Monday, April 28, 2008

Looks like we're ready for THE LION KING

The front doors of Carol Morsani Hall were just gussied up in anticipation of the arrival of THE LION KING.

Click the thumbnails below to see the larger versions!

TLK front doors 002

TLK front doors 001


Thursday, April 24, 2008

A few last-minute deals

Check out two hot offers on shows:
HATS! - The Musical - get buy one, get one free tickets for the May 11 Mother's Day Performance by using promo code MOM when you call or buy online.

Turtle Island String Quartet - save $10 per ticket for B-level seating (normally priced at $25.50) for the April 26 show by using promo code TISQ over the phone or online.

Both discounts are also good at the TBPAC Ticket Office window. They are not good, however, on prior sales or in conjunction with any other offer. All discounts are subject to availability. Sorry, no rain checks. Do not taunt happy fun ball.


Encore! Encore! No really, encore!

Solo encores have fallen out of favor in the opera. Fairly common in the 19th century, the practice fell out favor when opera became more “serious.”

Buzz killer.

The Met has explicitly banned solo encores for much of the 20th century. In fact, the only one that has been documented was in 1994 (but we’ll get to that in a moment).

14 years later, history was made at the Met when Juan Diego Florez performed a solo encore of the challenging tenor aria “Ah! Mes Amis.” Filled with high C’s this “tenor tester” brought the house to its knees and provided a thrilling moment for all opera lovers. The challenging role is said to launch tenor’s careers at the Met and is credited as being the “star-making” role of Luciano Pavarotti (but we’ll get to that in a moment).

Juan Diego Florez currently stars with Natalie Dessay in a new production of Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment. Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, has said that there would be no encore ban on his watch, to make opera “as entertaining and exciting for the audience as it can be.”


So back to that 1994 solo encore – any guesses? It was Luciano Pavarotti, singing the second-act tenor aria in Tosca.

If you can name the aria – I have two tickets for you to the Friday night or Sunday matinee performance of Opera Tampa’s Tosca.

-Kari G.


Ready to get LOST again

I fought watching LOST for a good long time. I really racked it up to being a bad combination of Survivor and a bad night time soap. Pretty People On An Island. I found this post back from 2006 that in brief explains how I got into it and caught up.

My most recent show-I-fought-but-am-now-hooked-on is the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. That's easily become my favorite show on TV, another in as a friend of mine says is "TV for smart people."

Trivia: Michael Emerson, who plays Ben on LOST was living in my hometown of Jacksonville when I was in high school. I worked with him at Jacksonville Actors Theater and got to watch him do things like A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Christopher Durang's Laughing Wild. He also provided an eery, sinister soundscape to a production of MacBeth we did in the park.

Michael was easily the best actor in town, and was simply brilliant. A fairly gentle, if eccentric, quiet guy - I'd be surprised if he even knew who I was from the rest of the throng of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts students that crowded JAT back in the day, doing whatever task we could just to be involved in a professional show. I had known Michael had moved to New York at one time, but then after years of not hearing anything from him assumed his star had never quite reached the firmament, which was sad to me. Another friend of mine once said when it didn't appear Michael would "make it" - it gave us all very little hope than any of us ever could - Michael was a the best actor we knew.

And it easily took me a few episodes once Ben had been introduced before I even recognized him, but when I did it him me like a ton of bricks.

Needless to say I am extremely stoked to have the show coming back as of tonight.

A thing I always try to impress upon my non-Lostie friends is that the show really is quite clever, and quite smart. The fusion of philosophy, theory, science, literature and sociology can get pretty compelling. Take a look at just the appearances/references of major literary works in the show, it's pretty dense. Of course I don't think you need to know those books to get the show (just looking at ABCs ratings v our literacy rate ...), but they certainly give you some clues as to what's possibly going on or where things may possibly go. In some instances, the show has actually encouraged me to go back and dig something out to try to get a better handle on an aspect of LOST's story.

Haven't managed to get hooked on the show yet? Start from the beginning. That's what DVDs are for. By the time you get caught up you'll likely be waiting with the rest of us for what's going to happen next season.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Keach in Camelot

Additional casting has been announced for the New York Philharmonic's upcoming production of Camelot.

Newcomers to the starry company include stage and screen star Stacy Keach, who will star in the national tour of Frost/Nixon (coming to TBPAC next season!), as Merlyn, King Arthur's tutor; and Erin Morley, a member of The Metropolitan Opera's Lindermann Young Artist Development Program, as Nimue, the nymph who lures Merlyn into her cave.

Keach and Morley join a cast that includes the previously announced Gabriel Byrne as King Arthur, Marin Mazzie as Guenevere, Christopher Lloyd as Pellinore, Marc Kudisch as Lionel, Christopher Sieber as Dinadan, Will Swenson as Sagramore, Nathan Gunn as Lancelot, Bobby Steggert as Mordred and Fran Drescher as Morgan le Fey.

The semi-staged performances of Lerner & Loewe's Camelot will play Avery Fisher Hall May 7-10.

PBS' Live from Lincoln Center series will broadcast the May 8 performance, which is scheduled to begin at 8 PM ET.

In Camelot, according to press notes, "idealistic King Arthur longs to create a perfectly principled kingdom, but sees his dream undone by a tragic love triangle involving Queen Guenevere and his best friend Lancelot. In this thoroughly engaging production, the medieval monarch's vision — a place where 'violence is not strength, and compassion is not weakness' — speaks to our time and for all time."

Camelot — featuring music by Frederick Loewe and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner — originally opened at Broadway's Majestic Theatre in Dec. 1960, playing 873 performances before closing Jan. 5, 1963. The premiere company included Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, Robert Goulet, Robert Coote, John Cullum and Roddy McDowall. The classic Lerner and Loewe score boasts such tunes as "If Ever I Would Leave You," "I Loved You Once in Silence," "Follow Me," "I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight" and the title tune.

Stacy Keach has appeared on Broadway in Danton's Death, The Country Wife, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, King Lear, Indians (Tony nomination), Deathtrap, Solitary Confinement and The Kentucky Cycle. The actor won a Golden Globe Award for his performance in the TV miniseries "Hemingway," and his numerous screen credits also include "Mike Hammer," "Fat City," "End of the Road" and "Titus."

(edited from material from


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We and Wikis are smarter than me

(Warning: Brief business note)

NYC -- A bunch of experts think that a group of people can outsmart you.

Maybe not individually (although, who knows, right?). But, collectively, they can outsmart you.

This philosophy is called "the wisdom of crowds." There's a book by the same name. There's also a new book called "We Are Smarter Than Me."

But this is an arts blog, so let multiple Tony-Award-winning director Mike Nichols say it a different way: "Everybody all together knows everything."

What does this mean in our business? I don't know yet. But you can bet that our patrons will be part of whatever answer we come up with. -- MichaelK

New, new media

NYC -- Those of us in marketing spend a lot of time worrying about the fragmentation of traditional mass media, as well as the seemingly endless universe of new web 2.0 tools.

In a morning session today, many of us learned more about twitter, tagging and "crowdsourcing" as new marketing and management techniques. The two presenters, Adam Broitman and John Lanasa from Morpheus Media and Situation Marketing respectively, found a room full of dutiful students.

The session reinforces that we'll be trying to reach you in new and different (and inoffensive and non-intrusive) ways to get you the info you want when you want it.

What's the best way to reach you? Drop me a line and let me know. Email me at or just respond to this post.

(Of course, if we were truly early adopters, I would have sent this on Twitter in real time.) -- MichaelK

'God' stars in Broadway play

NYC -- After a Broadway absence of 18 years, Morgan Freeman, whose quiet grace, dignity and otherworldly calm enabled him to play God in two films, joins Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher in director Mike Nichols' revival of the 1950 Clifford Odets' play about an alcoholic actor - The Country Girl.

Gallagher plays a director who had been a fan of the actor. McDormand, of "Fargo" and "Blood Simple" movie fame, plays Freeman's wife.

Considered Odets' best play, a revival of Awake and Sing! opened on Broadway two years ago this month.

The creative team talked about four high-profile types working together, the joys of live theater and whether long absences from the stage make it frightening to return.

"When I was a kid, I started reading plays; I don't know why. I read all the plays of O'Neill. I read all of Odets. ... I always wanted to [direct it]. ... It's about right now as much as then." -- Nichols

"The question most actors ask themselves after a long absence is, 'Where am I going to get it from? Does the machinery still work?' It's all about your confidence in yourself, and your confidence in someone else." -- Freeman

"Watching him on stage is an exercise in purity. ... there's a clear, spare honesty without any artifice. Who else can play God." -- Nichols on Freeman

A play is "[the one thing that has to be alive every time you do it. ... It's the idea that if you weren't there, you missed it. There is this thing that happens to us on stage, when it works, and to the audience ..." -- Nichols

"We're all aching for our story to be told. We're all aching to be recognized." -- Gallagher

"There are no small parts, only small actors. I'm at the point of my life when people want to try and look up to me. ... Don't do that. I'm not going to look down." -- Freeman

"If you don't look down, you're going to miss me." -- Gallagher

Come back soon for more creative conversations at the annual conference of The Broadway League. -- MichaelK

Cool 'cats' on a hot tin roof

NYC -- Of all the stars appearing in "Creative Conversations" here during the annual spring marketing conference of The Broadway League, can you guess which one provokes a "visceral reaction" from his cast mates?

Yep, James Earl Jones.

His co-star Anika Noni Rose, who won a 2004 Tony for her role in Caroline or Change, said "That voice just goes right through me ..."

Here are some other comments yesterday from Rose, director Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad, who plays Big Mama in this African-American revival of the Tennessee Williams' classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

"In my eyes, [Jones] is the youngest actor on the stage. I delight in that. I delight in that every day."

"Tennessee changed things all the time. He's in the theater every night smiling down at us."

"It's not just a battle. It's a battle that has to go someplace. It's like good lovemaking."

"I think it's a wonderful thing to have a female director come in and take hold of this. The piece is so feminine. [Having a female director] serves the play."

"I think it's important that the director be good, be insightful, be flexible, and we have that. We have the best of the best."

Check back soon for more creative conversations at the annual conference of The Broadway League. -- Michael K

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The business of the show: Listen in on creative conversations on Broadway!

NYC – Welcome to Theater Week in NYC.

More than 511 attendees from 119 cities and 32 states (plus Ottawa) trekked to this theater capital to share war stories, challenges and successes related to producing and presenting Broadway shows.

This is the annual spring road conference of The Broadway League, formerly the League of American Theatres and Producers, a trade organization that wisely and accurately has added “Broadway” to its name.

Your Tampa Bay PAC reps will see three or four Broadway shows, squeezed around three days of meetings plus “Creative Conversations,” in which creative teams for new shows talk about their inspirations and their process.

So why should you care? Excellent question.

Conference attendees will hear from representatives of Cry-Baby, the new John Waters musical; A Catered Affair, featuring Harvey Fierstein and Faith Prince; Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen representing the all African-American cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Morgan Freeman and Mike Nichols from The Country Girl and Mel Brooks from Young Frankenstein.

If past years are any indication, no media outlet covers these insightful, witty and inspirational conversations.

But you can listen in. Just check back here regularly or request an RSS feed and you’ll have instant access to some of the best theater talk in the country, as well as some early notices on new Broadway shows in previews or opening soon.

A report from the first day follows.

– Michael K

I love theater – Part I

“The thrill of theater is when people go to see something, be spellbound by it and be changed enough that when they leave the theater their dreams get bigger and better.”* – Marvin Hamlisch, multiple award-winner for A Chorus Line and so much more

* Disclaimer: All quotations guaranteed to be an approximate estimation of actual remarks, give or take some fast talkers and multiple speakers. – Michael K

I love theater – Part II

“The arts have this incredible connection to how people think and feel about this world. It’s about how we deal with the loss of this thing that we couldn’t live without.”* – Marsha Norman, ’Night, Mother, The Secret Garden and The Color Purple

* Disclaimer: All quotations guaranteed to be an approximate estimation of actual remarks, give or take some fast talkers and multiple speakers. – Michael K

John Waters strikes again

NYC – Because Hairspray has been such a huge hit, Broadway is hoping to strike polyester again with Cry-Baby, based on Waters’ relatively mainstream 1980 movie starring Johnny Depp and a conflict between Baltimore “drapes” and “squares.”

Waters, of course, is the pencil-thin-mustachioed director of much less classy fare, such as Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble.

Although Waters didn’t attend Tuesday's session, he has pretended to be horrified that his edgy work somehow has become mainstream.

And he envisions Michigan matrons liking the Broadway Hairspray, renting one of his earlier works, such as Flamingos, and being totally grossed out – which always was one of measures of success.

Of course, everyone has a different notion of what’s offensive.

“I was offended at the barn-raising scene in ‘Witness,’ ” he said at a similar conference in Orlando.

Anyway, a whole batch of the creatives behind this show, which opens on Broadway on April 25, offered their take on Waters’ bizarro world.

The team included David Javerbaum, executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Adam Schlesinger, of the rock band Fountains of Wayne, who collaborated on the songs.

A sampling of the chatter, with Waters’ presence hovering over the gathering like a slick-haired spirit*:
“You don’t say no to John Waters.”

“John Waters is edgy, independent, out there. Broadway is beautiful, splendid, thrilling, wholesome. We bring the two together.”

“We’re trying to be tactless, not offensive.”

“We’re trying to be true to the Waters’ ideal.”

“We tried not to make judgments about the two groups, but the drapes are just cooler because they’re the outcasts.”

“It’s more of a dark show than ‘Hairspray. …’”

“… Because it was so unsuccessful!”

“They’re used to me doing a bunch of outside work. As long as I don’t make them sing those songs {from the show, my band} is happy.”

“John Waters is the godfather …”

“He’s kind of like the superintendent of schools. He drops in every couple of months to see what’s going on.”

“ ‘Pink Flamingos’ ” should be an opera, not a musical. A musical comedy would not be adequate.”
* Disclaimer: All quotations guaranteed to be an approximate estimation of actual remarks, give or take some fast talkers and multiple speakers. – Michael K

An ‘Affair To Remember’

NYC – From their web site: "A CATERED AFFAIR is all of the moving, funny, difficult stuff that we survive as members of that thing we call family. Who said what to whom? Who did what to whom? Who didn't say what they should have said? It's about the loves, the hurts, the regrets and the laughs that can only be shared with the people who know us best."

Or, in a shorter pitch, also from the web site: “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be home by 10.”

Two of the stars, one also the writer, of A Catered Affair spoke with Tony Award-winning director John Doyle of Sweeney Todd fame about this new production, which opens Thursday, April 17. Most of the critics already have seen it, so you’ll know their opinions soon enough.

Here’s what the cast and director had to say.* (By the way, Harvey’s keeping a blog of his own at, so check it out. But if he really wants to attract an audience, he needs to read it in that distinctive voice that’s like a load of rocks in a blender with a dollop of honey.)

From actress Faith Prince
“I was looking for something with a lot of depth.”

“What attracted me is that it was about the things that we stuff in our lives that we don’t deal with … and the things that trigger the dominoes that fall … and it all comes tumbling down.”

“I didn’t get in the business to be a star.”

“That sense of intimacy lacking in the relationship, that was terribly appealing to me.”

“I knew I was in good hands. I was willing to let go of everything to see what was there.”

“I was testing myself. There were a couple of nights when I went home and said, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ ”

From director John Doyle
“I’m fundamentally interested in being a storyteller.”

“There was a mountain of things that we played with … rather like a toy box. When I was a child, there was always a day when my mother would come in and say ‘Get this place tidy.’ And it’s that process we went through. … We had to get rid of this stuff to get to the humanity. Someday I’m going to do something with absolutely nothing at all.”

“How do we highlight the mundane moments? Making a bed. Scrambling eggs. Because that’s when these moments happen.”

“I’m 55. How could I be revolutionary? I was trying to do this 30 years ago.”

From writer and star Harvey Fierstein
“It’s hard to be a writer in the room when there all these actors saying, ‘My character wouldn’t say that.’ And I always want to say, ‘Well, you’re playing the wrong character because THIS ONE DOES.' ”

* Disclaimer: All quotations guaranteed to be an approximate estimation of actual remarks, give or take some fast talkers and multiple speakers. – Michael K

The ties that bind

Coming up later Wednesday: Thoughts and quotes on August: Osage County, which The New York Times critic Charles Isherwood called "The most exciting new American play in years."

But I'll leave you with this: Although all families as unhappy in their own way, this family is hilariously unhappy in their own way. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Tracy Letts manages to find humor in this three-hour tragedy.

OK, here's a teaser quote: "I spent a lot of time in that bedroom upstairs pretending that pillow was my husband. ... that pillow was a better husband than any man I ever met." **

** This one's exact; I bought the script. -- Michael K

Monday, April 14, 2008

Free stuff! Turtle Island String Quartet!

At 5pm today, I will choose 4 comments at random from this post and give those lucky people a free pair of tickets to see Turtle Island String Quartet on Sat., April 26 in Ferguson Hall PLUS their 2008 Grammy Award-winning album The Legacy of John Coltrane.

You can't win it if you're not in it - get to commentin'!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern a huge hit!

Jobsite Theater, TBPAC's resident theater company is entering their second weekend of performances for Tom Stoppard's Tony Award-winning play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Modern film buffs may not know Stoppard the playwright, but likely know his words as an Oscar-winning writer of Shakespeare in Love.

The show has drawn stellar reviews, and has already had four sold-out performances. They just announced an extension of the show through April 27.

Creative Loafing: Dead Brilliant

Tribune: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is Frivolous Fun

Times: Absurdity Meets History ...

Full disclosure: I am the Producing Artistic Director for Jobsite, as well as Rosencrantz in the show.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Lloyd Webber on American Idol

It appears that Andrew Lloyd Webber's work will the focus of the April 22 airing of American Idol. The composer will be mentoring and coaching the contestants.

Webber's catalog is vast including the unforgettable hits of Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar and Sunset Boulevard. There is also Starlight Express, Aspects of Love and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.

I don't watch Idol (sorry, I just can't do that to my ears in hopes I'll hear the next Kelly or Carrie) but you know someone is going to do "Memory" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him." If the "rockers" of the group know what's good for them, they'll do something for JC Superstar or Joseph. Just please, please... nothing from Phantom. The music is just too challenging and operatic (hence the show's title). It would just be a train wreck!

Any thoughts on what songs you'd like to hear performed?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Avenue Q on Studio 10

If you missed it yesterday morning, check out Studio 10’s website for video of our Avenue Q appearance. There’s a link to an interview with the actors and a separate link to an interview with “Rod” and “Nicky.”

- Tara Mc.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tara interviews Kate Monster!

The Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q is running here at TBPAC through Sunday, and I would definitely encourage everyone to check it out. It’s so much fun, you can’t help but laugh the whole time. Leave the kids at home though; it’s definitely not for them.

I recently had the chance to catch up with one of Avenue Q’s furriest residents, Kate Monster, for a little Q&A:

What is a typical day like for you?

I like to wake up really early and read the newspaper; it's important to keep up with current events. I walk to my school for monsters and greet the students at the door. After our lessons, and nap-time, I release the monster-kids to their parents and have an afternoon of conferences and paper-grading. Then I go home and see my friends on "Avenue Q"--we usually have dinner or meet at the local bar for a drink before winding down for the evening. I have a great life.

I don’t want to get too personal, but do you have a significant other?

Well, I don't want to give too much away about the show, but let's just say I'm spending a lot of time with a certain someone right now and we're taking it one day at a time.

Do you ever feel like you’re treated differently because you’re a monster?

I certainly experience discrimination due to my race. I find that people make assumptions and judgments about my personality and my work-ethic. They expect me to be lazy with a quick-temper--how absurd!!! Well, the quick-tempered part is true on occasion, but I am anything but lazy...and I'll have words with anyone who says otherwise!

Do you have any advice for young monsters out there who may be reading this?

Stay strong and work hard! We are the next generation of monsters who can change the stereotypes that hold us back in the global community! Do not let anyone tell you that fur makes you a lesser being in the evolutionary chain! Fight for fur!!

What do you see yourself doing in five years?

I see myself married with a couple of monster kids. I will definitely still be teaching monsters, but I hope to see my class-sizes triple by then. It's a lofty goal, but I'm up for it...after all, I'm not a lazy monster.

- Tara Mc

Broadway's Shrek cast has been finalized

Waiting to see the rest of the cast for the new Broadway production of Shrek The Musical? Sadly, Shrek won't be played by Mike Myers, but here's who it will include:
  • Brian D’Arcy James (Sweet Smell of Success) will play the title role
  • Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona
  • Chester Gregory II (currently in Cry-Baby) will be Donkey
  • John Tartaglia (Avenue Q) as Pinocchio
  • Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad
  • Kecia Lewis-Evans as The Dragon
The show will do a pre-Broadway run in Seattle Aug. 14 - Sept. 21 and is scheduled to officially open on Broadway, Dec. 14.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tosca Tour

I once tried to “seduce” a man by planning a trip to NYC with him and scheduling all site-seeing around exteriors from the movie Ghostbusters. You might title this attempt as “How nerds date.” He was not nearly as excited as I though he would be. I was crushed. I shared my disappointment with a casual acquaintance shortly thereafter. I explained that I had researched Dana Barrett’s apartment location, that the Ghostbusters headquarters was located in Brooklyn, that the tour really should start on the ground of Columbia with a fifth of something in a bag, followed by running down the steps of the New York City Library and lunch at Tavern on the Green near the patio. Something changed about the way he looked at me from that point forward.

Today marks our two-year anniversary.

So I planned a trip for the wrong guy and got the right guy in the process. You can title that “Nerds in love.”

What made me think of this story was a great travel article that ran yesterday’s Star-Telegram: The Tosca Tour.

Tosca is probably the most “walk-able” opera ever written. Everything occurs in historic buildings in Rome.

I mean, its no Shandar Building (aka Spook Central), but it’s still pretty cool. And if you can’t make it to Rome – Tosca will be here at TBPAC April 25 and 27 – and Ghostbusters can be added to your Netflix queue with a click of the mouse.

-Kari G.

I heard it was sold out!

My husband and I met up with a couple friends on Saturday night for dinner and a movie. Our waitress noticed my husband's Jersey Boys t-shirt and struck up a conversation saying how much she wanted to see the show but couldn't find someone to go with her (we told her to get new friends, but I digress). Eventually it came out that I worked here and we started talking about the upcoming run of The Lion King. She said she wanted to see that too but was sure it was sold out. UGH! Yet another person who mistakenly thinks a show is sold out when really it isn't.

You know, as a marketeer (like a mouseketeer, but cooler and we don't sing a song at the end of the day) we love and hate the words "sold out." We love it when the show does sell out. We've successfully done our job and a bunch of people are going to see a terrific show. However, we hate it when people just assume something is sold out. You know what they say about people who assume...

So let me shed a little light on this whole "sold out" mystery. Take a look at these tips and you'll never miss a show because you heard it was sold out!
  1. Ask us! I can assure you our Ticket Office is full of lovely people who want to talk to you.
  2. Have you seen advertising recently... print, TV, radio, online, etc. I can assure you that if I'm paying for ads we still have tickets.
  3. You were online but you couldn't find a ticket. Double check by calling the ticket office. Odds are the seats might just be limited for that performance and/or a price level. Ask us!
  4. A friend/significant other (who doesn't want to go with you) says "Oh, you know how it goes. It's probably already sold out." Ok. It's possible. It happens. But it's also possible that your friend/loved one is starting a dirty rumor!
In any case, I just thought I would share. And please, whatever you do, don't go to a ticket broker before you ask us first! Trust me... we'll definitely let you know if it's sold out!