Make us your home page

'Book of Mormon' a hot ticket at Tampa's Straz Center

When the Broadway blockbuster The Book of Mormon comes to Tampa for the first time in November, it likely will be the hottest ticket of the year.

Tickets go on sale to the public Aug. 25, but some fans aren't taking any chances. Straz Center memberships have doubled and Broadway series subscriptions have soared, both allowing early access to tickets. Judith Lisi, president of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, mainly attributes the bump to the popularity of the 2011 Tony winner for best musical.

"We love the Mormons," Lisi laughed. "It's such a big season that I'm not really surprised, but at the same time it's much more than we expected."

A good two years after Mormon opened on Broadway, the merciless mocking of religion by the creators of South Park is still playing to 102 percent capacity there this week. It's a scathing satire about blindly following religious dogma and is filled with vulgar lyrics and an irreverent plot. And audiences can't get enough of it.

It has become the new blockbuster for theaters around the country, joining the group of sure-fire ticket sellers that includes The Lion King, Wicked and Jersey Boys (which will be at the Straz April 8-13).

Should fans be worried about getting a ticket?

Lisi said that even with all the presales, there will be plenty of tickets for the two-week run, though you might have to see the show on a weeknight to get the seat you want. With 16 shows, that's a total of 40,768 tickets.

She suggests showing up at the box office in person Aug. 25 (it's open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or jumping on the phone or online as soon as ticket sales open. It's likely you would be in competition with ticket buying operations as well.

Individual tickets will be $69 to $153.50, but prices could change depending on demand, Straz spokesman Paul Bilyeu said. Members can buy four tickets now and four more starting Aug. 25. The general public is limited to eight tickets. Some tickets already have shown up on ticket buying site for as high as $250.

The Broadway series at the Straz Center has some legitimate buzz this season. The lineup is topped by Mormon, which opens the season, but also includes last year's Tony Award winner for best new musical, Once, and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, which won the Tony for best revival of a musical. Another high-profile show is the revival of Evita, a perennial audience favorite by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

The Straz is quick to point out that you can buy tickets now if you get a membership, which starts at $100, or buy a subscription to the Broadway series of eight shows, which will set you back $214 to $659, depending on where you sit.

And that's just what the audience seems to be doing.

The number of memberships sold this year jumped to 715, up from the 353 members the center had signed up this time last year, Bilyeu said. And subscriptions are already topping 8,200, about 200 more at presale than were sold in all of last year.

If Mormon's track record is any indication, sales should be brisk. The show's first national tour in 2012 set a record at the Pantages Theatre for the biggest single-week box-office take in Los Angeles theater history, taking in nearly $2.5 million in the final week.

"If Broadway has a good year we have a good year," Lisi said, and hinted that next year's lineup is looking equally strong. (Could we be seeing some Kinky Boots in our community closet?)

Lisi will say only that "next year is going to be spectacular too."

Ticket tips

• Tickets for Mormon (Nov. 12-24) go on sale Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Straz Center ticket office, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa; by phone at (813) 229-7827; and online at Individual ticket prices are $69-$153.50.

• You can buy tickets now if you get a membership, which starts at $100, or buy a subscription to the Broadway series of eight shows, which cost $214-$659.

• American Express cardholders can purchase tickets beginning Wednesday.

Praise be

"This is to all the doubters and deniers out there, the ones who say that heaven on Broadway does not exist, that it's only some myth our ancestors dreamed up. I am here to report that a newborn, old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical has arrived … the kind our grandparents told us left them walking on air if not on water. So hie thee hence, nonbelievers (and believers too), to The Book of Mormon, and feast upon its sweetness."

New York Times Broadway review by Ben Brantley

in 2011

'Book of Mormon' a hot ticket at Tampa's Straz Center 08/16/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 16, 2013 11:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of May 29-June 4


    Memorial Day: Among the free events paying tribute to fallen soldiers today is the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony in St. Petersburg, with speakers including Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Charlie Christ, musical performances, a rifle salute and taps. (727) 319-6479 . The Florida National Cemetery …

    Young blonde boy carrying an American Flag over a wooden Bridge.
  2. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 28


    Alabama: The country music all-timers hit the road for the Southern Drawl tour with openers, the Charlie Daniels Band. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $26-$86. (813) 301-2500.

    Handout photo of Alabama, performing 5/28/17 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Credit: Alan Messer
  4. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach



    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  5. Karen Bail, who helped Gibbs kids get to Broadway, retires


    ST. PETERSBURG — When neatnicks retire, they leave no trace behind. Their desks are clean, like a runway after the plane has taken off.

    Karen Bail warms up seniors Jonathan O’Brien, left, as Juan Peron and Addam Setzer as Che Guevara before the dress rehearsal of Evita in April.