Located in Tampa, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts hosts many popular events such as presentations of Broadway shows. The five theaters include Shimberg Playhouse, Jaeb Theater and TECO Theater. There is also a Rehearsal Hall. Upcoming Broadway shows scheduled to entertain Tampa Bay performing arts enthusiasts include Sister Act, December 11- 16, 2012, Flashdance, February 19 – 24, 2013 and War Horse, April 30 – May 5, 2013.
Originally known as the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, it opened in 1987. The name was changed in 2009 in honor of financier David A. Straz, Jr.'s generous donation, which enabled the center to add more offerings to its cultural presentations. Tampa benefits from having the second largest performing arts complex in the Southeastern US, drawing tourists and locals to the 335,000 square foot facility. In addition to Broadway presentations, concerts, performances and opera attract several hundred thousand patrons of the arts each year.
Opera Tampa, the resident opera company of the Center, is celebrating its 18th season. You may recall the scene from Pretty Woman where Vivian was caught up in the emotion of the opera, though understanding no words. That is not a problem for guest of the Tampa Bay performing arts. English translations for the season operas are displayed above the stages of the 1,042 seat elegant Ferguson Hall and the 2,610 seat Carol Morsani Hall. Declaring the 2013 Opera Tampa season as the Florida Opera Festival, the international celebration of grand opera will be designed to attract new viewers as well as encourage the return of familiar faces.
The arts thrive in the form of choirs, ballet, jazz ensembles and orchestras. Performances throughout the year are made possible by the impressive rooms set aside for practice, training and presentation. The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Academy provides an enthusiastic learning environment for students. In addition, students are encouraged to demonstrate what they have learned by performing on stage as much as possible, furthering their creative spirit. Comprehensive training in musical theatre, acting , voice and dance increases by levels of skill, offering wonderful opportunities to appear in a number of various presentations.
The availability of a center such as this gives an opportunity to all interested residents to follow their call to the stage, whether it is demonstrating ballet technique in Swan Lake, singing tenor in the opera or playing cello during the holiday concert. Thanks to Tampa Bay performing arts, culture is presented to the public in an entertaining format using the skills of many local youth and adults.