Friday, November 16, 2018
Features and More

Tickets to concerts, plays are great Christmas gift ideas

“Christmas Present" is around the corner, and over the years I've learned that the best things don't usually come in any kind of package — that stuff is, well, just stuff that sooner or later loses its luster.

And as hokey as it might sound, I've come to realize that the gift of time well spent is life's best bestowal; one that can offer respite and replenishment along with the adventure of getting lost in another world, even if it's just for a few hours or so.

This year, think past the bustle of the mall and consider the delight that comes with tearing open an envelope with tickets for an outing.

It's a perfect alternative for that hard-to-buy-for person, that someone you want to spend quality time with or the good friend or relative who doesn't get out enough these days. There's the upside of treating yourself, perhaps, as well as the kid who's primed for an introduction to the theater. And there's the joy of delayed gratification when the big day for that outing rolls around, weeks after the holiday decorations have been boxed up and stashed back in the attic.

There are plenty of options for every budget.

You could pony up a tidy sum ($50 to $70 apiece) for tickets to Billy Elliott the Musical in early January at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall. Or save the drive and some money with tickets to 9 to 5: The Musical ($49.50 with dinner, $38.45 without dinner, plus tax and tip) at Hudson's Show Palace Dinner Theater. Or you could purchase passes ($7-$10 or so) to the movie adaptation of Les Miserables that could be wrapped up with a concession-size box of Sno-Caps or Raisinets.

Perfect.

When it comes to music, there's the opportunity to "Jump, Jive an' Wail" with the Florida Orchestra in January in Tampa ($15-$45), or support local performers and venues by getting tickets to the Richey Community Orchestra (most shows $15), Frank Parsons Big Band ($11) or Phil Dirt and the Dozers ($20) who will perform some good old rock 'n' roll tunes Feb. 23 at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel.

All can make for wonderful gifts.

Believe.

Some of my fondest memories from "Christmas Past" were gifted by others.

In the lean years there were the "date night" movie passes that came with a voucher for babysitting services — a real sanity saver and much appreciated luxury we could ill afford at the time. Lightning hockey tickets for two were placed under our tree some years after that, sent by a relative who ended up giving my husband the opportunity to school our son on a sport he was passionate about, while fostering a dedication to what has become the new home team. As our kids grew and matured, tickets for the theatrical performances of Monty Python's Spamalot and The Lion King were tucked into everyone's stockings, along with the traditional net-filled bag of chocolate coins and the fragrant clementine rounding out the toe.

We still talk about those "family time" theatrical experiences: how our sides were sore from laughing so hard at the English spoof; how my kids caught me silently weeping in my seat, wrapped up with the awesome enchantment of watching the Serengeti come to life on stage.

These are experiences I know we will always treasure, the gifts of time well spent that will long hold their luster.

Michele Miller can be reached at [email protected] or at (813) 435-7307.

Comments
‘Hamilton’ ticket sales brought early morning frenzy to the Straz

‘Hamilton’ ticket sales brought early morning frenzy to the Straz

Customers huddled in the dark before 5 a.m. By 8:30, the number had swelled to 675.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Green Bench Brewing's expansion 'an investment' into St. Petersburg

Green Bench Brewing's expansion 'an investment' into St. Petersburg

Set to open early next year, Green Bench Brewing walks us through the new space and ambitious new projects.
Updated: 11 hours ago
Winter Village and skating rink return to downtown Tampa

Winter Village and skating rink return to downtown Tampa

Curtis Hixon's Winter Village will return Friday night, offering free skating from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Published: 11/16/18
The Daystarter: Nine days later, Ron DeSantis is Florida’s new governor; Hamilton tickets go on sale today; get ready for some (brief) sweater weather.

The Daystarter: Nine days later, Ron DeSantis is Florida’s new governor; Hamilton tickets go on sale today; get ready for some (brief) sweater weather.

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published: 11/16/18
At 24, violinist Esther Yoo is already making a mark in the music world

At 24, violinist Esther Yoo is already making a mark in the music world

She performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London on Wednesday. She solos with the Florida Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.
Published: 11/16/18
The Airbnb of cool campsites comes to Florida with Hipcamp

The Airbnb of cool campsites comes to Florida with Hipcamp

Camp out in a tree house or a goat farm; Hipcamp site lets you rent hidden gem campsites
Published: 11/16/18
From the food editor: Bring some carbs to Thanksgiving with Sage and Cheddar Biscuits

From the food editor: Bring some carbs to Thanksgiving with Sage and Cheddar Biscuits

Also, a bonus recipe for Parker House Rolls.
Published: 11/16/18
Five tips from a pro chef to help you prepare Thanksgiving dinner

Five tips from a pro chef to help you prepare Thanksgiving dinner

Hint: It really helps to do some things in advance.
Published: 11/16/18
The Zola Twitter saga went viral. The ‘Zola’ movie is being filmed in Tampa Bay.

The Zola Twitter saga went viral. The ‘Zola’ movie is being filmed in Tampa Bay.

The story of prostitution, stripping and crime is becoming a movie called Zola. The production has been filming in the Tampa Bay area since Oct. 29, confirmed St.Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer.
Published: 11/15/18
Updated: 11/16/18
Animal activist who threw fisherman's catch back in the water on trial in Clearwater Friday

Animal activist who threw fisherman's catch back in the water on trial in Clearwater Friday

Michael Leaming threw a fisherman's catch back in the water to “save it,” went viral with millions of views, and now faces trial for what he did.
Published: 11/15/18
Updated: 11/16/18