Monday, July 30, 2007

Opera Tampa 0708 season podcast is up!

Maria Zouvas and Kari Goetz sound off on all the excitement around the 0708 Opera Tampa season. Check it out here!

Sekou Sundiata dies at 58

I was shocked to hear late Friday evening while listening to WMNF 88.5 that poet, performer and activist Sekou Sundiata passed away on July 18 from heart failure.

I met Sekou when he was here in Tampa performing his one man show blessing the boats as part of our Expanding Horizons series, a piece about his drug addiction and subsequent kidney failure. He was a soft-spoken, wise, gentle man full of as much love as possible. His show was truly captivating and one that has stuck with me since I saw it in our Shimberg Playhouse.

I had to take him to a meeting at the local organ donor charity organization one morning, and as he approached my truck he say my REPUBLICANS FOR VOLDEMORT sticker on the back window. Clearly not understanding it he hesitated for a moment and asked me what it meant. I asked him if he read Harry Potter, and still cautious he looked at me with no understanding and nodded quickly with a furrowed brow. Suddenly feeling very self-conscious and possibly as if he was taking offense to it I quipped "It's a joke. Voldemort is like the devil." He still didn't seem that impressed and got inside my truck. We then spent the next 20 minutes driving around downtown trying to find an ATM machine that worked. He's one of the many artists who've come here shocked at the lack of decent services in the middle of Downtown Tampa.

It was an honor to know Sekou Sundiata, however briefly our paths crossed. I was moved by his performance and am a better person for seeing it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Don't forget TBPAC in your Best of the Bay voting!

Now you can just call me a double-shill. After my shameless campaigning a few weeks back for TBPAC's resident theater company, Jobsite Theater, and their performers - I'm now going to hit you with a few other ways you can help vote TBPAC the Best of the Bay in different ways.

Best Concert Venue:
  • Jaeb Theater - anyone who's been to any of the Club Jaeb shows in this intimate, acoustically perfect 268-seat venue best know for cabaret shows can tell you this is the best place to see some of the nation's best and brightest as well as upcoming singer-songwriters.
  • Ferguson Hall - This 1,042 seat hall may be often overlooked for her big sister, but there's no denying that it's a great venue to hear live music. Be it the Florida Orchestra in front of the well-engineered stage shell or the elaborate setting that Erasure had earlier this month, you're bound to have a have a great seats and hear every note.
  • Carol Morsani Hall - talk about acoustic perfection, this 2,600 seat hall was specifically designed for Grand Opera. You're not likely to find a better true concert hall in the region. Morsani is also the 4th most-attended venue of its size in the whole world!

Best concert of the past 12 months

  • I'm not even sure as to where I should begin on this one. We've had so many!!! You could take your pick of any of this season's Club Jaeb shows - or choose from Earth, Wind & Fire, Godsmack, Bright Eyes, The 5 Browns, Four Bitchin' Babes, Altan, Julio Iglesias, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, String Cheese Incident, Nick Lachey, India.Arie, Deborah Voigt, Ba Cissoko, Kathy Mattea, CeCe Winans, Gipsy Kings, Gilberto Gil, Ladysmith Black Mambazo - and I'm positive I've missed some. Leave me a comment with any I've overlooked!
Best place to to take out of town guests

I'll admit I've always thought about this award going to an area (Ybor, a beach) rather than a specific place, but thinking on it there is no reason TBPAC should not be a consideration here. When you look at the sheer volume of truly world-class entertainment that comes through this building on a daily basis, and especially when you look at some of the truly incredible shows coming next year (most of which as still unannounced as of now), this place is really something to show off. It'll be the only place in Florida to see the mega-hit Jersey Boys, we have Radio City Christmas Spectacular and The Lion King coming back, opera diva Kiri Te Kanawa and so much more.

So what are you waiting for - get to voting!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Joni Mitchell is going to rock your latte!

Starbucks is a fascinating brand. The company has and never will be just a "cup of coffee." Sure, it's a tasty, tasty coffee (I had some last night) but Starbucks is in the business of selling the whole experience. I'll go ahead and save the "Starbucks experience" discussion for another time.

Too the point...

Earlier this year, Starbucks launched their very own music label under Hear Music signing both established and emerging artists. Paul McCartney was actually the first artist signed to the label.

It now seems the label has a new artist... Joni Mitchell. She has signed a two-album deal w/ the Starbucks label. The first installment will be "Shine" to be released Sept. 25.

Rumor has it that the next big name to join the label will be James Taylor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Youtubesday: scary Thriller set in a Phillipine jail

This um, this just err ... speaks for itself. I think it's scarier than the original:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cherry Jones: From DOUBT to 24!

Some of you Bay area residents were lucky enough to witness actress Cherry Jones star in the role that she won the Tony Award for on the Carol Morsani stage in the national Broadway tour Doubt. Now it seems she's moving from the principal's office to the White House as she takes over as the newest president on FOX's wildly popular real-time drama 24.

Watching Jones as Sister Aloysius was a highlight of 2007's theatrical offerings - there's no doubt in my mind at all of that. Now it will be a lot of fun to watch her on Monday nights in my biggest pulp TV indulgence.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jobsite Theater survey

Jobsite Theater, TBPAC's resident theater company, is shopping survey services as they look to do some serious data-mining about their audience. The first test is through Survey Monkey, and as we're limited to 10 questions and 100 respondents - we ask that only folks who attend Jobsite shows take the survey. If you fall into that category can you spare a minute and take it?

Click Here to take survey

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Opera set designer featured on PBS tomorrow!

This was passed on to me by my pal Michael Murphy:
Just wanted to let you know that American Masters is focusing on David Hockney and his stage designs for opera. Should be pretty interesting. It's airing Wednesday, July 18th at 10:00 PM on WEDU, Channel 3. It runs 60 minutes and will repeat overnight at 2:00 and 5:00 AM.
Check it out!


Monday, July 16, 2007

New Carrie Newcomer DVD now out

One of my favorite performers in our Club Jaeb series, Carrie Newcomer, has just released “Light of Change,” a limited-edition DVD with Holly Near, Bernice Johnson Reagon and Carrie Newcomer.

“Light of Change” is now available on Carrie’s website. This is a full-length DVD of a joint concert performance at the “Dream On, Sister!” summer conference of 2006. The DVD includes live performances and interview segments talking about music, spirituality and activism. This will only be offered on artist websites and at live performances.

Carrie played our series last season, and absolutely captivated the audience in the Jaeb Theater.

If you like artists like Carrie Newcomer, look for the announcement of our 07-08 Club Jaeb series coming early in August. It's great lineup and we've put together an incredible deal so you can see each of the musicians and still afford to stick around afterward and buy their CDs.

I can't spill the beans just yet, but I can tell you that we have some familiar (big) names, as well as some tremendously exciting new stars.

See you at the Jaeb. -- MichaelK/TBPAC

Friday, July 13, 2007

Vote in Creative Loafing's 2007 Best of the Bay Awards!

Creative Loafing, Tampa's hip and funny alternative weekly is now taking ballots for their 2007 Best of the Bay Awards.

The categories cover just about everything you could imagine in this great area of ours. You might notice that the first three categories are Best Theater Troupe, Best Actor and Best Actress. Well, I'm absolutely shameless enough to do my best to twist your arm and beg for votes for Jobsite Theater, TBPAC's resident theater company. At least I'm being up front about the shilling, right? And after all, you're grown-ups and can make up your own minds. I'm clearly not trying to trick anyone. Just maybe nudge a little firmly ...

So, that said, please consider voting for Jobsite Theater as Best Theater Troupe. Best Actor and Best Actress gets a little hairier, it's certainly not so clear cut as just saying "Vote Jobsite!" You could consider almost any of the four lead men from The Pillowman, the trio of performers from This is How it Goes, any number of the cast of The March of the Kitefliers or Woman in Mind. Steve Garland, Matt Lunsford, Ryan McCarthy, Paul Potenza - all these men surely warrant some consideration. So does Ami Sallee Corley for her performance in Woman in Mind.

Jobsite was lucky enough to take home a stack of these things last year: Best Theater Company, Best Play, Best Actor and Best Artistic Direction.

Or maybe you have thoughts all your own. It doesn't really matter, so long as you get out and vote!

A few other things to note: CreLo really hopes you decide to think about true local businesses over chains (like no Taco Bell for Best Mexican!) and you must vote in at least 35 categories for your ballot to be counted. And no ballot stuffing! They're smarter than you think!

(Here comes the big-ol' disclaimer: as editor of this blog it should probably be pointed out that I am also the producing artistic director of Jobsite, and I am working HARD at getting people to vote for Jobsite over just about every medium I have available to me. It's ok though, the paper is all for this sort of behavior. Now let's hope my boss is.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Be a TBPAC usher and see cool shows for FREE!

The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is looking for volunteer ushers to rock! Specialized usher opportunities, specifically for comedy, urban, pop and rock music concerts, have lower per month shift requirements than other TBPAC volunteer positions.

TBPAC also offers a volunteer usher program for high school students, with just a two shift per month requirement. Depending on the student's age, parental supervision may be required.

Requirements for these volunteer usher positions are:
• pleasant disposition
• available one to two shows per month
• ability to stand for three to five hours during the performance
• no aversion to heights
• available evenings or weekends

All potential TBPAC volunteers are subject to a background check.

Other exciting and fulfilling volunteer opportunities are available all year and are open to adults of all ages.

Interested parties should contact Gloria Heath, TBPAC volunteer coordinator, at 813.222.1065 for more information or to sign up for a training session. When calling, please let Gloria Heath know which volunteer opportunity you are interested in. Upcoming volunteer training sessions are scheduled for the end of April and in June. Additional information on TBPAC volunteer opportunities can be found here.

Food porn par excellence

I have an admission: I'm a foodie. I confess this with reticence, because there are very few things I think is acceptable to be a snob about. I read a lot of restaurant reviews and often cringe as someone goes into pretentious hyperbolic style describing sauces and flavors (I still don't understand how a liquid can have the texture of silk), even those of our own local alt-weekly. I still enjoy just about everything about food, really. Shopping for it, preparing it and of course - eating it. I shun corporate fast food and chains in favor of out of the way places and mom and pop-type joints.

I still rarely, RARELY let my foodie freak flag fly. Because, well, I'm a little ashamed of it. Still, I shop at a small butcher and Asian grocers and cook an average of four days a week - even with my overwhelming schedule. I love to cook. I love to eat. I love to share my food with friends and loved ones.

So are we clear on why this is a big deal I'm passing this website on to you folks? Ok. This didn't come easy ...

I stumbled across this blog via the local TampaBLAB aggregator, and I've been since hooked.

Jaden's Steamy Kitchen is subtitled "Modern Asian Home Cooking," and is chock full of not only great recipes and cooking advice but an enormous amount of humor and personality. I've read a lot of food blogs where either recipes or journaling appear to be the focus, but Jaden actually comes across as a great writer and storyteller.

Enough gushing.

Jaden Hair is an instructor at a cooking school in Sarasota as well as a writer for a few publications. She takes her own photos - which are all quite good and don't employ any tricks of food photography.

She also jokes about sleeping her way through a culinary education with boyfriends of varying cultural backgrounds, and points out the fine points of getting the really good recipes from moms and grandmas and how if you pay to go to cooking school some teacher is just going to show you the tricks taught to them by somebody's mom or grandma anyway. Save the money and have a better time. She has a point there. A lot of my ethnic cooking training has either come directly from families from that area or my own reverse-engineering of food I've had at a restaurant. Left to my own upbringing it would be all fried chicken, greens and casseroles.

Anyway, check her blog out. Just make sure you're not hungry.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wouldn't it be lover-ly?

It appears Claire Danes is ready to call Broadway home... at least until December. She has been cast as Eliza Doolittle in the Roundabout Theatre Company's upcoming production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. This will be Claire Danes' Broadway debut.

For those who aren't familiar, Pygmalion is the play that inspired the legendary musical My Fair Lady. Actually ... wait for it ... My Fair Lady is coming to Tampa, Sept. 12-15. The show is direct from its successful run in London and will remount here in Tampa performing five shows before beginning the national tour. Check out some of the show video on the TBPAC's homepage.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Morning roundup: podcasts, menopause and more

Monday, July 09, 2007

12 Girls Band video from Live Earth

12 Girls Band was part of this weekend's Live Earth festivities, and now you can head over to the Live Earth site to watch video clips of their performance, along with all of the other acts. 12 Girls Band plays Morsani Hall on Oct. 17.

Friday, July 06, 2007

American Idol - the musical?

Idol: The Musical opened Off-Broadway last night. Check out what has to say about the show:
Idol: The Musical — which is "based on the worship of Clay Aiken," one of the finalists on the second season of the hit reality TV series — begins previews at Off-Broadway's 45th Street Theatre July 5.

The musical, which was recently seen in Syracuse, NY, is directed by Daniel Tursi. Todd Ellis and Bipolar Productions are producing the Manhattan engagement.

The cast includes Babs Rubenstein as Adrienne, the musical's bad guy; Jennie Riverso as Alex, a brutally combative diamond-in-the-rough who fights all of her battles with her two fists; Nikita Richards as Cass, a Goth-chick whose voodoo doll is named Willard; Courtney Ellis as Cicaida, a child prodigy with an encyclopedic knowledge of the world; Jon Balcourt as Connor, the home-schooled kid; Ryan Sprague as Duncan, a loveable goofball obsessed with Western apparel; Joella Burt as Emily, the alpha-misfit; Joe Walker as J.D., the basketball phenom who longs to be a Chippendale dancer; and Roy George-Thiemann as Kodi, a self-appointed celebrity waiting to happen.

Idol: The Musical, according to press notes, is "a satirical musical comedy that focuses on the outrageous and delusional fan base of the hit television show. The musical takes place in Steubenville, Ohio where a group of misfit students are preparing for their high school graduation after which they are determined to drag themselves out of the dregs of the middle-of-nowhere. There are nine of them; all belonging to the same cult-like club that meets daily in a garage that doubles as a shrine to Clay Aiken. They are viciously ridiculed by the rest of Steubenville; a humiliating situation that doesn't deter their quest for all things Clay. They are victims of A.D.D., Ritalin, their misguided obsessions and their innocent longing for their elusive '15 minutes.' One of them pumps gas. One of them is home-schooled. One of them is a walking encyclopedia. And one of them is a basketball phenom who would rather be a Chippendale dancer. The other five have equally bizarre back-stories too complicated to tell here; but suffice it to know that the real bad-guy of the piece is a total harpy, prima donna named Adrienne. She gives new meaning to the word villain. The story heats up when the mid-American leg of the 'Idol Tour,' starring Clay Aiken, is announced to be playing Chicago, Memphis, Louisville, Scranton, Charleston, Greensboro, Roanoke and Steubenville. Steubenville! Let the worship begin."

The musical, based on a concept by Todd Ellis, features music and lyrics by Jon Balcourt with a book and lyrics by Bill Boland. Choreographers are Joe Walker and Jason Bumpus.

The design team comprises Brian Howard (scenic), Charles Shatzkin (lighting) and Keith Axton (costume).

Song titles include "Idolize," "Small Town Blues," "Fifteen Minutes," "Discipline," "Chip & Dale Days," "Prima Donna Fabulous," "Quakin' for Aiken," "Burnin' Hunk of Clay," "Simon Says," "Distance," "Family of Misfits" and "Realize."
You can check out Clay Aiken live and in person here at TBPAC on Aug. 17.

- Tara Mc.

Georgia Engel confirmed to tour with The Drowsy Chaperone

As the 0708 tours start to prepare for the road, it's been confirmed that Georgia Engel will be joining the North America tour of The Drowsy Chaperone, reprising her Broadway role of the absent-minded Mrs. Tottendale.

In addition to her list of theatrical credits, Ms. Engel is most recognized for her television roles as Georgette in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (two Emmy nominations) and as Pat McDougal in "Everybody Loves Raymond" (three Emmy nominations).

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Live Earth is ready to rock your world… literally

Know what Saturday is? OK, yes it's 7.7.07 but it's also Live Earth... "a 24-hour, 7-continent (yes, that includes Antarctica) concert series that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis."

Don't have a ticket? No worries. The concerts are scheduled to broadcast in the United States on NBC, Universal HD, The Sundance Channel, Bravo, Telemundo, mun2, CNBC, MSNBC, Sirius & XM. As always, check your local listings.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Beverly Sills (1929 - 2007)

American Opera lost our greatest diva yesterday. Beverly Sills, a non-smoker, lost her battle with lung cancer. As one of the most well-known and best loved opera sopranos, Sills graced the cover of Time magazine, was awarded the Medal of Freedom, represented the ideal American opera singer and even sang with The Muppets. She was 78.

I remember Beverly Sills, as a child (her appearance on The Muppet Show being my most vivid memory) her shock of red hair, her spunky personality (I think they may call it pluck) and her passion for the arts made her an approachable and engaging celebrity.

Even after retiring her beautiful lyric coloratura soprano voice in 1980, she went on to take the helm at the New York City Opera, the Lincoln Center and The Met. Her bubbly personality made her a favorite with Johnny Carson and other chat shows.

Beverly Sills was one of us. She grew up in Brooklyn. She worked her way up through the ranks and didn’t even sing overseas until she was 36. She was a wife and a dedicated mother to two special needs children. She was a “voice” in so many ways.

Beverly Sills has a strong connection to the birth of TBPAC. She was one of the luminaries who attended the opening Gala in 1987. I just spent some quality time in the archives to find the connection. Ms. Sills was here as General Manager of the New York City Opera who performed Act II of La Boheme in what is now known as Morsani Hall. According to society pages, Ms. Sills wore a “mauve gown with purple flowers and was followed by cameras and members of the press all evening.”

We were lucky to have her here. And the world was lucky to have her talent.

- Kari G.

Jersey Boys, 0708 Broadway season podcast

This was recorded a bit ago, but I realized that I never got this up here for other folks to listen to. Enjoy a podcast on Jersey Boys and the rest of our 0708 Broadway season. You can go directly to the podcasts page of TBPAC.ORG right here.

The goal is to get something up on a biweekly basis. If you;re interested, you can sign up for the feed from the podcasts page.


Get some "Fresh Air" with Frankie Valli

Frankie Valli was on today's broadcast of NPR's "Fresh Air." He discussed the success of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys (based on the story Frankie Valli and the Four Season) and the new box set of their recordings. If you missed it, check out the show's page at You should be able to listen to it later today/tomorrow.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Just added: Rollins, Bruce Bruce, Macy Gray and The Brand New Heavies

We've just confirmed several shows for the late summer:

Macy Gray with The Brand New Heavies play Carol Morsani Hall on Thu., Aug. 16, 2007 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $37.50, $47.50 and $67.50 and will go on sale to donors on Wed., July 11 at noon and then to the general public on Fri., July 13 at 12pm.

Comedian Bruce Bruce plays Ferguson Hall on Sat., Sept. 22, 2007 at 8pm. Tickets are $33 and will go on sale to donors on Thu., July 12 at noon and then to the general public on Sat., July 14 at noon.

PROVOKED with Henry Rollins comes to Ferguson Hall on Sept. 24, 2007 at 8pm. Tickets are $23.25 and will go on sale to donors on Wed., July 11 at noon and then to the general public on Fri., July 13 at 5pm.

Broadway updates & Audra goes Hollywood

For those keeping score, a couple more shows are set to close in the upcoming month.
  • Grey Gardens (July 29) starring Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole
  • Inherit the Wind has decided not to extend their run past the originally announced July 8

Catch them while you can!

Also, on a slightly different note, the amazingly talented Audra McDonald is headed to Hollywood following her success in 110 in the Shade. She'll be joining the cast of the "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off, "Private Practice." I'll be honest, I don't watch "Grey's Anatomy" (I know, hard to believe), but I might have to give this new show a try. The cast looks pretty good and my Wednesday nights are currently available for a new show. My hesitation... since I never watched "Grey's Anatomy" in the first place, how lost in the sauce will I be with the spin-off???