Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Tampa Theatre

I’m in Tampa for the NETA meeting. Warm Tampa, a far cry from very cold Michigan.

If you want to know exactly how I got here (from the delayed flights to the evangelist cab driver), stop by Chopsticks and String, where I tell the whole story (moments of which are amusing. Now. Not at the time.).

Although I missed our sessions today, the opening reception was at the historic Tampa Theatre. To give you an idea on how big a deal this theatre is, before I learned I was coming here, my theatre historian friend Suzanne said, “If they let you out of the hotel, you have to go to the Tampa Theatre.”

When I found out I was going, she sent me this. (Suzanne is writing a book with theatre historian-guru David Naylor on classic theatres.)

“The theatre is unadulterated John Eberson (big-deal theatre designing dude in the 20s), complete with the requisite parrot in the lobby.

He described the inspirations for his style to the Tampa Tribune on the theatre’s opening day in 1926:

“My idea for the atmospheric theater was born in Florida. I saw the value of putting nature to work and so have borrowed the color and design that are found in the flowers and the trees. The inhabitants of Spain and southern Italy live under the sun and enjoy the happiness nature affords them. So, I decided their architecture probably would provide the firm foundation for a theater.”

Atmospheric theatres tend to bring the outdoors in – and in the Tampa, you can see it through the starlit deep blue sky and the facades that look like an old Italian or Spanish building, with cherubs and statues.

The statues are everywhere --
Even in the water fountains (I hate that I framed this photo so badly!)

Even I look better in this environment!

The tile is fabulous, as you can see on the stairs.
A fabulous proscenium arch.

Stained glass elements are in the balcony.

As you look to the stage (oh, a fabulous organ and jazz band), you take it all in. And it is breathtaking.

And don't forget to look up!

It was a wonderful way to end a frantic day. As I said, you can find out more about that on Chopsticks and String.


Beth said...

thank you thank you thank you for taking me with you to the theatre !

oh said...

GORGEOUS! what a theatre. Great pictures. OK, that does it - you have to come to St Louis. And to The Fabulous Fox Theatre.
(that's after I come up there to take a book making class at the place you and Anno mentioned.)

Enjoy your trip and yes, yes keep us current along the way!

anno said...

That's an amazing theater, kind of like the Vatican of theaters!

Maybe we need to organize a road trip... to St. Louis?

Laura said...

Wow! I can't even imagine seeing that in person; it must take your breath away!!!

Try to stay down there as long as possible; it is brutal up here!

Have fun!!!!!

Shelley said...

There you are! Looks like a grand time! You're looking marvelous, my friend. None of us went to WETA this year. Glad to hear your switch went okay. Now for ours in Feb. We also go on the air with V-me.

Judy Winter said...

Lovely images of a wonderful place. Thanks for sharing with those of us in the deep freeze, JC!

Anonymous said...

What a fun trip!
This brought back so many fond memories of The Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee. It looked a lot like this theatre, even the organ player. The small stage the organ was on raised up from the depths and he played to entertain us before the movie started. The good old days. Now they have divided it into a tri-plex. I don't know why we can't just leave good things alone!!
It's a heck of a lot warmer in Tampa than it is here - lucky you!!

BONNIE K said...

That theater is amazing. Have fun.

Rosa said...

It's breathatking. I can spend hours in a place like this! Wow. Thanks for sharing! The bust looks like my St. Bea down at Riverside.

Joanne Huffman said...

Beautiful theater, but I have trouble getting past the fat that you're somewhere warm.


Beth said...

That is beautiful and you look fabulous!

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