Passing It On and Paying It Forward – A Story of Third Generation Straz Donors

Rebecca Jacobson’s family owned the cast recordings of Hair, Pippin and Man of La Mancha. As they did for many Broadway-loving families, these musicals wove themselves into the Jacobson identity. The songs bookmarked memories, linking themselves to cherished people, intertwining grandparents, parents, grandchildren through music and story. Today, the opening notes from “The Impossible Dream” catapult Rebecca back to a place in time with her grandparents, Sylvia and Samuel, and parents, Stephen and Rena, listening to records and cassette tapes, all of them swept along in the currents of these fantastic characters, their quests, their loves and their losses. Broadway meant a lot to them, then and now.

”My uncle would call and sing a song from My Fair Lady to my grandmother every year on her birthday,” says Rebecca. “As a family, we went to see many shows, and the Tony Awards were always a big event for us. We watched the broadcast each year the same way other families might watch the Super Bowl, rooting for our favorites and booing their competition.”

This shared love of Broadway musicals drew the Jacobsons tightly together, so when the word got out in the mid-1980s that Tampa was building a performing arts center, they knew what to do. “When the possibility of building The Straz was first discussed, there was no question that we would do what we could to support having a world-class performing arts venue in Tampa,” says Rebecca. “Also, my grandfather, father and other members of the extended family were part of Crown Industries, who made a founding gift to The Straz to get the organization up and running. My parents bought a subscription to the Broadway series every year starting in 1995, as did my grandparents.”

For the Jacobsons, the Broadway subscriptions secured their seats for the show. To keep The Straz running, they also gave annual donations to ensure such a remarkable experience would be there for years to come. Rebecca left Tampa for a while, but she and her husband Bryan returned in 2000, and reunited with their cultural home. “We got our season tickets to Broadway, and we’ve been there ever since,” she says.

They continue their annual gift when they renew their season tickets because they’ve known for three generations that ticket sales can in no way cover the costs of what The Straz provides – world-class artists and entertainers, an accredited performing arts school with classes and curriculum from pre-K to adult, free community performances, multiple onsite bars and restaurants and beautiful spaces in and around the buildings.

“We give every year because it is remarkable to be able to attend so many extraordinary performances just a few miles from our home. But, also, I take great pride in knowing that through our relationship with The Straz, we continue the tradition of supporting the performing arts in our community, just as my family has always done.”

If you want to belong to our wonderful group of annual donors who believe in The Straz,
visit or call 813.222.1036.

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