SPICY RAHMAN

‘Mozart of Madras’ to play The Straz With his concerts at The Straz nearly sold out, renowned composer A.R. Rahman, two-time Oscar® winner for soundtrack and original song from Slumdog Millionaire (2008) is still an unknown to many, though many recognize his music when they hear it. So, in the spirit of putting everyone on... Continue Reading →

Know When to Fold ‘Em

The art of origami might mean more than you think Photo: Ned Averill-Snell Mother Nature loves to fold. Flowers, wings, you name it. Just look at us, human beings: our brains and guts are wrinkles doubling back on themselves; proteins, the building blocks of life are intricately folded amino acids. And if those amino acids... Continue Reading →

62 Years Later, Mockingbird Still Offers Lessons

Harper Lee’s seminal novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published 62 years ago on July 11. Somewhere between 40 million and 50 million copies of the novel have been sold. It has been translated into 40 languages. A movie version (about which Harper wrote adoringly) premiered Christmas Day 1962 and was an immediate commercial and... Continue Reading →

For McGee, Nunsense: A-Men is Hardly a Drag

Matthew McGee didn’t set out to be the Tampa Bay area’s most popular drag performer. When he entered Georgia’s Valdosta State University in 1994, he wanted to be “a character actor like Christopher Lloyd,” McGee said. McGee’s appreciation of an entertainer known as “The Brazilian Bombshell” started him down the path to sequins and stiletto... Continue Reading →

Anne Rosato Has Her Job All Sewn Up

June 13 is National Sewing Machine Day and if you’re wondering what that has to do with the arts, meet Anne Rosato. Anne makes and designs costumes for a living. Straz audiences first saw her work in the recent production of Little Shop of Horrors. Like any professional, the tools of her trade are important... Continue Reading →

Guest Instructors Offer ‘Real Life’ Lessons To Patel Students

Patel Conservatory classrooms sometimes play host to Broadway actors, Grammy®-winning musicians and world-renowned dancers. These performers aren’t there to sign autographs. They’re in the classrooms and studios to share their knowledge and experience with Patel students. Guest instructor Beth Gibbs, associate professor of music and director of choral studies at Florida Southern College, leading a... Continue Reading →

My Fair Lady VS. Pretty Woman

Call them what you want, rags-to-riches or fairy tales – either way, My Fair Lady and Pretty Woman, both playing The Straz over the coming weeks, are contemporary variants of a familiar plot. An uptight man of particular stature brings under his wing a woman who many considered tarnished and makes her over. During the... Continue Reading →

Talking With Janet Dacal

If the face and name are familiar, that’s because Janet Dacal starred as Alice in Wonderland, the Broadway musical that had its origins at the Straz Center. She returns to our stage starring in the Tony Award®-winning The Band’s Visit, a musical about Egyptian musicians who find themselves stranded in a small Israeli town. Janet’s... Continue Reading →

Pulling Strings: The Story Behind Hirschfeld’s My Fair Lady Album Cover

Considering it’s the subject of one of his most recognizable drawings, caricaturist Al Hirschfeld was not enthusiastic about a friend’s idea. Albert "Al" Hirschfeld photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1955. Hirschfeld’s friend, theatrical director Moss Hart, wanted to produce George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion as a musical. Hirschfeld balked. “I said ‘How are you going to improve that... Continue Reading →

Singer Welcomes Challenge of Opera Tampa Double-Header

Jean Carlos Rodriguez “Let’s play two!” was the catchphrase of Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks. Opera occasionally schedules double-headers as well. Opera Tampa is closing its season with two one-act operas: Puccini’s comedy Gianni Schicchi and Mascagni’s tragedy Cavalleria Rusticana. Jean Carlos Rodriguez performs in both operas and he’s wondering how much time he’ll have... Continue Reading →

FIVE FUN FACTS: Tatiana Melendez

Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Tampa appearance also will serve as a homecoming for one of the company’s dancers, Tatiana Melendez. Melendez is a genuine sensation in the dance world. She was racking up dance competition awards for both contemporary and ballet before she entered her teens. She’s in her third season with the company, and its... Continue Reading →

Up ↑