Tampa's Performing Arts

By: Kara Chalmers


The other night, I bought tickets for us to bring my almost-four-year-old daughter to her first Disney on Ice performance – Toy Story 3, scheduled for Sunday at Tampa’s St. Pete Times Forum.

It got me thinking about all the incredible performing arts venues that call the Tampa Bay area home.

For example, in the city of Tampa alone, you can be entertained easily any night of the week. From comedy clubs and intimate theaters to huge concert halls and historic movie houses, Tampa has it all.

The St. Pete Times Forum is where you’ll find the ice shows, but also concerts by big-name artists, the circus and indoor sports. For example, performances this summer include Katy Perry, Keith Urban and Cirque du Soleil's Alegria. Click here for a complete schedule.

For touring Broadway shows, Opera Tampa, all kinds of concerts and performance art, even free movies screened on the lawn, head to the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center), in a picturesque, downtown location on the Hillsborough River.

The Straz Center – the largest performing arts complex south of the Kennedy Center – boasts five theaters, three restaurants and the Patel Conservatory, which offers dance, theater and music classes.

At the center, you can see Hair May 24 to 29, and over the summer one of my favorite comedians, Tracy Morgan, will be performing there. Click here for a complete schedule.

The Tampa Theatre, a historic movie palace in downtown Tampa, offers classic and foreign film festivals, concerts and other special events. Its architecture alone makes it worth a visit.

Intimate theaters in Tampa include the Stageworks Theatre, and the Gorilla Theatre, offering just 47 plushy seats, wine and organic coffee. The Improv is an awesome Tampa comedy club (incidentally, it’s where I’ve seen Tracy Morgan perform).

Stay tuned as I'll be writing about performing arts in St. Petersburg and Clearwater soon.

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