Potted Potter at the Straz # PottedPotterStraz

Accio, the summoning spell is a very useful spell in the world of Harry Potter. I'd use that in my library to summon all the wonderful books I need to read. 

Also useful for me would be Expecto Patronum. When the world seems to be conspiring against you, just give your Patronus a call. No one will be able to take you out of your happy place when that glowing aura of goodness is hovering above you.

Life has been hard for our family recently. From broken bones, to multiple days of physical therapy, to the flu hitting our house H.A.R.D. I really felt that I needed to give my Patronus a call, and it answered with Potted Potter. 

This show is famous for showcasing all seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes. As much as I love all things Harry, I was curious to see how a two-man comedy act was going to accomplish this. 

I met up with my fellow Tampa Bay Bloggers as well as a library co-worker (and fellow Harry Potter geek.)The first thing you need to know is that you DON’T need be a wizard to appreciate this show, and it's suitable for muggles of all ages. One character is a Harry Potter expert and the other pretends to be, but...well, he's not. This dynamic is what makes the show so funny. 

I went to the Potted Potter opening performance in Tampa and I was amazed to see the variety of ages of all those who attended. From little ones to adults, everyone seemed to get all the jokes and was laughing out loud. I don’t want to give too much away but trust me when I say Dan and Jeff were able to entertain an entire audience from start to finish. Without a grand set or grand props, both performers hit all major plot points of the book series while wearing ridiculous wigs, singing, and playing a giant game of Quidditch with the audience.

This show is a must-see for those who want a goofy version of Harry Potter, or anyone who just wants to witness a little magic on stage.

I left the theater laughing, feeling upbeat with the stress of my day completely removed. My Patronus worked.

You can catch Potted Potter at the Straz Center in Tampa now through March 15th. Learn more about the show and purchase your tickets HERE. 


Disclaimer: I was provided two tickets to view this show as part of my association with the Tampa Bay Bloggers.

The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow

 I was 11 years old when the movie Annie directed by John Huston was released. I LOVED that movie. LOVED it.  I knew all of the songs, character lines, all of it. I knew it all.  Annie was 11 years old, just like me. And while I certainly wasn't living the life of an orphan, I felt like I could identify with her on many levels.

So how did I not ever know that before Annie was a movie, Annie was a Broadway play? I must have been living a hard knock life, that's for sure because up until recently, I had no idea that a play even existed. Thanks to my association with the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was giving the opportunity to come out and see the award winning musical and I was lucky enough to bring along three special little ladies.

The girls and I were all so excited!! With the exception of the previews for the 2014 release of the film version of Annie, my daughter's had no clue who Annie was. And they hadn't even seen the 2014 version. I am seriously slacking in the Annie department.

I attempted to brief them on the drive over, but all I could do was sing one song...over and over...and over. And to make matters worse, my girls thought that I made the song up.

Which song?

Just thinkin' about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'til there's none

When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh

The sun will come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on
'til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You're always a day away!

When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say oh

The sun will come out tomorrow
So you got to hang on 'til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow
You're always a day away

Tomorrow, tomorrow I love ya tomorrow
You're always a day away ...

And with the girls and I fixed on the performers, when Annie began singing that song, I began to cry. Cry It has been such a challenging year so far. With Ronin's broken leg, my elbow and back injury, and just L.I.F.E. being challenging, this song really hit home for me.

But throughout the play, I kept seeing signs that even though I thought I was living a hard knock life right now, it's not nearly as bad as it could be.

It's sometimes hard to believe, but there are children in the Tampa Bay area that can not afford clothes, shoes and even food. At all Tampa performances of Annie, through Sunday, Feb. 22, donations of primary school uniforms and other children’s clothing will be accepted at the Straz Center. The drive benefits Metropolitan Ministries who serve families in need in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties. 

It was a FANTASTIC show. My little girls L.O.V.E.D. it and when I got home last night I was pleasantly surprised to see an Instagram post from Annie herself, Issie Wickle.

My daughter's now happen to think that Issie and I are friends.  And Leapin' lizards, if Instagram says we are, WE ARE!

Annie is in Tampa through Sunday, February 22nd.Performances of Annie are now - Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm and Sunday at 1pm and 6pm. Regularly priced tickets are $46-$105 and may be purchased by calling813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at www.strazcenter.org.



I Can Really Have it ALL

I had the opportunity to see Flashdance the Musical at The Straz Center in Tampa on Tuesday night. We went as a group, and some of us even dressed up in our favorite looks from the 1980's. I am in the back middle. I was picking up my tickets from will-call so this is the only picture with me in it.  It's okay, my look left a lot to be desired.

I do remember seeing Flashdance in the 1980's. I was 12 when it came out, so I'm sure I saw it in the theater with my mom, or perhaps we rented it on Beta Max. Cool But I clearly remember seeing the movie, and the songs of course, are pop icons. I was excited to see this performance. I don't know if it was the journey I've been on recently, (ya know this little thing called a 212lb weight loss and maintenance) but this musical really clicked for me in ways that it didn't when I was a child.

I sat alone during the performance and I think because of that I was able to really get "in to" the story. I watched as the lead Alex (played by Emily Padgett) struggles with her own identity and her desire to see her dreams become a reality. And as I followed along with the story and listened to the music, tapping my feet, singing in my head, I had a surge of power. If Alex (yes, I know she's a fictional character) can have it all, then damn it, I CAN TOO!! And the song What a Feeling took on a new meaning for me. It's now become my new manta and the first verse really hit home with me. My transformation was a slow glowing dream, fear hiding inside, I cried. Then I allowed myself to open up, to feel the rhythm, and I believed. And I was dancing for my life (NOT dancing in the literal sense of the word, but I was MOVING to save my life Tongue Out.) And I can have it all. I can have my life be the way I envision it. Will I have to work for it? YES!!  Good things don't come to people who sit on their ass. They have to DANCE FOR THEM!! And YOU can dance your way to having it all, too.

I loved this performance. It has empowered me. Check it out now at the Straz in Tampa until February 24th.

First, when there's nothing but a slow glowing dream
That your fear seems to hide deep inside your mind
All alone I have cried silent tears full of pride
In a world made of steel, made of stone

Well I hear the music, close my eyes, feel the rhythm
Wrap around, take a hold of my heart

What a feeling, bein's believin'
I can't have it all, now I'm dancin' for my life
Take your passion, and make it happen
Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life

Now I hear the music, close my eyes, I am rhythm
In a flash it takes hold of my heart

What a feeling

What a feeling (I am music now), bein's believin' (I am rhythm now)
Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life
What a feeling (I can really have it all)
What a feeling (Pictures come alive when I call)
I can have it all (I can really have it all)
Have it all (Pictures come alive when I call)
(call, call, call, call, what a feeling) I can have it all
(Bein's believin') bein's believin'
(Take your passion, make it happen) make it happen
(What a feeling) what a feeling...

[disclosure: I was given complimentary tickets to Flashdance, the Musical. All opinions are my own.]