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Art Tampa Museum of Art. Continuing through Jan. 11: Toulouse-Lautrec: Master of the Moulin Rouge, featuring posters and lithograph prints. Opening Jan. 25 to run through April 11: Selections from the Neuberger Berman Corporate Collection, which includes photographs by Vik Muniz and Tracey Moffett as well as paintings by Robert McCurdy and Mary Heilman, among […]


Art

Tampa Museum of Art. Continuing through Jan. 11: Toulouse-Lautrec: Master of the Moulin Rouge, featuring posters and lithograph prints. Opening Jan. 25 to run through April 11: Selections from the Neuberger Berman Corporate Collection, which includes photographs by Vik Muniz and Tracey Moffett as well as paintings by Robert McCurdy and Mary Heilman, among others. Information: (813) 274-8130.

Museum of Asian Art. Continuing through Jan. 23: Selections from the Permanent Collection, including carved jades, bronzes, wood and stone sculptures and more. Sumi-e artist Pamela Sumner will also discuss Zen and Modern Art in America at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at Selby Library in the museum’s lecture series. Information: 952-0666.

Museum of Fine Arts. On view through Feb. 15: African-American works on Paper, from the Wes and Missy Cochran collection, including pieces by Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Faith Ringgold. Information: (727) 896-2667.

Mira Mar Gallery/Allyn Gallup. New paintings by Lynn Davison are offered all this month at the Palm Avenue space. Information: 366-2093.

Missing Link Gallery. The Pineapple Avenue gallery features New Season from the Collection, including utilitarian and ritual materials from around the world; and Shades of Gray, black and white photography by Mario Algaze, Jerry Uelsmann, Bill West and others, through Jan. 31. Information: 366-6600.

Galleria Silecchia. On view this month: Tuscan landscapes by William Berra, bronzes by Glenna Goodacre, Russian iconography by Yuri Gorbachev, sculpture by David Gerstein and hand-painted glass chandeliers by Ulla Darni. Information: 365-7414.

Palm Avenue Gallery. Oil florals, still lifes and landscapes by Bette Caffrey are on view all month. Information: 953-5757.

Sonnet Gallery. On view from Jan. 2-31 (reception 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 2) is Dreams of Lights, original paintings by Antonio Carreño. Information: 955-6443.

Palm Avenue First Friday Walk. From 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 2 along the avenue. Information: 373-9660.

Women’s Resource Center. Artist Linda Ohlson Graham is featured this month. Information: 366-1700.

Longboat Key Center of the Arts. Longtime Sarasota artist Nat Krate is highlighted in Figures and Floras, running Jan. 2-29 in the Glen Gallery; the Longboat Key Club Exhibition takes place Jan. 9-29 in the Durante Gallery, and both have an opening reception at 5 p.m. Jan. 11. Also this month: jazz concerts at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20; the Members’ Gallery Exhibition Jan. 28-March 28; and the Fernando Madridejos exhibition, Recent Paintings and Drawings, Jan. 31-Feb. 26. Information: 383-2345.

Art Center Sarasota. Filling the galleries this month: Sumi-e, ink paintings from the Sarasota Chapter of the Sumi-E Society of America; and the Artists of Sarasota premiere invitational, Jan. 9-Feb. 7. Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Jan. 15. Information: 365-2032.

Selby Gallery. Safe Sex: The History of the Great American Pin-Up, opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 9 and continues through Feb. 11. Information: 359-7563.

Venice Art Center. An Abstract Exhibit featuring works in all media is on view Jan. 9-27, along with black and white photos by John Radkins in the Salon Show. Information: 485-7136.

Salvador Dali Museum. Dali Centennial: The American Collection celebrates Dali’s 100th with a retrospective containing more than 100 oils, watercolors and drawings outlining his career, Jan. 9-Sept. 19. Information: (727) 823-3767.

Serendipity Gallery. Paintings with foil imaging by Dee Gaylord and works by other artists are on view beginning with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 16; continuing through Jan. 25. Information: 906-8434.

Towles Court Third Friday Gallery Walk. From 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 16 in the artists’ colony near downtown. Information: 362-0960.

St. Armands Winter Art Festival. Pottery, watercolors, jewelry and more from more than 175 artists and craftsmen, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 24 and 25 on the Circle. Information: 388-1554.

Ringling Museum of Art. Renaissance to Rococo: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum of Art fills the museum’s West Galleries Jan. 31-April 25. The exhibition includes works by Caravaggio, Goya and Ruisdael, among others. Information: 359-5700.

Children

The Emperor’s New Clothes. The Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration® On Tour version of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale offers opera arias, a dash of mystery and plenty of comedy. At 10:30 a.m. Jan. 17 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Comedy

McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. Bringing on the laughs this month are Jeff Dunham (Jan. 9-11), Diane Ford (Jan. 14-18) and Sean Morey (Jan. 23-24). Information: 925-3869.

Bill Cosby. Comedy master Cosby performs at 4 and 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. Information: (727) 791-7400.

The Capitol Steps. Political comedy of the intentional variety, onstage at 8 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Steven Wright. The perpetually low-key Wright guests at 8 p.m. Jan. 28, also at Ruth Eckerd. Information: (727) 791-7400.

Dance

Mark Morris Dance Group. Find out what choreographer Morris is up to these days, at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Van Wezel. A Curtain Call discussion follows the performance. Information: 953-3368.

Sarasota Ballet of Florida. The ballet company presents its production of Carmen once more, along with /Dvorak-American, Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Information: 351-8000.

Film

Unifem Film Festival. The fifth annual fest showing films about women and women’s issues from other countries runs Jan. 9 and 10, with screenings at New College’s Sainer Pavilion. Information: 922-5303 or 954-0237.

Sarasota Film Festival. Running Jan. 23-Feb. 1, with screenings at downtown’s Hollywood 20. Information: 364-9514.

Miscellaneous

Ferraris on St. Armands. The kickoff to the official racing season in Florida, this display of more than 50 racing machines takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 10 in St. Armands Park. Information: 388-1554.

Circus Ring of Fame. A band concert precedes induction ceremonies for the Circus Ring, starting at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 17 on St. Armands. Being inducted: the late Art Concello, long-time manager for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus; aerialist Galla Shawn; the Konyot Equestrian Family; and circus trainmaster Charlie Smith. Information: 388-1554.

Arts Day. The Sarasota County Arts Council annual celebration, with performing and visual arts activities downtown from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 18. Information: 365-5118.

ASID Showhouse. Take a peek at what area interior designers are up to in this year’s showhouse, in the gated community of Fisherman’s Bay. On view Jan. 18-Feb. 15; for more information call 926-7794.

Ringling Museum Family Festival. This month’s theme is a Circus Spectacular, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 24 on the museum grounds. For more details call 359-5700.

Sarasota Games and Scottish Heritage Festival. Celebrate our town’s Scottish roots with this event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. Piping, athletics, dancing and more are included. Information: (941) 727-7960.

South Florida Museum. Lewis & Clark Botanical Discoveries: Illustrations by Charlotte Staub Thomas, continues through March 7 at the Bradenton venue. Information: 746-4131.

Music

Salute to Vienna. Ring in the New Year with Viennese melodies, waltzes and more. At 8 p.m. Jan. 1 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Jazz Club of Sarasota. On tap with the jazzers this month: Jazz at Two, with Ed Grigoli Jan. 2, Lillette Jenkins Jan. 9, Joe Bruno Jan.16, Dick Smolens Jan. 23, and John Lamb Jan. 30 (all at 2 p.m. at Bayfront Community Center). Also, Jazz Jams at 2 p.m. Jan. 10 and 24 at the center; and a Member Concert featuring the Lenny Wilson Quintet at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at St. Thomas More Church. Information: 366-1552.

B.B. King. The blues master returns to the Van Wezel, at 8 p.m. Jan. 2. Information: 953-3368.

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons/Little Anthony and the Imperials. Relive the ’50s and ’60s with this concert at 8 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

An Afternoon with the Osmonds. Music from the perpetually cheerful family, at 2 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Florida West Coast Symphony Masterworks. Pianist Randall Hodgkinson joins the orchestra, which performs Barber’s Essay No. 2, Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, at 8 p.m. Jan. 9 and 10 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3434.

Sarasota Concert Association. Pianist Yefim Bronfman performs at 8 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Van Wezel. For ticket information, call 955-0040.

Yo-Yo Ma and Members of the Silk Road Ensemble. Enlighten us musically, at 8 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Artist Series of Sarasota. The series presents soprano Erin Windle performing an aria from Don Pasquale and other works, at 8 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. Information: 388-1188.

Casual Classics/Concert Lites/Enchanted Evenings. Gotta Dance is the theme for these Florida West Coast Symphony offerings, at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 16, and 8 p.m. Jan. 17, all at Holley Hall, and at 3 p.m. Jan. 18, at Lemon Bay Performing Arts Center. Expect hits from Chicago, Jerome Robbins and Lord of the Dance, among others. Information: 953-3434.

An Evening with Roberta Flack. The songstress offers up sounds mellow and memorable, at 8 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Sarasota Folk Club. Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen are featured in the club’s House Concert, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at 9771 Knightsbridge Circle (potluck at 6 p.m.). Also this month, the club offers its Sailing Squadron concert, with Mad Agnes, a singer/songwriter trio, headlining at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Information: 377-9256.

Mandy Patinkin in Concert. Singer-actor Patinkin returns to the Van Wezel at 8 p.m. Jan. 20, with accompanist Paul Ford at the keyboard. Information: 953-3368.

Salon Coffees. The New Artists Piano Quartet and Friends perform Bach’s Goldberg Variations for String Trio, Mozart’s Oboe Quartet and Brahms’ Piano Quintet in f, at 10 a.m. Jan. 21 at Holley Hall. Information: 953-3434.

Moscow State Radio Symphony. Celebrating Tchaikovsky in a concert featuring Pavel Sorokin at the podium and guest pianist Yuri Rozum. On the program: excerpts from Eugene Onegin, the Maid of Orleans, and the 1812 Overture. At 8 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Venice Symphony. The symphony offers some pops concerts, at 8 p.m. Jan. 22, 23 and 24, with an extra thrown in at 4 p.m. Jan. 24. All at Church of the Nazarene. By the way, a Percussion Discussion presentation will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Aston Gardens, highlighting, of course, the percussion section of the orchestra. Information: 488-1010.

Smooth Jazz on St. Armands: Fourth Friday with Style. B. One is the featured performer at this month’s offering, 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 23 on the Circle. Information: 388-1554.

CineSymphony. Music from the movies at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Van Wezel, in a collaboration between the hall, the Florida West Coast Symphony and the Sarasota Film Festival. Information: 953-3434.

Salon Afternoons. Music from the Florida String Quartet and Friends, including works by Mozart, Schumann and Grieg. At 4 p.m. Jan. 25 at Holley Hall. Information: 953-3368.

A Tribute to Frank Sinatra and Benny Goodman. Featuring the Terry Myers Orchestra, at 2 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Epiphany Cathedral Concert Series. Key Chorale, conducted by Dr. Daniel Moe, performs at 3 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Venice cathedral. Information: 484-3505.

Sarasota Concert Association. The association presents the Russian National Orchestra, Vladimir Spivakov conducting, at 8 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Van Wezel. Call 955-0040 to see if any tickets (which are sold by subscription) are available.

Here! Now! Ann-Margret. See the longtime star sing, dance and maybe tell a few stories, at 8 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Peter Cincotti and Dick Hyman with Friends. A young jazz star and a seasoned veteran perform separate sets, at 8 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

An Evening with Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie. Lots of folk-pop memories, at 8 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Florida West Coast Symphony Masterworks. Leif Bjaland conducts, violinist Karen Gomyo guests, as the orchestra performs Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture, Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3. At 8 p.m. Jan. 30 at Neel Auditorium, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.

Talks

Lettuce & Lectures. Howard Gardner presents The Many Forms of Human Intelligence: The Many Ways to Be Smart, at 4 p.m. Jan. 5 at Selby Library. And newspaper columnists Marianne Means and Jack Kilpatrick (who happen to be married) will debate the state of politics in On the Other Hand, at noon Jan. 14. Information: 365-5228.

Education Center of Longboat Key Lecture Series. MSNBC’s Mark Rosenblum discusses From Smart Bombs to Smart Politics: Prospects for Peace in the Middle East, at 3 p.m. Jan. 6; Dr. Richard Goldfarb 1922-The Year Everything Changed at 3 p.m. Jan.13; curator Mark Ormond What Makes Modern Art Modern?, at 3 p.m. Jan. 20; and Rabbi Barbara Aiello The Jewish View of the After Life, 3 p.m. Jan. 27. Information: 383-8811.

Town Hall Today. CNN’s senior analyst and media commentator Jeff Greenfield brings his views to the Van Wezel in this Ringling School Library Association event, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 8. Information: 925-1343.

Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning. SILL kicks off its lecture series this month with a host of topics, including Why Should I Go to the Opera?, Jan. 5; The Four Italian Geniuses of the Golden Age of Opera, Jan. 12; Opera of Great Britain, Jan. 19; and French Opera, Jan. 26. Then there’s Israeli Palestinian Peace: Between the Impossible and the Inevitable, Jan. 8; Future of Democratization in the Persian Gulf, Jan. 15; Subduing North Korea and Mending South Korea, Jan. 22; and the New Europe: Old Habits, Jan. 29; along with The Coming of the Depression, Jan. 7; FDR’s New Deal and the Global New Deal, Jan. 14; FDR and His Critics, Jan. 21; and Changing Regionalism in the United States, Jan. 28. Also, The 2004 Election, Jan. 6; Nanotechnology: Its Promise and Its Implications, Jan. 13; America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy, Jan. 20; and Investor Protection in the Contemporary World, Jan. 27 The Venice series offers Lies, Damn Lies and Deception, Jan. 7; Why The U.S. Intelligence Community Continues to Let Us Down, Jan. 14; Implications of the Iraq War for Efforts to Control Weapons of Mass Destruction, Jan. 21; and The Iraq War and After-By An Eyewitness (Martin Walker of IPI), Jan. 28. Information: 365-6404.

Ringling ViewPoints Lectures. Victoria Kastner of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon speaks on that building and its history, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 10; at the same time Jan. 31, the Wadsworth Atheneum’s curator of European Paintings, Eric Zafran, tells A Tale of Two Collections. Both are in the Cook Theatre of the FSU/Asolo Center. Information: 359-5700.

Palm Literary Society. Sena Jeter Naslund (Ahab’s Wife) will talk about her latest book, Four Spirits, set in Birmingham, Ala., during the 1960s civil rights struggle. At 11:30 a.m. Jan. 12 at Michael’s On East; tickets ($75) include luncheon and a copy of the book. Information: 957-3660.

Books & Coffee. Dr. Martin Tucker reviews Nadine Gordimer’s The Pick Up, at 10:30 a.m. Jan.13 at Selby Library. Information: 365-5228.

Forum 2004. This new series presents Kevin Philips, author of American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, on Jan. 28 at a time and location TBA. Information: 365-6332 or 308-7325.

Town Hall Today. Opera legend Beverly Sills talks about the arts and more, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29 at the Van Wezel. Information: 925-1343.

Theater

Too Darn Hot: A Tribute to Cole Porter. Sit back and relax to the tunes of Mr. Porter, at Florida Studio Theatre’s Goldstein Cabaret through Jan. 10. Information: 366-9000.

Murder by Misadventure. This thriller with laughs relies on the "perfect murder" concept; it ends its run on the Asolo mainstage Jan. 11. Information: 351-8000.

Meet Me in St. Louis. Your last chance to hear The Trolley Song and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas for this season, through Jan. 11 at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. Information: 366-5454.

Agnes of God. In John Pielmeier’s Tony winner, dark deeds done within convent walls must be sifted through by a court-appointed psychiatrist interviewing a young nun under suspicion. Onstage through Jan. 31 at Florida Studio Theatre. Information: 366-9000.

The Crucible. Arthur Miller’s classic about the psychology of witch hunts continues through Feb. 21 on the Asolo mainstage. Information: 351-8000.

The Road to Ruin. Eberle Thomas’ adaptation of Thomas Holcroft’s 1792 comedy about a young gambler, his father, and a possible solution to their problems continues through Feb. 22 on the Asolo mainstage. Information: 351-8000.

The Millionairess. Shaw’s play about a wealthy, domineering woman continues on the Asolo mainstage, through April 3. Information: 351-8000.

Spirit of the Dance. Irish music and dance meet flamenco, salsa and other international trends in this encore production at the Van Wezel, 8 p.m. Jan. 3 and 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 4. Information: 953-3368.

The Shape of Things. Neil LaBute’s off-Broadway hit about a naïve gallery guard and the art student he falls for, onstage Jan. 7-25 at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory’s Jane B. Cook Theatre. Information: 351-8000.

Don’t Dress for Dinner. One of those farces about a would-be illicit rendezvous, onstage Jan. 7-25 at the Lemon Bay Playhouse. Information: 475-6756.

Crimes of the Heart. Beth Henley’s Pulitzer winner about the Magrath sisters of Mississippi, each of whom is crazy in her own special way. Onstage at the Island Players, Jan. 8-25. Information: 778-5755.

Singin’ in the Rain. Watch out for those sudden showers during this classic musical about silent filim stars trying to adapt to sound, Jan. 13-March 7 at the Golden Apple. Information: 366-5454.

On the Road. This revue featuring music from Woody Guthrie, Dolly Parton and the Beatles, among others, replaces the previously announced The Best of Times: A Jerry Herman Songbook, Jan. 13-March 20 at FST’s Goldstein Cabaret. Information: 366-9000.

The 1940s Radio Hour. Get nostalgic with those swinging songs from the ’40s, Jan. 13-Feb. 1 at Venice Little Theatre. Information: 488-1115.

Jesus Christ Superstar. The very first big Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice hit, onstage Jan. 13-18 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Information: (800) 955-1045.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The one about Miss Mona, the sheriff, the politician and the pretty ladies at the bordello, onstage Jan. 15-25 at the Players of Sarasota. Information: 365-2494.

The King and I. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about governess Anna, the King of Siam, his family and his people, Jan. 15-Feb. 1 at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre. Information: 748-5875.

Thoroughly Modern Millie. Take a trip back to the Roaring ’20s with this upbeat musical about a young flapper-in-training, Jan. 20-25 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Information: (727) 791-7400.

Assassins. Onstage at Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II, Jan. 22-Feb. 8. Information: 488-1115.

I’m Not Rappaport. The late Herb Gardner’s piece about retirees Nat and Midge, Central Park benchers facing off against each other and time, opens Jan. 23 to run through May 22 on the Asolo mainstage. Information: 351-8000.

Noel Coward at the Café de Paris. One-man show artiste Will Stutts returns to the Asolo, this time as the epitome of urbane, Mr. Noel Coward. In the Asolo’s Jane B. Cook Theatre, Jan. 28-Feb. 22. Information: 351-8000.

Spinning into Butter. Rebecca Gilman’s blistering comic look at race relations at a small college, onstage Jan. 30-Feb. 22 at American Stage in St. Pete. Information: (727) 823-PLAY.

In Town

For two decades teachers, parents and psychologists have discussed and in some cases implemented the theories of multiple intelligences put forth in the groundbreaking book Frames of Mind by Harvard’s Dr. Howard Gardner. While Gardner has moved on to other research topics, he still lectures frequently on multiple intelligences, as he will Jan. 5 at Selby Public Library. (He’ll also conduct a workshop for 600 teachers on that day). Kay Kipling asked him a few (intelligent) questions.

Q. Did your conclusions on the seven kinds of human intelligence come from your own classroom observations?

A. I took the opportunity with Frames of Mind to organize my own observations, including those from working with both normal and gifted children and with adults with brain damage, but I also had the benefit of hundreds of other studies. The book introduced the idea of seven relatively discrete forms of intelligence-with some overlap, of course-and it was originally written for psychologists. But it had an amazing impact on education. I think it spoke to a need that was already there. People who work with kids knew that if you know someone’s IQ you know something, but not everything, about that person’s intelligence.

Q. Have a lot of schools worked to incorporate the concept in their teaching methods?

A. I would say it’s certainly a claim that many of them make-that they respect children’s individual learning "styles," although there’s no agreed-upon measurement of how much of that is true. But in my daily mail I get things from all over the world, places I’ve never been, where they’re committed to it. In Scandinavia, parts of Asia, it’s virtually a canon. In China recently there was a multiple intelligences conference with 250 people where 187 papers on the subject were presented.

I have a colleague coming out with a book soon that analyzes 41 schools in detail to see how they implement the theory. So it will be interesting to see the results of that. I still tend to multiple intelligences, doing 100 talks or so a year, but it’s kind of like a child that’s grown up.

Q. Did the publication of Frames of Mind change your life?

A. To some extent. For the first time I realized what it was like to be a public figure. I want my ideas to be known, but I don’t want to be recognized at the airport.

Q. I have to ask: What kind of learner are you?

A. I’m strong in language and music, strong enough in math, and I would say very challenged in the spatial area and probably in the bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. I’m probably not terribly good at picking up on how people feel. In the United States, academic intelligence is stressed; in Japan, it’s the ability to read the most subtle of cues. People are smart; if something is rewarded, that’s what they’ll cultivate.

Q. You’re focused now on a project called Good Work?

A. Yes, with Good Work we’re examining individuals who succeed in carrying out good work in spite of difficult conditions. We don’t necessarily need more smart people. We need people who will use their abilities in ways that are socially and ethical cognizant.

A Killer Show

Certainly composer Stephen Sondheim has pulled off works dealing with outrageous material before (Sweeney Todd, anyone?). But when his musical Assassins premiered off-Broadway in 1990, just before the first Gulf War, most audiences were not in the mood for a show about people who had tried to kill United States Presidents; and Assassins never moved on to Broadway.

Still, Sondheim is Sondheim, and when the show’s soundtrack was released, fans and critics found much to admire in the typically witty lyrics set to a score ranging from ragtime to soft rock. Now area audiences have a chance to see Assassins in its regional premiere at Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II, Jan. 22-Feb. 8. (It’s also the first time a musical has been presented in the intimate Stage II theater.)

Artistic director Murray Chase says the choice of Assassins is partly just a continuation of Stage II’s bent for riskier subject matter and partly because "it’s thought-provoking, its blend of perverse humor and frightening drama is exciting, and it’s been called possibly the most controversial musical yet written." Personally, he likes it because of "the suggestion of some malevolent force that lives throughout history that must always be confronted. The scene when [John Wilkes] Booth talks [Lee Harvey] Oswald into shooting Kennedy is the best example. We’re not necessarily looking to include musicals on a regular basis on Stage II, but this seemed a perfect first musical for the type of season we strive to present."

Auditions hadn’t taken place at press time, but director Scott Keys and musical director Rick Bogner have won acclaim for earlier productions around town, and Sondheim typically brings out the best in local acting talent. For tickets to Assassins, call 488-1115.

Coming Attractions

Film titles and celebrity names for the Sarasota Film Festival were not yet finalized at press time, but more than 500 films had been submitted for possible inclusion, with a particularly strong showing in the Documentary and Women’s Voices categories, according to marketing director Cemantha Crain. By the way, a new film category-Cinema & the Arts-has been added this year, so expect to see more movies dealing with the visual and performing arts.

A few other tidbits: The opening night party Jan. 23 at the Van Wezel features headliners DJ Le Spam & and The Spam All Stars, who’ve won acclaim in Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly for their Latin-inspired Afro-Cuban dance music; National Symphony Orchestra associate conductor Emil de Cou leads the Florida West Coast Symphony in the CineSymphony! Salute to the Oscars on Jan. 24 (a surprise guest is promised, too); and the festival partners with UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) to present a screening of the Tunisian film Bedwin Hacker, a rare look at friendship among modern North African women, on Jan. 25.

Naturally you can also expect lots of educational programs, the usual crush of stars and star seekers at downtown’s Hollywood 20, and the very popular Luncheon under the Banyans, Film Festival Tribute Dinner and Late Night Wrap Party as well. For complete details call 364-9514.