What’s new on stage: Arts foundations appeal to the public, ‘Hamilton’ warning

Published September 5 2018
Updated September 5 2018


Performing arts companies sell tickets, but that might cover 40 to 60 percent of expenses. Donations and grants cover the balance. That system became a little less workable in March, when the state slashed grants recommended by its own Department of Cultural Affairs by nearly 90 percent.

The Tampa Bay Arts Bridge Fund, created to fill that gap through public contributions, began in March with $100,000 each from the Gobioff Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation. Gifts to the fund will be distributed among 32 local organizations that were hit hard by the funding shortfall.

Among the Pinellas County organizations on the list are the Florida Orchestra, American Stage, the Studio620 and the St. Petersburg Opera. The Hillsborough list includes the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, Tampa Theatre, Jobsite Theater, the Carrollwood Cultural Center and the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

Neil Gobioff, president of the Gobioff Foundation, called the Bridge fund a "short-term solution to get the organizations through this season as they look at other ways to generate this portion of the operating funding they had depended on from the state." To contribute, go to the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, cftampabay.org.


Heisenberg by Simon Stephens examines a woman’s search for her missing son. A 75-year-old butcher she met at a London train station helps her. It’s a play about an unlikely but suitable pairing and the dazzling complexity of the choices we make. The show stars Michael Mahoney, left, and Emilia Sargent, right, recent winners of Theatre Tampa Bay awards for outstanding lead actress and actor. Jim Sorensen directs. Runs Friday through Sept. 23 at Hillsborough Community College’s Studio Theatre, corner of E Palm Avenue and N 14th Street (Avenida Republica de Cuba), Ybor City. $25, $20 students, seniors and military. A preview Thursday is $15. For showtimes, go to tamparep.org.


Jan Roberts didn’t just argue for environmental causes. She founded Cultural Innovations in Action, a nonprofit promoting the "interconnection of economic justice, human rights, respect for nature and a culture of peace."

And when her husband died of Alzheimer’s, Roberts again took her passion — in this case, grief — outward. At age 80, she hit the road for a 13,000-mile journey, interviewing and filming "change makers" across the country.

On the Road — A One Helluva Woman Show presents Roberts, narrating her journey and the lessons learned. Her interview subjects include an ethnic studies teacher who connected with students in Tucson, Ariz., and brought their grades up; a Cleveland economist who started one of the largest worker-owned cooperatives in the country; and the people of Olympia, Wash., who created a village for homeless residents.

"This show not only gives us hope for our future," Stageworks Theatre’s producing artistic director Karla Hartley said. "It inspires us, no matter what our age, to follow our passion."
3 p.m. Sunday at Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $25. (813) 374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org.


Hamilton, coming to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Feb. 12 through March 10, has caused a record sellout of season tickets. All were gone by July, along with the only sure way locals could snag tickets.

The key word here is "sure." Search "Hamilton tickets Tampa" and you’ll see pages of sites offering tickets. In a typical example, tampa.ticketoffices.com offers "2019 Hamilton Tickets … Straz Center Tickets." Opening night seats range from $362 to $1,188.

"There are no tickets available to the public as of today," the Straz Center said in August. "Trust us. We talk to the show’s producers all the time."

Should a customer’s tickets turn out to be counterfeit, "That means we have no ways to refund, relocate or replace," the Straz said. For updates, call (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

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