Travis back everyone!  the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts is one of Tampa's best venues, and they have some great news.  That's right, they have announced their 2010-2011 Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series.  Here's the scoop -

It will be a dream season in 2010-2011 at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.  Filled with Tony® Award-winners, audience favorites, stunning classics and amazing spectacle, the Straz Center’s 2010-2011 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay season is full of fun, passion and excitement.

Shows scheduled on the Broadway series include Billy Elliot, the 2009 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical; Hair, the 2009 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical Revival; the Tony Award-winning revival of West Side Story; the holiday spectacle of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and the family favorites Shrek the Musical and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  The series also will include 9 to 5: The Musical, the Apollo Theater revival of Dreamgirls, a production of Forbidden Broadway, produced by the Straz Center, and the eagerly anticipated return of Jersey Boys.

The series is presented in the Straz Center’s acoustically perfect Carol Morsani Hall, the largest on the west coast of Florida, with more than 2,600 seats. Forbidden Broadway will run in the intimate 280-seat cabaret-style Jaeb Theater.

The 2010-2011 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay season features:

9 to 5: The Musical
Oct. 19 – 24, 2010
9 to 5: The Musical is a hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. This new musical comedy, direct from Broadway, is based on the hit movie and features Dolly Parton's original hit title song along with her new Tony Award- and Grammy®-nominated score.  The book is by Patricia Resnick (co-writer of the original screenplay) and Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Wicked) directs. 

Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights) provides the choreography. 9 to 5: The Musical tells the story of three unlikely friends who conspire to take control of their company and learn there’s nothing they can’t do – even in a man’s world. Outrageous, thought-provoking and even a little romantic, 9 to 5: The Musical is about teaming up and taking care of business ... it’s about getting credit and getting even.

Forbidden Broadway
Oct. 26, 2010-Feb. 27, 2011
Forbidden Broadway is a cabaret revue sharply spoofing show tunes, characters and plots of contemporary and current Broadway musicals. Created and written by Gerard Alessandrini and directed by Alessandrini and long-time collaborator Phillip George, the original version of the revue opened on Jan. 15, 1982, at Palsson’s Supper Club in New York City and ran for 2,332 performances.

It has been rewritten several times to include parodies of newer shows and has taken on many different incarnations including Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab, Forbidden Hollywood and Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit. Forbidden Broadway has mocked popular shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Les Misérables and notable Broadway personalities including Carol Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Elton John, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Mary Martin, Idina Menzel, Ethel Merman, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Forbidden Broadway will play in the Straz Center’s Jaeb Theater.

Nov. 16 – 21, 2010
Catch the dream!  Direct from Harlem’s world famous Apollo Theater in New York City, a sensational new stage production of Dreamgirls comes to the Straz Center featuring American Idol finalist and Sarasota native Syesha Mercado as Deena Jones. Full of onstage joy and backstage drama, Dreamgirls tells the story of an up-and-coming, 1960s singing girl group, and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune.

With music by Academy® Award nominee Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award-winner Tom Eyen, Dreamgirls features the unforgettable hits “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” “One Night Only” and “Listen.” Broadway director and choreographer Robert Longbottom (Bye Bye Birdie Broadway revival) and co-choreographer Shane Sparks (television’s So You Think You Can Dance), along with some of Broadway’s top designers, re-envision this Tony- and Academy Award-winning musical so it sparkles like never before! 

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Nov. 30-Dec. 5, 2010
Get ready to discover a delightful new show that’s as fresh and rare as newly fallen snow! The classic holiday tradition White Christmas comes to the stage at last, as a brand new Irving Berlin musical direct from Broadway.

Brimming with such Berlin hits as “Blue Skies,” “How Deep Is the Ocean?” and, of course, the unforgettable title song, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the bargain. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas promises to be a merry and bright theatrical experience for the whole family!

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Jan. 18-23, 2011
“Tale as old as time, true as it can be.” Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the smash hit Broadway musical, is coming back to Tampa. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of more than 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song. 

Experience the romance and enchantment of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Straz Center! Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress.  If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

Billy Elliot the Musical
Feb. 2-18, 2011
Tampa is about to be electrified by Broadway’s “best musical of the decade” (Time Magazine). Thrilling audiences worldwide and winning 10 Tony Awards in 2009, including Best Musical, “the best show you will ever see” (New York Post) is coming to the Straz Center’s Carol Morsani Hall. Billy Elliot the Musical is a joyous celebration of one young boy’s triumph against the odds.

Called “the most inspiring show I’ve seen in years” by Ben Brantley of The New York Times, the story follows Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring into a ballet class and discovers his dream to dance.  Billy Elliot is brought to life by the Tony-winning creative team — director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and writer Lee Hall — along with music legend Elton John, who has written what the New York Post calls “his best score yet!.”  Billy Elliot will enchant the dreamer in all of us. Contains adult language.

West Side Story
March 1-6, 2011
More than 50 years ago one musical changed theater forever.  Now it’s back on Broadway mesmerizing audiences once again. From the first note of Leonard Bernstein’s score to the final breath, West Side Story soars as the greatest love story of all time. Directed by Tony Award-winner Arthur Laurents, West Side Story remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever, transferring Romeo and Juliet to the streets of New York. “So exciting it makes you ache with pleasure.” – John Lahr, The New Yorker

Jersey Boys
March 23-April 17, 2011
Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, makes its triumphant return to Tampa. Directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical and continues to set new weekly box office records at the August Wilson Theatre, where it has remained among the five top-grossing shows in New York since it opened. 

Jersey Boys is written by Academy® Award winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. Intended for mature audiences. Contains authentic Jersey language.

Shrek the Musical
May 3-8, 2011
Based on the popular Dreamworks film, Shrek the Musical tells the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that real friendship and true love aren’t only found in fairy tales. You’ll be a believer after seeing this fun-filled fantasy.  Songs include “Make a Move” and “Big Bright Beautiful World.”

May 24-29, 2011
Winner! Best Musical Revival 2009 Tony Award! The Public Theater’s new Tony-winning production of Hair is the most electric celebration on Broadway! This exuberant musical about a group of young Americans searching for peace and love in a turbulent time has struck a resonant chord with audiences young and old. Hair features an extraordinary cast and dozens of unforgettable songs, including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Easy To Be Hard.”

Its relevance is undeniable. Its energy is unbridled. Its truth is unwavering. It's Hair, and it's time. “If this explosive production doesn’t stir something in you, it may be time to check your pulse.” (Variety) Intended for mature audiences: While many find this show suitable for young adults (13 and older), parental discretion is advised. There is a dimly lit 20-second scene with nudity that is non-sexual in nature.

The 2010–2011 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series is presented by the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Those interested in purchasing season tickets should call the Straz Center Ticket Office at 813.229.STAR (7827) or outside the Tampa Bay area at 800.955.1045 or visit for more information.

Wow, I know that was a lot of information, but trust me, you'll want to head on to the website, or give a call, to get the rest of the details.  yOu can bet you'll see me at a few shows. 

Have fun everyone.  And we'll see you back here for more great things to do in Tampa Bay and other great Tampa Bay area events.