For the past five months, theaters across the globe have gone dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Find out how you can help “Save Our Stages” here.) Many artists and arts workers have had their livelihoods thrown into chaos as they try to navigate the unknown – and while our stages are silent, the need to share stories and entertain has never been greater. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action, and artists have continued to live up to their storied resiliency. Virtual stages have set up shop all across the digital landscape, offering a look into a theater’s archives, along with innovative original content.
In March, The Straz launched TTRL – Tampa Total Request Live, a bi-weekly digital showcase of Tampa’s growing performance scene. Originally intended to be a limited engagement, we are now approaching our 15th episode and have featured more than 50 local artists. Tune in on our Facebook page Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. ET to catch TTRL VJ’s Zach and Roxanne’s Top Ten TTRL moments. Until then, here are three must-see episodes.
Episode 5, featuring Ripp Lee, Aquariius, Ashleigh Britton Addison and Jeremy Gloff
TTRL lived up to its original source of inspiration in episode five with the show’s first music video premiere – Jeremy Gloff’s song “Tampa.” Beyond that exciting milestone, Wicked gets the drag makeover you never knew you needed from Ripp Lee and Aquariius and Ashleigh Britton Addison shares a moving musical tribute to a young local who lost their fight to COVID.
Episode 7, featuring Steve Miller and Will Quinlan
Local legends have made more than a few appearances on TTRL, but it doesn’t get more “Tampa” than comedian Steve Miller and musician Will Quinlan. Miller brings the laughs while taking quarantined viewers on a virtual tour of some of Tampa’s good, bad and ugly landmarks. Not to be outdone, Will drops some Tampa music history as he explains his role in bringing live music to New World Brewery before performing his song “Being There.”
Episode 12, featuring Jinx & Shelby Sol and Josh Philippi & Ryan Palasciano
It has been the Summer of Love on TTRL with more than a few quarantined couples sharing their combined talents over the weeks. This episode features not one, but two couples, a music video premiere inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and introduces a growing performance genre known as “flow arts.”