TTRL’s Top Moments

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... Continue Reading →

Arts Legacy REMIX

What started as a conversation about celebrating the Tampa area's rich artistic heritage turned into a free concert series drawing unexpectedly large crowds. The Straz Center's Arts Legacy REMIX was a long time in the making and looks like it's here to stay. After a brutal warrior’s stint in Vietnam that gave him an ultimatum... 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 →

Virtual Sensations

How social media and television talent shows changed performing arts programming Some baby-faced tween covers a Chris Brown tune on YouTube. It goes viral. R&B superstar Usher sees the video. Signs the kid to his label. The kid’s name? Justin Bieber. Beliebe it: so much of our culture rapidly evolved and adapted once folks figured... 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 →

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 →

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 →

It Takes a Village to Raise an Audience

Early childhood research reveals the critical developmental need for youngsters to participate in the arts, and many performing arts schools ensure there will be a future generation of outstanding American artists. What we sometimes forget to talk about is who, if anyone, will be in the theater seats when this next generation takes the stage.... Continue Reading →

New NGB Artistic Director and Dance Department Chair Philip Neal Brings Legacy of Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine

In June, Philip Neal officially joined the Patel Conservatory as the artistic director for Next Generation Ballet and chair of the dance department, the position formerly held by Peter Stark. George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins were to American dance what Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio were to baseball. Heavy-hitters, game-changers, larger-than-life personalities, Balanchine and Robbins... 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 →

Sustain: Practical Issues in the Performing Arts

The Straz happened in the 80s, not exactly an era marked by prioritizing green buildings. So, we have challenges as we improve sustainability. Fortunately, we have great local partners helping us figure out what to do next. Here’s who they are, and what’s ahead for The Straz’s eco-lution. Sustainable facilities isn’t the sexiest topic in... Continue Reading →

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