FROM THE VAULT: Natalie Cole

Friday, March 20, 1992

Natalie Cole from the vault

Natalie Cole performed at the Straz Center on March 20, 1992, a stop on her “Unforgettable” tour.

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 Cole, who competed for space in “Friday EXTRA!” with the shocking psycho-sex thriller Basic Instinct, which opened that weekend, and news of MTV’s Spring Break airing live from Florida’s very own Daytona Beach.

Then 42, in her prime, and ramping into Festival Hall fresh from a series of Grammy® wins for her Billboard-sweeping album Unforgettable, Cole was enjoying a resurgence of fame for the wow-factor of “advanced recording technology” that enabled the singer to record a duet with her late father, the legendary Nat King Cole. The album resurrected not only one of American’s most beloved singers, Nat King Cole, but also Natalie’s career, which had plateaued after her recovery from drug addiction and a string of hits in the late 1980s.

According to EXTRA writer Philip Booth, who interviewed Cole for the feature, Unforgettable emerged at the request of Cole fans—both Nat King’s and Natalie’s. Instantly successful in 1991, the idea has sustained Natalie for more than two decades: even in 2015, “Unforgettable” still serves as the highlight of her evening concerts.

Tickets for the show at TBPAC on March 20, 1992 ranged from $25-$35, and she played Festival (now Morsani) Hall.

If you saw Natalie Cole during this performance, share your memories by posting to this blog.

FROM THE VAULT: Straz Center Archives

To our delight, the Caught in the Act staff discovered a box of newspaper articles and fundraising artifacts from the Straz Center’s early years, many from the inaugural 1987-1988 season. We decided to create a regular feature called From the Vault to share these snippets of performing arts history with you. Enjoy!


October 19, 1987

Mikhail Baryshnikov and American Ballet Theatre premiere Leonide Massine’s Gaiete Parisienne

Famed ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, the then-artistic director of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brought a revival premiere of Leonide Massine’s “Gaiete Parisienne,” a work originally staged by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1938 and brought back to the stage by ABT in 1970.

This engagement, which spanned five days and eight performances, typical then and almost unheard of for ballet companies on tour these days, also included Baryshnikov’s staging of Giselle, Balanchine’s “Symphonie Concertante” and Marius Petipa’s “Raymonda” Act III. The company also performed “Bruch Violin Concerto No.1” by Clark Tippet, who was a principle dancer for ABT at that time but later became a rather famous choreographer in his own right.

Tickets ranged from $10.50-$33.50, and, in case you were wondering (and some of you might remember), Baryshnikov didn’t dance with the company during this engagement, which ran in “Festival Hall” (Morsani) from Jan. 18-23, 1988.

In the photograph, Misha works with a young dancer named Alessandra Ferri, who would dance the principle role in Giselle, and later become internationally recognized as one of the greatest dancers of her generation.