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!