Monday, June 30, 2008

Chris Rock plays Morsani Hall 7/2-3

Chris Rock is in town this week and plays Carol Morsani Hall on July 2-3 with his "No Apologies Tour."

I caught his "Black Ambition Tour" a few years back and he had the capacity crowds, including my wife and I, rolling in the aisles. Not only a brilliant comic, I think Rock (like most of the truly great comedians) is an astute social critic as well. I think he catches a little bit of heat from all races who want to claim he's a racist (including his own), but I think when you're offending everyone you must be doing something right. People love it when you're telling jokes about people, as long as you don't happen to fall into the subset of folks being targeted.

Actually, there's always the exception of Stuff White People Like, which any day now should include an entry as to how much white people love Stuff White People Like.

In person, Rock is a very nice, sort of soft-spoken guy. Meet and greets are always awkward, but I was glad I got to be a foot away from him and shake his hand. Not every day you get to rub elbows with the 13th Apostle.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Everything's Alright" with this rush discount!

A students and military rush discount was just annouced for Jesus Christ Superstar here at the TBPAC this weekend only (June 26-29)! If you fit either one of those criteria, you can receive 50% off remaining tickets to the show no sooner than 90 minutes prior to curtain time. Student discount is available for children under 18 and college students with a valid ID. Military must present ID.

If you need more reasons to go, how about these:

1) The show comes from the legendary Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber

2) Memorable songs "I Don't Know How To Love Him," "Hosanna," "Everything's Alright," "What's the Buzz" and "Superstar" (We have a horrible habit of breaking out into "Superstar" anytime someone mentions the show around here)

3) The show features Ted Neeley (star of the groundbreaking movie) in the title role and Living Colour's Corey Glover as Judas.

4) The show runs a little over 2 hours which includes the intermission.

Hope you have a chance to see "What's the Buzz!" (ok, ok... that was bad)

Fine print: Two discounted tickets per ID. Cash only at the TBPAC Ticket Office. Subject to availability. Not applicable to prior sales. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First The Producers, now Young Frankenstein

A few weeks back, I saw Young Frankenstein on Broadway and Mel Brooks has done it again! He first used his hysterical (and often perverse) sense of humor to bring his own classic film The Producers to the Broadway musical stage – now its Young Frankenstein’s turn.

Embedded in our collective minds from the 1974 film – and used to great success on the stage –are tons of trademark Brooks’ sight gags and shtick:
  • Igor (that’s pronounced EYE-GORE) asks Dr. Frankenstein (that’s pronounced FRAUNK-AN-STEEN) to “Walk this way;” and so he does, literally, dragging a foot and imitating Igor’s hunchback.

  • The horses bray and whinny as if frightened by something horrible, every time someone mentions the name Frau Blucher.

  • And speaking of Frau Blucher (heeeeeeeee) – she, of course, exclaims “He vas my boyfriend!” – in the stage show it gets its own musical number!

  • Then there is the sight of the monster in tux and tails belting out “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

  • I won’t even get into the gag about a huge set of (door) knockers.

All those classic film moments and more translate brilliantly to the new stage musical version of Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein.

If you are Brooks’ fan, you’ll love it.

If not, well then, you are just "Abby Normal."

We've got some leftover fun for one of you.

Text FRANK to TBPAC (82722) for your chance. You get this nifty Young Frankenstein doctor's bag,

but it's the stuff inside the bag that counts: T-shirt; creepy syringe-pen; Abby Normal squishy brain (good stress reliever, just give it a squeeze); keychain; fake Rx pad (it's just a note pad people. Don't get too excited.); and some revival "pills" (we assume it is some kind of candy).

-- Paul

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin (1937-2008)

There's is a black and white glossy press shot of George Carlin over my desk. I still remember the day we booked the show, for New Year's Eve in our Morsani Hall. He did two shows.

I also recall there were some who attended who were so surprised at how foul-mouthed he was, and how negative they thought his act was.

My initial thought was to wonder if any of those people had perhaps caught Carlin's act since the '70s. If they were expecting the Hippy Dippy Weather Man.

The photo over my desk is the black and white version of the photo that appears on the cover of his book Brain Droppings. I have that book at home, along with When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?

I know I've seen every one of the 14 or so HBO specials he's done at least twice. Many of them I saw live on the first airing. I used to hide in my uncle's room at my grandparents house (where I also saw all of the comedy specials up through about 1986) and listen to the records of A Place for My Stuff and the seminal Carlin on Campus.

He proved to me that he was in fact a very good actor in the movie Jersey Girl, where he was perhaps one of the brightest spots of the film.

There are also several Carlin bits/phrases that have totally made their way in to my common argot, personally and professionally. Um, I guess I can't really repeat any of them here but one deals with two people named Claus and Rebecca. There are also two bits that are preshow rituals several of us always do in the dressing room right before the places call. One is the "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" (a bit which took Carlin all the way to the Supreme Court) - spoken extremely rapidly and as a tongue-twister, the second is a cheer of sorts that deals with rats, bats and lizards.

I guess that doesn't even make much sense as a clue once you take all the swear words out.

George Carlin died last night at the tender age of 71. I think I thought that old codger would live forever. Easily one of the most influential stand-ups comedians of all time, his work will no doubt stand the test of time and effect the work of up and comers for generations.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kari G. likens opera stories to News of the Weird – News of the Weird covers opera – Kari G. declares herself a pop culture goddess

10 days ago I concluded that my posts about opera were beginning to sound like Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird.

Guess what? Guess what’s in this weeks News of the Weird?

Behold this nugget:
Great Art!

Austrian director Johann Kresnik's re-interpretation of the classic Verdi opera "A Masked Ball" opened for a limited engagement in Berlin in April, aimed at America's "war and the excesses of American society today," he said. In one scene, against a backdrop of the ruins of the World Trade Center, 35 naked senior citizens danced, wearing Mickey Mouse masks. [Agence France-Presse, 4-10-08]
/I got nothing.

-Kari G.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Breaking News: Wicked's Idina Menzel booked 7/27

Tony Award-winning Broadway star Idina Menzel will play Ferguson Hall on Sun., July 27, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $38.50 and will go on sale to her fan club, TBPAC donors and TBPAC Broadway Series season ticket holders on June 24 at noon. The show will go on sale to the general public on Fri., June 27 at noon.

Idina Menzel originated the role of the green-skinned Elphaba in the blockbuster Wicked, which won her a 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She's also very well known from her portrayal of Maureen in the Broadway and film versions of RENT.

Since this show is in our more intimate 1,042-seat Ferguson Hall, we recommend you get your tickets when they go on sale to ensure you get a seat!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The revenge of the little black dress

With the Tonys over, another year of gossip, intrigue and speculation has passed. Where or where can we find our snarky theater fix?

How about the opera? In this hilarious YouTube video, our favorite diva, Deborah Voigt (who wowed audiences in a concert performance for Opera Tampa in 2007) takes on the Little Black Dress that caused her so much pain.

If you don’t remember why the Little Black Dress haunts this amazing diva – see this blog post from last year.

She’s bringing the sass to Covent Garden tonight singing the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos! In bocca al lupo Deborah – you strong and sexy thang!

- Kari G.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

2008 Tony winners from June 15 ceremony

Winners in the 62nd Annual Tony Awards recognizing the Best of Broadway, presented Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall

Best Musical: "In the Heights"
Best Play: "August: Osage County"
Best Direction for a Musical: Bartlett Sher, "South Pacific"
Best Direction for a Play: Anna Shapiro, "August: Osage County"
Leading Actor in a Play: Mark Ryland, "Boeing-Boeing"
Leading Actress in a Play: Deanna Dunagan, "August: Osage County"
Leading Actress in a Musical: Patti LuPone, "Gypsy"
Leading Actor in a Musical: Paulo Szot, "South Pacific"
Featured Actress in a Play: Rondi Reed, "August: Osage County"
Featured Actor in a Play: Jim Norton, "The Seafarer"
Featured Actor in a Musical: Boyd Gaines, "Gypsy"
Featured Actress in a Musical: Laura Bonanti, "South Pacific"
Best Revival of  a Play: "Boeing-Boeing"
Best Revival of a Musical: "South Pacific"
Best Book of a Musical: Stew, "Passing Strange"
Best Original Score and Best Choreography: "In the Heights"

For complete coverage, go to the official Tony site,

-- MichaelK

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tony's Sunday night... set your DVR

Just a quick reminder that the Tony Awards are Sunday night on CBS at 8 p.m. Lots of great performances are part of the line up and the evening will be hosted by Whoopie Goldberg. Check out an interview on with Whoopie regarding this hosting gig.

Also, if you'd like to play along at home, here's a link to where you can download a printable ballot. The TBPAC staff is having a little fun with a friendly, little contest. I'll let you know how many categories our TBPAC winner gets right. Then you can see if you beat the folks in the industry. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spring Awakening announces tour route

Since I've been talking about the Tonys this week, just thought I would give you the update on last year's eight-time Tony Award winner, Spring Awakening. They just announced their complete tour route for the 0809 season. In case you don't live in Tampa or NYC, here's a list of all the tour cities, in order, from Sept. 4, 2008 - Aug. 3, 2009...

San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, LA, Tempe, Tampa, Houston, Des Moines, St. Louis, East Lansing, Cleveland, Toronto, Boston, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C.

Definitely catch this show if you can. I saw it in April and was blown away. I promise, you won't be disappointed!!! The soundtrack is permanently loaded on my iPod. Other than a couple choice songs from Avenue Q, it's the only Broadway on it. Yes, it's that good!

A Dream Play opens tonight

Jobsite Theater, TBPAC's resident theater company in the Shimberg Playhouse and winner of four 2007 Creative Loafing Best of the Bay Awards, is opening Caryl Churchill's adaptation of August Strindberg's 1901-penned A Dream Play tonight.

"Everything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and place do not exist." So said August Strindberg in his preface to the original play. Following the logic of a dream – in which images and characters merge and separate, locations change in an instant, and a locked door recurs obsessively – A Dream Play is a potent mix of Freud plus Alice in Wonderland. The play itself is a dream about Agnes, a girl from another world. Quite possibly an angel or even a goddess, Agnes comes to Earth and becomes caught up in the sufferings and cruelties of mankind.

You can read stories written on the production from various sources here. You can also learn all about the cast and crew here.

A Dream Play runs through June 29.

A Dream Play contains adult language, brief nudity and fog effects.

(full disclosure: I am also the Producing Artistic Director of Jobsite Theater)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

HEIGHTS' Tony nominations and your chance to win

In case you haven't been keeping tabs on the Tony Awards and the nominees (that's why you have me, right?), the show to keep an eye on this Sunday is IN THE HEIGHTS who leads the pack with 13 nomination.

I actually had the opportunity to see the show this past April when I was in NYC. Set in the Washington Heights neighborhood NY (complete with a corner bodega), IN THE HEIGHTS is a journey of hope and self-discovery. Personally, the most impressive part is the music. It's a great fusion of rap, hip-hop and Latin. Definitely very different from what we've come to expect from a hit Broadway musical.

You can learn more at the show's website complete with downloads, videos, etc.

During my trip in April, I just happened to be given a little swag to support the show. Want to win it? It's an IN THE HEIGHTS messenger bag and souvenir program. Text the word HEIGHTS to TBPAC (82722) for your chance. A random entry will be drawn and notified on or around June 16, 2008, via text message. Contest ends on or around June 16.

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Special Tony Award performances

My favorite part of the Tony Awards (and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade) are the Broadway performances. There will be 13 performances in total from the various nominees, however there will be special performances by The Lion King and Rent.

The original principal cast members of Rent are schedule to appear alongside the current Broadway cast to celebrate the show's 12-year run, which comes to an end on Sept. 7. In addition, the current cast of The Lion King will be on hand for a special performance to commemorate the show's 10-year anniversary on Broadway.

As always, more information is available on the Tony Award website.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I wish I could quit – ripping off Hollywood

My opera updates are starting to sound more like Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird. Last week we explored the idea of a lonely polar bear singing a heartbreaking aria on a melting icecap in An Inconvenient Truth – The Opera.

Today we get to decide who the baritone is and who is the tenor? In the new announcement that the New York City Opera will be staging Brokeback Mountain – The Opera.

Really? Really? Well Ennis and Jack – I’m really looking forward to the aria by Alma,”Don't try and fool me no more, Ennis; I know what it means! Jack Twist. Jack Nasty! You didn't go up there to fish!”

-Kari G.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tony Awards 2008

Check out this nifty widget for the Tony Awards. Follow the links and get your own widget!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Enjoy the moment ...

The spring concert of the Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra (PCYO) on May 18 featured Dream Threads -- the world premiere of a commissioned work by Grammy® Award-winning ASCAP artist Augusta Read Thomas. TBPAC is working on a mini-documentary of the Dream Threads project. Watch it here.

John Fleming of The St. Petersburg Times called Dream Threads “full of shimmering, finely honed effects that suggest the ballets of Stravinsky,” while Kurt Loft of The Tampa Tribune called the piece “pure concert music.” Loft continued, saying the PCYO musicians “showed remarkable confidence ... playing as a concise integrated unit. It was hard to believe it was an orchestra made up of teenagers.”

Of course, these are the same young musicians who received a standing ovation when they played Carnegie Hall last summer. And the bios of the PCYO graduating seniors is jammed-packed with phrases such as “National Honor Society member,” “received numerous scholarships,” and “top of graduating class.” They are headed off to Vanderbilt University, MIT, Yale, Georgia Institute of Technology, Mercer University and The Juilliard School of Music. These are students who excel on and off the concert stage. As conductor Dr. William Wiedrich told the audience at the concert, “These students are not only great musicians, they are great people.”

Dream Threads is based on the French story “The Magic Thread,” a tale of a young boy who finds a magic thread which, when pulled, propels time forward. Every time the boy encounters difficulties in life, he pulls the string. But as he reaches the end of his life, he realizes that he has missed out all that makes life complete. It’s a story that we all need to remember ... and enjoy the moment.

Auditions for the 2008-09 PCYO program begin June 12-15. Call 813.222.1273 for more information.

-Carol C.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

You could be a winner

We've been promoting our SMS service (provided by the good folks at Agile Communications) for some time now.

We're learning how all of this applies to our patrons still, to be sure, but just as I said in today's previous post - we're trying all these things out because we want to make sure we can provide people the information they want in the format they want to get it in.

We're also doing weekly contest via our eCenter newsletter. Even if you don't need a TBPAC schedule on your phone, or you've been coming here for so long you have everything memorized - you can enter to win contests for goody bags, special commemorative items from shows and even tickets!

We've given away a Spring Awakening gift pack, Chris Rock tickets, a fun Chitty Chitty Bang Bang light up pendant, an Avenue Q gift pack - and we have a lot more planned. All you have to do to enter to win is sign up for eCenter, then follow the instructions once you get the email (which right now is bi-weekly due to a lighter summer schedule).

What are you waiting for?

That’s why I love being a girl

I was listening to WUSF this morning, because I’m an NPR junkie. Carson Cooper was doing the toss to Russell Gant to go from Morning Edition to the classical programming. They began to talk about the world famous composer Marin Alsop who recently became the first woman to conduct at La Scala in Milan.

Marin Alsop referred to the honor in her blog, “The first woman thing does get a bit old - it seems like such a ridiculous reason to garner attention - but I must confess that my experience at La Scala was truly thrilling.”

Lately I’ve noticed that the first woman thing is getting a bit old for me too – and I’m a woman. As a woman, born in the 70’s at the height of the women’s liberation movement, I wore teeny tiny shirts that promoted ERA. I had a sign in my room (that still hangs in my office) that read, “Girls Can Do Anything!” I was the only girl on my soccer team growing up, I was the only girl climbing trees growing up, and I was the only girl in many of the sketch comedy groups and improvisation troupes I have been a part of over the years. I was never upset at the boys that I was the only girl. I was upset with the girls for not joining me.

My life in sketch comedy and improvisation often came with the back-handed compliment, “You are really funny – for a girl.” I walk in the shadow of extraordinary comedians who happen to be women – Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Elaine May, Gilda Radner, Rosanne, Catherine O’Hara, Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey and the list goes on. Is this still an issue? Really? Oh, I’m so bored ...

So the first woman conducted in La Scala – well it opened it 1778 so that didn’t take very long. The next president could be a woman – whatever – just decide already. And the list goes on. I say its time for this female designation nonsense to stop. Yes Augusta – I’m looking at you – I’d like to golf without a male chaperone – thank you very much.

Congratulations Marin Alsop for conducting in La Scala. Not because you have two X chromosomes, not because you might or might not have gotten excited that the Sex in the City movie finally came out, but because you got to stand in front of an orchestra in a great and storied hall. You got to manipulate and produce sounds in an opera house that has heard some of the greatest music and witnessed the greatest musical minds the world will ever know. And you, Marin Alsop are one of them. That is all that needs to be acknowledged.

-Kari G.


TBPAC is now on Twitter

Now that I've personally had a chance to play on the (in)famous Twitter service for a few months now, I've branched out and created an account for TBPAC. The service seems to be going down a lot these days, which I'll rack up to growing pains which will hopefully work themselves out soon.

The account? You guessed it - TBPAC.

So, if you're a Twitterer. Err, if you tweet. Umm, ok, if you're part of the mighty Twitterati, go ahead and follow us!

I'll admit that this Twitter thing is a bit cooler than I gave it credit for. I remember reading about it, and even checking it out when the service first started getting popular. People would actually be interested in me sending a text message from Starbucks announcing "grabbing latte, i <3 caramel" or "at the mall waiting for iron man to start," really?

I had a hard time seeing the real use when I had so many other p2p tools at my disposal.

But now, that's changed.

I use several social networking applications and I now use Twitter to regularly update almost all of them when I don't have time to create full posts, update my status or anything else. Those 140 character updates really seem to get it done, and keep me active in those places. Twitter updates my status on Facebook, once a day it exports all of my tweets to my LiveJournal account ... handy!

I've turned off the mobile applications for Twitter (you don't even have to activate them). I'm simply not that interested in what my friends are doing enough to get text updates. Sorry, guys.

So anyway ladies and gents, we plan on using this service for the same reasons we're using the others - a fast way to get you the information you want. We can remind folks that a certain show just went on sale, x-post a blog entry here at Culture Shock, point you to an article in a newspaper story, send out a special offer with a promo code.

We're always looking for ways to get people the info they want, the way they want it.

Is there a way that you'd like information that we don't currently take advantage of?



Monday, June 02, 2008

The New York Times' Tony Award picks

See them in all their glory right here.

Seems a little bit of contention over whether In The Heights or Passing Strange wins Best Musical and whether either of those shows *should* win.

There's also a lot of love out there for Macbeth (including a nomination for Captain Picard as the brutal, mustachioed Scotsman), August: Osage County, The Seafarer, Boeing-Boeing, Gypsy and South Pacific.

See any of the shows this year? Agree? Disagree?

Discuss ...



It’s not over until the PowerPoint presentation sings ...

The themes of grand opera are universal: passion, betrayal, murder, love, loss, terminal illnesses, secret identities, war and of course – climate change and its potential for disaster.

At least that’s what La Scalla believes. The famed opera house announced late last week that they have commissioned Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli to write an opera based on the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore.

Battistelli has a unique reputation in the opera world. His adaptation of Bernstein’s Candide featured a satirical scene that involved opera singers, wearing only underpants and the masks of world leaders. The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was depicted swimming in a sea of Iraqi oil.

f those are the kind of liberties you can take with Voltaire, I can only imagine what you can do with a slide show and a genie-lift. For me, I’m hoping for the polar bear aria, Speriamo che il tuo amore guida Hummer, ti preghiamo di inviare cibo (I hope you like driving your Hummer, please send food).

-Kari G.