PHOTOS: Watermark Wednesday benefits EPIC at Postcard Inn

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Watermark’s bi-monthly Tampa Bay social Watermark Wednesday benefited Empath Partners in Care (EPIC) Jan. 15 at Postcard Inn on the Beach, also serving as the 2020 Remarkable People Reunion.

EPIC is a member of Empath Health, a nonprofit integrated network of care supporting those challenged by chronic and advanced illnesses. They offer support to help clients maintain healthy, self-sufficient lives and provide HIV testing and education throughout Tampa Bay.

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Straz to host ‘Golden Girls’ drag brunch, puppet parody

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody,” photo courtesy the Straz Center.

TAMPA | The Straz Center for the Performing Arts will hold a “Golden Girls Drag Diva Brunch” at Maestro’s Restaurant on Jan. 26 ahead of “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody.”

“Grab a slice of cheesecake while sipping bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys in true Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia style,” organizers shared. “Trust us — there’s no buffet in St. Olaf’s as scrumptious as what we have planned for you. Bring your best one-liners and we’ll do the rest.”

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Tampa philanthropist David Straz dies at 77

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: David Straz (R) and wife Catherine Lowry Straz speak at Tampa Pride’s 2019 VIP Sponsor Party March 28. Photo by Dylan Todd.

TAMPA | Tampa philanthropist and former Tampa mayoral candidate David A. Straz Jr. has passed away. He was 77.

David A. Straz Jr. Foundation spokesman Jarrod Holbrook announced Straz’s passing in a statement late Nov. 18. “It is with a heavy heart the Straz family regrets to inform you that while on a recent fishing trip with close friends David A. Straz, Jr. passed away peacefully in his sleep,” he shared.

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‘Golden Girls’ puppet parody comes to Tampa

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody,” photo courtesy the Straz Center.

Picture it: Tampa, 2019. That’s when the Straz Center for the Performing Arts added “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody” to its upcoming season.

“Get ready for an evening of cheesecake, laughter, jazzercise, shoulder pads, sex and the elegant art of the quick-witted put down,” the Straz’s press release reads. “Join the Girls from Sophia’s get-rich-quick schemes to Rose’s tales from St. Olaf, Blanche’s insatiable hunt for men and the Fountain of Youth and Dorothy’s daily struggle to make sense of her life.”

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‘Aladdin,’ ‘Mean Girls,’ more featured in Straz Center’s 2019-2020 Broadway season

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Straz Center for the Performing Arts announced its nine-show, 2019-2020 Broadway season March 17.

Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” leads the season Oct. 8-13, 2019. It features songs from the original film and a “toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score.”

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03.07.2019 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I try not to watch the president when he’s on TV. I’m sure somewhere there is an argument to be made that I should watch so I am informed, but I’d rather just read about the highlights. It’s like watching a comedian fail. I get uneasy, embarrassed for him and the country. Why is it so difficult to speak in coherent sentences?

Now I have this image of the commander in chief hugging the American flag while mouthing, what appears to be, the word “mama” at the Conservative Political Action Convention. This of course preceded an hours-long stream of consciousness oration that mimicked a cocaine-induced rant.

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Straz Center announces ‘Hamilton’ ticket lottery for Tampa run

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Producer Jeffrey Seller and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts announced Jan. 31 that a digital lottery for “Hamilton” tickets will begin in conjunction with the popular production’s opening night in Tampa Feb. 12.

The musical details the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War. It features a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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PHOTOS: Watermark Wednesday benefits Project No Labels

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Watermark’s bi-monthly Tampa Bay social networking event Watermark Wednesday benefited area nonprofit Project No Labels (PNL) at The Franklin Manor Nov. 14.

PNL exists to unite all LGBTQ+ supporters in Tampa Bay through positive activities and events, Development Director Jonathan Soots shared with attendees. The organization promotes volunteerism and activism for a fulfilling LGBTQ+ lifestyle.

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Florida Orchestra conducts first Pride Weekend

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The Florida Orchestra (TFO) will hold its inaugural Pride Weekend across two performing arts centers Oct. 5-6.
TFO, which launches its 51st season Sept. 28, is Florida’s largest professional symphony orchestra. The organization performs nearly 100 concerts annually in and outside of its three main concert halls—Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

Pride Weekend will highlight “Bernstein’s Broadway,” honoring the centennial of American composer Leonard Bernstein’s birth. Its three performances, one at the Straz Center Oct. 5 and two at the Mahaffey Theater Oct. 6, will feature selections from “West Side Story,” “Candide,” “On the Town” and more.

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Watermark Giveaway: A pair of tickets to see Ginger Minj live!

By : Meghan Sweeney
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Does Ginger Minj flood your basement? Then you’re in the right place! Watermark is giving away TWO FREE tickets to Ginger Minj: Crossdresser for Christ at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

To enter, comment down below and let us know what your favorite Ginger Minj quote is. We will choose a winner at random on August 31 at noon.

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Out actor Thanos Skouteris swings into Tampa with “The Sound of Music”

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Out actor and singer Thanos Skouteris is touring North America with the newest stage production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” a show he’s been familiar with for most of his life.

He’s certainly not alone. The show’s Tony, Grammy and Academy Award winning score, featuring “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi” and of course, “The Sound of Music,” has captivated audiences for decades. Watermark spoke with Skouteris about his work as a swing and understudy for the new tour and what makes “The Sound of Music” so relevant today.

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Deborah Cox talks “The Bodyguard,” Whitney Houston and returning for St. Pete Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Grammy Award-nominated and multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist Deborah Cox says she’s excited to be back in Tampa Bay for “The Bodyguard,” having performed in the area on other tours and for St. Pete Pride celebrations.

The show’s first U.S. national tour, based on the 1992 hit film of the same name starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, is a high-energy musical playing at the Straz Center until March 25. It follows the tale of Cox’s superstar Rachel Marron, whose bodyguard Frank Farmer (played by television’s Judson Mills) is hired to protect her from an intense stalker.

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