Friday, May 11, 2012

We're moving!

After 8 years of being on Blogger, Culture Shock, the Straz Center blog, is moving!

Please start following us on Tumblr! We'll see you over there.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Free Tickets to "The Daily Show" Tapings in Tampa May Be Requested at

NEW YORK, May 8, 2012 -- "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" continues its legacy of on the road convention coverage by broadcasting a week of shows during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  "The Daily Show's" coverage of the 2012 RNC will be taped at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Ferguson Hall and air nightly at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT from Tuesday, August 28 through Friday, August 31.  The show previously announced its coverage of the 2012 DNC which will be taped at ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center™ in Charlotte and air nightly at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT from Tuesday, September 4 through Friday, September 7. 
"We are incredibly excited to spend a week in the beautiful city of Tampa," said Rory Albanese, Executive Producer, 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.'  "We look forward to enjoying the beaches and the exciting nightlife, plus we assume this counts as a visit to our grandparents."
The Straz Center is located at 1010 North W.C. MacInnes Place in Tampa.  Tickets for the tapings are free and will be available only through the show's Web site,, not through the venue’s box office. 
The episodes airing during the 2012 RNC will feature news, analysis, and guest interviews from host Jon Stewart as well as reports from the convention floor at the Tampa Bay Times Forum from "The Daily Show" News Team (Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, Jason Jones, Al Madrigal, Aasif Mandvi, John Oliver and Jessica Williams).
This marks the ninth time the series has taken its critically-acclaimed and award-winning political coverage on the road, having previously travelled to Philadelphia (2000 RNC), Los Angeles (2000 DNC), Boston (2004 DNC), Denver (2008 DNC) and St. Paul (2008 RNC) to cover the national party conventions, and to Washington, D.C. (2002, 2010) and Columbus, OH (2006) for special, mid-term election coverage. 
"The Daily Show" first earned its political stripes during the now-infamous 2000 election, receiving an Emmy® Award and a prestigious George Foster Peabody® Award for its year-long "Indecision 2000" coverage of the race for the White House, achievements repeated during the series' "Indecision 2004" election reporting.
"The Daily Show" airs Monday-Thursday at 11:00 p.m. and repeats at 1:00 a.m. the same night and at 9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. the following day (all times ET/PT).  Full episodes, as well as clips, are posted for viewing the following day at with URL and embed links.  Fans can follow @TheDailyShow on Twitter or “like” The Daily Show on Facebook.
            Jon Stewart and Rory Albanese are the Executive Producers of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" with Steve Bodow, Kahane Cooperman, Jennifer Flanz and Adam Lowitt serving as Co-Executive Producers.  Supervising Producers are Pam DePace, Tim Greenberg, Hillary Kun and Stuart Miller.  Jill Katz is the Executive in Charge of Production.  The series' Head Writer is Tim Carvell and it is directed by Chuck O'Neil.
Opening in 1987, the Straz Center consists of five theaters, three restaurants and the Patel Conservatory.  The 335,000 square-foot facility provides an environment for a wide variety of world-class events.  It boasts one of the nation’s leading Broadway series and is nationally respected for presenting a wide variety of concerts, performances and events and for its resident company Opera Tampa.  For more information about the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Opera Tampa, the Patel Conservatory and their upcoming events, please visit, and
Available in 99 million homes nationwide, COMEDY CENTRAL (, the only all-comedy network, is owned by, and is a registered trademark of, Comedy Partners, a wholly-owned unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA and VIAB).  For up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs visit COMEDY CENTRAL's press Web site at and follow us on Twitter @ComedyCentralPR for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.

Renata Luczak     212.767.8661
Steve Albani         212.767.8695

Monday, May 07, 2012

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!

Sept. 13 – Oct. 14
After 15 years of marriage, television personalities and real-life-married-couple Annabelle Gurwitch (Dinner and a Movie, Fired!) and Jeff Kahn (The Ben Stiller Show, Forty Year Old Virgin) have adapted their hilarious and often moving memoir, You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!, for the stage. You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up! “strikes directly to the funny bone” (Charlotte Observer) by offering a hilarious glimpse into a relationship that seems doomed by opposing personalities from the start. Gurwitch and Kahn’s delightfully crazy lifestyle manages to keep their relationship intact, up-ending every idea about living ‘happily ever after.’

The book was developed through sold-out performances at The Comedy Central Theater and at Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles and made its New York premiere at The New York Comedy Festival in 2009. Casting for the Tampa production will be announced later this summer.

Performances of I Say Tomato, You Say Shut Up! are Thursday-Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $35.50 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at The performances on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. are previews, with tickets for $25.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

2012-2013 Club Jaeb season

The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announces the

2012-2013 Club Jaeb season

Tampa, FL – Now celebrating its eighth season, Club Jaeb transforms the Straz Center’s Jaeb Theater into an intimate music space featuring folk, Americana, alternative, country and other “hand-picked music that matters.”

The 2012-2013 Club Jaeb season is presented by Merchants Association of Florida, Inc. and includes:

Darrell ScottOct. 8
Scott’s songs have been recorded by more than 70 artists including the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Sam Bush and Garth Brooks. He won Americana Songwriter of the Year in 2007 and ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year in 2002. Rolling Stone says he “matches Guy Clark and Bruce Springsteen at their best.” Performing Songwriter calls him “the best of the best.” USA Today says his songs are “brilliantly clever.” In addition to his songwriting, Scott is a brilliant player on multiple instruments. He recently toured with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy. His most recent recording is A Crooked Road, and he also wrote Red Molly’s “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.”

Carrie Rodriguez ∙ Nov. 12
Rodriguez started as a teenage violinist who went on to study at the Berklee College of Music. Since then she’s mastered mandolin and guitar and toured with Chip Taylor, Lucinda Williams and Alejandro Escovedo. Although she’s a skillful songwriter (note her prideful shot at a cheating lover on “She Ain’t Me”), her latest CD Love and Circumstance is a collection of covers from some of the very best songwriters including Richard Thompson, Townes Van Zandt and more.

Tyrone Wells ∙ Dec. 10
A preacher’s kid, Wells combines soul, pop and folk rock – and more than a few stories – in his live shows. He has spent the last year bouncing between Nashville and Los Angeles, so it makes sense that his spring 2012 release, Where We Meet, bounces effortlessly between intimate and epic. His previous recordings Hold On and Remain contain songs that were featured on Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries and Rescue Me. In 2010, Metal & Wood spent nearly three weeks at No. 1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart and debuted at No. 14 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Although he has hundreds of original songs, he has a knack for selecting great songs to cover and make his own, such as the Kings of Leon hit “Use Somebody.”

Kris Delmhorst ∙ Jan. 21
A former member of Redbird (with Peter Mulvey and husband Jeffrey Foucault), Delmhorst approached one of her best recordings, Shotgun Singer, with a decidedly lo-fi method. She isolated herself in a rural cabin with minimal recording gear and a houseful of instruments. Then she added some layers, “like an oil painting,” she says. Delmhorst’s voice has been described as “wine deep and honey bright.” Never predictable, her Strange Conversation recording turned the words of moldering poets like Rumi, e.e. cummings and Walt Whitman into modern songs.
“The album is an assured model of sophisticated songwriting and heartfelt musicianship.” – Boston Globe

Cheryl Wheeler ∙ Feb. 11
A well-covered songwriter and natural-born storyteller, Wheeler counts Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Holly Near and Dan Seals among those who have recorded her work. She returns to Club Jaeb a few years after a sold-out show that had the audience crying and laughing, occasionally at the same time.
“Imagine a performer with the songwriting whimsy of a Randy Newman, the soul of a Joan Armatrading, the vocal pyrotechnics of a Diane Schuur and the wry humor (and cluttered look) of a Linda Ellerbee.” – L.A. Times

Richard Shindell ∙ March 11
Shindell first gained worldwide attention during a European tour with Joan Baez, later forming a kind of folk supergroup with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky called Cry Cry Cry. His South of Delia recording, featuring songs by Robertson, Dylan, Springsteen and Guthrie, was named a Top 10 selection by NPR. With Not Far Now he returns (mostly) to his own songs. Long a spiritual seeker – first in a Zen Buddhist monastery and then at a seminary – Shindell is a powerful writer and equally powerful performer.
“One of the folk circuit’s most quietly lucid songwriters, with a compassionate intelligence that gleams through his songs.” – Jon Parales, New York Times

Tift Merritt and Simone Dinnerstein ∙ April 6
*This concert is in the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall.
It may seem an odd pairing at first, this Grammy® Award-nominated alt-country darling and a pianist known for her interpretations of Bach, Beethoven and Shubert. But Merritt has always resisted easy classifications, as comfortable in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium as in Paris, where she lived for a while. The album Night features a collection of new songs written especially for the duo by the likes of Brad Mehldau, Patty Griffin and Philip Lasser. Jenny Scheinman, whose previous collaborators include Bill Frissell, David Byrne and Madeleine Peyroux, has contributed arrangements of some of Merritt’s and Dinnerstein’s favorite songs. Both artists will perform solo as well – Merritt in her own songs – more like musical short stories, including some from her latest recording See You on the Moon – and Dinnerstein in some of her favorite selections from the solo classical piano repertoire.
“Always a storyteller … Merritt is the type of disarming talent who can easily coax her way into any genre.” – NPR

Lori McKenna ∙ May 6
After taking a circuitous route to the music business, including raising a family, this Boston-based singer-songwriter nods to Nashville but stays rooted in her own world. Marriage, family, a sense of place – they all inform McKenna’s intimate and detailed lyrics. Fellow musician Mary Gauthier helped get McKenna’s songs noticed in Nashville and superstar Faith Hill recorded three of them on her album Fireflies. Since then McKenna has recorded two stellar albums – Unglamorous and her most recent Lorriane, named for her mother.
“The power of McKenna’s music lies in her artful pairing of intimacy and universality. … Her songs will break your heart, compel you to hug your children, or remind you that time passes, and fast. … She celebrates the sweet romance of the familiar. She dances to the rhythms of a settled life.” – Boston Globe

All Club Jaeb performances are on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. except for the concert with Merritt and Dinnerstein, which is on a Saturday. Audiences can come early for the 6:30 p.m. Monday Music Mingle, with affordable light snacks and drinks and then stay to see the show.

Current season ticket holders get the first chance to keep their seats for next season. Those packages are available now and begin at $130. Pending availability for this popular series, new season tickets will be available June 1. Those interested in learning more can call the Straz Center Ticket Office at 813.229.STAR (7827) or outside the Tampa Bay area at 800.955.1045 or visit Individual show tickets are $28.50 and will go on sale Sept. 4.

Events, days, dates, times, performers and prices are subject to change without notice.

President Barack Obama praises & congratulates Maestro Anton Coppola

President Barack Obama praises and congratulates Maestro Anton Coppola
Tampa, Fla. ─ President Barack Obama has offered Maestro Anton Coppola congratulations on his retirement from Opera Tampa.

President Obama’s April 5 letter expresses pride for Coppola’s “many accomplishments and contributions,” and wishes him luck as the Maestro begins a new chapter in life. A copy of the letter is attached.

Following the April 22 performance of the company’s production of Aida, Coppola retired from the podium after 17 years as founding artistic director of Opera Tampa. “I must confess, I will never be the same person without Opera Tampa,” Coppola said, calling Straz Center President Judy Lisi his “blessed fairy godmother.”

During his illustrious career, Coppola conducted almost all of the important opera companies in the United States and Canada including the San Francisco and New York City Operas. Known for his range and versatility, Coppola conducted the world premieres of Lizzie Borden, Deseret and Of Mice and Men, as well as many Broadway musicals. He worked with the Royal Opera Orchestra and opera soprano Angela Gheorghiu to release a complete recording of Puccini works. After serving four years as an army bandmaster during World War II, he moved on to conduct at Radio City Music Hall. For 15 years, he was the director of both the Symphony and Opera Departments at the Manhattan School of Music and holds a master’s degree in composition. Among his larger works are a symphony, an opera, a violin concerto and numerous film scores. Coppola conducted important revivals of Zaza, Mireille and Falstaff, and appeared in his nephew Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Godfather III. He also conducted the score for the Coppola film Dracula. Coppola has received honorary Doctorates from the University of Tampa and Quinnitiac University in Connecticut. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Puccini Foundation and recognized by the Italian government as Cavaliere, Gran Ufficiale. Coppola has conducted all of Opera Tampa’s productions including Madama Butterfly, Carmen, La Bohème, Tosca, Hansel and Gretel, La Traviata, The Marriage of Figaro, the world premiere of his own opera Sacco & Vanzetti, Otello, Turandot and many more.   

Maestro Daniel Lipton, who has been appointed artistic director and conductor of Opera Tampa, will succeed Coppola. Details of the upcoming season and Lipton’s first appearance with Opera Tampa will be announced in the next six weeks.

For more information about Opera Tampa and its upcoming events, visit