The 2014-15 season at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa offers a mix of some audience favorites from seasons past, and some exciting acts and shows that audiences in west central Florida have never had a chance to see.
Judy Lisi, the president and CEO of the Straz Center, says she's especially excited about this season's schedule, which was announced this week.
"Of course," she said, "every year I think every season is the most exciting season ever."
The Straz Center's six performance spaces allow everything from niche shows that will attract a few dozen patrons to major Broadway musicals that can pack a 2,600-seat theater for a week.
Some of Lisi's picks for this season are "First Date," Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, Savion Glover's "STePz" and "Evil Dead -- The Musical."
"First Date" is a new musical that went from off-Broadway to Broadway and was a hit last year. The Straz Center is staging its own production in the Jaeb Theatre Feb. 3-April 12.
Alonzo King's LINES Ballet is a San Francisco-based contemporary dance company that Lisi said is "one of the best -- maybe THE best." They'll be at the Straz Jan. 15.
On Feb. 26 Savion Glover's new show "STePz, comes in. Glover's the dancer/choreographer who made tap fashionable again with such shows as "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk." "STePz" is his latest show, and it's been getting some astounding reviews.
As for "Evil Dead -- The Musical," which has been a hit in tours around the world and has been compared to "The Rocky Horror Show." "We're going to have to cover the seats in the front for that one," Lisi said.
Some other notable show are the Mummesnchanz (Feb. 24-25) and a presentation by travel expert Rick Steves on Nov. 12.
The Straz Center had previously announced its 2014-15 Broadway series, which is highlighted by the return of "The Book of Mormon" (Jan. 20-Feb 1) and the new tour of "Pippin" (April 14-19).
Here's a rundown of the entire schedule. More shows will be added later, because a lot of one-night shows tend to be scheduled close to the performance date.
Oct. 11: Tiempo Libre
Dec. 6: Mediaeval Baebes Christmas
Dec. 31: Late Night Brass
Jan. 22: Zap Mama and Antibalas
Jan. 30: Black Violin
Feb. 11: The Hit Men
Feb. 12: Irvin Mayfield and the New
Orleans Jazz Orchestra
Feb. 25: René Marie
May 9: 2Cellos
Oct. 27: Brendan James
Nov 17: Heather Maloney
Dec. 8: Chris Pureka
Jan 12: Jeffrey Foucault
Feb. 9: Seth Glier
March 2: Kris Delmhorst
April 20: John Gorka
May 11: Lief Vollebekk
Nov. 5: "SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody"
Nov. 8: "One Drop of Love"
Nov. 13-15: "Tea for Three: Lady Bird, Pat & Betty"
Nov. 13-15: "Evil Dead -- The Musical"
Dec. 11-13: "Men are from Mars -- Women are from Venus LIVE"
Jan. 17-18: Seth Rudetsky's "My Big Fat Broadway Show"
Feb. 3-April 12: "First Date"
Feb. 24-25: Mummenschanz
March 8: The Peking Acrobats
March 13-15: "Potted Potter -- The Unauthorized Harry Experience -- A Parody by Dan and Jeff"
April 24-26: "One Man Star Wars Trilogy"
Sept. 20: Jay Mohr
Oct. 16: Anjelah Johnson
Nov. 8: Ron White
Nov. 1: Jeff Corwin: "Tales from the Field"
Nov. 12: Rick Steves: "Europe Through the Back Door"
National Geographic Live!
Jan. 20: "On the Trail of Big Cats" with Steve Winter, photographer
Feb. 17: "Extreme Planet" with Carsten Peter, photographer
March 31: "Islands of Obsession" with Jim Richardson, photojournalist
Nov. 2: Diavolo Dance Theatre
Nov. 16: Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca
Dec. 13 and 14: Next Generation Ballet in "The Nutcracker"
Jan. 15: Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Feb. 26: Savion Glover's STePz
March 29: Tango Buenos Aires
Wee Folk (ages 2-4)
Oct. 4: Katie Adams' "Animal Safari Stories"
Nov. 9: John Tartaglia's "ImaginOcean"
April 11: The Sandi Sylver Puppet Show
May 2: Silly Sam the Music Man in "Silly Sam's Music Box"
Kid Time (ages 5-8)
Sept. 21: Choo Choo Soul
Jan. 24: Fly Guy and Other Stories
Feb. 15: Ivy & Bean Dinosaur Train - LIVE!
May 16: "Buddy's Big Adventure"
Oct. 18: Broadway Ball
April 11: Best of Tampa Bay
Nov. 2: Opera Tampa's Picnic in the Park
Oct. 21-26: "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella.
Dec. 2-7: "Dirty Dancing."
Dec. 17-Jan.4: "The Phantom of the Opera"
Jan. 20-Feb. 1: "The Book of Mormon."
Feb. 17-22: "Annie."
March 17-22: "Motown The Musical."
April 14-19, 2015: "Pippin"
May 5-10, 2015: "Disney's Beauty and the Beast."
May 26-31, 2015: "The Illusionists."
For tickets and more information go to strazcenter.org or call 813-229-7827.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.