Mary J. Blige coming to the Straz Center in Tampa
How is it possible that the David J. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, of all places, has become inarguably the No. 1 destination for quality urban music and comed in the Tampa Bay area? If you want to see a big-name R&B or hip-hop hitmaker, odds are they're coming to the Straz: Trey Songz, R. Kelly, Jamie Foxx, Janet Jackson, Brian McKnight, Kem, Chrisette Michele, Black Star, Martin Lawrence, Mike Epps, Maze with Frankie Beverly ... the list goes on and on and on. It's a heck of a niche, and they've done a heck of a job with it.
Add another big one: Mary J. Blige.
The legendary, oft-Grammy-nominated R&B singer will perform at the Straz on March 19. Tickets start at $49.50 and will go onsale at noon Feb. 3.
Blige's hits are too numerous to count -- No More Drama, Family Affair, Not Gon' Cry and Be Without You are good places to start -- but it's worth adding here that by the time this show comes around, she could also be an Oscar winner. Her song The Living Proof, from the soundtrack to The Help, is among the favorites to be nominated for Best Original Song when Academy Award nominations come out on Tuesday.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*