Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spring Awakening - we want to know what you thought!

It seems some of the coverage of the show in the local media has only focused on some of the more titillating aspects of this winner of eight 2007 Tony Awards - including Best Musical.

Personally, I feel like it's one of the best things to hit Broadway in at least a decade. I also have a fairly long history with the source material, a college professor of mine (Dr. Ralf Remshardt) wrote a brilliant translation of the original Wedekind play while I was in grad school that I had an opportunity to see. A few years later I would produce that very same script with my company, Jobsite Theater.

It's the prerogative of the masses I suppose to get outraged, or rail against things they think are obscene. Still, the sensibilities of individuals and what they find offensive is very subjective. I feel like TBPAC has been nothing but up front about the show, and even gave season ticket holders the option to opt-out of seeing/paying for it. No one is trying to trick anyone and certainly any play, book, CD or movie should be avoided by someone who feels like they wouldn't care for it - whatever the reason. Others still deserve the opportunity.

I'm very curious as to what our readers might think of the performance on stage this week. If you see the show - which I honestly hope you do as it's groundbreaking, powerful stuff - I hope you might remember to come back here and let us know what you think. The only thing I'll ask is that we keep it fair and clean since this is an open blog.

Free: Scene on the Green showing of the original Oceans 11

TBPAC hosts our first free Scene on the Green event for 2009 next Friday with the original Oceans 11 (y'know, the one from the '60s with that Sinatra dude in it).

Pack a picnic and a blanket and come on down!

Win tickets to the opening night of RENT!

Text RENT to TBPAC (82722) before each performance of Spring Awakening (Dec. 30, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 31, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.; Jan 1, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 2, 2009 at 8 p.m.; Jan. 3, 2009 at 2 p.m.; Jan. 3, 2009 at 8 p.m.; Jan. 4, 2009 at 2 p.m. and Jan. 4, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.) for your chance to win a pair of opening night tickets to see RENT on July 7, 2009. A winner will be chosen at random during every performance of Spring Awakening, notified by text message and given further instructions on how to claim the prize.

Standard text-messaging rates from your carrier apply. Only one entry per device. Entries will be received daily up until the scheduled show time. Saturday and Sunday will each have two contests with one ending with the matinee performance and the other ending at the evening performance.

For complete contest rules, click here.

TBPAC's SMS technology is provided by our friends at Agile Communications.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Music Director/Pianist needed

Audition Notice

The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is currently seeking a musical director/pianist for our upcoming production, WAIST WATCHERS - THE CALORIE-FREE MUSICAL. Responsibilities will be all rehearsals starting January 12 2009, play all shows (2/6/2009-5/10/2009) 8 show week (Tues-Sun), any brush-up music rehearsals/understudy put-ins.

Please contact Scott Belowsky directly to set up an interview.

Scott Belowsky
Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
PO Box 518
Tampa, FL 33601

The Love Project

Coming Feb. 13-15

In the Heights connection to Sesame Street

Now that I have a baby I'm officially a Sesame Street watcher. If you're a parent of an infant or toddler you too have sat through your share of Sesame Street. The other day I was watching and the "Murray has a little lamb" segment came on. For those of you aren't active watchers, this is a segment where the muppet, Murray Monster, visits a new school each episode. He has a little lamb, Ovejita, who speaks Spanish and provides clues about the school so Murray can guess. In any case, the hip-hop/rap theme song came on and I knew I had heard the voice before. After a second listen I placed it. It's the voice of Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is the composer, original conceptor and star of Broadway's Tony Award-winning Best Musical In The Heights!

And there's your random fact for the day. Impress your friends! :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Want a discount to Spring Awakening?

If you're looking for a discount on Spring Awakening tickets, which is coming to Tampa next week, just break out your cell phone and text MORITZ to TBPAC (82722) for the offer and promo code. Yep, I'm making you work for it!

Photo by Paul Kolnik

TBPAC's SMS technology is provided by our friends at Agile Communications.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

F. Reed Brown's VOICES

Coming Jan. 9 - 11, F. Reed Brown's Voices.

For those who may have enjoyed the two sold-out runs of Vincent, this is the same actor (a USF alum, even) who has put this multi-person show together.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crazy awesome Midnight Madness sale - 12/12!

Midnight Madness - 12/12. 12 noon to 11:59pm

See A Christmas Story for free, stay to get all your Xmas shopping done on a dime!



Friday, December 05, 2008

$20 tickets to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when you donate an unwrapped toy!

Chitty flies into Tampa Tuesday through Sunday, Dec. 9-14, and she's bringing the holiday spirit along with her. For $20, you can see what The Miami Herald calls "a driving, floating, flying wonder" and help make a child's holiday a little brighter.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is offering $20 tickets for the Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday evening performances when you bring an unwrapped toy to the show. Visit the TBPAC Ticket Office (for the Tuesday performance, please visit the table located in the TBPAC Shimberg Courtyard, just steps from the Ticket Office windows) no sooner than two hours to show time on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, drop off your unwrapped toy and you can purchase a $20 ticket* for that evening's performance.

All of the toys collected will be donated to Metropolitan Ministries. For a list of suggested items, visit http://www.metromin.org/

*Discount tickets are available for remaining seats to the evening's performance you are purchasing. Discounted tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. One discounted ticket per toy. Limit 8 discounted tickets. Not applicable to prior sales. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sister's Christmas Catechism a hit with the Trib!

" Stefano made a wonderful nun ... serendipitous moments of ad-lib [made] the production sparkle ... Sister's Christmas Catechism is a nostalgic treat that everyone can enjoy — with or without confirmation." - The Tampa Tribune

Make sure to follow the above link to read the full review! Sister's Christmas Catechism is off tonight (12/3), but back on tomorrow through Dec. 21.

This just in: Jeff Dunham going on sale!

TBPAC will be presenting comedian Jeff Dunham at the at the St. Pete Times Forum (yes, you read that right - we're presenting it, but it's AT the Forum, not here) on March 22, 2009.

This show goes on sale TODAY (12/3) at 5pm for all TBPAC donors and will go on sale to the general public Friday, 12/5. You can buy as of noon from TBPAC.ORG, from the TBPAC Ticket Office window or by calling 813.229.STAR.

Here's a clip of Dunham introducing one of his favorite friends, Walter from his Spark of Insanity special:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Broadway on Turkey-day

Some people look forward to Thanksgiving football. I, on the other hand, grab a cup of coffee and turn on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It seriously doesn't feel like Thanksgiving until I've listened to Matt Lauer describe a giant balloon or two. (Is it wrong that I secretly find it thrilling to watch what happens when a gust of wind comes by? ... but I digress.)

Now to the good stuff... Broadway performances during the parade. Depending on what network you watch, there will be different shows highlighted. CBS will feature performances by the cast of Mary Poppins (who will be flying in for the 2009-2010 Tampa season), Grease and Clay Aiken in Monty Python's Spamalot (coming to Tampa in March 09). NBC will show performances by The Little Mermaid, South Pacific, In the Heights and Irving Berlin's White Christmas.

If you happen to miss any of these special performances, keep an eye out for the floats. There will be performances by the cast of the new revival of Hair as well as a songs from Broadway favorites Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.

From all the bloggers of Culture Shock and the TBPAC... Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Opera Lover seeks advice from Dear Abby

From Nov. 21’s column:


Because I arrived late to an opera performance, I was forced to sit in the designated section for latecomers. Seated next to me was an attractive young lady with whom I had a pleasant conversation as we watched the televised first act. Afterward, of course, we took our assigned seats.

It is difficult for some of us art and opera lovers to find compatible friends with shared interests. My question is, do genteel younger women consider it foolishly ill-mannered, disturbing or offensive to be impetuously invited by an older, single gentleman (age 47) for an after-performance dinner or cocktail?



Heck, no! And stop calling yourself old. It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.

You heard it from the expert Gil! Do you have a “special someone” you’d like to take to the opera? Opera Tampa’s The Barber of Seville is just around the corner on Dec. 5 and 7. Think of it as one of the “first romantic comedies.” Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!

- Kari G.

See a show this weekend!

Phantom of the Opera closes Sunday, but we're more than just Broadway! Here are two other shows gracing our stages this weekend:

Trent Armand Kendall in Picture Incomplete - a one man musical

Steve Solomon's My Sisters an Only Child

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MetMin Phantom food drive update

MetMin weighs all of their donations, and guess what ... ?

With all of our efforts, and the generosity of the Phantom folks, we provided Met Min with a TON of food -- literally -- more than a ton, actually -- 2400 pounds! That's almost a ton and a half!



Sir David Frost on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Sir David Frost was the special guest last night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, promoting the DVD of the original interviews between him and Richard Nixon.

There is also a national tour out of the play based on those 28 hours of interviews that spanned 12 days, Frost/Nixon, which stars Stacey Keach and is coming to Tampa Feb. 17-22. A Ron Howard film is also coming out soon starring Frank Langella and Martin Sheen - the original cast of both the London and Broadway productions.

Get a $5 ticket with a food donation this Wed. or Thu.!

If you were here last night, or were leaving Downtown between 5:30 and 6:30, you probably saw the line wrapped around TBPAC. All of those folks brought non-perishable items to benefit Metropolitan Ministries food bank, and in return they could purchase a ticket to Phantom for $10.

The drive was a rousing success -- we filled two 55 gallon barrels and three 20 bushel stage hampers! 1,000 people came down, each bringing at least one item and many bringing cases or multiple bags of food.

Since it was so successful, in the spirit of the season of giving, we're gonna do it again!

Tomorrow night and Thursday night, if a patron brings a non-perishable food item to the TBPAC Ticket Office, they will receive a voucher to purchase a ticket to Steve Solomon's My Sister's an Only Child, for just $5. This hilarious follow-up to his previously sold-out engagements of My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy plays in the Jaeb Theater Nov. 19-23.
The show will have you in stitches and you'll feel great because you'll be helping poor and homeless families receive a holiday meal, or perhaps just help them to have dinner one night this week.

In their 2008 fiscal year Metropolitan Ministries:
  • Sheltered 101 families
  • Sheltered 38 single women
  • Served over 20,000 Outreach families with 61,500 children
  • Provided over 21,000 families with holiday assistance

Help them continue to bring a little holiday cheer to those in our community who need it most.

SPREAD THE WORD! Send this on to colleagues, friends and family.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Picture Incomplete opens this year's Off Center Series - this weekend!

I have a special attachment to the Shimberg Playhouse. Of all five halls at TBPAC, I likely spend the second-most amount of my time in the building in that room (the first of course being my office).

The Shimberg hosts a lot of events, but my attachment is mostly to my own Jobsite Play Series as well as the Off Center Series.

Before Jobsite ever began working in the Shimberg, I watched shows in the Shimberg Playhouse (then the Off Center Theater) that I couldn't have seen anywhere else in the region.

In the 10 years I've been in Tampa I've seen gripping solo work like Danny Hoch's Jails, Hospitals and Hip Hop (my first Off Center show). I've been delighted by the female clown troupe Gams on the Lam (twice). I've had the opportunity to take workshops from the Gams and from Shawn McConneloug and Her Orchestra. There have been puppets, gay Jewish jugglers and a one man play about an artist who cut his ear off as written by Spock and performed by a USF alum. Karla Hartley has done an outstanding job bringing quality, innovative work to TBPAC year in and year out.

The importance of work like this can't be overstated. Truly, this sort of work exists no where else in the region. Like much of what we do at TBPAC, you simply won't find it anywhere else.

It's often difficult to attract an audience to unknown plays even by known local or national companies. It can be far more challenging to attract an audience to unknown work by unknown players.

To be blunt, in these difficult financial times work like this is often among the first to be put on the cutting block - despite how mission-oriented it might be. It's economics, plain and simple. It's why we're trying to make such a push for this year's series, so that's not even an option.

The first of this year's Off Center Series is this weekend. It's Picture Incomplete - a one man musical. I spoke to Karla last night, and she tells me how great the show sounds from the rehearsals they've already had in the building. Some TBPAC patrons may even remember Trent Armand Kendall from his performance in Diva Diaries a few years back. He's a driven performer who is taking time from his other gig - part of the national tour for The Color Purple - to bring his show to us in Tampa this weekend.

Not to hard sell or anything, but there is a special offer on this year's series for just $49 for all four shows available through this weekend. It's a great deal, check it out if you're interested. Trent is also offering a free workshop on Friday on the subject of creating a musical.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chitty auditions are FULL

The child auditions for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are now FULL. We cannot accept any more applications. Thanks for your interest, and we hope you can see the show!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Phantom has a heart ...

Check this out, from The Phantom of the Opera - what a mensch!

The Phantom of the Opera wants to make it a happy Thanksgiving for all of Tampa Bay. Just bring a non-perishable food item, to benefit Metropolitan Ministries, to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Ticket Office beginning at 5:30 on Monday, Nov. 17, and you'll receive a $10 ticket to the 7:30 performance of Phantom that same night! Subject to availability. Capacity is limited. Limit one $10 ticket per person.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Join Tampa's Guilty Ones

TBPAC and the national tour of SPRING AWAKENING are looking for eager, energetic theater fanatics to join THE GUILTY ONES, the official street team for Broadway's groundbreaking new musical, SPRING AWAKENING.

What is Spring Awakening?
Broadway’s most talked about new musical and the biggest Tony Award®-winner in years, Spring Awakening, the 8-time Tony Award® winning Broadway musical, will make its premiere at TBPAC on Dec. 30, 2008, and run through Jan. 4, 2009.

Based on the infamous 1891 Frank Wedekind play, Spring Awakening features an electrifying score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, direction by Michael Mayer, choreography by award-winning Bill T. Jones and Book by Mr. Sater. Set against the backdrop of a repressive and provincial late 19th century Germany, Spring Awakening tells the timeless story of teenage self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teenagers. Haunting and provocative, Spring Awakening celebrates an unforgettable journey from youth to adulthood.

Who are the Guilty Ones?
The Guilty Ones started as a group of fans in New York who loved SPRING AWAKENING so much, they decided to organize and spread the word on their own. As SPRING AWAKENING prepares to launch its first national tour, TBPAC will be following in the original Guilty Ones’ footsteps by establishing the Guilty Ones as our official street team of guerilla marketers.

What do I have to do to become a Guilty One?
Your involvement with The Guilty Ones can include as little or as much as you want to do. We’ll be operating everything on a point system which means the more "deeds" you do to help us promote the show, the more awesome “junk” you’ll receive.

"Deeds" include using MySpace, Twitter, Facebook or your personal blogs to get the word out, putting up flyers and posters in places you hang out, recruiting more members and a lot more.

"Junk" includes free t-shirts, free autographed tour merchandise, the ability to buy special on-stage seats, meet and greets with the cast and possibly even a FREE opening night package which includes all the stuff listed above.

To Join the The Guilty Ones
Copy and paste the questionnaire below into an email, answer the questions and email it to david.jenkins@tbpac.org. We will contact you with more information as soon as possible.

Guilty Ones Questionnaire
Date of Birth:
Phone Number:
School attending (if any):
How much time can you devote to the group?
Do you have your driver’s license?
Do you have any special talents?
What’s your favorite musical?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Why do you want to be a Guilty One?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Phantom, the Devil make TBO's BOT

Head on over to TBO.com to see this week's installment of The BOT, where both The Phantom of the Opera and The History of the Devil made the Top 5 Things to Get You Off the Couch This Weekend list ... make sure to watch the video all the way through the end to see a pretty phunny Phantom election spoof.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Phantom, a Sweet Transvestive and the Devil walk into a bar ...

Ok, well, it's not really a joke, but it is what's on stage this week at TBPAC. What a full plate of Halloween treats! Muahahahahahahahaha!

This is the LAST WEEKEND for The Rocky Horror Show in our Jaeb Theater. Shows remain Wed. - Sat. night at 7:30 and Fri. and Sat. nights at 11pm. The 11pm shows feature FULL AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION with prop bags on sale in the lobby for just $10.

Arrive in costume as of one hour before curtain to any show, and you can get a chance to score a specially-priced $15.50 ticket that allows you to sit ON STAGE.

Just SIX more performances remain of this cult classic.


And hot on the heels of Rocky comes the Clive Barker epic The History of the Devil, where Lucifer is granted a parole appeal in front of a court of man. Is The Devil responsible for the world's evil since his fall from Heaven, or is he just a witness to mankind's own demons?

Come to the Shimberg Playhouse and see for yourself!

The trial of the millennium is about to begin and you've been called for jury duty!

And finally, don't miss Broadway's smash hit The Phantom of the Opera, opening Oct. 30 for a limited engagement in Morsani Hall. Check out a video of Phantom over at our Broadway Channel!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sweet deal on Broadway shows at TBPAC!

Get 8 Broadway shows starting at less than $100!

Cloud Club: $94.90; Sat. matinee only: $300, $200 or $100 depending on seating area. Call 813.229.STAR.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rocky Horror - clips from backstage

The Rocky Horror Show cast member Michael Indeglio (Brad) put this video together featuring a lot of perspective from the backstage point of view. Don't forget that Rocky closes on Nov. 1!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rocky scores another rave review!

This time from the Trib:

"Like fishnet stockings and kinky boots, "The Rocky Horror Show" has yet to go out of style … Camp works, and so does [TBPAC's] production of the cult classic … [a] delightfully macabre musical bacchanal." - The Tampa Tribune
The Rocky Horror Show is on stage now through Nov. 1.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

USF Oracle <3's Rocky Horror

"... amazing singing, lewd dance numbers and the same crazy debauchery Rocky Horror has brought to audiences for more than 30 years ... It’s a show of raunchy lyrics. It’s a play that, well, flouts some conventional moral codes. It’s a cult classic that people just love to see over and over, and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center does it justice."
Check out the full review here: http://bit.ly/3mWOjG

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rocky Horror is a hit with the St. Pete Times!

Why the stage show is more fun than the movie: Many of the performers can actually sing, unlike Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick in the movie. The band, led by Stan Collins on funky keyboards, is great in Time Warp.

Good parts: Karla Hartley channeling Meat Loaf in Hot Patootie. The Usherettes (Alison Burns, Nadeen Holloway) and Phantoms in Science Fiction Double Feature. The Joe Maddon specs worn by Brad (Michael Indeglio). The video design (by Hartley) featuring clips from Forbidden Planet, Doctor X and other flicks. Joseph P. Oshry's vivid lighting. The childishly debauched atmosphere established by co-directors Hartley and Rick Criswell.

See the full review here: http://bit.ly/442GEN

Monday, October 06, 2008

Frost/Nixon opens in Des Moines

Occasionally, we get dispatches from the touring Broadway world, and we just received this one from the producers of Frost/Nixon, which just opened in Des Moines.

“I’m happy to report that the Frost/Nixon tour is up and running and soon coming to a city near you! After our tech week and one preview in Owensboro, Kentucky, we made our first move and had a terrific first performance in Des Moines last night. The cast is truly wonderful. Stacy Keach is a great Nixon, but is also the perfect leader for the company. Yesterday in Des Moines he gave 10 local radio and TV reviews in the morning, a full company rehearsal in the afternoon, and the first performance last night, and did it all with aplomb."

“Scenically, the show is as close a replica of the Broadway production as is possible. The TV screen uses flat-screen technology instead of the vintage TV monitors from Broadway. The lighting rig includes moving lights to isolate the actors in the same way that we did on Broadway, and everyone is pleased with the results.

“This is a first-rate tour that you can all be extremely proud of.”

Soon, we’ll be able to check it out for ourselves. -- MichaelK

The Wizard of Oz

In a little more than a week The Wizard of Oz will blow into Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center for a one-week engagement. To promote the occasion, The Wizard of Oz the movie was screened as part of our Scene on the Green series (don’t miss Young Frankenstein this Fri. night at 8 p.m.).

While I was watching the movie out on the Riverwalk, I remembered my A.P. History teacher explaining the extended metaphor of Baum’s Wizard to William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech.

I haven’t been in that class since the first Bush administration, so I must admit, my memory failed me on the details.

Today, a wonderful friend Vinny Tafuro who loves the theater and politics (the perfect combination) – sent me the story out-of-the-blue. I include it here for some fun historic reference and some solace in these unique, but not unprecedented economic times.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in Chicago in 1900. Its author, L. Frank Baum, was the editor of a South Dakota newspaper and a supporter of William Jennings Bryan who stood three times, unsuccessfully, as a U.S. Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

The particular concern of both Baum and Bryan was the nature of the money supply then prevalent in the United States, and in the Mid-Western States in particular.

In America during the 1890s, as in Britain, there had been a severe depression. Many businesses had gone bankrupt, farmers forced to sell up, factories closed and workers made unemployed. True, some farms in the Mid-West were suffering from drought, but most were still capable of growing food; the businesses and factories were still capable of providing the things that people needed; the workers still wanted to work to provide those things, and people would still want the goods and services produced if they had the money to buy them.

The money in the USA then, as now, was entirely created by the private banking system. The pretence existed then that money was based on gold. (Even now some people still think that it is!) The major banks, based on the East and West coasts, could vary the amount of money in circulation, lending more to encourage commercial activity, then fore-closing on loans to put people out of business, enabling the banks to acquire their businesses cheaply.

Baum and Bryan wanted money to be based on silver, not gold, as silver was more readily available in the Mid-West, where it was mined. Such a money supply could not be manipulated by the banks. So the story of the Wizard of Oz starts with a cyclone in the form of imagined electoral success for Bryan...

Dorothy, a sort of proverbial ‘Everywoman’, lands on the Wicked Witch of the East (the East-coast bankers), killing her, so freeing the Munchkins, the down-trodden poor, but the Wicked Witch of the West (the West-coast bankers) remains loose.

To deal with her and to get back to Kansas (normality), the Good Witch of the North, representing the electorate of the North (this is less than 40 years after the civil war), tells Dorothy to seek out the Wizard of Oz (‘oz’ being short for ounce, the means of weighing both gold and silver). She also gives her a pair of silver slippers (as they were in the book - they became ruby ones in the film). Only these silver slippers will enable her to remain safe on the yellow-brick road, representing the bankers’ gold standard, as she heads towards the Emerald City, representing Washington DC.

On her journey, Dorothy encounters a Scarecrow, representing the farmers, who do not have the wit to understand how they can end up losing their farms to the banks, even though they work hard to grow the food to feed a hungry nation. If only they could think it through!

Next, she encounters a Tin Woodsman, representing the industrial workers, rusted as solid as the factories of the 1890s depression, and who have lost the sense of compassion and co-operation to work together to help each other during hard times. Also, a spell cast upon him by the Wicked Witch of the East meant that every time he swung his axe, he chopped off a bit of himself - he downsized!

Then the growing party encounters a Cowardly Lion, representing the politicians. These have the power, through the power of Congress and the Constitution, to confront the Wicked Witches, representing the banks, but they lack the courage to do so.

Dorothy is able to motivate these three potent forces and leads them all towards the Emerald City, whence ‘greenbacks’ had once come, and an encounter with the omnipotent and wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz is initially quite majestic and apparently awesome, but he turns out to be a little man without the power that people assume he possesses. He does, of course, represent the President of the United States. With the Wizard’s illusion of power shattered, he is replaced by the Scarecrow who would ‘be another Lincoln’.

The Wicked Witch of the West, fearful for her own power, then attempts to destroy Dorothy but is herself dissolved in a bucket of water, as rain relieves the Mid-West drought, saves the farmers’ livelihoods and prevents repossession by the banks.

The Good Witch of the South, representing the Southern electorate, tells Dorothy that her silver slippers, silver-based money, are so powerful that anything she wishes for is possible, even without the help of the Wizard. Dorothy wishes to go home. There all is now well, because the land has a stable and abundant money supply.
-Kari G.

Win tix to Rocky Horror on 10/9!

Text ROCKY to TBPAC (82722) for your chance to win a 4-pack of tickets to see the 7:30pm showing of The Rocky Horror Show THIS Thursday (10/9).

A lucky winner will be drawn at random at or around 5pm on Wed., Oct. 8. The winner will be contacted by text message. Standard text-messaging fees from your wireless provider apply.

TBPAC's texting service is provided by Agile Communications.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blogging Molly

The latest newsletter from Red Molly, a super talented group of ladies who will appear later in our Club Jaeb series:

Hey Everybody!

We finished out the summer with a bang, making our first trip to TX and NM, and then coming back East for our last set of outdoor shows, at the Bolton Fair in MA. In October, we'll be traveling as far north as Maine, and as far south as Alabama! All October shows are listed below. If you have friends in GA or AL, please let them know we'll be in their neck of the woods (October 22-25).

Have you seen the Red Molly Tour Diary? We usually write about the weekend's shows on our website, but this time we decided to give all you Red Heads a taste of what it's like to be right there in the car with us, traveling on the road with the band! Check out our first ever AUDIO Tour Diary here (FYI, it's 7 minutes long):

In other news, the latest review of "Love and Other Tragedies" is in the Hartford Advocate, calling the CD "Beautiful, masterfully played, and emotionally evocative". Read the rest of the review here:

See you soon,
Laurie, Abbie & Carolann

Official website: www.redmolly.com
Fan website: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/redmolly
Myspace: www.myspace.com/redmollyband
Merchandise: www.redmolly.com/merchandise.html

The Rocky Horror Show opens tonight!

On stage now through Nov. 1 in the Jaeb Theater!

There are special 11pm shows on Fri. and Sat. nights featuring AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION with prop bags on sale in the lobby for $5.

Come to ANY performance in costume one hour before curtain for your chance to win a voucher that will allow you to buy a ticket for that performance for $15.50 (including service charge) that allows you to sit ON STAGE!

Don't dream it - be it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Meet the cast of Rocky Horror on 10/11 at International Mall

If you go to International Mall on 10/11, you can be treated to a special behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the wild and wonderful looks of the cast of The Rocky Horror Show at the MAC store and Toni & Guy salon.

The cast of Rocky will be getting into make-up from 10am to noon at the MAC store. Stop by for a special look at the "making of" these unconventional conventionists and have a chance to win free tickets at the store. There will also be a chance to meet and greet the performers after they have finished getting into make-up.

From noon to 2pm the cast will be at Toni & Guy salon getting coiffed by their stellar stylists. There will be another opportunity to meet the cast and win tickets at that location.

PRESS TBPAC Rocky Horror Group -¬Rob Harris

Wanna see more PR shots from Rocky? Head over to TBPAC's photo stream on Flickr!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wild and untamed things ...

Rocky Horror director Rick Criswell sent me this candid photo from yesterday's rehearsal.

Looks like our production of The Rocky Horror Show is going to be something to make your heart pump and your blood sing. So let the party and the sound rock on as of Oct. 2 down in the Jaeb!


Sony Pictures captured Rent's final night on Broadway on Sept. 7 and is bringing this Hot Ticket feature to movie theaters near you -- for 4 days only -- beginning today! There is backstage footage of the emotional night, interviews from cast members past and present -- a real Renthead can afford to miss this opportunity. Here's a link to a full list of theaters where it's playing -- lots of places to catch it -- Baywalk, Starlight 20, Citrus Park ... and many more.

TBPAC will be bringing a special 2009 tour of Rent in July, starring the original Mark and Roger, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal.

- summer b

New and interesting Broadway shows in the making ...

Spider Sense is coming to Broadway in 2009. I've been hearing rumor of a Broadway version of Spiderman for some years now. Seems it's firmly slated to go up in 2009. Directed by Julie Taymor (of Lion King fame) and music by Bono and The Edge ... it's sure to be a phenomenon.

And on a much more obscure note -- although no date has been set for opening, the Brett Easton Ellis novel American Psycho is also planning a stage adaptation of this vicious social satire. I have to say, I'm already looking forward to that one.

- summer b

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rocky Horror confessions

I've probably seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show more than any other movie. Yes, more time that Star Wars or Clerks or even A Christmas Story.

I stopped counting when I hit 600. Seriously. I can quite literally recite it backwards and forwards, and I know all the naughty bits to yell out in the theater for the audience participation.

I did the stage show (The Rocky Horror Show - which is the stage show as opposed to the movie because it lacks the word 'Picture', see?) and participated in a live-cast-in-front-of-the-movie experience for close to 10 years.

Not usually something I admit much, or even often bring up in mixed company (like much of my true hardcore geekdom).

It all started when I was around 12, living in the San Marco area of Jacksonville. They had an old theater there that showed the movie late nights on weekends, and I lived just around the corner. I'd go there a fair amount to catch the dollar movies. One night while leaving the theater I saw what looked to be a costume party waiting out front. Girls in fishnets and bustiers. Hell, guys in fishnets and bustiers. Guys in nerd glasses wearing tuxes. Men and women dressed as bikers, butlers, maids as well as all other manner of unconventional conventionists.

I had to know what that was all about, so I stayed. What I saw was nothing short of amazing. Life changing, even. The movie (a crazy sci-fi horror musical about a tranny from outer space who comes to earth to corrupt wholesome good Amerrican kids and teach them to let loose their libidos) was being completely acted out by people in costumes in front of the screen. People in the audience shouted things in unison on key lines or at key moments. Also in unison everyone pulled out waterguns or newspapers, toast and hot dogs. It was the craziest thing I'd ever seen.

So I went back next weekend, and just about every weekend after. I got very good at knowing all of the audience participation lines. I even made some up. By the time I was 15 I was in the cast playing the parts Eddie and Dr. Scott. On "switch nights" everyone in the cast swapped parts based on gender, and I played Magenta. From 15 to 18 I spent virtually every Friday and Saturday night as one of the leaders of our own merry band of misfits, at the AMC Regency and the Murray Hill Theater.

No matter what else I had going on - other shows, parties, events, clubs - I'd always manage to make it out those freaky midnight showings. Heck, one time after we'd gone to a Mojo Nixon concert, we managed to get Mojo Nixon to actually come with us to the show. Quoth Mojo "Rocky Horror Picture Show? Ain't that where they got them men wearin' them black brassieres?" That night would also be my first introduction to drinking gin. Bad gin. In a mall parking lot at midnight in the back of a Nova with Mojo Nixon.

Only in Jacksonville, ladies and gentlemen ...

I collected an absurd amount of Rocky Horror paraphernalia over the years - shirts, buttons, books, posters - and the soundtracks. Oh, the soundtracks - I have versions in just about any language. I scored an original release of the cast recording on vinyl at a thrift store once for $1. I joined the fan club and got an autographed photo of Time Curry along with fan club president Sal Piro. For a while I was the official Jax fan club rep.

Even when I left for college I kept up my Rocky fix for a while. I always went back whenever I was home for the weekend, and I found a cast here in Tampa that I visited a few times but never tried to join. Even in grad school at UF I managed to even check out their cast, you know, for old time's sake.

So yeah, the impact is fairly significant. In a weird way it was perhaps my first time running a company as we'd organized to the point of knowing who'd do what parts what nights. Where the costumes and props would live and who would be responsible for bringing them. If we got in someone new and they needed to go in, we had rehearsals. Maybe me without Rocky Horror turns into later never producing or directing Gorey Stories, or The History of the Devil. You never know how that butterfly effect might have played out, right?

Now Tampa can stop dreaming it and start being it down in the Jaeb Theater for the month of October. The Rocky Horror Show (the stage show, not the movie - remember, it doesn't have 'Picture' in it) plays Oct. 2 - Nov. 1. I know I'll have to go at least once, if not 600.

There are special late night show at 10:30 which feature full audience participation (lines, props etc). You can't bring your own stuff in, but pre-approved items will be bagged up and sold in the lobby for $5.

And if you really want to get in on the action, show up in a costume as of an hour before the show for your chance to be able to win the ability to buy special on stage seating for just $15.50, which includes the service charge!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rhinestones, cowboys and reunions

NASHVILLE -- The AMA folks paid tribute to Glen Campbell tonight on Cannery Row, with a raucous band backing up a series of singers that drove home his fabulous career.

They did almost all of the big ones:
"By the Time I Get to Phoenix"
"Reason To Believe"
"Gentle on My Mind"
"Kentucky Means Paradise"
"Wichita Lineman"
"Let It Be Me"

Then Campbell came out and did "Rhinestone Cowboy," leading a sing-along. He also covered Green Day ("who I love," he said) with "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" from his new CD.

With his rosy cheeks and perma-hair, Campbell used to be a good-humored foil for The Smothers Brothers and others. But the guest musicians gave heartfelt tributes to his influence, even if he did say the Sin City band "looked more like a gang."

Later in the Mercy Lounge, Buddy Miller led a four-piece outfit that seemed utterly comfortable, although they had never played together. Early on, they did Miller's previous Song of the Year winner, "Worry Too Much."

And Miller surprised everyone by bringing out '70s soul shouter Bonnie Bramlett for two songs, including Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got a Hold on Me." On one web site, Bonnie has been called "the queen of hazel-eyed soul." Randall Bramlett was in town, too, for his own set.

It's been a great four days of music, for a pretty unbelievable price. If you love this kind of music, you owe it to yourself to check it out next year.

Meanwhile, we've found lots of acts that we can try and bring to Tampa at one of our five venues at the TBPAC.

If we do, it will be because we heard it here first.

Thank you, Nashville and the AMA. -- MichaelK

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Paul Thorn: Preacher and Puck

NASHVILLE -- New personal favorite Paul Thorn, both preacher and Puck, put on a gospel tent-worthy performance at the Mercy Lounge -- full of salvation, healing, inspiration and dating advice.

("It's not how you kiss 'em, it's how you listen.")

He drew one of the most enthusiastic audiences of the week, including an opening number sing-along on the chorus of "Mission Temple Fireworks Stand."

Kris Kristofferson has called him "the best-kept secret in the music business." He also said his songs were like the stories of true grits Florida writer Harry Crews.

Also on Friday, The Red Stick Ramblers and Raleigh's Chatham County Line took Americana listeners to Cajun and bluegrass roots, respectively. And unofficial Nashville Mayor Jim Lauderdale closed down the Station Inn with songs he had written and performed on a recent CD with legend Ralph Stanley, "Lost in the Lonesome Pines." -- MichaelK

Friday, September 19, 2008

Broadway Ball offers one great party

Before I worked here, my favorite party of the year was the Broadway Ball, the annual TBPAC fundraiser.

Dinner on stage. Memorable music, including some incredible songs from "Phantom" one year. Elegant but fun. Cool auction items.

It's still one of my favorite parties, but now that I'm on staff, it's not quite the same for me.

However, you can experience it as I once did. It's coming up Oct. 11.

There's a link for more info on the tbpac home page.

I'll be there, too, at the staff table if there's room. -- MichaelK

More lipstick at the AMA

NASHVILLE -- So everybody is trying to figure out what Americana is, although we ran a pretty good definition back in September of 2006.

From the Nashville paper:

Well, it's modern music that's based on American roots forms, and there are more tendencies than hard-and-fast rules. In a lot of instances, it sounds a whole lot like country. In fact, platinum country act turned platinum non-country act Dixie Chicks will compete in the "best song" category at the awards show. While country radio booted the Chicks from play lists, Americana stations continue to embrace the band. Americana is a rather amorphous genre, though, and many artists also delve beyond country into rock, folk, blues and jazz. If Neil Young's "Heart of Gold," Don Williams' "Amanda," Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" or Dobie Gray's "Drift Away" were released today, they would all be classified as Americana. And Americana is not limited to Americans: Brits Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler and Nick Lowe are always invited to the party."It's music that is coloring outside the lines, but somehow is connected to that big pool that is folk and country and storytelling and doesn't fit any particular mold," said Emmylou Harris.

But that's pretty long. Here's a simpler, funnier explanation that presenter Elizabeth Cook said from the stage at the Ryman, home to last night's Americana Honors and Awards:

"What's the difference between a folksinger and an Americana singer?"

What that means for Buddy Miller I'm not quite sure. -- MichaelK

Americana award winners

NASHVILLE -- In an awards program Thursday at the historic Ryman auditorium, the unlikely Americana duo of Robert Plant and Allison Krauss took home two awards, and Levon Helm one.

The titles of their most recent CDs are testaments to futility: Plant and Krauss released "Raising Sand" and Helm's latest is "Dirt Farmer." But they were triumphant Thursday.

The winners:

Album of the Year -- "Raising Sand," by Plant/Krauss

Artist of the Year -- Levon Helm

Instrumentalist of the Year -- Buddy Miller

New Emerging Artist of the Year -- Mike Farris (Is it me, or is that award title redundant?)

Song of the Year -- "She Left Me for Jesus," Hayes Carll and Brian Keane (who thanked God in his acceptance speech)

Duo/Group of the Year -- Plant/Krauss

President's Award -- Jerry Garcia

Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award -- Joan Baez

Lifetime Achievement for Songwriting -- John Hiatt

Lifetime Achievement for Performance -- Jason and the Scorchers

Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement for Executive -- Terry Lickona, for 30 years producer of the PBS show "Austin City Limits," the longest-running music TV show in the history of television

Americana Trailblazer -- Nanci Griffith

Lifetime Achievement, Engineer/Producer -- Tony Brown

Lifetime Achievement, Instrumentalist -- Larry Campbell

-- MichaelK

One-liners (and bonus sentences) from the awards program:

"How did I get here." -- Robert Plant

"Don't ever play that on one of my songs." -- Buddy Miller, quoting his wife, Julie Lee

"The founding members of Americana: Jerry Lee Lewis and The Ramones." -- Jason and the Scorchers

"My mother always said, 'John, sing the pretty ones,' but I didn't want to sing the pretty ones because I was young and angry. Now, I mostly sing the pretty ones when I can because that's what people want to hear. "It's not so bad." -- John Hiatt

"I never was in a band where someone else sang. I like this better." -- Robert Plant on his partnership with Allison Krauss

The future of Americana

NASHVILLE -- Americana Honors and Awards Host Jim Lauderdale suggested the future of Americana music was so bright that it not only should wear shades, but that new charts might be created: Americana oldies, Lite Americana and Hot Americana 100.

He was being facetious, but he's not wrong about the growing popularity of the form. It's a big tent, and listeners are searching for meaning no matter what the musical form. -- MichaelK

A night full of stars

NASHVILLE -- Inspired by their peers, Americana artists provided moments of great music, both on stage at the Ryman during the Thursday night awards show, and afterward at the showcases at five venues.

A few highlights:

Tift Merritt joyfully performing her Song of the Year nominee, "Broken"

Emerging Artist of the Year winner Mike Farris putting the soul back in the Ryman, which used to be a church

Lifetime Achievement for Songwriting winner John Hiatt going to the piano for "Have a Little Faith in Me"

Jason and the Scorchers living up to their name as lifetime performance winners

James McMurtry recognizing time passing with "Just Us Kids"

Texan Joe Ely telling stories of farmers and immigrants

The American Beauty Project showcasing the roots of President's Award-winner Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead -- MichaelK

Hellooooo, Nashville!

NASHVILLE -- Ah, the trials of a rock star.

Americana award-winner Robert Plant on Thursday night, recalling his Led Zep days:

"I played here many years ago, I think it was with another band. They gave us the key to the city before the concert. And then about halfway through, they put us under house arrest for inciting something or the other. But times are changed and the city has changed and I've changed. It might not have even been this city."

(Might he be confusing a Nashville show with the rain-shortened 1977 concert at Tampa Stadium that led to a mini-riot and a ban on stadium concerts that lasted for a while?) -- MichaelK

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A buffet of choices ...

The nice thing about having five stages at TBPAC is the variety of performers and shows that we can offer over a short period of time. We try very hard to avoid the phrase "something for everybody," but we do appeal to a wide sampling of tastes.

In the next 11 days, you can see the thought-provoking play "Blackbird," Randy Jackson's America's Best Dance Crew Tour, spoken-word artist Henry Rollins, comedian Margaret Cho and the reunion tour of Cheech and Chong. (Thirty years ago, I never would have imagined writing that last bit.)

Plus, Saturday is our annual free Open House and the last day for our 50 percent off Early Bird specials on selected shows and performances. (Note from our attorneys: Some restrictions apply.)

Check out the details on this page and throughout our site. Enjoy your weekend. -- MichaelK

Did you hear about the midnight rambler?

NASHVILLE -- OK, so it wasn't quite midnight, but Levon Helm took his legendary Ramble on the road to the Ryman for more than three hours earlier tonight.

Normally, the Ramble is set at Helm's home/recording studio in Woodstock, N.Y. But for the Americana Music Awards, he staged it at the "mother church of country music ..."

The show opened and closed countless standing ovations later with an audience sing-along of Helm's "The Weight," followed at the end only by an all-star encore version of "Forever Young."

For Helm, who has battled illness and at one point was told he would never sing again, the last song was an affirmation, a celebration and a prayer. His peers praised him for his drumming, his singing, his mandolin playing, his songwriting and his soul. If he hadn't been such an on-stage presence, you might have feared the worst.

The hard-core troubadour Steve Earle was in the 2,000-plus audience with his wife, singer Allison Moorer, who wore an angel's wing design on her back. John Hiatt was there, too. All three ended up on stage before it was through, joining Delbert McClinton, Sam Bush, Buddy Miller, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Sheryl Crow, Billy Bob Thorton and a few other visitors.

Helm graciously shared the spotlight with his guests, turning over some well-known songs from The Band to his daughter and members of his 10-piece band-- including a mighty four-piece horn section that threatened to turn songs like "Rag Mama Rag" into a New Orleans Second Line procession.

The keyboard intro and lead to "Chest Fever" became a guitar showcase, perhaps in deference to absent friends.

Krauss and Plant, the most unlikely pairing despite their best-selling CD "Raising Sand," did the first song they ever performed together, the traditional "In the Pines," frequently linked to Leadbelly.

Crow told the crowd she was just a "frustrated country singer." And then proved at least half of that statement.

Miller mentioned that he had no right to sing the song he and his wife Julie wrote, "Wide River To Cross," since Helm covered it on his Grammy Award-winning CD, "Dirt Farmer," Helm's first solo studio effort in 25 years.

"Are you ready, Levon?" they asked at the start.

"I hope so," he said. And then joyfully, triumphantly began the Ramble.

What a great start to the AMA week.

The show ran so long I missed the everybodyfields at The Basement, but I did catch Anne McCue at 3rd and Lindsley, the last few songs of Marcia Ball's set as well as Kim Richey, Will Kimbrough and Mando Saenz at the Mercy Lounge.

Ball closed with her hurricane survival song "Ride It Out," from her new CD, "Peace, Love & BBQ."

Best non-legal legal notice: "We're filming tonight's show for a DVD. We'll be shooting the audience. What that means is, if you're sitting next to someone you shouldn't be seen with, it's time to move."

Best end-of-evening advice: "Don't drive home faster than your angels can fly."

Thursday night brings the Americana Awards and Honors show, also at the Ryman, with the stellar house band led by Buddy Miller. Showcases at the five clubs start at 10.

As always at these showcases, we're looking for people to bring to Tampa at the TBPAC. Our programmers will get the reports and do their best to book the best performers.

Stay tuned. -- MichaelK

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Doing time at the Americana Festival

NASHVILLE -- If this conference is any indication, the Americana scene is thriving.

The annual Americana Music Association Festival and Conference begins today here in Nashville. The New York Times calls it "the coolest music scene today."

The days are filled with workshops and sessions on the music industry, publishing and connecting with fans. The attendees are performers, radio folks, journalists and fans.

The nights are mostly filled with four or five one-hour sets, at four different venues, accessible by courtesy van. That's 16 to 20 sets a night. If you time it right, you can see six or seven of them at the clubs, and that doesn't count Levon Helm's all-star Ramble on the Road at the Ryman tonight or the Americana Honors and Award program there tomorrow night.

It's a boatload of music, and this is just the city for it.

I'm particularly interested in Kane/Welch/Kaplan, Marcia Ball, Kim Richey, Joe Ely, The Waybacks, Kathy Mattea, Paul Thorn, James McMurtry and Buddy Miller.

But there are always surprises.

We found Mary Gauthier and Amy Speace at this festival a few years ago and were able to bring them to Club Jaeb, our intimate singer/songwriter space at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. (And Mary's coming back to Tampa as part of this year's Club Jaeb lineup!)

Who knows what this year will bring?

Check back often. As long as the wireless holds out, I'll post early and often. -- MichaelK

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just a week left on 50% off savings

If you wanted to take advantage of the INSANE 50% off Early Bird Special deal at TBPAC, you best act fast. Our Open House on 9/20 marks the end of this unprecedented ticket special.

Take advantage.

Jobsite opens Blackbird tonight

Jobsite Theater, resident theater company in the Shimberg Playhouse, opens David Harrower's provocative and intense drama Blackbird tonight at 8pm. Blackbird was commissioned for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and won the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Play.

From the show website:

Una and Ray had a relationship that resulted in disastrous consequences. Ray moved on with his life, ensuring that they would never set eyes on each other again. Fifteen years later, Una has found Ray.

Never has a more thought-provoking play been written about such a taboo subject. The play explodes with unresolved and possibly irresolvable concerns that make it one of the most daring new plays in recent theater. Blackbird is a brilliant, unnerving and controversial play that taunts us with the limits of our own language and our conceptions of love, abuse and that much-abused neologism "closure".

Blackbird stars Paul J. Potenza and Caitlin Eason under the direction of Karla Hartley, who is also the Producing and Artistic Manager of the Shimberg Playhouse. The scenic design is by United Scenic Artists member Scott Cooper. Karla and Scott previously collaborated together on the Jobsite production of Mamet's Boston Marriage.

The show is also the start of Jobsite's 10th anniversary season. Though Jobsite has performed at TBPAC during each of their previous seasons, they were named resident theater company in 2003 and have performed all of their plays here since.

Here is a preview on the show that ran in today's St. Pete Times.

Blackbird is on stage through Sept. 28. This show is intended for mature audiences only.

*disclosure - I am also the Producing Artistic Director of Jobsite.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Spring Awakening news

Our own on-maternity-leave Angela sent me this email today:

Hey… I ran across an iTunes Live from SoHo recording of 6 songs from Spring Awakening. The tracks include some of the original cast members as well as Duncan Sheik singing on three of them (The Guilty Ones, Touch Me and Bitch of Living).

Also, I read in the album notes that the new CW 90210 will feature “Brenda Walsh” directing drama students in a SA production on the show.

Thought it might be blog worthy…

It is, Angela! Thanks for the news! Hope you and the kid are doing well!

New 'Tale' and more on previews

Last weekend, I saw the new musical, "A Tale of Two Cities," in New York previews. This is the production that started at Sarasota's Asolo Theater. James Barbour is incredible -- funny, poignant and sad -- as the lout who does a far better thing than he has ever done before.

Barbour has his own blog, and he recently posted about previews, to add to our previous discussion here:


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What's the deal with a Preview?

What is a preview?

We get this question a lot. Folks want to know if they'll see a whole performance, or if a preview is really a rehearsal that will stop and start.

A preview is simply one of the first (or in some cases the first) performance for an audience. In most cases, just like in New York, previews are priced less than the later performances, starting with the official "opening night."

So, to answer those common questions:
  • YES! You will absolutely see a full production.
  • NO! A preview is not a rehearsal that will stop and start. Seeing a preview is seamless to an audience member.
For a locally produced show, it is often the first opportunity for the actors and crew members to gauge audience reaction -- when are people going to laugh? When are people going to applaud? Should that light cue come a half second earlier? Should that music cue be one second later? Large touring Broadway shows also may choose to have previews. These shows already have a good gauge of audience reaction and their technical needs since they have probably performed their show hundreds of times, but they are adjusting to a new space. So, they might need to cue a scenic element to fly in a few seconds earlier or later than they did in their last city, because it has to travel a longer (or shorter) distance.

These minor behind-the-scenes adjustments are to make the cast and crew more comfortable in their new surroundings.

Any comments or questions about previews (or anything else)? Let us know and we'll be happy to answer!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spring Awakening opens in San Francisco

Check out this story on MerucryNews.com. Then you can head over to TBPAC.ORG to hear samples of the music, watch a video and learn how you can save 50% off select seats!

Take advantage before the offer expires!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cheech and Chong light up TBPAC on 9/28

Cheech and Chong come to TBPAC's Morsani Hall on 9/28 with their Light Up America ... tour.

Onsale information:

Music Today and Tier 1 TBPAC donors: 8/26 at 12n
Tier 2 TBPAC donors: 8/27 at 12n
General public: 8/29 at 4:20pm

Tickets are $39.50 and $59.50.

This show was just added to a whole slate of great stand-up comedians and spoken word artists coming up at the end of Sept./start of oct. including:

Margaret Cho - 9/25
Henry Rollins - 9/29
Lewis Black - 10/3
Joel McHale - 10/4

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tomorrow: Test Drive Your Seats

Do you need to see it and feel it to believe it?

Come visit us on Sat., Aug. 23 from 10 – 11:30 a.m.

All seats still available for season tickets will be marked with checkered flags ready for you to take for a spin. You can take one – or 21! – for a test drive and then decide which seat will give you the perfect view to experience the best of Broadway next season. The 2008-2009 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series includes The Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Spring Awakening, A Chorus Line, Frost/Nixon, The Rat Pack – Live at the Sands, Fiddler on the Roof and Waist Watchers, The Calorie-Free Musical.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jobsite Theater scores solid reviews for Embedded

Embedded is on stage now in the Shimberg Playhouse through Aug. 31. Check out the reviews that have published in the past two days. Follow the links for the full articles:
" ... the play is harsh, unrelenting, at times grotesque and exceedingly refreshing. In a more perfect universe, every city would have a theater troupe that performed plays like Embedded every time there was a national crisis ... See it before the Constitution goes the way of the Geneva Conventions ... If you don't believe that the live theater can be a potent political instrument, see this play and change your mind." - Creative Loafing

"Jobsite Theat[er] could not have picked a finer show than "Embedded" to close out the 2007-08 season. Written by Tim Robbins, this was, by far, Jobsite's best production ... "Embedded" is a creative, original and intelligent play that lingers long after the curtain goes down." - The Tampa Tribune

"... the script and the production both fare best during the very human vignettes ... A touching opening scene has soldiers saying goodbye to their loved ones as they go off to war. One of the few ethical reporters, played appealingly by Meg Heimstead, recounts with fear and sadness an errant bomb attack. A fictionalized account of the Jessica Lynch story, with a poignant performance by Betty-Jane Parks, is perhaps the show's most profound and effective anti-war statement ... Some of the best acting comes during those repeated segments with the presidential advisers. Even though the actors' faces are hidden behind masks ... their gestures are phenomenally evocative." - St. Pete Times
And for those interested, here's the TV spot:

Full disclosure: I am also the Producing Artistic Director of Jobsite and one of the co-directors of the show.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tue. Mamma Mia! show cancelled due to Fay

Because of the threat from Fay, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center has canceled the Tuesday, Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m., performance of Mamma Mia!

TBPAC staff members will contact ticketholders to move their tickets into another one of this week’s performances of Mamma Mia! The show runs through Sunday, Aug. 24.

If there is a price difference between the original seats and the new ones, patrons will be refunded the difference through their original point and method of purchase.

True to the old showbiz motto “the show must go on,” it is anticipated that performances will fully resume on Wednesday, Aug. 20. The Ticket Office is scheduled to open at noon that day and can be contacted at 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045.

A decision will be made later this evening on whether the TBPAC Ticket Office and administrative offices will be open on Tuesday.

For more information about this cancellation and the remaining performances of Mamma Mia! at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, please visit TBPAC.ORG.

Mamma Mia! student rush offer!

Mamma Mia! Student Rush: Get 50% off tickets to the Tue. - Thu. Mamma Mia! performances. This offer is valid as of 90 minutes to curtain on up to 2 tickets by presenting your student ID at the TBPAC Ticket Office window. Excludes price level 1. Not valid on prior sales or in conjunction with any other offer. Sorry, no rain checks.

1st 0809 Club Jaeb show - Tracy Grammer

Now that the season has been announced, here's a link to a cool blog from our first 0809 Club Jaeb artist, Tracy Grammer.

Don't forget, this is one of the shows you can get the Early Bird Special to!

TBPAC 0809 Early Bird Specials!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Plaidtastic version of Bleeding Love

The Plaids, Edna and a chicken present a digital short.

Ok, so maybe I don't get the chicken.

Forever Plaid closes Sunday. Get in while you still can!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Forever Plaid to the Silver Screen

Check out this story on Playbill.com on the film version of Forever Plaid, coming soon to a theater near you. The live show was filmed on a CBS soundstage and features the "celestial" voice of David Hyde Pierce.

You can also see it live if you hurry, the show closes in the Jaeb Theater on Sunday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jennifer O'Connor - NPR's Song of the Day

Once-local gal and Club Jaeb headliner Jennifer O'Connor has the NPR song of the day. Check it out here. And if you're not a fan of the Song of the Day - maybe you want to be?

Look for the 0809 lineup this weekend in your friendly neighborhood newspaper!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Momma Cho steals show on Family Feud

I've always loved Margaret's impersonation of her mother. Now I can actually put a name to the face thanks to this item from Jezebel.com.

Margaret Cho plays Morsani Hall on Sept. 25, but you can catch her first on VH-1 when her Cho Show premieres on 8/21. Check your local listings for details.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jennifer O'Connor online widget

If you're a long-time fan of Jennifer O'Connor's work, or if you just came and enjoyed her Club Jaeb show last season, here's the code for a nifty widget you can add to your blog, website or preferred social networking site.

Banner 2 Banner 1 go!

Stay tuned, Club Jaeb fans - our 0809 announcement is coming soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watch GMA for more RENT!

Check it out, some exciting stuff here - including info on who will be coming to Tampa with the show!

From a tour release sent to us:






The cast of the landmark Broadway musical RENT will perform as part of the “Good Morning America” Summer Concert Series on Friday, August 1. The concert will air nationwide on ABC in the half hour beginning at 8:30 am.

The concert will include a special performance by original cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp who are not currently in the Broadway company, but who will be starting a national tour of the show in Cleveland, Ohio on January 6, 2009.

The cast of RENT includes Tracie Thoms who starred as Joanne in the movie of RENT and has come to the Broadway company in the same role as well as Will Chase as Roger, Renee Goldsberry as Mimi, Eden Espinosa as Maureen, Michael McElroy as Collins, Adam Kantor as Mark, Justin Johnston as Angel, Rodney Hicks as Benny with Shaun Earl, Andrea Goss, Marcus Paul James, Telly Leung, Tracy McDowell, Jay Wilkison, and Gwen Stewart (“Seasons of Love” soloist). Rodney Hicks and Gwen Stewart were both in the original company of RENT and have rejoined the cast to close the show.

RENT, written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, opened at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre, on April 29, 1996 following a history making, sold out, extended limited engagement at off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop. The musical went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama. RENT is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history. RENT is scheduled to close on Sunday, September 7.

Visit www.siteforrent.com for more information.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Notes on Idina Menzel

Check your tickets: an original flyer for the show and this week's CreLo listing show the concert at 7. It's actually 7:30 (so, hey, that just means everyone will actually be on time to the show, right?).

Also, pick up a copy of the St. Pete Times Weekend section for a cover story on Idina, including a center double-truck. All full color! Oo-la-la.

Talk about Popular ...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Money, Money, Money"

The folks behind "Mamma Mia!" are singing just that! The movie debuted this past weekend at No. 2 earning $27.6 million. And it doesn't stop there. The "Mamma Mia!" soundtrack holds the #3 place on the Billboard 200 . ABBA also continues to be huge landing on the Top Pop Catalog and Top Cast Album charts. Now I'd say that's something to sing and dance about!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Follow TBPAC on Twitter

If you're a user of the nifty (if not always reliable) service Twitter, follow TBPAC to get instant updates, news, notes and offers.

(and hey, check that out, the post itself was in fact under 140 characters ...)

"How can you afford to see all those shows?" Ushering.

Our Director of Patron Services brought back this article from a recent trip to Atlanta on how people can save money by volunteering at a theater, where a key fringe benefit is almost always being able to see show for free.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Red, White and Plaid!

The guys for the TBPAC production of Forever Plaid sang the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O’ Canada” at the Sunday afternoon (7/20) game at the Trop between the first place Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.

Sure there was a guy dressed as giant cup of Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee wandering around the field, a dude that played “God Bless America” on a violin and a couple of Frisbee-catching pups, but the highlight of the day was certainly the tight harmonies of the Plaids out on the infield in front of a crowd of 21,037.



While the Plaids fared well … the Rays did not. They lost to Toronto 9-4.

-Paul B.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Phantom II coming?

Looks like Sir Andrew is looking to keep the story going on some of his most famous creations in Christine, Raoul and the Phantom as he shows off the first act of Phantom: Once Upon Another Time to a select group at his annual Sydmonton Festival outside London.

He could have done worse - we could have always had Starlight Express II: Locomotive Boogaloo or somesuch. What about a new take on an old idea - LOLCATS?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Parallels: Arts and Journalism

Recently St. Pete Times Arts Critic John Fleming wrote a bit of a scathing preview on the fact that we have Forever Plaid playing again in our Jaeb Theater. He also managed to take a swipe at other shows we do in the theater like Menopause the Musical, Hats! and so on. Shows that sell extremely, extremely well and that help our building do work like the Off Center Series (was Expanding Horizons) and that allow TBPAC to be able to work with Jobsite, The Florida Orchestra and Orlando Ballet.

Today a coworker forwards me this link from to a letter to the editor of the Times that agreed with Mr. Fleming's assessment. In short that the building offers too much sweets and not enough sustenance.

Both stories suggest that TBPAC has a responsibility to do more "artistic" and "challenging" work.

Now, I have to walk a careful line here as both an employee of and a producing artist at TBPAC. I didn't really start this blog post today to argue why we should produce Plaid over Sondheim.


The following is really nothing more than my thoughts, with a lot of experience thrown in, and also in the end a comparison of our field to the field of journalism - sparked by a recent Frontline documentary I watched. There are some striking similarities it seems.

First, to the idea that it's a bad thing to produce or present work that people actually want to see - even if it's been here before. Um, it's not a bad idea. At all. This building has nearly 4,500 seats all told on any given night, and there's way more variety here than a lot of folks actually give us credit for.

The juggernaut is of course Broadway, and long running shows that play in the Jaeb, but the truth is that those are the shows that get the bulk of the people in the door, that train folks to come here and have a good time. I know, as a member of the TBPAC marketing team, that we do everything we can to get folks interested in other work once we get them in the door for one of the blockbusters. We want them to come back and discover all we have to offer. What's the saying about flies and honey?

And, if I can editorialize a tiny bit, Fleming says in his original article that "It's as if TBPAC is trying to appeal to those who never go to the theater" - like that's a bad thing. That elitist tone, often found in fine arts criticism, is in my opinion part of the problem as to why a lot of people - unaccustomed to going to fine arts shows - find a lot of fine art inaccessible. It's a fact that there are obviously not enough die-hard fervent theatergoers to keep any organization here in the area in the clear, so everyone makes their adjustments.

If we're to survive as an industry we have to find a way to get new people into the theater and to have people in an extremely poor economy, where disposable income just isn't very disposable choose to come here over less expensive options like movies or free options like just going to a park or staying in and watching the toob over a home-prepared meal. Did I mention we have about 4,500 seats a night across five theaters?

TBPAC isn't just serving cake. It's more like the big table of desserts when you walk into a restaurant that gets you hungry and excited to be there in the hopes that you'll look to all corners of the menu to see what they chef really has to offer and come back again and again.

Since I am involved with both marketing and programming here, I can honestly say that there is always a desire to do more "artistic" or "meaningful" work, and all of the programmers have a deep love and passion for what they do and wish that they could do more of it. We still have a budget to balance. We're still a not for profit. We're still in a horrid economy. It's a common misconception that money is just falling out of TBPAC's pockets. I know for a fact that there is always a desire to balance the "art" with the "entertainment." There is a commitment to converting those who may only come to our pop shows to try something different.

It's harder than it looks. Way harder.

As individuals we like what we like. We can tell an audience member that this dance company or that symphony orchestra is the finest in the world and list off every award they've ever been given and it won't likely transfer over to ticket sales. If that same orchestra backs up Taylor Swift on a VH-1 special and the MSM makes a big giant deal over it and they end up on the cover of Entertainment Weekly - then we might have a chance.

Personal illustration - I have a Masters of Fine Arts degree, and you'd practically have to drag me kicking and screaming to just about any opera (ok, so I like Wagner). I'm not much of a fan of Broadway, but I'll watch just about any off-the-wall one person show, obscure expressionistic play, gritty modern drama and so on. I like what I like. If I don't want a Brussels Sprout - I'm a grown, educated man and I do not have to eat one. And in the end it's my opinion. I'm sure plenty of people think what I like is too "out there" or "not real art."

A lot of people might not eat a Brussels Sprout because they may not want to eat anything just because someone says it's good for them. Others plainly may not like the taste. Not everyone wants to develop a taste for something, and if you tell them they have to acquire a taste for anything - they may simply tell you they have better things to do with their time and money than sit around and eat something they hate in the hopes one day they might change their mind. Then of course there are those who may be predisposed to new things or experiences, or are just simply moved to give something a shot - and those are the people we want to go after. We can't force-feed anything to anyone.

If you just produce - for the sake of argument let's just say classical music, which historically has a hard time just about anywhere - and continue to lose money on it month after month, year after year at what point do you maybe decide to adapt? The only other option is to find enough funders who are ok with your mission of continually losing money on programming that has no one seeing it.

Have you ever been to a live show where it's been empty? Isn't that a miserable, odd feeling? Artists aren't too fond of that either.

So I think TBPAC largely has it right - support one with the other, and make a sincere effort to turn people on to something new while they're here. The discussions about bringing in more "art" to balance the "entertainment" are ongoing and lively, I assure you.

And don't even get me started on the irony that the newspapers generally bend over backwards to write story after story on Spamalot! or The Lion King, but we fight tooth and nail to get any mention at all for a show like the Beijing Modern Dance Company or the Turtle Island String Quartet or a South American adult-oriented puppet troupe coming in to do Romeo and Juliet in Spanish with marionettes.

Now, to my journalism comparison. That Frontline documentary I watched bemoaned the slow death of true journalism in this country for what's essentially tabloid or magazine journalism. Soft journalism. Sensationalist, human interest stuff.

Now, the old school journos in the documentary all sat and talked about how they had a responsibility to the people and to their profession. The new school editors and media owners also claimed a responsibility (and not just to shareholders), a responsibility to offering a wide palette of information and types of stories in a 24/7/365 news world where there is option upon option.

A lot of the argument went back to ratings - the hard news old school shows just didn't pull the numbers, but hide a camera in a house where a guy is going to go try to pick up an underage girl and they're through the roof. People are voting with their remote, and the market follows.

I think 60 Minutes might have one of the better balances of hard and soft journalism on TV. They're giving both. Like I feel TBPAC does with art.

And there's that irony again that we get beat up a little for bringing in shows too many times or shows that appeal too much to the "lowest common denominator" (yet another elitist statement), yet those are still the same shows that get the press while dozens of "artistic" and "challenging" shows go by every year that the press ignores.

We have to be careful - be it in the arts or the news - when we start talking too surely and with too much certainty that we know what's best for people. Our job is to be here for the entire community and to offer a wide variety. Who are we to tell anyone that the type of show they like isn't "good enough," particularly when it's selling a theater out for weeks straight? We stop offering the things people want to see, they could stop coming here altogether and then we'd really be in crisis.

Got a thought? Sound off. There's a whole lot to be had of this discussion, to be sure.