A Million Little Peaces

The performing arts and conflict resolution If the folks at (TITLE) for Dummies® or the Idiot’s Guide™ to (THIS THING) ever wrote a how-to guide on building a better world, certainly there’d be a chapter or two on the performing arts. Much has been said on the value of elevating culture and artistic achievement as... Continue Reading →

Old Soul Storytelling Hour

The Art of the Cabaret Singer In Parisian cafes after the Franco-Prussian war of the 1870s, discontent grew. People were sick of social repression, war and constraints to expression. Artists, writers and other interesting people gathered to speak freely, often sharing their art with each other in small cafés. Eventually, these small gatherings became formal... Continue Reading →

What Is Up With Not Sitting Down

A humorous look at the rise of the standing ovation … guess this is just what we do now. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet directed by Matthew Warchus, Plácido Domingo in a solo concert of arias, the premiere of Neil Simon’s Rumors, the launch of Broadway’s Footloose, Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Firebird with *the* Virginia... Continue Reading →

Bravo Company

How the Arts Change the Lives of America’s Wounded Warriors On any given day in America, between one and 20 veterans commit suicide. However, arts experiences help military personnel and their families amid the psychological and physical consequences of time at war. This grim statistic from research by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs... Continue Reading →

Leotard, Check. Make-Up Kit, Check. Valve Oil? Check.

The Patel Conservatory Gears Up for Another School Year There’s no such thing as summer break for the faculty and staff of the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory. We spend the summer months steeped in a camps, classes, workshops, performances and pre-professional productions like this year’s impressive mounting of an almost full-scale Les Miserables. So, we... Continue Reading →

Talking With Yu Ho-Jin, The Manipulator

This week, we are pulling a little sleight-of-hand by sharing this “Behind the Persona” feature from the Straz Center’s INSIDE magazine featuring Yu Ho-Jin, The Manipulator, from The Illusionists, which returns to Tampa Sept. 23. How did you get started in the business? I got into magic at the age of nine after witnessing a... Continue Reading →

Witness the Strength of Street Knowledge – A Day Talking Race, Culture and Percussion with Conga Legend Gumbi Ortiz

I. The Lesson, Part 1 “Don’t be scared! You’re tip-toeing like you’re nervous.” We were nervous. There we were, in Gumbi Ortiz’s private recording studio in Gulfport, FL, getting an impromptu conga lesson—and Gumbi Ortiz is, after all, one of the greatest percussionists alive. We don’t play drums. “Put the tips of your hands here... Continue Reading →

Villain, Dragon, The Voice

Former Patel Conservatory student Shalyah Fearing Dreams It and Does It . . . Congratulations on Her Outstanding Performance on The Voice The Straz Center believes in the vital power of the performing arts to nurture the human spirit. Anyone should be able to cultivate her or his creative gifts and curiosities starting at a... Continue Reading →

STOP. SIT. PLAY!

The Straz Center @ the Riverwalk offers a medley of interactive objects encouraging everybody to stop by and play with us. For 27-year-old architect Ryan Swanson, the moment of clarity came when he stood alongside his pop-up public art installment that included a 12-foot beach ball in downtown Tampa. A homeless man approached Ryan and... Continue Reading →

Somos Todos Tampeños

The Tampa-Cuba cultural connection There was a time not so long ago when Tampa belonged, in heart and mind, to Cuba. In late 19th century Ybor City and West Tampa, Cuban immigrants recreated  their homeland, to the best of their ability, while they powered the burgeoning cigar-making industry. Cuban-flavored Spanish rippled through the factories as... Continue Reading →

Drawing on Theater Magic

The tricky business of adapting an animated movie into a stage musical  “The book was better.” So goes the typical critique of movies based on novels, but one rarely hears “I liked the cartoon better” as audiences stream from theater venues where their favorite Disney film characters sang-and-danced through a musical version of the animated... Continue Reading →

Finding the Art in Nature

Art and the performing arts are, at their basic level, a means of creating community and expressing our understanding of the world and ourselves. They have been interwoven with our natural world since human beings evolved to make art – our unique language of creativity that has incredible power. Perhaps not unexpectedly, evidence for both... Continue Reading →

Frock On, Sisters and Brothers!

We’re celebrating the arrival of the Broadway blockbuster bromance Kinky Boots and wanted to take a minute to talk about how much drag queens have contributed to the joy that is the performing arts. And transgender folks. Oh, and cross-dressers. And gender-benders. Of the many perks of life in the performing arts is the singular... 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 →

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