Monday, March 31, 2008

Regis who?

Who needs Regis Philbin when you’ve got pals like Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera? Venerable TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford is FINALLY coming back to the airwaves in a big way. The announcement was made this morning (3/31/08) that she’ll be part of NBC’s Today Show team beginning Monday, April 8, 2008.

Gifford has a Tampa connection ... she’s co-written two of the tunes in the TBPAC production of Hats! The Musical and has been in town on a couple of occasions in support of the project. She was here on opening night and “got her red hat on” with the Florida West Coast Queen’s Council of the Red Hat Society at the party in TBPAC’s Maestro’s Restaurant.

There’s even more great news! TBPAC and Gifford are in discussions to do more projects together. Gifford and her writing partner, David Friedman, have some great projects in the pipeline for audiences of all ages ... with any luck Gifford will find TBPAC fertile ground for her artistic side…while, of course, entertaining folks at Rockefeller Center with her trademark wit!

- Paul B.

Podcast with Joseph Siravo

I first heard Joseph Siravo speak at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s Corporate Partners Luncheon, where he talked to our corporate donors about his experiences as an actor and educator. I was so intrigued by his comments that I asked to talk with him further. After 16 years on the TBPAC staff, I am still amazed and inspired every time I get to interact with the artists that bring their magical talent to our stages and classrooms. As a fundraiser, I love to hear artists share their perspective on arts in our county, the importance of arts education and how the arts have shaped their lives. I was lucky enough to sit down with Siravo, “Gyp DiCarlo” in Jersey Boys, while he was in Tampa -- check out the TBPAC podcast to hear what he shared with me.

- Julie Britton

Friday, March 28, 2008

Avenue Q on "Ace of Cakes"

Did you miss Avenue Q on the Food Network's "Ace of Cakes" last night? If so, no worries. There are several more chances to catch the neighbors from Avenue Q interacting with the sometimes confused cake designers and of course to see the AMAZING cake creation. It's a cake made to look like their set... front AND backstage. You have to see it to believe it!

Katie Holmes on Broadway?

It appears that Katie Holmes is interested in establishing a name for herself beyond the title of Mrs. Cruise or "Joey" on Dawson's Creek. (Yeah, I know, she did a couple movies too but I didn't see any of them and neither did most of America.)

Katie is scheduled (if all goes according to plan) to perform on Broadway in the Arthur Miller play All My Sons. It's also rumored that she'll be working alongside John Lithgow and Diane West.

I say, good for her! I'm looking forward to seeing what she REALLY can do as an actress!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Still wandering down the digital highway

In September, I will have been employed by TBPAC for 9 years. It's an amazingly long time to me. It's easily the longest job I've ever held. I mean, I suppose in many ways outside of teaching and makin' art it's the first 'real job' I've had. I say 'real job' in the sense of the first real job I actually needed. Summer jobs, jobs while in school - be honest, most people I know treat those likely disposable employment. Or maybe I'm just trying to justify how many I went through ...

When I started working here, there really wasn't a website at all. It was more of a place marker. A page with a picture of the building, an address, a phone number and an email contact.

It was replaced by something that was almost worse - what I felt to be a pretty ugly and unmanageable website. We've certainly come a long way since then.

But now we're all into an online presence - it's a major part of what our marketing department explores. It may not be where we put all of our money or all our time, but I'd say it's easily the one form of media that we spend the most time researching and exploring. Because, well, we know it works.

The first big step we took was a decent email service and a philosophy on how to make it not just junk mail. We're on Facebook and MySpace, we do podcasts. We have a text-messaging service. My boss sticks several stories in my box weekly about digital marketing, and I get several more forwarded to me multiple times a week.

Is it all working? It's hard to say. Some of it is easier to track than others. The more refined we make our emails (targeting only the info people want instead of sending everyone to everything) and the less frequently we send them, the better our open rates and the less unsubscribe requests we get. We have a respectable presence on MySpace and a growing presence on Facebook (which, admittedly, I much prefer). The text-messaging initiative are going slow, but I'm still hopeful this experiment may pan out.

The bottom line to all of it is we want to make sure we're getting the information people want sent to them the way they want it. I don't really do the text-messaging thing, but I'm happy to read and email and active on blogs and social networking sites. I don't really respond to direct mail, read hard papers or listen to the radio - but I watch cable TV and listen to streams.

And the hard truth is, there is a divide (even if it is shrinking) between the young and old - not only in regards to the internet, but in regards to the arts. Statistically, more young folks are digitally inclined and more older folks have a wider appreciation for attending arts events. That could change though as we bring in shows like Avenue Q and Spring Awakening, that was true for Wicked. I'm always excited to see younger appealing comedians like Daniel Tosh or Nick Swardson on our schedule and my company, Jobsite Theater, has attracted a pretty loyal younger audience since day one. At the same time, we're seeing more and more older patrons get into the online world. Just yesterday I was speaking to the regional queen of the Red Hat Society and she actually told me that her ladies actually respond best and fastest to email, but they won't use message boards or check the website that often.

As arts marketers, it's a challenge to keep up. We already had small budgets, even when it was just all TV (on 3 networks, no less), print and radio. Now there are hundreds of small publications, numerous online media outlets and it just keeps on and on ...

It's hard to get explosive, immediate results from any of these things. I think it really takes at least a year to be able to really assess what's going to work and what's not. If we can at least raise awareness, increase people's knowledge that we're here, 365 days a year (almost), with an incredible variety of shows I'll consider it a success.

One of the most disheartening things I ever here is when people say they didn't even know we were here, or had no idea that this show or that was coming. The worst is when people ask why don't we advertise. Ouch. But like I said - there are so many more ways to reach people now, it all costs more for less than it used to be and now people have scads more things to distract them. Our jobs certainly aren't getting any easier.

A week or so ago, a friend was asking me what I actually did during the day and I explained it. They listened thoughtfully and at the end asked me if I liked what I did. Without hesitation I said yes, even if I don't always like who I have to deal with and some of the the rigors of the world we live in. I could certainly be doing worse. At least I believe in what I do, and even if I am selling from time to time I believe in what I sell and feel like I'm doing good.

That makes it all the more exciting to think that some of this stuff I do, or any of it, could become a new mainstay of how we get and keep information in front of people.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

YouTubesday: Daniel Tosh

This hilarious comedian plays TBPAC in less than two weeks - April 5 in Ferguson Hall. Some tickets still remain!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Get $5 off on Caveman

If you'd like to get $5 off tickets to see Defending the Caveman this Friday night, text SAVE to TBPAC (82722) in order to learn how to do it!

We'll also add you to the list to get hot deals from time to time, and you can get off the list at any time by texting STOP to TBPAC (82722)

DVR Alert! Spring Awakening!

... unless of course, you actually watch TV at 8:30 in the morning ... Catch a medley of songs by the energetic young cast of the groundbreaking (and Tony Award-winning Best Musical) Spring Awakening on Good Morning America tomorrow at 8:30 am!

The rock score for this controversial new heavy-hitter is by Duncan Sheik (Remember "Barely Breathing?" OK, fair enough.). If you're familiar with the show already, you'll see that they will be getting a little creative with rhyming vocals ("Totally Stuck" instead of "Totally F***ed") for network TV, and if you're not -- tune in -- and then go download the soundtrack from iTunes. Or go to and sample them. It's good stuff. Is Spring Awakening the new Rent? It just might be. OR, it just might be bigger.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Lorna Bracewell, Maggie Council and Rebekah Pulley play first all-regional Club Jaeb show

We're very excited to have the prodigious talents of Lorna Bracewell, Maggie Council and Rebekah Pulley playing our latest Club Jaeb date - April 7. This will also be the first-ever all-regional version of this popular series that has hosted the likes of Christine Lavin, Patty Larkin and John Gorka among many others.

We'd like of course to make presenting some of the incredible talent we have in this region a more regular thing, but we need to show we can support it first.

A big step in the right direction would be a rousing show of support for this first show.

Hope you can make it out!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Show your love for Broadway!

Love Spring Awakening? What about Avenue Q?

Well, now you can show your love on your desktop, website or whatever social networking application that you use but swear you don't have a problem with!

Check out Avenue Q's downloads page here (hurry up, the show will be here in just a few weeks!) and then head over to the Spring Awakening's download page and nab some goodies from over there!

Show love for the fuzz, and then for ... umm ... the peach fuzz?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tell us something nice!

I'm in a giving mood today.

I'll give a pair of tickets to see any performance of Force/Matter this weekend to a random person who leaves a comment on this blog post.

Your comment? Tell us about the best experience you had here at TBPAC in the last year. It can be anything: a meal, a show, a free event, a class - you name it!

I'll draw a winner the end of the day tomorrow, so make sure you check back to see if it was you that won!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mario Lopez makes his Broadway debut

It looks like the next celebrity to take to the Broadway stage is Mario Lopez. Depending how old you are, you'll remember that name from "Saved by the Bell" or more recently from "Dancing with the Stars." Lopez will be making his Broadway debut as "Zach" in A Chorus Line starting April 15.

And though it won't have Lopez, A Chorus Line is coming to Tampa in 0809 as part of our Broadway season.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Zachary Prince – who can be seen playing Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys at TBPAC – sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Opening Day of Spring Training for the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. The crowd of than 5,000 cheered for Prince and his a cappella version of the national anthem that included a Valli-esque falsetto big finish.

Rays coach Joe Maddon and team president Matthew Silverman congratulated Prince on the field near the team’s dugout.

Prince also got a pat on the back from team mascot Raymond!

Root, root, root for the home team!