Tampa – Pirates and Princesses

We travelled to Tampa last Monday. Tallulah and I took the bus with the cast. She was again the perfect cat, sleeping most of the way and (mostly) staying in her bag (she jumped out once, but I managed to grab her before any chaos could ensue).

Tampa is a lot more urban than Fort Lauderdale – not quite as idyllic and resort-like. We are staying in an Extended Stay hotel by the airport which is actually really nice. A lot of the cast are staying at the hotel across from the theater called the Ashley Plaza, which has been dubbed “The Bates Motel” because it is so dumpy. I’m glad I decided to stay at the other hotel option.

The weather here has also been a lot more chilly than in Fort Lauderdale, which has definitely been a bit of a downer for everyone as we were all so happy in our t-shirts and flip flops a week ago!

I’ve mostly been laying low since we got here and resting up from such a busy two weeks in Fort Lauderdale. Last Wednesday was Pia’s (our “Lady of the Lake”) 30th birthday, so we did all go out that night and celebrate at a bar called The Blue Martini. Here’s a couple of pics:

Me and Piper

Me and Piper

Siobhan and Matt

Siobhan and Matt

Kevin and Paula

Kevin and Paula

Pia and Jamie

Pia and Jamie

On Friday I drove over to Clearwater Beach to see what the Gulf Coast looks like. It was really beautiful, but COLD! So I only stayed a little while.

Then the big event of the weekend was the Gasparilla Festival, which is a Mardi-Gras-like event that is celebrated starting at 11:30am. “In this annual re-enactment of Tampa’s historic pirate invasion, the Gasparilla Flotilla – led by the Jose Gasparilla, teeming with pirates – heads up the Seddon Channel towards downtown Tampa. When the ship docks at the Tampa Convention Center, the Mayor surrenders the key to the city of Tampa to the Captain.” The pirates then launch a victory celebration in the Parade of Pirates. 

We, unfortunately, were in a matinee when all the official events took place, but some of the actors threw in a couple of pirate references during the show, which was pretty funny. When we broke for dinner, I definitely saw a lot of people on the streets dressed as pirates… here’s one blurry picture I took from the car:

Things had pretty much wound down by the time we got out of the evening show and there were mostly a lot of really drunk pirates roaming the streets. Brian and I decided to escape downtown and instead went the Cheesecake Factory by the hotel for some cocktails.

The theater here in Tampa is even more enormous than in Fort Lauderdale, although not quite as new and beautiful. The show fits well backstage though, and runs much the same as in Fort Lauderdale. It will be a shock to head to Naples next week, which is apparently a tiny theater in comparison.

Brian’s replacement was hired this week. He starts with us next week in Naples. I will miss Brian so much when he goes! Hopefully the new guy, Jovon, will be just as nice.

Yesterday was our day off and Brian, Ryan (one of our stage carpenters) and I headed off to Disneyworld. We had a great time, but I think it deserves it’s own entry, so look for pictures from Orlando next time…


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