichaelK/TBPAC

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bright Eyes on sale Saturday at noon!

Indie/rock/folk/emo/pop/somebody-needs-to-agree-on-a-genre-of-this-band Bright Eyes is coming Wed., May 16 to Carol Morsani Hall! Tickets go on sale this Saturday (March 17) at noon by either calling 813.229.STAR or logging on to TBPAC.ORG. Set a reminder timer, because these tickets are not going to last!

Bright Eyes played Tampa Theatre not too long ago and sold it out. I was baffled when my wife and I walked by and saw dozens and dozens of crying waify girls standing outside who couldn't get tickets. (We didn't even know the show was on that night, and thought maybe someone in there had died) There just seemed to be a lot of crying going on in general. I have a friend who works there, who we could plainly see in the lobby. When we waved as we walked by we were instantly accosted by security who told us we weren't getting in there no matter who we knew.

Oookay ...

A friend here was quick to comment after we booked the show and I described them to the staff as emo that Conor Oberst really isn't emo, and that it's an unfair label. I was instantly reminded of how Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy adamantly denied he was a goth or that the Sisters were a goth band, still doesn't mean that 90% of his fans weren't ...

Anyway, the whole thing ended by a third the marketing staff sending funny pictures of emo kids. I can't share a lot of them here or I would. You're smart people, you can figure out how to find your own.

Also ... I should be announcing another big-time rock act later this week that also goes on sale Saturday. I just can't say today.

I've had a few folks I deal with ask me if we're "going to start booking rock shows" now. We've always booked rock shows, it's just sometimes few and far between when rock bands tour halls like ours. I'm still very, very sad that we could never make it onto the Foo Fighters Skin and Bones acoustic tour they were on. I think Morsani Hall would have been a killer place to see that show.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Win a pair of tickets to see Nine Parts of Desire tonight!

We're offering up tickets to tonight's 8pm performance of Nine Parts of Desire in the Shimberg Playhouse. We can offer tickets 4 hours before a performance due to the glorious powers of the internet!

Simple leave a comment to this entry, or email with TICKETS in the subject. First come, first served.



Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Enter to Win 2 Free Tickets to Don Giovanni By Playing: Half Man, Half Insect … Total Opera!

I mentioned before that there really is going to be an opera based on the science fiction cult classic, The Fly.

This LA Opera/Theatre du Chatelet co-production is attracting big names like flies …

You complete the metaphor.

In addition to being conducted by Placido Domingo, soprano Renee Fleming and baritone Rodney Gilfry are already being linked to the production; and sets will be designed by Dante Ferretti, who won the 2005 Oscar for art direction for his work on The Aviator. Music is by Howard Shore, who scored the original film and won an Oscar for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and most recently scored The Departed.

Okay, but it’s still The Fly, right? So here’s where you come in: Opera lovers or snark-mongers this is your chance to present the Best B-movie Opera! Submit your choices by Fri., March 9 @ 10 a.m. We will select a winner and announce at 3 p.m. on March 9. The winner will receive two complimentary tickets to the Sun. March 18 performance of Mozart Festival Opera’s Don Giovanni at 2 p.m.

Here’s my suggestion (I can’t win, but I still want to play):

Can’t Buy Me Love – the Opera!

This 1987 classic was directed by the appropriately named Steve Rash – who brought American Pie Presents Band Camp and the reason why Carrie Fishier is on Prozac, Under the Rainbow. Both of which are excellent B-move opera contenders. Can’t Buy Me Love originally starred McDreamy-when-he-was-McNothing, Patrick Dempsey. For the opera version, I would cast young Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti, as the unpopular Ronald Miller, who “buys” the companionship of hot and popular cheerleader Cindy Mancini (played in my production by hottie soprano Anna Netrebko) for $1000. Romantic high jinx ensue, culminating in a closing number, Je vais oublier que ceci s'est jamais produit quand je vais √† l'universit√© (I’m going to forget this ever happened when I go to college).

Your turn!

-Kari G.

Get Blown Out!

The Patel Conservatory's Rock School Blowout is this Sun., starting at 1pm. Here's a recap of last year's event via CULTURE SHOCK.

Led by Rock School guru Lee Ahlin, along with Maggie Council DiPietra and Evan LeFloch, these 14 bands remind us why we were born to be wild and the benefits of wanting to Rock ‘n’ Roll all day! Blankets and stadium seats are permitted for this outdoor event, but chairs with legs are not. Food and beverage will be available for purchase. This is a FREE, non-ticketed event outside on the Riverwalk at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center!

Plus, hot off the presses, there will also be one Rock School Jr. band playing first. Three little rockers, grade 2-4, so I have to imagine they're bound to be cute.

This summer, The Patel Conservatory is offering three classes of this type: Rock School (grade 5-adult) and Summertime Blues (grade 5-adult for more advanced students focusing on the blues)—both 10-week classes, and Rock School Jr. (grades 2-4)—5-week class. Look here for more information.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

From Florida to Broadway?

We often use this space to talk about shows coming down here from Broadway, but sometimes things work the other way. Once upon a time, struggling Steppenwolf Theater movers-and-shakers John Malcovich and Gary Sinise mounted a production of True West in their native Chicago before it ended up in New York. That obviously worked out pretty well for all involved. A lot of other big musicals are workshopped outside the Great White Way before paying Manhattan cost of living.

Angela L. passed a story on to me this morning which talks about a show being commissioned at Sarasota's own Asolo Theater, which may have a fast track to the Big Apple - a Les Mis-style treatment of Copperfield's A Tale of Two Cities. Look for that production to open Oct. 13.

Can't wait that long to see a new show with local origination? Jobsite Theater, resident theater company here at TBPAC, is staging a brand-new version of the quirky romantic comedy The March of the Kitefliers,which opens March 29. Jobsite is inviting theater and film professionals to opening weekend performances in an attempt to give this play, which played a sold-out four-week run to standing ovations and critical acclaim in 2005 as an original works project, a life far beyond Tampa.

Check out both shows, then once they've gone huge you can say "you saw it when ..."


(Disclosure: I am the producing artistic director for Jobsite Theater, as well as a castmember of Kitefliers.)

Stand-up comedy 'final' for Patel Conservatory course

See the below email from "ranney" - local actor, author, director and teacher. I've seen his solo act, as well as las year's class final. It's all worth checking out. C'mon, it's only $5, and what else are you doing on a Mondya night?

Come and see the latest class of stand-up comedy grads do their thing. They've been working hard the last 10 weeks (ten weeks of abuse from me; you should come and hand them medals for that alone), and this is a really funny group of ladies and gentlemen.
I'll spoil the suspense now: you will be offended by someone. If I've done a half decent job, we all will be offended by the end of the evening. Lighten up and come take a few punchlines. This is the most diverse group I've had and they need your support.

SOAPBOX MOMENT: Not everywhere, but many places treat stand-up comedy like a bastard artform and then, all of a sudden, everybody wants a comedian to host, sell products, spice up their speeches, etc. I've heard countless performing artist say "It takes such guts! I could never do that." But then they never come out and support comedy (If it doesn't apply, let it fly). Look, this an always evolving artform. Many a comedian is creating - in collaboration with you, the audience - their work right in front of you with the pressure of making a room full of strangers of different backgrounds and personalities laugh. It is ironically helpful when that audience is sizeable and loud (with laughter).

Come, bring some peeps, and send some peeps.

And hey, join us for some drinks at The Hub afterwards!
be well and tranquil.



Monday, March 05, 2007

Avenue Q counts to 1,500

Can you believe that Avenue Q, the quirky adult musical featuring puppets who sing about porn and schadenfreude, has hit 1,500 performances in New York? Well, it has.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this one when it comes through next season. I'm almost looking more forward to the letters coming back in from those folks who don't take the concept of caveat emptor too seriously. :)


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sound Board operator needed!

The Shimberg Playhouse has an immediate need for a sound board operator for Nine Parts of Desire.

This person needs to be available basically 10a-6p from Fri., March 2 (tomorrow) through Wed. March 7, then needs to be available the nights of the show March 8-18.

Please call Karla Hartley at 222.1087 for more details. This is paid position.