The New Tampa Players received $10,000 from Social Venture Partners of Tampa Bay at the “Fast Pitch” competition for NTP’s Ampersand programming for special needs adults. (Photos provided by the New Tampa Players)

Since the New Tampa Performing Arts Center opened a year ago, the New Tampa Players (NTP) theatre troupe has been on the move. 

If you saw all the New Tampa Players’ shows so far this year, you’ve visited an enchanted castle in France, the hallways of Rydell High, the walls of Duloc, and cities across the USA on tour with the Dreams. (Did you spot all those shows? That was “Beauty and the Beast,” “Grease,” “Shrek,” and “Dreamgirls” — what an amazing year!) 

But wait, there’s still more: 

City of Tampa Awards NTP $75K For Penguin Project & Ampersand Theatre Programs 

Last month, the Tampa City Council approved a grant for $75,000 to enrich NTP’s Penguin Project and Ampersand Theatre programs. 

Penguin Project is a national theatre program for children and young adults with special needs. NTP started its chapter in 2018, making it the first such program in Florida. Each year, the Players produce a Penguin Project musical with 40-45 artists with special needs. 

In 2023, NTP spun off Ampersand Theatre, a new theatre troupe concept for adults with disabilities. The program began with a summer intensive serving 25 artists, and it continues this month with a special Penguin Project/Ampersand Theatre collaboration on “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Rehearsals have been in progress for months, and the performances will be held the weekend of April 19-21. All of the artists and mentors (almost 100 performers altogether!) invite you to join them for a night of joy. 

Tickets for “Joseph” are available at

NTP Wins 2nd Place at Social Venture Partners Of Tampa Bay “Fast Pitch” Competition 

The Ampersand artists won 2nd place in the 2024 Social Ventures Partners of Tampa Bay “Fast Pitch” Competition and will receive $10,000 for NTP’s Ampersand programming. The troupe competed against six other nonprofits in the Tampa Bay area, including WellFed Community, EmpowHERment, Girls Rock, the Florida Dream Center, NAMI Pinellas and Water Smart Tots Foundation. 

The Fast Pitch Competition program provides funding and strategic consulting to innovative nonprofits addressing critical issues in the Tampa Bay region. 

Auditions For “Singin’ In The Rain” 

NTP is hosting auditions for our summer musical: “Singin’ in the Rain.” The performances this summer will be at the New Tampa Performing Arts Center as usual, but if you come out for the auditions on April 27, April 29, April 30, and May 1, make sure you head for NTP’s blackbox theater and rehearsal space at University Mall —Uptown Stage. All New Tampa Players performers are local community members. 

Visit or see the ad below for more information! 

Recapping Kyle Fisher’s “Ember” 

Fraud investigator by day and actor by night, New Tampa resident Kyle Fisher (who played Kenickie in NTP’s “Grease” and Lord Farquaad in NTP’s “Shrek: The Musical”) set out to answer the question “What is the cost of a wish?” His journey finding the answer to that question made its world premiere at Uptown Stage last month in “Ember: A New Musical.” 

The embers of Ember (no, I could not resist that pun!) began many years ago. Fisher can’t name a specific date he started working on the show apart from his habit of writing down any inspiration or line of music or dialog that comes to him. The first song to form was “Wish,” with the tagline “What do you wish for?” This song became the foundation for the rest of the musical, as it came together over nights of pizza and workshopping with choreographer Makayla Raines and actor Dylan Fidler, both of whom also have performed in multiple NTP shows. 

Ember is a spellbinding musical that explores the boundaries between dreams and damnation. In a world where the mundane meets the magical, farm boy ‘Guy’ yearns for adventure. When the enigmatic demon ‘Sequins’ offers to fulfill his deepest desires in exchange for his soul, Guy plunges headfirst into a Faustian bargain. The tale is a captivating journey of redemption and unexpected alliances. Can a demon, driven by ambition, rediscover forgotten compassion and love? Will Guy, armed with newfound powers and a heart full of hope, conquer the challenges laid before him? In “Ember,” the stakes are high, the magic is potent, and the battle for the soul takes center stage. 

Through the workshopping and production process, Fisher’s characters grow and evolve. The character that underwent the most transformation was Sammy, played by Ashleigh Dudek. 

“Between the first draft of the script and first performance of the show,” Fisher said, “Sammy gained a solo, a new feature, and a huge amount of screentime, and I’m so glad the character ended up where it did. Ashleigh is a super talented actor and vocalist and it would’ve been devastating to me to have her in any less.” 

What is next for Kyle Fisher and the cast of “Ember?” They are on all on a much-deserved, much-needed break. 

Fisher explained, “When I finally get back into it, the first thing (to work on) are edits. Although the show got a lot of praise, I think I can deliver an even better experience, and I’ve got a small army of people who are willing to help. From there, I think there are still one or two songs that deserve a spot in the show cooking up in my head, but we’ll see how it all shakes out with cutting the show down. I’d hate to spring a new song onto the cast before any potential cast album.” 

For behind the scenes footage and the latest news on “Ember” and Kyle, follow them on social media:, or 

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