Thursday, April 26, 2018
Stage

'Book of Mormon,' 'Once' headline Straz Center's 2013-14 Broadway series

For the first time in a few years, the Broadway series at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has some legitimate buzz for the 2013-14 season, which is released today.

Not only is the lineup topped by The Book of Mormon, which opens the season in November and was previously announced, it also includes the current 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, the musical about Argentine political icon Eva Perón by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Two more musicals fill out the season: Ghost the Musical, based on the 1990 movie with music by Dave Stewart (one half, with Annie Lennox, of the Eurythmics) and lyrics by Glenn Ballard, co-writer and producer of the Alanis Morissette album Jagged Little Pill; and We Will Rock You, with a score featuring Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions and other rock hits by Queen.

With a two-week run, The Book of Mormon is the new blockbuster for theaters around the country. In the past decade or so, the trio of The Lion King, Wicked (now at the Straz) and Jersey Boys has been the economic foundation of touring Broadway, though they are growing pretty long in the tooth. Almost two years after opening, the Broadway production of Mormon remains wildly popular, playing to 103 percent capacity in a recent week. Its bawdy fare hasn't seemed to present problems on the road.

Once also continues to do well in New York — recently drawing 102 percent capacity and posting a weekly gross of $1,446,088 — and its tour will begin in the summer. Based on an Irish movie, it's a bittersweet love story between a Dublin street singer and a Czech immigrant, with a folkish score by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.

For Porgy and Bess, director Diane Paulus cut down the four-hour Gershwin opera to a 2 1/2-hour musical, with a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog). The Broadway production, which closed in September, starred Norm Lewis as Porgy and Audra McDonald as Bess. Producers of the tour have not announced casting.

The Evita revival, due to close Jan. 26 on Broadway, featured Ricky Martin as Che and was directed by Michael Grandage and choreographed by Rob Ashford.

Straz programming chief

Georgiana Young is the new chief programming officer at the Straz Center. She replaces Judy Joseph, who held the position since 2002. In November, Joseph was named vice president of programming and education for Orlando's new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, scheduled to open its first phase in fall 2014.

Young, 53, is a former executive vice president of presenting and director of marketing and business development for Clear Channel Entertainment as well as former executive director of Houston's Society for the Performing Arts, the largest cultural presenter in the Southwest. Most recently, she was executive director of the Paiz Foundation, which supports arts and education in Guatemala. She begins at the Straz on Feb. 1.

'Gramophone' review

The all-Delius CD by the Florida Orchestra, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and baritone soloist Leon Williams under Stefan Sanderling, released on the Naxos label in September, has undoubtedly received its share of reviews, but perhaps the most significant internationally appeared in the December issue of Gramophone magazine. Published in London, the venerable (founded in 1923) monthly is the leading English-language publication devoted to classical recordings.

Reviewer Jeremy Dibble noted the aptness of a Delius recording from Florida, where the British composer found his musical voice on an orange plantation near Jacksonville in the 19th century. Dibble gave good marks to Appalachia ("Sanderling's interpretation of this imaginative score is sympathetic"), less good to Sea Drift ("the balance of soloist, chorus and orchestra . . . lacks that delicate range of color essential to Delius' personal brand of polyphony").

John Fleming can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8716.

 
Comments
Jobsite Theater wants to challenge audiences with an adaptation of ‘1984’

Jobsite Theater wants to challenge audiences with an adaptation of ‘1984’

TAMPANow is as good a time as any, since there is no great time to take a deep dark look into the apocalypse of humanity.But history rewards those brave enough to try, from Nostradamus to George Orwell, who are looking more and more like the same bre...
Published: 04/25/18
Performances, songwriting get ‘Waitress’ from serviceable to filling — plus, there’s actually pie

Performances, songwriting get ‘Waitress’ from serviceable to filling — plus, there’s actually pie

TAMPA — A lonely and changeable sky illuminates the top of the stage through most of Waitress, running this week at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The neon lettering of Joe’s Diner reflects days and nights that don...
Published: 04/25/18
Jobsite cues up ‘1984,’ ‘50 Shades’ parody’s Danielle Trzcinski premieres ‘Little Black Dress’

Jobsite cues up ‘1984,’ ‘50 Shades’ parody’s Danielle Trzcinski premieres ‘Little Black Dress’

MINISTRY OF JOBSITE: 1984When selecting an adaptation for George Orwell’s 1984 (there have been a few of them), Jobsite Theater had to strike the most controversial one off the list. That version by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan ran for 125 perfor...
Published: 04/25/18
Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

ST. PETERSBURG — Without question, Mel Brooks’ The Producers carved a more indelible mark than most of the musicals in the entire genre of throwaway musicals it parodied.The creator of Get Smart and Blazing Saddles not only co-wrote the adaptation of...
Published: 04/23/18
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

HEAD WAITRESS: DESI OAKLEYThe blue collar mother who drives the plot of Waitress never thought she could win a pie-making contest, let alone start a business."She doesn’t even have the capacity to understand that she could do this," said Desi Oakley,...
Published: 04/18/18
American Stage sets the table for a splashy park musical ‘The Producers’

American Stage sets the table for a splashy park musical ‘The Producers’

ST. PETERSBURG ­— Think early evening, daylight saving version. The earth turning away, light fading in Demens Landing Park — everywhere except the stage, which is trying its best to resurrect midday. "It looks like New York City at nigh...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Brooksville’s Live Oak Theatre presents ‘ReUnKnighted,’ a medieval misadventure

Brooksville’s Live Oak Theatre presents ‘ReUnKnighted,’ a medieval misadventure

BROOKSVILLE — How about a story about two knights who gain their knighthood, lose it, then gain it back, only to lose it again?That was the concept Kyle Marra pitched nearly three years ago to Randi Olsen, founder and creative director for the Live O...
Published: 04/17/18
Bilingual ‘In the Time of the Butterflies’ shines a light on brutal regime

Bilingual ‘In the Time of the Butterflies’ shines a light on brutal regime

TAMPA — Tampa made its cigars with indispensable help from Cuban immigrants. Today, 22 percent of the population is of Hispanic origin, as defined by the U.S. Census. The Tampa Bay area has increasingly and proudly defined itself as a thriving perfor...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/18/18