Make us your home page
Instagram

'Fun Home,' 'Waitress,' 'The Color Purple' and more coming to the Straz

TAMPA

Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone.

That's how the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is rolling out its 2017-18 Broadway season. The venue starting in the fall will mix up straightforward romance with musicals that tell stories of Latino and African-American experience, with some Riverdance thrown in and recent hits coming back for an encore. Already one of the largest performing arts venues in the state, the Straz cements its claim as the dominant magnet for touring Broadway with 11 musicals, which its leadership hopes will cast a wider net for potential audiences.

The prime examples are the season opener, On Your Feet! (Oct. 24-29), the story of Cuban-born singer-and-producer couple Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and The Color Purple (March 6-11, 2018), which confronts racial inequality in 1930s Georgia.

"We really have a focus on diversity," said Judy Lisi, the Straz's president and CEO. "I'm so happy that there are shows like On Your Feet! and The Color Purple, reaching out to different communities."

The season will also take what Lisi described as a moderate risk with Fun Home (Nov. 28-Dec. 3), based on Alison Bechdel's coming-out memoir that addresses depression and dysfunctional families. It's a bit akin to this season's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, in which the world of an emotionally disturbed boy went a step beyond some comfort zones.

"Some people thought it was fabulous and some didn't quite get it," Lisi said of Curious Incident. "But I think that as curators we bring the community what is best, and allow people to have the opportunity to get something they have never seen. Fun Home might be something people know or have an appetite for, or they might not. Not everybody is going to like everything."

Love Never Dies (Dec. 12-17), Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to The Phantom of the Opera — which is also making a return engagement to the Straz (Feb. 14-25, 2018) — allows an entryway into the composer's mind. Webber started work on the musical in 1990 but didn't start writing the music until 2007. The Straz had hoped to run Phantom first, but schedules didn't accommodate.

"Practically everyone who comes to our Broadway shows has seen Phantom anyway," Lisi said. "But I think it's going to be really cool for them to see the sequel. It's a beautiful, rich show, and Andrew Lloyd Webber is so meticulous about the production."

The season then turns to the energetic School of Rock (Jan. 2-7, 2018), about a substitute teacher and his guitar-shredding nerds. After The Color Purple come the romance The Bodyguard (March 20-25, 2018) and the peppy musical Waitress (April 24-29, 2018), about a server who starts a piemaking business. Waitress, based on the movie starring Keri Russell, is currently on Broadway with music and lyrics by pop singer Sara Bareilles.

Old favorites are sandwiched in between, starting with The Book of Mormon (Dec. 5-10), the 20th anniversary world tour of Riverdance (Jan. 19-21, 2018) and Beautiful — The Carole King Musical (March 27-April 1, 2018).

One question mark hangs over all of the shows at the Straz's five theaters next season: where to park. Construction of an apartment complex has taken over the large lot by the Barrymore Hotel, and parking remains tight in adjacent areas.

The same apartment complex, once built, will include a 300-space parking garage that could, in turn, alleviate some of the parking worries.

"I think next year we will have 300 spaces back," Lisi said. "It will be in a garage, but we'll have some relief there."

The Straz has been planning an expansion of its own facility, envisioning another restaurant, art projects and greater use of its outdoor space along the Hillsborough River. The center has hit the pause button on those plans while it conducts a feasibility study on likely funding, Lisi said.

Contact Andrew Meacham at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.

'Fun Home,' 'Waitress,' 'The Color Purple' and more coming to the Straz 02/10/17 [Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2017 11:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 23

    Events

    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Nathan Sawaya with a sculpture from his The Art of the Brick exhibition coming to Tampa June 23- Sept. 4. It will be open for free Wednesdays through Sundays,  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 802 E Whiting Street, Tampa. No tickets are required.[Courtesy  of the Art of the Brick]
  2. I give you a fish, you give me back my man

    Blogs

    The B-52s are a band with such a distinct visual look that you could tell it was them with just a glimpse of a picture. But was it always beehives and bright clothes for the hipsters from Athens? You can find the different looks of the B-52s in their video for the irresistible Give Me Back My Man.

  3. Joss Whedon's ex-wife accuses him of cheating, being 'hypocrite preaching feminist ideals'

    Celebrities

    Joss Whedon made his name directing cult television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and big-budget action movies, which often featured women in empowering roles. Many applauded him for being a champion of women, a feminist in an industry accused of misogyny and sexism.

    Joss Whedon at the screening of "Much Ado About Nothing" in 2014. Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole alleged in an essay published by The Wrap on Sunday that Whedon had multiple affairs during their 16-year marriage. (Associated Press)
  4. For James Blunt, life is still 'Beautiful,' especially on tour with Ed Sheeran

    Music & Concerts

    Here's how much You're Beautiful still weighs on James Blunt: He specifically references his biggest hit twice on his new album, The Afterlove.

    ISCHGL, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 29:  James Blunt performs live on stage during the ‘Top Of The Mountain Concert’ on November 29, 2014 in Ischgl, Austria.  (Photo by Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images)
  5. Wine of the week: Pull 2012 Merlot Paso Robles

    Bars & Spirits

    It's still too hot out to even think about big heavy red wines, but you can take a break from chilled whites with a lighter red varietal. One fine choice would be Pull 2012 Merlot from Broken Earth Winery, in Paso Robles, Calif.