Shock Absorbers

Under a tight schedule, it takes eight weeks to replace one stage floor. Last summer, we had only five. And two enormous stages. Life is not fair. But, if you have a good sense of humor, it is funny. Running The Straz takes an enormous amount of effort on what we call the “back end,”... Continue Reading →

How Did You Get That Shot?

Longtime Opera Tampa and Straz Center photographer Rob Bovarnick reveals the secrets behind capturing that Pearl Fishers photo. Cardboard box. Plastic bag. Three thousand white beads ... What sounds like either the making of a Mardi Gras costume or the making of a very bizarre murder comprised the basic backstage ingredients of one of the... Continue Reading →

Tools of the Trade: Theater

We’ve realized Straz fans love knowing what goes on outside of the spotlights, so we’re running a short series called Tools of the Trade, listing some cool and maybe-unheard-of tools for life in the performing arts. This week’s spotlight is on theater. Orange Stick Nope, not for fingernails—for eyelashes. False ones, that is. False eyelashes... Continue Reading →

Tools of the Trade: Dance

We’ve realized Straz fans love knowing what goes on outside of the spotlights, so we’re running a short series called Tools of the Trade, listing some cool and maybe-unheard-of tools for life in the performing arts. This week’s spotlight is on dance. Rosin Box Slippery dance shoes? Slick flooring? No problem, thanks to this useful... Continue Reading →

The Theater Above the Theater

Fly systems, rigging systems, whatever you want to call them, just know there’s a very serious show happening in the 60-plus feet of air above the show on stage. One of the wondrous aspects of theatrical life, even from its beginnings, is the delightful mix of labor, craft and personalities required to pull off a... Continue Reading →

An Incredible Sound Feeling

The fascinating story of acoustics in Morsani Hall Next time you take in a concert or opera in Morsani Hall, also take in the acoustical secrets that hide in plain sight–the doors, the interior chambers between the lobby and the hall, and the cavity at the top of the theater. All of them work in... Continue Reading →

These Are the People in Your Neighborhood

Several weeks ago, we came across the remarkable 2012 documentary Trash Dance that follows Austin choreographer Allison Orr as she collaborates with the sanitation workers of Austin, TX, whom she has cast as the stars of her latest community dance project. Not all of them are enthusiastic about it. Orr, whose other projects include firefighters,... Continue Reading →

Building Instrumental

   The Straz Center invited Los Angeles-based performance ensemble String Theory to turn the riverside corner of Morsani Hall into a working harp with 200-foot strings. This original, site-specific Fin Harp is on display with demonstrations through May 3. Look closely at the design of the newly-installed wooden harp on the river side of Morsani’s... Continue Reading →

The Iron Pachyderm Parade

Quick Circus History, What that has to do with Florida, and We Know Someone Who Lived on the Circus Train Most people in the Tampa Bay area know about our long and intriguing history with the Ringling family of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fame, but we wager to guess that our connection... Continue Reading →

A View from the Feet

By guest blogger Carol Cohen, Mother Matryoshka performer for 5 years Among the whip-thin ballerinas performing grand jetés and assemblés in the Russian Imperial ballet of the Nutcracker, loom the rotund, bouncing figures of the Mother Matryoshkas—eight Russian nesting dolls, appearing in descending order of height and girth. The Matryoshkas--meaning “little mother” in Russian--appear on... Continue Reading →

William Ivey Long’s Designs on Broadway

The ultra-sexy revamped sheer black palette of the Chicago revival. The yellow dress in Contact. The frogs in Frogs. Sally Bowles’ maximum-leg-power mini-dress in Cabaret. The feather-trimmed muu-muu in Hairspray. And here, at The Straz, the mind-blowing, magical wardrobe changes in Rodgers+Hammerstien’s Cinderella. There is one mastermind behind these historic works of theater couture, and... Continue Reading →

How It Works: Rodgers+Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Big, blockbuster Broadway musicals come with singers, dancers, fabulous costumes ... and many trucks. How do those whopping set pieces end up on Carol Morsani stage? The answer is lots of (literal) manpower. We took some after-hours and behind-the-scenes photographs of the “load-in,” which is the usually very quick turn-around time between when the show... Continue Reading →

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