Oh, Say Can You Sing

Dear “The Star-Spangled Banner,” why are you so hard to sing? WHY. Back in July of 2019, Caught in the Act posted a slightly different version of this in-depth story delving into the technical aspects of performing our national anthem. In the wake of last week’s presidential inauguration – which included a dynamite version of... Continue Reading →

Tampa Bay Theatre Festival 2019

The annual festival, founded by Tampa actor, writer and director Rory Lawrence, takes place at The Straz and other locations Aug. 30-Sept. 1. In 2013, Rory Lawrence stood on the eve of the inaugural Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. After attending similar theater festivals in Atlanta and D.C., Rory thought Tampa needed one. He had no... 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 →

Local Profiles: Sculpting Out a Future

Jim and Joan Jennewein helped shape the Straz Center in more ways than one. In the spring of 1981, a young visionary architect named Jim Jennewein walked across a scraggly five-acre parking lot alongside the Hillsborough River. In his mind, he built a future performing arts center for the people of Tampa Bay. The plans,... Continue Reading →

Il Magnifico

Maestro Anton Coppola celebrates his 100th birthday. We are throwing one heck of a party. 1917 was a big year. The first woman was elected to Congress and the U.S. Navy appointed its first female petty officer that year as well. President Wilson declared war on Germany and Congress agreed, thus entering the United States... Continue Reading →

The Piano Guy

The Straz Center official piano tuner Kevin Patterson on what it takes to keep the ivories in the pink. The average home piano needs a tune up about twice a year, but when your livelihood and music critics are on the line, a good concert piano gets its ivories tickled, twisted, polished and pricked before... Continue Reading →

Extra Sensory Perception

How the stage allows us to get inside another person’s experience “You never know someone until you walk a mile in their shoes,” goes the popular adage about trying to be less judgmental and more compassionate. The key to getting in someone else’s shoes is to imagine what his or her experience must be like,... 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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