TBPAC gears up for spring performances

In the coming months, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center will feature everything from lions to jazz to the Cat in the Hat on the stage.

The Lion King, winner of six Tony Awards, runs through Jan. 26 at the Center. The touring production features more than 40 actors in colorful costumes. The show uses a combination of puppetry, choreography and stage design to evoke the African savanna. The touring production features USF graduate Kissy Simmons as Nala. Ticket prices range from $24.25 to $133.25.

On Jan. 20, TBPAC will kick off its American Music Festival, What a Wonderful World: Louis Armstrong and the Evolution of Jazz — a multi-media arts and humanities festival. The festival comprises both musical and theatrical performances at the Performing Arts Center, as well as poetry readings and an art exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art. The event combines the efforts of TBPAC with USF, Eckerd College, the University of Tampa and the Tampa Museum of Art.

Media representatives at the center say the festival will “take an expansive look at the development of jazz.” The event will start with The Center’s Eighth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute and will continue through March 6.

In mid-February, the national touring company of The Full Monty comes to the Center. Tony Award winning writer Terence McNally adapted the screen hit for the stage, changing the setting to Buffalo, N.Y. Ticket prices range from $24.50 to $66.50.At the end of March, Jobsite Theater and the Center Theater Company will present The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a dark comedy about a mother-daughter relationship, which is set in Ireland

From March 25 through March 30, Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby stars as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical–The Musical. The musical production combines some of Dr. Seuss’ most famous stories.

For more information about these or other events, go to For tickets, call 229-STAR. TBPAC does offer student discounts for some performances.

Contact Kristan Bright at oraclefeatures@yahoo.com