People in the Bradenton area tend to make the trip to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa for the big Broadway shows. The 2016-17 season at the Straz includes plenty of shows worth getting excited about, including “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” It won the Tony Award for best play and starts the Straz Broadway season on Nov. 8.
The Straz announced its Broadway season a while back, but just recently announced the rest of its 2016-17 lineup. As always, there’s pretty much something for everyone, and the season includes several shows that ought to be worth the trip.
One highlight for NPR listeners: A taping of “Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!” on Sept. 29.
Violin virtuoso Joshua Bell kicks off the music offerings with a concert on Nov. 3. He’s followed by the string trio Simply Three (Nov. 5), the Havana Cuba All-Stars (Nov. 27), Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Feb. 1) and Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas (Feb. 25). The musical extravaganza DRUMLine LIVE is set for March 26, and Home Free (March 29) mix a cappella harmonies with contemporary country melodies.
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Returning to the Straz are Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots (Nov. 19), Pink Martini (Jan. 21), Celtic Woman (March 5) and Tiempo Libre (March 10).
One of the most distinctive musical events on the season schedule is set for Nov. 3. Jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez accompanies a screening of “Birdman,” which won the Oscar for best picture, playing his own mesmerizing score.
The U.S. Marine Band is set to play a free concert on Oct. 17.
The Cabaret Series at the Straz includes Laura Benanti (Jan. 22), Cheyenne Jackson (March 26) and Aaron Tveit, who played Danny Zuko in the live televised production of “Grease” (April 30). But the highlight of the series comes from Leslie Odom Jr., the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as “Aaron Burr” in “Hamilton,” on Feb. 26.
The Club Jaeb Series brings musicians to the moderately intimate Jaeb Theater on Monday nights. They’re mostly acoustic acts and the coming season’s lineup includes Kim Richey (Oct. 17), Joe Pug (Nov. 14), Griffin House (Dec. 19), Melissa Ferrick (Jan. 23), John McCutcheon (Feb. 27), Seth Glier (March 27), Tony Furtado (April 24) and Joshua James (May 15).
Besides the Broadway season, theater offerings include “The Daily Show” correspondent Hasan Minhaj in his one-man show “Homecoming King” (Dec. 11), “Shanghai Nights: Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China” (Dec. 3) and the irreverent “One Woman Sex and the City: A Parody of Love, Friendship and Shoes” (April 11-13).
Returning favorites include “Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus LIVE!” (March 23-26), “Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man” (April 27-30) and the great political comedy team Capitol Steps (Jan. 12).
The 2016-17 dance season begins with “America’s Got Talent” sensation iLuminate (Nov. 20), BODYTRAFFIC (Feb. 22), “Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue” (March 3-4) and MOMIX, one of the most innovative contemporary dance companies in the world (March 23).
Shows for kids are divided into two series. For ages 2-4, there’s “Silly Sam the Music Man” (Oct. 8), Katie Adams’ “Stories from the Sea” (Feb. 25) and Sandi Sylver Puppet Show” (April 22).
For ages 5 to 8, shows on tap are “Twinkle Time” (Oct. 22), “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (Nov. 19) and “The House at Pooh Corner” (April 2).
You may have already checked out the Broadway series, but in case you haven’t, here’s a recap: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” (Nov. 8-13), “Into the Woods” (Nov. 29-Dec. 4), “An American in Paris” Dec. 20-25, “Cabaret” (Jan. 24-29), “Wicked” (Feb. 1-26),“Something Rotten!” (March 7-12) and “The King and I” (May 2-7), “Finding Neverland” (May 30-June 4), “The Little Mermaid” (July 11-16) and “Motown The Musical” (Aug. 8-13.) The cabaret revue “Forbidden Broadway — The 35th Anniversary Tour” will be presented in the Jaeb Theater (Jan. 10-March 12) as part of the Broadway series.
The Opera Tampa season includes Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” (Jan. 20 and 22), Rossini’s “Cinderella” (“La Cenerentola”) (Feb. 10 and 12) and Puccini’s “Tosca” (April 7 and 9).
The Straz’s resident theater company, Jobsite Theater, offers plays that tend to have a bit more of an edge than the Broadway blockbusters, presented in a space that seats about 100. The company’s season includes Steve Martin’s “The Underpants”(Sept. 7-Oct. 2), “Lizzie,” Oct. 12-Nov. 6), Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” (Jan. 1-Feb. 5), Martin McDonagh’s “A Skull in Connemara” (March 15-April 9) and Caryl Churchill’s “Cloud 9” (July 12-Aug. 6, 2017). The season also sees the return of Israel Horovitz and his new play Gloucester Blue (May 17-June 11, 2017).