This Week at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Published on: February 7, 2013

Andrew Mauney as Gene and Laurie Sutton as Leslie in  ‘S Wonderful.  Photo by Rob/Harris Productions.

Andrew Mauney as Gene and Laurie Sutton as Leslie in
‘S Wonderful.
Photo by Rob/Harris Productions.

strazcenterqrEvent calendar:

’S Wonderful, Feb. 7-April 28, Jaeb Theater, Tues.-Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 and 7:30 p.m., Sun. 1 and 6:30 p.m. The following Sunday performances will be at 4 p.m.: Feb. 10, Feb. 24, March 10. Regularly priced tickets start at $31.50. ’S Wonderful is an all-singing, all-dancing celebration of the brilliant music and lyrics of brothers George and Ira Gershwin. Five mini-musicals take audiences on a ride to the different places, times and styles that made the Gershwin brothers the most successful songwriting team in musical history. First it’s New York City in 1916 and Paris in the ’30s, followed by Hollywood in the ’40s, New Orleans in the ’50s and today. ’S Wonderful pays a nostalgic tribute to the incomparable songbook of George and Ira Gershwin, featuring more than 40 classic hits such as “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Shall We Dance,” “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Giuseppe Verdi’s A Masked Ball (Un Ballo in Maschera), Feb. 7-10, Ferguson Hall, Thurs. 7:30 p.m., Sat-Sun. 2 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets start at $34.50. Part of the Florida Opera Festival, presented by Opera Tampa. Illicit love and political intrigue are woven through Verdi’s romantic tragedy. As conspirators plot a prominent leader’s death, the suspected adulteress – desperate to extinguish her love for the ruler – plays right into their murderous plans. She solicits the help of a sorceress to end her fervor, but too late! The secret’s out and a distraught husband dispenses revenge at the masked ball! Maestro Daniel Lipton conducts with full orchestra, chorus and an international cast.

Microbrewery Beer Dinner, Feb. 7, Maestro’s Restaurant, Thursday, 6 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets are $60 per person, including tax and gratuity. Come to Maestro’s Restaurant for a relaxing evening of conversation, excellent local microbrews and food. Local breweries will discuss their brewing philosophies and let you sample their beer. Maestro’s Microbrewery Dinners feature specially prepared four-course meals by Chef Benito to go with these tasty, frothy Florida brews.

M.A.D. Theatre presents Nunsense A-MEN!, Feb. 7-17, Shimberg Playhouse, Thursday-Saturday. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets start at $20. Nunsense A-Men is basically the original Nunsense show with all of the characters being portrayed by male musical comedy performers. Think of it as Mrs. Doubtfire enters the convent. Done totally seriously, this show is, to quote a critic, “no drag.” First performed in Brazil as Novicas Rebeldes, this version of Nunsense premiered in New York in 1998. Receiving rave reviews and standing ovations, subsequent productions have boasted such stars as Laugh-In’s Arte Johnson as Mother Superior and Olympic Champion Greg Louganis as Sister Robert Anne. A whole new layer of comedy surfaces with lines like, “The guys in the old neighborhood still can’t believe I became a nun!” To quote The New York Times, “A change of habit, boy oh, boy!” This show is intended for mature audiences.

The Florida Orchestra presents Broadway Now!, Feb. 8, Ferguson Hall, Friday, 8 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets start at $17.50. Raymond James Pops; Victor Vanacore, guest conductor; Steve Amerson, tenor. It’s a hit parade of songs from such best-loved Broadway shows as Brigadoon, The Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, A Little Night Music, Les Misérables, Man of La Mancha, Sweeney Todd and Jersey Boys. Visit

Opera Tampa Gala 2013, Feb. 9, Ferguson Hall, Saturday, 6 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets are $350. The highlight of the opera season! The evening begins with an elegant cocktail reception and your chance to visit the set of Verdi’s A Masked Ball, complete with costumes and props from the opera. Enjoy an exquisite dinner on Carol Morsani Hall stage prepared especially for you by Maestro’s at the Straz Center. Bid on exciting items in our live auction and cap off your evening with dancing to a live band, all to benefit Opera Tampa.

Animal Safari Stories, Feb. 10, TECO Theater, Sunday, 1 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets start at $6.50. Part of the Wee Folk series for ages 3-5. Go on an adventure with storyteller Katie Adams. Travel around the world and hear folk tales about animals that reflect on ourselves. Adams’ sparkling, animated style includes mime and audience participation, combined with a variety of rhythm instruments, and a beautiful jungle backdrop. Children especially enjoy participating with animal movements and sounds. The stories in this popular show are “Anansi and his Six Sons” from Africa, “Coyote and the Laughing Butterflies” from the southwest United States, “Papagayo” from the Amazon rainforest and “The Crocodile’s Tale” from the Philippines.

Cheryl Wheeler, Feb. 11, Jaeb Theater, Monday, 7:30 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets start at $28.50. A well-covered songwriter and natural-born storyteller, Wheeler counts Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Holly Near and Dan Seals among those who have recorded her work. She returns to Club Jaeb a few years after a sold-out show that had the audience crying and laughing, occasionally at the same time. “Imagine a performer with the songwriting whimsy of a Randy Newman, the soul of a Joan Armatrading, the vocal pyrotechnics of a Diane Schuur and the wry humor (and cluttered look) of a Linda Ellerbee.” – L.A. Times.

Popera!, Feb. 14-17, Ferguson Hall, Thurs. 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m.: Regularly priced tickets start at $34.50. Part of the Florida Opera Festival, presented by Opera Tampa. Join Opera Tampa’s new Artistic Director and Conductor Daniel Lipton on a magical journey into the world of Popera! Enjoy breathtaking music from your favorite operas and Broadway’s best musicals sung by international artists with orchestra. This romantic concert is the perfect way to spend your Valentine’s Day or a special weekend date with your sweetheart!

Latin Nights, Feb. 14, Maestro’s Restaurant, Thursday, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.: Cover fee – $15. One night a month, Maestro’s Restaurant transforms into a supper club with food, drink specials, live music and dancing.