performance

A Bronx Tale at Straz Center

This week I got a special treat as part of a partnership between Tampa Bay Bloggers and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida. I received two tickets to see “A Bronx Tale” in exchange for this post.

“A Bronx Tale” started their national tour in fall 2018 and is currently in Tampa, Florida. But get your tickets fast! The show is only in town through February 3!

(And I know February sounds like it’s a long way off, but it’s tomorrow…)

The show’s book is an autobiographical tale by Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri (who has been in over 55 movies, so you know him from something), with music by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Alan Menken (As in Disney’s Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Aladdin, Little Shop of Horrors, Enchanted, etc…) and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater, directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro (you know who he is!) and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo.

I believe this was my first time going into a Straz show without knowing anything about the production, nor having seen the film. It was just date night with my husband and anything could happen. So imagine our surprise when this guy’s tale about being raised by a loving family in the home and the MOB outside the home told one of OUR stories in the middle of it!

The lead character, C, based on Chazz Palminteri, is told if he picks up a girl in a car and opens the door for her, she should unlock his door from the inside while he walks around to his side of the car – or she’s too selfish to bother with. Brian totally tested me that way on a date 22+ years ago! When we first started dating he was in college living in a dorm without a car, and I drove us around in my mom’s Toyota Camry, which had power locks. But when he was home on spring break or summer break, he’d have his dad’s car (Bessie) and she did not have power locks. So he used that test on me the first time he picked me up in the burgundy Pontiac.

“A Bronx Tale” is full of real life stuff like that – only the guy had mob ties, so for him that was also part of real life stuff. But so was learning about following his heart and passion from his dad, and standing up for what he believed in when he went against the status quo – natural parts of many lives.

The song was touching at many moments, racially charged, funny, relatable, shocking and sad at other moments. The singing ties everything together, although the dancing is athletic and wonderful when it pops up!

“A Bronx Tale” started as a one-man show, so this musical adaptation is guided heavily by C’s narration. This let’s audiences frequently know what was going on in his head. It is set in the 1960s, so the score is heavy on doo-wop style music. The show reminded me more of “Jersey Boys” than of my own time living in New York City because of the period it was set in. There are a couple of video clips on the backstory on the Straz’s website. You can also see more on the show’s YouTube channel, I like this one highlighting the kid who kicks off the production with chops. Frankie Leoni was great as young C, and another standout singer was Richard H. Blake as Lorenzo, C’s father.

I really did laugh and cry, I also was shocked into gasping a couple of times. It may not stick with me forever, but it was entertaining for a great date night! I found it very interesting that Oprah and Deepak Chopra taught me lessons about how to follow love vs. fear, but I could have learned that while watching “A Bronx Tale” in a plush velvet seat in Carol Morsani Hall for $65+ right here in Tampa!

Get tickets while the show is still around on the Straz’s website, here.

Cirque du Soleil returns to Tampa Bay with CRYSTAL

Cirque du Soleil’s 42nd show – CRYSTAL – is coming to Tampa in December 2018. This is a unique show due to it being the first ever ice production Cirque du Soleil has done!  #hosted

Be taken on a journey into a surreal world where synchronized and freestyle figure skating blend with acrobatics, aerial feats and circus acts. Watch world-class ice skaters explore a frozen playground with never-before-seen acrobatics in a stunning new production.

The story behind the show: The creative young woman, Crystal, a misfit heroine, will take you on an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as she dives into a world of her own imagination. Feel the adrenaline as she falls through the ice into an upside down, surreal world to become what she was always destined to be: confident, liberated, and empowered. CRYSTAL invites you to set aside reality and drift into a world that springs to vibrant life with astounding visual projections and a soundtrack that blends popular music with the signature sound of Cirque du Soleil. The show is about looking at things from fresh angles and reframing one’s daily reality to see what one might have missed. Discovering one’s individuality occasionally requires venturing out on thin ice. (Yep, I went there!)

Fun fact: Eleven different nationalities are represented in the cast.

CRYSTAL performances will be in Tampa, Florida, at the Amalie Arena from Wednesday, December 19 through 23, 2018 –  for 7 shows. Tickets went on sale Saturday, September 8. The show is suitable for all ages. Buy tickets online here. 

Cirque Club members may still be able to get some seats at a discounted price. Check the Club website for details. Cirque Club membership is free and benefits includes access to advance tickets, special offers, and exclusive behind-the-scenes information. (I’ve been a member for about six years.)

Check back next month… in November I’ll have a giveaway of Cirque tickets for a reader or 2!

If you love to cosplay, Crystal has flamboyant red hair, is clad in a vintage, blue, plaid skirt and a light turquoise cardigan-style shirt and a red scarf. She is creative, unpretentious and loves to write.

Fun fact: More than 180 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil show since 1984!

For more details and to get a glimpse, follow #CRYSTAL and @cirquedusoleil on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | BUY TICKETS NOW

Photo credits: Matt Beard / Costumes: Marie Chantale Vaillancourt / 2018 Cirque du Soleil

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