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Jonathan Van Ness, Jim Gaffigan, Cat Power, more celebs set for Straz Center

a man on stage in a rainbow shirt and a purple glittering skirt. A large stage is set with a fake city in glowing blue and gold lights with smoke billowing in the background

It’s going to be a wild season of shows at Straz Center in downtown Tampa. Top level comedians, bestselling authors, acclaimed musicians, and classic plays will arrive live on stage this year and next. Straz Center for the Performing Arts is one of the premiere entertainment venues in the entire Tampa Bay region. It’s located along the stunning Tampa Riverwalk.

One of the biggest show announcements for Straz (in our humble opinion) is the one and only Jonathan Van Ness (JVN). JVN is a hairdresser and stylist, published author, podcast host of Getting Curious, IG sensation, and star of the hit and award-winning Netflix series Queer Eye.


JVN brings gymnastics and curious stories to Tampa

JVN will tumble 4 ya in his live production, Imaginary Living Room Olympian. When he’s standing relatively still, JVN will regale the audience with tales from Queer Eye, his podcast Getting Curious and his fabulously non-binary life in general. Hirsute and hilarious, JVN is charisma personified. Try to resist. And if you can, just wait until you see him do a handspring.

Imaginary Living Room Olympian comes to Straz Center October 28. Tickets are available online now. JVN also rose to some prominence prior to Queer Eye with the Funny or Die series Gay of Thrones.

Another major comedian, actor, and author will take the stage at Straz Center in February 2023. The one and only Jim Gaffigan has a multitude of Comedy Central and Netflix comedy specials under his belt. He is the author of How to Dad and Food: A Love Story.


Jim Gaffigan filming his next special in Tampa

Jim Gaffigan is a six-time Grammy®-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, two-time New York Times best-selling author, two-time Emmy®-winning top touring performer and multi-platinum-selling recording artist. He is known around the world for his unique brand of humor, which largely revolves around his observations on life, fatherhood, and a deep love of good food. The Fun Tour comes to Straz on February 11 and will be the site of filming for his new comedy special. Tickets can be reserved online now!

Late Late Show fans are in for a treat. Craig Ferguson, former talk show host, punk band frontman, standup comic, producer and author Craig Ferguson will be live at the Straz Center on October 20.

Bestselling authors arrive along the Tampa Riverwalk

He’s a licensed pilot, published author and a former member of some punk bands you’ve never heard of. You know him best as comedian-actor Craig Ferguson, pre-James Corden host of CBS’ The Late Late Show. American audiences first discovered Ferguson portraying posh British boss Nigel Wick on The Drew Carrey Show. His stand-up, like his Late Late Show monologues, is smart, politically and culturally aware, and best of all, funny.

Bibliophiles, the phenomenal, prolific David Sedaris will be live at Straz Center on October 27.

The author of the previous bestsellers CalypsoNakedMe Talk Pretty One DayDress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and regular National Public Radio contributor will be live on stage for one night only, following the release of his newest book Happy Go Lucky. This is a unique opportunity to see the best-selling humorist in an intimate setting. As always, Sedaris will be offering a selection of all-new readings and recollections, as well as a Q&A session and book signing.

A totally 90s musical at the Straz

90s kids and adults, you are going to go banana for this musical. Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical is a wild ride live on stage in August of 2023.

Based on the 1999 film starring Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe, this devilish and delightfully campy musical revisits the manipulative world of the “dangerous liaisions” of high school schemers. With a score featuring familiar ‘90s tunes from Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, Christina Aguilera, No Doubt, TLC, R.E.M. and more, this show is nostalgic bliss. It’s gonna be a cruel, cruel summer at The Straz. Those interested can reserve their tickets on Straz’s website.

Two of my all-time favorite musicians are also set to perform live at Straz. Cat Power will take you through a sea of love on September 22, and the brilliant, operatic Rufus Wainwright will perform October 7.

New Straz Produced Series features all local talent

The Straz Produced Series showcases Tampa Bay area’s impressive host of talent exclusively in the Jaeb Theater. There’s a total of 4 shows this year including Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings, Shear Madness, Crowns and Cruel Intentions. You can buy single tickets, or a 3 or 4 pack of tickets to this incredible locally produced series.

You can see a full schedule of shows coming soon to the theater on their website. SIX, a Tony Award-winning play, comes to the Straz in November. We also have a full rundown of the new Broadway season at Straz.


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