How well do you know The Straz?

We know how much you love The Straz, but how much do you really KNOW about the Straz, other than it’s fabulous, of course? Well, we’re going to find out.

Take this quiz, awarding yourself one point for every correct answer to determine if you are a well-informed Straz patron or if you are just here to have the art flow over you – which we have no problem with, BTW.

We’ll start with an easy one.

1. What was the original name of The Straz?

2. What year did our doors open to the public? Bonus point if you know which mayor was instrumental in its opening. Another bonus point, if you know which mayor initially planted the seed of a downtown “music hall” but failed in breaking ground on the project.

3. What renowned opera performer attended the “topping out” ceremony where the final steel beam of the center was raised during construction?

4. What was the first touring Broadway show to grace our main stage?

5. What Broadway touring show has been performed at The Straz most often?

6. During the center’s inaugural season it produced a musical about a president that went to Broadway, what was it called?

7. Donors Robert and Lorena Jaeb, the namesakes of one of our theaters, were the former owners of what popular store chain?

8. We gave you the name of one of our performance halls, can you name the other four?

9. Who was the longtime Maestro of Opera Tampa? Bonus point if you name the opera he wrote that premiered on our stage in 2001.

10. What was Opera Tampa’s first production in 1995?

11. Which Broadway show prompted the removal of 120 seats from the main hall?

12. What famed dancer was the first director of The Straz’s Next Generation Ballet?

13. The Straz produced and nurtured a musical as part of its Broadway Genesis Project, that opened on Broadway in 2011 – what was its name?

14. A pillar of The Straz is arts education. What is the name of our school?

15. Which artist has not performed at The Straz — Janet Jackson, Jerry Seinfeld, David Bowie, Dolly Parton?

The Answers

1. The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

2. TBPAC’s doors opened in 1987. Mayor Bob Martinez played an integral part in the center’s creation, forming a blue ribbon committee to raise funds and consider two viable sites for construction. The idea of a performance hall downtown was first floated in 1965 by Mayor Nick Nuccio, but failed to move forward.

Grand opening celebration of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in 1987. (Photo: Cliff McBride)

3. Opera singer Beverly Sills (1929-2007) was an honored guest at the “topping out” ceremony.

4. CATS was the first Broadway show to scamper across our big stage.

5. A not so tricky question, CATS also is the most performed Broadway tour at the Straz Center. When it plays here in December it will be the NINTH time. NINE, like in cat lives. Coincidence?

6. The show was Teddy & Alice and it starred Len Cariou (Tony® winner for Sweeney Todd, TV’s Blue Bloods) as President Theodore Roosevelt. The show was about the president’s relationship with his iron-willed daughter who would become the grande dame of Washington, D.C. society. It played in Tampa for five weeks, then in Baltimore before opening in November 1987 at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City.

Beth Fowler and Len Cariou in the Broadway production of Teddy & Alice.

7. The Jaebs were the owners of the Stop & Go convenience store chain, that had 450 locations before the couple sold it in 1985.

8. Beyond the Jaeb, there is Morsani Hall, Ferguson Hall, Shimberg Playhouse and TECO Theater. If you listed those plus our sixth stage, the Riverwalk Stage give yourself an extra point.

Top (left to right): Morsani Hall, Ferguson Hall, and the Jaeb Theater. Bottom (left to right): Shimberg Playhouse, TECO Theater, and the Riverwalk Stage.

9. Maestro Anton Coppola was Opera Tampa’s founding artistic director. He passed in March 2020, at the age of 102. The opera he penned, Sacco & Vanzetti, about the two Italian immigrants whose controversial 1921 murder conviction became a global news story, premiered at the then-Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on March 16, 2001.

Maestro Anton Coppola. (Photo: Rob/Harris Productions, Inc.)

10. Opera Tampa’s first production was La Boheme.

11. Disney’s The Lion King had 120 seats removed from Morsani Hall to create aisles for the opening walk-in of animals to Pride Rock.

12. Peter Stark was Next Generation Ballet’s founding artistic director.

Peter Stark working with NGB Trainee students, 2014. (Photo: Michelle Revels)

13. Wonderland which workshopped in Tampa and Houston, opened on Broadway in April 2011.

14. Pallavi Patel Conservatory for the Performing Arts. It was built in 2004 and offers instruction in theater, dance, music and vocal arts.

15. Janet Jackson, Jerry Seinfeld and David Bowie have all performed at The Straz. Alas, Dolly Parton hasn’t. We need to work on that.


12-18 points – You are a Straz Superstar! A standing ovation. Bravo!

7- 11 points – The applause is more than lukewarm. Head to the cast party!

0-6 points – OK, so you’re not going to take home the Tony® in Straz trivia. We applaud your effort.

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