Just the Treats, Please

The Straz Center’s self-serve candy station in Morsani Hall is a year-round Halloween dream come true. No tricks here. It’s just all candy all the time, and we love it. Each year, we buy about 2,100 pounds of candy. That much candy is roughly the weight of two full-sized grand pianos. Each month, our guests... Continue Reading →

Set in Stone (and Bronze)

This week we unveil the new collection of sculptures in Morsani Hall. For quite some time, we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with the National Sculpture Society (NSS) in New York City thanks to a very special couple who has been with The Straz from the beginning. Well, even before the beginning since Jim Jennewein—The... Continue Reading →

The Man Behind the Mission

Governor and former Tampa mayor Bob Martinez on growing up Tampanian, the creation of The Straz and what it meant for the growth of Tampa. With Caribbean blue eyes, an easy smile and a rambling drawl that flows through stories of Tampa history like the Hillsborough River ambles through this vast county, Robert “Bob” Martinez... Continue Reading →

Open To Interpretation

The Thursday night show during each Broadway run has a special performer, one whose acting and choreography chops never make a sound. As part of its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) initiative, the Straz Center secures a sign language interpreter for the Thursday night show in the Broadway series, with The Illusionists being the first... 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 →

FROM THE VAULT: Natalie Cole

Friday, March 20, 1992 In the early 90’s, the Tampa Tribune had a “Friday EXTRA!” section, an arts and entertainment tabloid, chock full of local and national entertainment news and events for the upcoming weekend. The section for March 20, 1992, featured the headliner of weekend events at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Natalie... Continue Reading →

FROM THE VAULT: Alice Cooper

March 2, 1990, St. Petersburg Times Proto-typical shock rocker Alice Cooper performed in “Festival Hall” (Morsani) on, ironically, a Sunday. The March 4 show here marked a stop on Cooper’s 1990 comeback tour, the same year a young man the world would know as Marilyn Manson was taking classes at Broward Community College in Fort... 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 →

The Ghost Light

People have asked us why, in theater, we leave a single cage light center stage when everyone goes home for the night. The answer is obvious:  to appease the ghosts, of course.   We all know there’s no business like show business, and the old joke goes that actors don’t retire; they die. However, even... Continue Reading →

The Lioness Returns

Kissy Simmons’ early career began on stages around the Tampa Bay region, one of which was our Jaeb Theater. She left for New York City the week of Sept. 11, 2001, to audition for Aida, a Disney production. Her audition led to an interest in her for The Lion King, and she and her husband... 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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