Not to Drop Names, But …

Name-dropping in conversation is annoying. Name-dropping in song is, well, that can be pretty annoying too. We’re looking at you, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” We’ll light the fire if someone will tie this song to a stake. (We won’t even look at Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.” Die in a ditch, “Moves Like Jagger”!)... Continue Reading →

Our Alice Is the Best and We’ve Got Proof

We at The Straz and the Patel Conservatory know Alice Santana is the best. It’s always nice, though, when others notice as well. Alice, The Straz’s vice president of education and community engagement, has won the Cognia Excellence in Education Award for 2023. Cognia is an independent non-profit organization that accredits primary and secondary schools... Continue Reading →

The Way She Is

A struggling actor auditioned for a part as a singer. The director didn’t choose her but did advise her to add “singer” to her resume, a tip that proved prescient. Within a couple of years, the actor was a celebrated vocalist, headlining the ritziest nightclubs around, drawing ecstatic reviews and, whaddaya know, starring on Broadway.... Continue Reading →


Photo by Jason Shook In 2021 at the age of 90, William Shatner became the oldest person ever to fly into space, which he did aboard a Blue Origin sub-orbital capsule. One could argue that this was life imitating art. After all, Shatner is best known for his portrayal of James Tiberius Kirk, captain of... Continue Reading →

Decade of Dance

Houston Ballet Academy graduates and current Corps de Ballet dancers Neal Burks as Basilio and Magnoly Batista as Kitri in Houston Ballet Academy's Ben Stevenson's Don Quixote. Photo by Amitava Sarkar (2019). Courtesy of Houston Ballet. Neal Burks was a promising young dancer in 2013. Ten years on, that promise is being fulfilled. But for... Continue Reading →

Opera House’s Origin Story Is, Well, Operatic

The Sydney Opera House is a stunning example of 20th-century architecture at its best, and one of the planet’s most identifiable modern landmarks. The story of its construction and completion, though, is a bit less lovely. In fact, that story, full of conflict and controversy, might seem operatic in scale. Composer Alan John and librettist... Continue Reading →

Backstreet’s Back? They Never Went Away

The Backstreet Boys at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards. (Photo by Glenn Francis/Pacific Pro Digital Photography) Fun fact: The average age of the Backstreet Boys is 47. For four of the five group members, it’s been 30 years-plus since they were legally boys. The baby of the group, Nick Carter, is 43 and passed into... Continue Reading →

Talking with Giles Davies

Giles Davies is a fright. Well known for his Shakespearean roles, he’s also carved out a niche – with a large, blood-stained knife, no doubt – as Jobsite’s go-to ghoul. He’s chilled audiences in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula. Next, he’ll play the titular doctor in Frankenstein who discovers, as most parents do,... Continue Reading →

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Year-Round

A performance at our Arts Legacy Remix: Hispanic Heritage Celebration in 2022. The impact and influence of Hispanic culture in Tampa is undeniable. Actually, make that Hispanic cultures, since the term Hispanic covers a lot of acreage, physically and socially. The description is applied to people from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and... Continue Reading →

EWF Brings Joy to ‘September’

Do you remember the 21st night of September? I don’t. I’ve racked my brain trying to remember something significant about 9/21 and I got nothing. The question is the opening lyric of Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1978 hit “September.” According to Allee Willis, who co-wrote the song with Maurice White and Al McKay, EWF’s founder/leader... Continue Reading →

There’s Power in a Union

The United Auto Workers has begun a series of targeted strikes which may expand to most or all of its 145,000 members walking off the job. The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May, disrupting pretty much any show with a script. The strike has disrupted everything from the Emmys® to The... Continue Reading →

In-Choir-ing Minds Want to Know

A sensation on London’s West End, The Choir of Man begins an extended stay here at The Straz on Tuesday, Oct. 3. For those who haven’t Googled it yet, The Choir of Man is a theatrical stage presentation that’s structured a bit differently than most theatrical stage presentations. It’s a play – there are characters... Continue Reading →

Oh My! George Takei Lives Long, Prospers

George Takei is arguably best known for his role as Mr. Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise, on Star Trek, a short-lived TV series that became a cultural institution. He reprised the role in a half dozen Star Trek movies and became a frequent guest at Star Trek conventions. As an original cast member, he’s... Continue Reading →

Artists We Love: David Henry Hwang

Since emerging in 1980 with his Obie-award winning FOB, David Henry Hwang has established himself as one of contemporary theater’s major voices. A Tony®-winning three-time Pulitzer finalist, Hwang is a major force in the representation of Asian-Americans in theater. Many Asian-American theater professionals credit his work and success with inspiring them to pursue performing arts... Continue Reading →

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