© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

How Tampa Bay Area Concert Venues Are Reopening

People standing on stage with blue lights at an empty venue.
Rob Simmons
Some major performing arts venues in the greater Tampa Bay region are reopening, while others continue with virtual offerings.

Some major performing arts venues in the greater Tampa Bay region are reopening, while others continue with virtual offerings.

Concert venues and other performing arts centers in the greater Tampa Bay region are still holding on despite COVID-19.

Some are continuing to offer virtual performances for now while others have slowly reopened to audiences, but at a lower capacity.

Below are some venues that are offering events between now and mid-February.

Amalie Arena, Tampa

Event Capacity: Up to 21,500 seats for concerts and center stage events.

Current Capacity: roughly 23%

Expected increase in capacity: No decisions have been made at this time.

Fans have not been allowed into games for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, who have temporarily moved into the arena. Brian Breseman, Amalie’s Senior Director of Broadcasting, Programming & Communications, says they will look at local coronavirus numbers with health and government officials when they look at opening up to fans after Feb. 5.

Upcoming Events:

What: Stand-up comedian Mike Epps
When: Feb. 6 at 7 p.m & 11 p.m.

See Amalie Arena’s safety precautions here.

The Straz Center, Tampa

Event Capacity: 4,327 seats

Current Capacity: For performances inside the Jaeb Theater, Senior Director of Communication Paul Bilyeu said they’re offering seating pods for up to four people, pods for two people and a limited number of single seats – all socially-distanced. In that configuration, the theater can hold about 110 people. While still socially distanced, they can accommodate a few more people outdoors at their Riverwalk Stage.

Expected increase in capacity: For the time being, the Straz will continue to offer performances on the Riverwalk Stage and in the Jaeb Theater that comply with current health and safety protocols.

How tickets are selling: Bilyeu said they have found that audiences are eager to return to live performances. “We’ve been presenting performances inside the Jaeb and outdoors on the Riverwalk Stage for several months with a great deal of success,” he said.

Virtual performances: Bilyeu added that they have launched Straz @ Home, their new virtual venue that includes original and previous events, including past Opera Tampa productions.

Expected increase in business due to the Super Bowl: While the Straz does not have ticketed events scheduled during Super Bowl week, it is hosting a couple of singer-songwriters in their free Live & Local series – Jariah Higgins on Feb. 5 and John McRae on Feb. 6 – both from 6-9 p.m.). “Since the performances are free and are on a new outdoor Riverwalk Stage, and there will be a good amount of foot traffic along the Riverwalk due to the Super Bowl, it will be a great opportunity to expose people from all over to The Straz,” said Bilyeu.

Upcoming Events:

What: Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley
When: Through Jan. 31

What: Straz Riverwalk: Riverwalk stage
When: Through Feb. 6 6-9 p.m.

What: Valentine’s Engagement on the Straz Riverwalk
When: Feb.12 - Feb 14

Safety Precautions: click here.

Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, Clearwater

Event Capacity: 2,180 seats (Ruth Eckerd Hall)
750 seats (Capitol Theatre)

Current Capacity: Both venues are presenting performances at 50% capacity.

Expected increase in capacity: Director of Public Relations Katie Pedretty said she does not know when they will increase capacity again.

How tickets are selling: “Ticket sales are doing well – there is a desire for people to go out and hear live music,” said Pedretty. “Due to tour scheduling, some performances are being rescheduled for later in the year.”

Virtual performances: Pedretty said they may present more virtual events in the future, but right now, their primary focus is on live shows.

Upcoming Events:

What: Jim Messina at the Capitol Theater
When: Feb 6, 8 p.m.

Safety Precautions: click here.

Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg

Event Capacity: 2,031 seats

Current Capacity: 25% capacity

Upcoming Events:

What: The Florida Orchestra Presents “Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4”
When: Saturday, January 30 at 2 p.m & 8 p.m.; Sunday Jan 31 at 2 p.m.

What: The Florida Orchestra Presents “The Intimate Mahler: Symphony No.4”
When: Saturday, January 30 at 5 p.m. & January 31st at 5 p.m.

Safety Precautions: click here.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota

Event Capacity: 1,741 seats

Current Capacity: Press and Public Relations Natasha Herrera said, it’s “50% capacity for the main stage now. For our Cabaret by the Bay, our capacity was approximately 80 people in the Grand Foyer, with tables of either two or four, very spaced out from each other.”

Expected increase in capacity: They don't have any in-person performances scheduled in the immediate future.

How tickets are selling: “Since many of the mainstage shows have moved to the next season, those are selling slowly. During the pandemic, venues are finding that tickets actually sell much, much later than before, as people are waiting to see if the event is actually going to happen and if they are healthy,” said Herrera. “The virtual shows really depend on the individual artists as patrons would be inclined to watch a virtual performance of an artist that appeals to them.”

Virtual performances: “We know virtual will never fully take the place of live theater, and the excitement of live theater, but we have a great substitute,” Herrera said.

Upcoming Events:

What: A Romantic Night In with Dave Koz & Brian McKnight with special guest Sheléa
A One Night Only Virtual Valentines Concert
When: Saturday, February 13 at 8 p.m.
How: Virtual

What: Jim Brickman “Share the Love LIVE!”
When: Friday, February 12 at 9 p.m.
Saturday, February 13 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 14 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
How: Virtual

Safety Precautions: click here.

Christina Loizou is a WUSF Rush Family/USF Zimmerman School Digital News intern for the fall of 2021, her second semester with WUSF.
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.