Friday, November 30, 2007

"Ruby" the popular cover?

I'm a big fan of The Killers so of course I picked up their newest release, Sawdust. It's an album of B-sides and other rare recordings.

At one time or another most bands cover another artist's song. The Killers are no exception. On Sawdust they cover the song "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town." You're thinking... oh, yeah, that Kenny Rogers' song. That's what I thought too. Turns out Kenny Rogers also covered the song. It was written by Mel Tillis and was originally recorded in 1967 by Johnny Darrell. Kenny Rogers made the song famous.

The Killers aren't the only ones who have done a recent cover of the song. In 2004 the band Cake also recorded the song and it was released on the B-sides album in 2007 too.

Have a favorite cover? Or maybe you had a favorite song until someone covered it?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Philly loves Drowsy!

Check out this great review just in from the Philadelphia Inquirer for the national tour of The Drowsy Chaperone.

The strike is over!

For those of you keeping track, the 19-day Local One Broadway stagehand strike is over (hear the sigh of relief?). A tentative agreement was reached yesterday. The New York shows affected by the strike will be back on stage starting tonight. You can read more about the strike and resolution here.

Now if we could only end the writer strike... I'm missing good (aka non-reality) TV and I don't like it!

Rockettes on NBC Saturday night

Check out the Radio City Christmas Spectacular TV special this Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. on NBC. Here are the details:

"This December NBC brings more holiday cheer into viewers homes with 'The Radio City Christmas Spectacular' special - For the first time ever, NBC will televise the 75th celebration of the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" in a one-hour exclusive special from the great stages at Radio City Music Hall. Hosted by Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira ("Today"), the show will feature brand new glamorous costumes, state-of-the-art special effects and new eye-popping numbers performed by the world-famous Radio City Rockettes, as well as traditional favorites including the famed "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers." This year's brand new and re-imagined production will be executive produced by legendary and veteran news producer Don Hewitt."

And for those of you who haven't gotten your Radio City Christmas Spectacular tickets for the Tampa engagement... what are you waiting for?

Monday, November 26, 2007

This week at TBPAC!

Youth Theater Company Jr.'s School House Rock Live Jr. - 11/29 - 12/1

Orlando Ballet's The Nutcracker - 11/30 - 12/2

Joe Bonamassa - 12/2

The Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra Fall Concert - 12/2

Still no deal with Broadway negotiations

Just the financial impact alone:

The (New York) city comptroller’s office has said that the strike, which began Nov. 10, costs the city $2 million a day, but officials from the League of American Theaters and Producers place the cost much higher. Last year, Broadway pulled in around $42 million in grosses over Thanksgiving week and the week before.

Check out the full story here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Caetano Veloso

Check out this review of his concert at the Nokia Theater that appeared in today's New York Times.

He plays Tampa on Friday!

Steve Martin takes a lesson from Jersey Boys

Steve Martin just came out with a new memoirs book called "Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life." It's a book about his early years, before all the blockbuster movies (did you know he plays the banjo?).

In a recent USA Today interview the writer opens with an interesting quote from Martin:

"At 62, Martin says, "that's what I learned from watching Jersey Boys," the Broadway musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. "It's before you make it — that's the most interesting part. After that, it's just, 'Then I made this movie. Then I met this person …' "

Well put.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A little Broadway on turkey-day

There are two things that I love about Thanksgiving... my mom's gravy (you can pour it on everything) and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sorry guys, football didn't make the cut.

Even though there is an ongoing stagehand strike, it has been confirmed that the shows originally scheduled will still be able to perform. Those Broadway shows are Legally Blonde, Xanadu, Mary Poppins and Young Frankenstein. Plus there will be the traditional performance by the Radio City Rockettes!

Other Broadway stars will also make appearances. Included in the line up are Bob Saget currently staring in The Drowsy Chaperone, Sarah Brightman will perform as the Pirate Queen and Spring Awakening's Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff perform "Give My Regards to Broadway."

For more information, check out this story on The parade starts at 9 a.m. on your NBC station.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Conversations with Cash: Rosanne talks about life, death and ‘what remains’

Rosanne Cash, who will play the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on March 2, recently made headlines because of her impending brain surgery to address a rare but benign condition. As she told us in a recent NYC interview, she canceled her remaining 2007 concert dates, but will resume her live performance schedule in the spring – starting with her TBPAC concert.

According to manager Danny Kahn, Cash was diagnosed with chiari I malformation, a congenital deformation of the skull affecting the brain and spinal cord.

"She does want everyone to know it's a benign condition and it's not life-threatening," Kahn told UPI. "It's nothing like a tumor or hemorrhage or anything. It's elective surgery."

Earlier this month, and just before the official announcement, Cash talked about life, death, her favorite songs, her famous father and her daughter who’s following in the family business.

Despite recent personal tragedies, including the death of Johnny and June Carter Cash, as well as Rosanne’s mom and Johnny’s first wife Vivian, Rosanne has produced some of the best work of her career – including the Grammy-nominated “Black Cadillac.”

Check out our conversation. (By the way, the heater in our interview room was working overtime to combat the NYC chill that day, so the sound mix is a little more muddy than we’d like. However, Rosanne’s words of quiet wisdom cut through the ambient noise just fine.)

- Michael K.

TBPAC: Get a weekly schedule on your cell phone!

This is a more of a plain-speak entry on the new SMS (text-messaging) service we're offering to people. I'd previously posted at the launch and how you could enter to win tickets to Avenue Q, but I wanted to appeal a bit more directly as to why exactly I think this is a cool thing.

We're an industry leader in a lot of ways when it comes to new technology. We've been one of the first or the very first in so many online endeavors and endeavors that just generally use technology. I very clearly remember when I was told the web was a fad, and when I was told no one would ever buy tickets online and so on and so forth. We're also talking about an industry that didn't believe radio or TV would last, either.

First thing's first - we don't want to bug you with a bazillion text messages about every single little thing going on here, we're not going to sell/share your number and by and large the whole idea here is to just send you want YOU ask for.

When I brainstormed on how exactly this whole SMS thing could really benefit a general customer, I of course put myself into a consumer's shoes. The first two ideas I had are now in place.

INFO is the first command we agreed on. If you text INFO to the phone number 82722 (It's a short code which spells TBPAC - sweet!), you will get back a text message that gives you the most critical information people are usually looking for. Where we are off the interstate, our Ticket Office and admin phone numbers, the hours of the ticket windows, our web address, all the critical info for the Patel Conservatory. This is a handy thing to actually save on your phone if you make a habit of coming here. It's a handy quick-reference.

The second idea was for essentially an events line. Just like you might check a website or phone line for what's going on, you can also text EVENTS to the phone number 82722 and you will get back a listing of the shows going on that week. I think this is another super-handy tool. Say you're sitting around right after work on a Friday night with a few friends having drinks looking for something to do. Viola!

We don't charge you to use any of these services, though your phone provider might - depending on how your plan is set up (for instance, I don't have a texting package on my phone, so I pay a few cents for every message I send and receive). Hey, and don't forget you'll be entered to win a pair of tickets to the opening night of Avenue Q for every time you use the service between now and Dec. 28.

Down the line, we hope to be able to use this service to offer last-minute deals, possibly for promotions in the lobby before a show where we may offer a backstage pass or a meet and greet or something. There really is a lot of potential here. Now the trick is to get people using it and make sure it's something useful and not a nuisance.

In today's world, even the arts has to stay on the cutting-edge and make an effort to get information to people in the way they want it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ticket brokers on WTSP

This story stars our own VP of Marketing, Michael Kilgore.

"Secondary ticketing" (was: scalping then ticket brokering) is a pretty big hot-button issue in our industry right now.

What's your take on all this? Should Florida get tougher on these operations?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

TBPAC staff talks Joe Bonamassa

A few staff members have written in with a bit of love for Joe Bonamassa, who'll be here in Dec.:

"(The first Bonamassa concert I attended) had to have been in the late 80’s . . . Rochester, NY used to have a festival tent downtown . . . held around 2,000 people. Lots of good music all summer long. Very personal venue. A bunch of us went to see B.B.  King, and Joe Bonamassa opened for him. We didn'’t realize at the time that he was from Utica which was just 2 hours down the road from Rochester. Bonamassa couldn'’t have been any more than 12 or 13. You could see his dad standing next to the stage watching him. The blues that kid could play would have made any number of blues guitarists proud. I think his guitar looked bigger than he was. That was before he had started to sing along with playing. Toward the end of the show, B.B. King came on stage and played with him.

There were a few other times in the next couple of years we saw him open for George Thorogood and even for Robert Cray. Each time we heard him play, he was better and better on that guitar." - Dona H.

"This is Joe’s second performance this year at TBPAC and I personally am very excited about this one. Joe has been playing guitar since he was four years old and even opened for B.B. King at the tender age of twelve. All of Joe’s albums have hit the top ten albums of the year on Billboard's Blues charts. His last two (You & Me and Sloe Gin) have debuted at #1. This man is phenomenal and should not be missed if you are into Blues/Rock or have a guitar player fetish; you are going to love Joe. This is only the third time he’s played Tampa and the acoustics in the Ferguson Hall are great -so do yourself a favor and come support the Blues @ TBPAC!" - Jeff C.

Joe Bonamassa will be performing in the Ferguson Hall on December 3, 2007.

Check out more on Joe Bonamassa.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kiri Te Kanawa - Staying Warm this Winter/Summer

After opera legend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa visits sunny Florida in Feb. (she performs for Tampa in the Carol Morsani Hall on Feb. 9), she’s going to make sure that her creamy voice doesn’t feel any harsh winter winds. On Feb. 16 she will be performing in her homeland of New Zealand for their summer program “Opera in the Park.”

Other side of the world – its summer there. Might be obvious to you – but it’s Monday morning and that one took me a second.

But, just like her concert here tickets are going to move fast for the Opera in the Park engagement and promoters there are saying, “Buy fast!”

You can do the same when Dame Kiri tickets go on sale Dec. 2.

- Kari G.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Caetano Veloso brings home two Latin Grammy Awards!

Best Brazilian Song (Portuguese Language)

Não Me Arrependo
Caetano Veloso, songwriter (Caetano Veloso)
Track from: Cê
[Mercury/Universal Music]

Best Singer-Songwriter Album

Caetano Veloso
[Mercury/Universal Music]

Caetano Veloso plays TBPAC on Nov. 23.

Article about Caetano and his nominations prior to the awards posted by the NY Daily News.

List of 2007’s Latin Grammy winners posted by the Associated Press.

- Pablo Aviles

First the writers – now the stage hands

Every role in a show is critical, from the actor to the caterer to the lighting designer to the wardrobe hand. As Hollywood writers went on strike this week we learned just how critical the written word is to the survival of our favorite shows. If I don’t get some The Daily Show soon – my withdrawals are going to get violent.

Now Broadway is going to face a similar crisis. Just as Young Frankenstein celebrated a star studded opening night last night – tonight – they may be dark. New York Post is reporting that Local One has walked away from the negotiating table and could strike as early as this evening.

If you aren’t familiar – Local One represents the stage hands of Broadway, they are camera operators, they are set builders, they are the lifeline of Broadway.

The Post reported the negotiations as follows:

There were "a lot of 'f--- yous' " flying back and forth, a source close to the talks said.

I don’t know that much about good communication skills – but I know that’s not going to get them very far.

Here’s hoping they work things out – Union Now! Union Forever!

- Norma Rae

- aka Kari G.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dame Kiri to perform for the Queen – again

Like singing at the wedding of Charles and Diana, and becoming a Dame and performing for the Queen countless times wasn’t enough – Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will perform for royalty again this December at the 2007 Royal Variety Performance gala evening.
She’ll be keeping company on stage with (by request of Queen Elizabeth II) Bon Jovi, Enrique Inglesias, James Blunt and Katherine Jenkins.

Dame Kiri will be keeping us company on Feb. 9, when she performs for one night only in Carol Morsani Hall. Sorry, no corgis allowed.

-Kari G.

Happy Birthday to The Lion King

Disney's THE LION KING will celebrate it's 10th anniversary on Broadway. The show debuted on Nov. 13, 1997 and since then has delighted over 45 million people world-wide.

Some other interesting stats:
  • The show has grossed $3 billion world-wide.
  • THE LION KING has performed in 63 cities throughout the world in 11 countries.
  • The show has been translated into 5 different languages.
  • It is the 9th longest running Broadway show in history.
  • THE LION KING has won over 70 major awards worldwide.

And in case you didn't know (here comes my shameless plug) THE LION KING will return to Tampa this May!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Is This Thing On?

Come see the latest group of developing comedians at Is This Thing On?, a showcase by the Stand-up Comedy students of the Patel Conservatory. This is the sixth term of successful comedians to 'walk the plank' at Patel.

Performing under the name “The Patel Standup Comics,” the students perform on Monday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. at The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Shimberg Playhouse.

After eight weeks of analyzing, writing, creating, destroying and reworking material, these students will meet the challenge of eliciting chuckles in a 90-minute performance hosted by local comedy vet and instructor "ranney."

Instructor "ranney" is the stand-up comedy, spoken word and scene-study instructor for the Patel Conservatory. "ranney" is an international comedian/poet who has headlined London's The Comedy Store, Dublin's The Comedy Cellar, and various venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. "ranney" was the premier comedian at Laff Tuesdays at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. As a spoken word artist, "ranney" won the Universal Poets competition in 2000 and was nominated Best International Poet 2003 by the Farrago Poetry Group of London. "ranney" has developed and performed nine one man shows, with the last one, "Cufflinks and Jolly Ranchers for Dummies" performed nightly at the Underbelly at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The tenth, "The Black Plague" will premiere soon.
Is This Thing On? will contain explicit language and themes. Tickets can be purchased at the door or through The Center Ticket Office at 813.229.STAR.

Church choir on a whole different level

I love a good choir! Have you ever heard a choir perform Handel's Messiah (the Master Chorale will be doing highlights Nov. 30 & Dec. 1) Mendelssohn's Elijah or Mozart's Requiem (my favorite movement is "Lacrimosa")? There's truly nothing that can compare.

I've spent a good portion of my life performing in choirs. Some were small ensembles, some were course requirements and some required an extensive audition process. But that's what you do when you love music. Just ask the members of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In a recent article it was noted that around 300 Mormons responded to the choir's recent invitation to audition for the choir. At the time they were looking to fill only 32 slots in a 360 member choir. But being able to sing is only the basic requirement. Auditioners must be between the ages of 25 and 55, Mormon, recommended by their bishop, live within 100 miles of Temple Square and pass a written test for musical aptitude. Whew!

Friday, November 02, 2007

TBPAC launces SMS/texting service (win tickets to Avenue Q!)

We're officially launching an SMS/text-messaging service as one more way patrons can stay up to date with what's going on at TBPAC.

We've officially nabbed up the short code TBPAC (82722) and have entered a partnership with Agile Communications, who are providing the texting software and system.

We hope to primarily offer this on an in-bound basis, meaning we want people to text us when they want information.

The first two commands we've created are INFO and EVENTS. If you text INFO to TBPAC (82722) you will be sent back a text message that has all of TBPAC's critical phone numbers: the ticket office, admin, catering, group sales. You'll also get the street address for the building, the exit information from the interstate, hours of ticket office windows. All that good stuff. It's a handy reference to keep in your phone, and a very convenient way to get it if you're out and about.

If you text EVENTS to TBPAC (82722), you will be sent back a message giving you all the shows that are playing that week at TBPAC. This message updates weekly. Again, we think that's pretty handy.

The command HELP gives you a list of commands, and STOP of course removes you from getting future messages from us.

For the time being we're not planning on sending unsolicited advertisements. We'd rather just get people what they want, not what we want them to get. There's a lot of potentially exciting things we can do with a system like this including discounts, offering meet and greet contests at a show in the lobby, sending out urgent traffic advisories or closures etc.

So, we get started officially today. For every time that you text either INFO or EVENTS to TBPAC (82722) between now and Dec. 28, you will be entered to win the pair of opening night tickets to see Avenue Q here at TBPAC. Winners will be drawn at random. No purchase necessary. Your fee structure from your wireless provider may vary, but if you are charged to send or receive texts, this would be no different.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Defending the Caveman TV spot

This show will be here at TBPAC 12/12-16.

Obit: Tom Murphy, Irish actor, won Tony for 'Beauty Queen'

Tom Murphy, the Irish actor who won the Tony Award in 1998 for his portrayal of Ray Dooley in Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane died Oct. 6 in Dublin from complications of Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 39.

I played that part in Jobsite Theater's 2003 production of Beauty Queen. Jobsite also went on to produce Mr. McDonagh's The Pillowman in 2006.

The obit on the NYTimes site also references my favorite line in the show:
“Who wants to see Ireland on telly?” Mr. Murphy’s character asks. “All you have to do is look out your window and see Ireland. And it’s bored you’d be.” He mimes looking out a window. “There goes a calf."
Tom Murphy made quite a mark on stage and screen, above and beyond his Tony for Best Featured Actor in 1998 (where he shared the stage with current Broadway stalwart Brian O'Byrne), starring in Connor McPherson's Shining City as well as the acclaimed films Michael Collins and Adam and Paul.

A Yiddish guide to ‘Jewtopia’

A new book has arrived just in time to supplement the comedy in Jewtopia, now playing in TBPAC’s Jaeb Theater through Nov. 11.

Billed as a goy meets girl love story, Jewtopia traces the misadventures of two guys looking for love in all the wrong places.

The Tribune’s review today says you’ll laugh in spite of yourself (and it’s OK).

The book is “Just Say Nu,” by Michael Wex. The subtitle is “Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won’t Do).”

The New York Times review says “The book is packaged as a primer, with a mild pretense of being an instruction manual. … Most readers will skip over the grammar and syntax and head right to Mr. Wex’s comic explanation of Yiddish phrases, and how to get maximum impact out of a language strong on aggression, contempt and abuse.”

That much I could gather from the Jewtopia script, which offers sort of a Yiddish 101 for those not of the Tribe.

Plus, the helpful Jaeb folks put together a helpful vocabulary sheet passed out with the program.

Of course, you can get your M.A. in Yiddish with Wex’s book.

For example, when you hear someone spouting nonsense, like, say that there’s nothing to do downtown, you could say “Vays ikh voos,” which apparently means “I know what” in a literal translation, but so much more with the proper intonation.

The Times’ critic says, delivered properly, that it’s “not so much spoken as spat, or sneezed out. … It consists of equal parts disbelief, contempt and impatience – practically a Yiddish trifecta.”

– MichaelK

Young Frankenstein on the Today Show

Did you miss Broadway's new Mel Brooks musical "Young Frankenstein" yesterday morning on the Today Show? No worries, you can recover from your candy hang-over and check out the clips from the lively new musical comedy. It looks like an outstanding cast including Megan Mullally of Will and Grace fame and Sutton Foster who most recently starred on Broadway in The Drowsy Chaperone.