Straz Center bringing Broadway smashes 'Book of Mormon,' 'Once' and more to Tampa

'Mormon' opens Straz's Broadway 2013-14 season

wtatangelo@bradenton.comJanuary 13, 2013 

Musical theater enthusiasts, especially fans of smart, American prophet-skewering hilarity, have been stoked about "The Book of Mormon" coming to Tampa since July.

That's when the Straz Center announced that the show would be part of its roster for 2013-2014.

Turns out, the nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical phenomenon about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints kicks off the new Best of Broadway Tampa Bay season in November.

The season also includes the Tony Award-winning Best Musical "Once," the Tony Award-winning revival of The Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess," the new stage version of "Ghost," the revival of "Evita," and "We Will Rock You," which is propelled by the hits of Queen.

Judith Lisi, longtime president and CEO of the Straz Center, noted the slew of Tony Award winners taking the stage.

"With all of the great Broadway seasons we've had over the years, this could be the best one yet," Lisi said.

"Our 2013-14 Broadway season has the two most recent Tony Award-winning Best Musicals, the current Tony Award-winning Best Revival of a Musical and so much more. Tampa Bay audiences will be treated to a season that is both compelling and entertaining and spotlights the very best of musical theater."

All shows will be performed in the Carol Morsani Hall, the largest on the west coast of Florida with more than 2,600 seats.

"The Book of Mormon" (Nov. 12-24): Featuring book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, the religious satire that won all those Tonys including Best Musical in 2011 has been lauded as one of the funniest Broadway shows of all time. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark, envelope-pushing animated series "South Park" while Lopez is cocreator of the long-running hit musical comedy "Avenue Q."

"Porgy and Bess" (Jan. 14-19): Winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, The Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess," of theater's most brilliant love stories, returns to the road in a new staging, including such classic songs as "Summertime," "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "I Got Plenty of Nothing."

"Once" (Feb. 11-16): Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical, "Once" is one of the most original Broadway shows of recent memory. It features an ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments on stage, telling the gripping tale of a Dublin street musician who's about to give

up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his moving love songs.

"Evita" (March 18-23): Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony Award-winning musical about how Eva Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady makes its return to Tampa where theatergoers will again be likely battling tears during "Don't Cry for Me Argentina."

"Ghost The Musical" (April 22-27):

The musical version of the Oscar-winning 1990 movie "Ghost" ran for 136 performances on Broadway last year with a pop score from multiple Grammy Award-winners Dave Stewart, one half of the 80s pop duo the Eurythmics, and Glen Ballard, co-writer with Alanis Morissette on the multi-platinum album "Jagged Little Pill."

"We Will Rock You" (May 13-18): From London's West End comes the worldwide smash musical by Queen and Ben Elton featuring killer Queen tunes like "Another One Bites The Dust," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "We Are The Champions," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and, of course, "We Will Rock You."

Details: The 2013-2014 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series is presented by the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Current season ticket holders will receive renewal invoices the week of Jan. 14. Those renewals will be handled before new subscriptions are processed. Straz Center members are given first priority for new season tickets. New season subscriptions will be on sale at the end of January. New season ticket orders will be handled in the order they are received. Group tickets and individual show tickets will go on sale at later dates to be announced.

Information: 800-955-1045 or www.strazcenter.org.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057.

Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.

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