2011 Season Preview

By: Kay Kipling

DANCE Dancing Diamonds The legendary Suzanne Farrell on the piece that’s at the heart of her collaboration with the Sarasota Ballet. BACK-STAGE STORY Every time I stage one of Balanchine’s ballets, I see something different. I’m constantly discovering another facet of his genius. I call Mr. B’s ballets “worlds” because each one is so different. […]


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Dance (Carol Pratt)DANCE

Dancing Diamonds

The legendary Suzanne Farrell on the piece that’s at the heart of her collaboration with the Sarasota Ballet.

BACK-STAGE STORY

Every time I stage one of Balanchine’s ballets, I see something different. I’m constantly discovering another facet of his genius. I call Mr. B’s ballets “worlds” because each one is so different. Each piece creates an entirely different atmosphere, with the costumes, music and choreography. Each step is unique to that world. Whenever people ask what my favorite ballet is, I say, “the one I am currently working on.” I live in the moment, and I am thrilled to revisit the world
of Diamonds.

The Diamonds pas de deux is one of the most beautiful Balanchine ever made, classical in style, epic in scope, and yet in the midst of the grandeur is immense sweetness and vulnerability. The entire dance could be viewed as the buildup to one of the simplest and most breathtaking moments in a ballet. The combination of Balanchine’s choreography and Tchaikovsky’s music [his Symphony
No. 3] is exciting and glamorous.

Suzanne Farrell (Paul Kolnik)Dancers are not machines, where the volume can be turned up or amplified. We have to do it all visually and energetically. I say to the dancers, “Ladies and gentlemen, please turn up the volume in your movement; you have to turn up the volume, the Technicolor in your eyes.” We are our own technology, our own instruments. There is no cinematographer, no editor, no soundtrack to enhance. You will have days when you don’t balance as long, or you don’t turn as many times or you can’t jump as high. That’s where your response to music and space comes into play. I want to teach my dancers to use another vocabulary, just like a writer searches for a better word. We should have that kind of thesaurus in our technique, the ability to delve deeper into our dance voice. It’s much more visceral, much more vulnerable. And that makes many people uncomfortable.

The Sarasota Ballet and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet performed Diamonds in October at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The ballet’s Florida performances (accompanied by Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Two Pigeons) will take place Nov. 18 at the Van Wezel and Nov. 19 at Ruth Eckerd Performing Arts Hall in Clearwater.

Feb. 21 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Andrew Eccles)TICKETS, PLEASE

Asolo Repertory Theatre, FSU/Asolo Conservatory: (941) 351-8000

Art Center Sarasota: (941) 365-2032

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota: (941) 306-1200; box office, (941) 360-7399

Banyan Theater Company: (941) 358-5330; box office, (941) 552-1032

Cine-World Film Festival (Sarasota Film Society): (941) 364-8662; (941) 955-FILM

Circus Sarasota: (941) 355-9335

Florida Studio Theatre: (941) 366-9000

Gloria Musicae: (941) 925-3183

Golden Apple Dinner Theatre: (941) 366-5454

Guitar Sarasota: (941) 362-2991; box office (941) 360-7399

The Hermitage Artist Retreat: (941) 475-2098

Historic Asolo Theater: (941) 360-7399

Island Players: (941) 778-5755

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: (941) 359-5700

Key Chorale: (941) 921-4845

La Musica International Chamber Music Festival: box office, (941) 366-8450 ext. 3

Longboat Key Center for the Arts: (941) 383-2345

Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre: (941) 748-5875

New College New Music: (941) 487-4888

Perlman Music Program: (941) 955-4942

Players Theatre: (941) 365-2494

Ringling College Library Association Town Hall: (941) 925-1343

Sarasota Ballet: (941) 359-0099 ext. 101

Sarasota Concert Association: (941) 955-0040

Sarasota Concert Band: (941) 364-2263

Sarasota Film Festival: (941) 364-9514; box office, (941) 366-6200

Sarasota Jazz Festival: (941) 366-1552

Sarasota Opera: (941) 366-8450 or (941) 328-1300

Sarasota Orchestra: (941) 953-3434

Sarasota Pops: (941) 926-POPS

Sarasota Season of Sculpture: (941) 951-2541

Selby Gallery: (941) 359-7563

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Charge-It Line: (941) 953-3368

Venice Art Center: (941) 485-7136

Venice Symphony: (941) 488-1010

Venice Theatre: (941) 488-1115

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: (941) 366-1505

    

Dance HighlightsMore Dance Highlights

The Sarasota Ballet makes the leap from the Russian-born Balanchine to From the Park to the Prairies, offering the Sarasota premiere of Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo (with score by Aaron Copland) evoking life in the pioneer West. Lots of moves based on horseback riding, cattle roping and such; that’s on a bill with Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, set to the music of Dvorak composed during his time in America, where he, too, was inspired by the West. Dec. 9 and 10 at the Sarasota Opera House. And after the triumph of their production of Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room a season ago, the ballet brings Tharp’s salute to Frank Sinatra, Nine Sinatra Songs, to the Opera House April 13 and 14. This is the Sinatra of the 1960s, with all the glamour and world-weary sophistication, on songs from My Way to Strangers in the Night to One for My Baby. The ballet also introduces its first interpretation of Royal Ballet dancer Johan Kobborg’s choreography with Salute, Jan. 27-29 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

The Van Wezel brings two familiar acclaimed dance troupes to town with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Feb. 21) and Joffrey Ballet (March 29), which includes Wheeldon’s After the Rain to music by Arvo Part. And on Jan. 12, Step Afrika! features a unique dance tradition popularized by African-American college students that uses the whole body as an instrument.

 

Jan. 12   Step Afrika! (Eric Watson)Free & Freeish Arts

Get jazzed with the Jazz Club’s free Joy of Jazz concert series, set for five Sundays from November through April in Venice’s Centennial Park. 366-1552.

The Sarasota Concert Association’s Munchtime Musicales concerts kick off at noon Nov. 16 (with five more to come) at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. 351-7467.

The Sarasota Opera also offers noon concerts, featuring their Apprentice Artists of the season, for just $5. Info: 328-1300. The annual Apprentice Concert/Youth Opera Concert, March 10, is just $10.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat offers an open house and free beach reading Feb. 25, plus a series at the Historic Asolo Theater, at just $5 an event, that includes such luminaries as playwright Arthur Kopit (Feb. 2), Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Bernard Rands (March 15) and Latin Grammy winner Gabriela Frank (Dec. 8). Info: 475-2098.

The Perlman Music Program Suncoast hosts more than 20 free events, including orchestra and chorus rehearsals, master classes and works-in-progress recitals, most at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. Tickets are available for pickup Dec. 1-10; call 955-4942.

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory frequently presents free, cutting-edge productions in its Late Night Series (not all shows are really that late, but they’re pretty spontaneous). Follow the Late Night Series on Facebook to learn when to show up at the Cook Theatre.

Always free: the biennial Sarasota Season of Sculpture along downtown’s bayfront, all Selby Gallery shows and lectures on the Ringling College campus, and on Mondays, the Ringling Museum (art museum only).

 

Frank GalatIBACK-STAGE STORY

THEATER

His Fair Lady

Tony Award-winning Frank Galati on how the playhe’s directing for Asolo Rep changed his life.

I was in seventh grade when My Fair Lady opened on Broadway. It was 1956. When the national tour came to the Schubert Theatre in Chicago, I was a freshman in high school. Our drama club organized a group outing, and one snowy Saturday we made our way downtown to a matinee starring Brian Aherne as Higgins and Anne Rogers as Eliza Doolittle.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that performance changed my life. It was the first Broadway musical and the very first professional theater I had ever seen. I was bewitched. Returning home in winter twilight, trudging through drifts of luminous blue snow, there was a kind of euphoria released by the remembered tune:

 

All I want is a room somewhere

Far away from the cold night air

With one enormous chair

O, wouldn’t it be lover-ly. 

 

Such a simple wish, gently rocking, with a rhyme scheme as plain as a picket fence (where, air, chair) and a melody so fresh and yet so
familiar that once heard, it could never be forgotten. Indeed, some music is so perfect and so sweet that it seems to have always existed; and when first heard, even by the composer, it feels familiar.

The score of My Fair Lady is an album of fresh, familiar and perfect songs ordered to spring on cue from Shaw’s satire: a retelling of the myth of Pygmalion. Each song is motivated entirely by the needs of the characters, who can best express what they need and feel only in song. Lerner and Loewe changed the modality of Shaw’s play, and they changed the play’s point of view.

This shift in perspective is registered at once by the title change. Shaw’s 1912 comedy is centered on the title character, Pygmalion, the King of Cyprus in Greek myth, the sculptor in Ovid, the creator of Galatea in W.S. Gilbert. But while the musical centers on the Fair Lady, the title not only includes the possessive pronoun My, anchoring the perspective with Higgins, but also echoes the alarming nursery rhyme about London bridges falling down. This is all to say that the creators of My Fair Lady transformed Shaw’s masterpiece into one of the greatest musical comedies of the 20th century.

Of course none of this was known to me as a teenager, but there was something in the evident perfection of My Fair Lady that I did want to know about, to really understand, and perhaps try to be a part of creating myself. I spent the rest of that winter weekend cutting up shirt-cardboards and taping together a model of the musical’s set. I never guessed, over those magical hours, that I would be doing that for the rest of my life.


Galati, who won the Tony for his staging of
Grapes of Wrath for Steppenwolf Theatre, helms his own production of My Fair Lady (his first) to open the Asolo Rep season Nov. 18 through Dec. 23.

Jan. 3 and 4 Rock of Ages (Jeff Busby)More THEATER Highlights

Also at the Asolo Rep, Yasmine Reza’s God of Carnage, a triple Tony winner on Broadway that pulls no punches in its take on the competitive world of parenting. That’s onstage Jan. 13 through Feb. 29. Another recent Tony winner, Red, a look at the struggles of painter Mark Rothko, is a co-production with the Ringling Museum that’s bound to open some eyes to the art of making art; onstage March 30 through April 22.

Next door at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory’s Cook Theatre stage, a rare local production of a play by British writer Caryl Churchill: Cloud Nine, which free wheels between 19th-cen-tury colonial Africa and the sexually liberated 1980s. Men play women, women play men, and it’s all up for grabs in this anarchic comedy, running April 3-22.

Florida Studio Theatre is bringing some of the best of the recent crop of plays from New York to town, too. Case in point: the season opener, Next to Normal, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama plus three Tonys. A powerhouse of a play about a family struggling with mental illness that somehow leaves you feeling good, it’s on the mainstage Nov. 2 through Jan. 2. FST also offers Geoffrey Nauffts’ 2010 Outer Critics Circle award winner, Next Fall, about a gay couple’s five-year relationship in the face of enormous personal differences. Playing Jan. 25 through March 25.

Some more Sarasota premieres bow on the Van Wezel stage, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acclaimed musical about Dominicans in New York’s Washington Heights, In the Heights (onstage Nov. 27), and the rock/jukebox musical filled with hits from the ’80s, Rock of Ages. We’re talking Styx, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar and Journey, among others. Onstage Jan. 3 and 4.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe continues its trend of telling autobiographical stories through music with several shows, including Sammy Tonight: A Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr., March 9 through April 1; and Blackbird, the Josephine Baker Story, April 20 through May 13. De’zhon Fields stars in the former; the latter is written by Sherman Yellen, winner of two Emmys and a Peabody Award.

The Golden Apple is changing things up with some revues (Cheerful Little Earful, featuring the songs of Harry Warren, Nov. 15 through 27), tribute shows and sure-fire holiday musicals. On our gift list: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Dec. 13-22.

Our community theaters continue to bring us many venerable musicals and comedies, along with some less seen than others. The Players tackles Dear World, Jerry Herman’s musical version of The Madwoman of Chaillot that originally starred Angela Lansbury; it’s onstage Jan. 12-22. Venice Theatre’s cabaret stage brings us the Florida community theater premiere of a one-act musical-within-a-musical. Its clever name: [title of show], Dec. 2-18. And the Manatee Players goes a little bit country with the Johnny Cash musical Ring of Fire, created by Richard Maltby Jr., March 29 through April 15.

 

 

Late-Night Bites Our food critic’s favorite spots for after the show.

Selva Grill
1345 Main St.
(941) 362-4427

Open until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday

South America meets South Beach in the bar, which serves a late menu. The yummy ceviches de la casa and the splashy cocktails, as well as the people watching, are the main draws here.

Lan Eclectic Cuisine
1568 Main St.
(941) 953-7111

Open until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 a.m. Monday-Thursday

Named for its young chef and owner, Lan is the premier night owl roost downtown. The late-night menu kicks in at 10 p.m. and features a dazzling array of small plates. Fine international wine list plus sake.

Patrick’s
1481 Main St.
(941) 955-1481

Open until midnight Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday

Long a staple downtown and now in new, more agreeable digs, Patrick’s specializes in a wide variety of burgers and sliders, wings and such, but more well-rounded dinner entrées also are offered. Full bar.

 

Broadway Bar
1001 Cocoanut Ave.
(941) 953-4343

Open until 1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 11 p.m. Monday-Wednesday

The venerable Broadway serves its full menu of pasta, sandwiches and small plates until closing every night, but it is best known (actually, revered) for its pizza. Full bar.
—John Bancroft

Mattison’s City GrilleMattison’s City Grille
1 N. Lemon Ave.
(941) 330-0440

Open until midnight Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday

Brick oven pizza plus nicely varied full menu with an Italian accent is served al fresco at this popular watering hole at the corner of Main and Lemon. Full bar.

 

Leif BjalandBACK-STAGE STORY

Music

From Leif with Love

The Sarasota Orchestra’s Leif Bjaland on how he chose his farewell concerts.

The past 14 years have offered me countless joys and opportunities to share my passion for classical music with this wonderful community. [Bjaland resigned from the orchestra last spring.] Two concerts mark my 15th and final season with the superb Sarasota Orchestra: Dec. 2-4, 2011, and Feb. 16-19, 2012.

Both concerts feature Romantic masterpieces representing some of my favorite works. By Romantic, I’m not talking strictly about love, but the period of European music that generally spanned the period of 1830 to 1890. These Romantic-era composers used their art form to express their innermost emotions and touch the souls of lovers of great music.

For the December concert, you’ll experience Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 and Hindemith’s symphony Mathis der Maler. As a composer, Brahms is a personal favorite. He waited until he was 40 before sharing his first symphony, but then each symphonic work was more brilliant than the last.

He saved his best music for his fourth and final symphony. Intense, tragic and poignant, Brahms’ Fourth is one of the greatest symphonies ever penned.

Although a composer of the modern era, Hindemith wrote music more connected to the Romantic tradition than the experimental, dissonant music we think of from many composers of his generation. His angelic Mathis der Maler was inspired by the divine serenity of Grünewald’s religious paintings, yet blends in the perfect balance of complexity and energy to enthrall any fan of great classical music.

The February concert opens with the prelude to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger. In this imaginary world, celebratory music is king. The gigantic chords that then open Grieg’s Piano Concerto announce that this is a work worthy of reflection; virtuosic and expressive, it’s the kind of concerto that audiences love.

Since the Grieg concerto was inspired by Schumann, what better masterpiece to pair it with than Schumann’s brilliant Symphony No. 2? Written as Schumann was beginning his descent into insanity, it nevertheless rises to a Beethovian-like triumph at its marvelous conclusion. I hope it’s a fitting farewell to my time with the Sarasota Orchestra.

Jan. 9 PINCHAS ZUKERMAN (Paul Labelle)More MUSIC Highlights

The Sarasota Orchestra season offers five other Masterworks offerings, spotlighting renowned guest conductors. Our picks: Pacific Symphony conductor Carl St. Clair leading Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (performed by Chloe Hanslip) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Jan. 27, 28 and 29; and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony conductor Edwin Outwater guiding the company on Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1, March 9, 10 and 11.

In addition to perennial hits like Carmen and Madama Butterfly, the Sarasota Opera gives us two masterworks never before performed on the Opera House stage: Verdi’s powerful Otello, featuring Rafael Davila and Maria D’Amato as the doomed Moor and his loving Desdemona (March 3-25) and Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Vanessa, with a libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti and starring Kara Shay Thomson (who provided a memorable Tosca here a couple of seasons ago) as the deluded Vanessa, who believes her lover has returned to her after 20 years (March 10-24).

Feb. 15 Diana KrallThe venerable Sarasota Concert Association begins its 67th season Jan. 9 by teaming Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and world-renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman, who’s serving as principal guest conductor. At the Van Wezel.

The Perlman Music Program’s Sarasota winter residency once more brings some of the world’s most gifted young musicians to town, with more than 20 free events, open to the public Dec. 24 through Jan. 7.

And fans of new, cutting-edge music will mark their calendars for New Music New College’s Crossroads Festival—now officially called the Meeting of the Minds Festival—which features a special appearance by jazz legend Sam Rivers and jazz ensemble Fluid Motion. There’s also a free panel discussion with Rivers, writer bell hooks and NMNC director Stephen Miles on March 3.

Nov. 5 LIGHTNIN’ MALCOLM, SARASOTA BLUES FESTAmong the musical stars brightening the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall’s season are Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Audra McDonald (Carousel, Ragtime), Nov. 6; sultry songstress Diana Krall (Feb. 15); and that bossa nova legend, Sergio Mendes (with special guest Jon Secada), April 15. And keep in mind a trifecta of other music festivals: the Sarasota Blues Fest starring Los Lobos, Nov. 5; La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, April 5-18; and the Sarasota Jazz Festival, March 4-10.

Malcolm RobertsonBACK-STAGE STORY

VISUAL ARTS

Sculpting a Vision

Noted sculptor Malcolm Robertson picks his favorites from the new Sarasota Season of Sculpture.

Being part of the exhibition [in two past seasons] was a great thrill. Having worked as a full-time professional sculptor for more than 30 years creating site-specific artworks, it was particularly exciting to have the opportunity to create sculpture, that, for me, had a strong and meaningful connection with the area and its people. [Robertson, a native Scotsman, spends part of each year in Sarasota.] I’m pleased that both Wave sculptures that I created are now in local ownership.

Ohed by Bret PriceThree of this season’s works have an instant appeal to me. One is Ohed by Bret Price, which I like for its lyrical and playful simplicity and for using common materials in a creative way. I’m a big fan of Albert Paley’s work, and his Portal is a fascinating and challenging piece that always commands a second and closer look in order to admire the quality of construction. Paley always seems to have the knack of turning a “what if’ into a ‘how about that!” It’s great to see what can happen when you set your heart and mind on realizing your vision. Squirt by John Clement is another fun piece because of the way a simple and bold idea can just sit there challenging us and amusing us at the same time.

The value of public art for me is measured by the extent the public is part of the conceptual and creative process. Public art is not simply about placing a piece of art in a public place; it’s more about a process. For public art to be successful it must connect with the community, express both the vision of the artist and commissioner and have a creative legitimacy that is able to stand the test of time. It’s all about context.

The Sarasota bayfront is a wonderful backdrop to display sculpture. Pedestrians can get up close and enjoy the work firsthand, while drivers in their cars can benefit from an ever-changing kinetic experience as they observe the artworks changing profiles and textures (with one eye on the road, of course).

This year’s Sarasota Season of Sculpture opens Nov. 11 and continues through May 15. For more information go to sarasotaseasonofsculpture.org.

 

Saint CatherinebyPeter Paul RubensMore VISUAL ARTS Highlights

We’re used to seeing the sweep of Peter Paul Rubens’ massive paintings at the Ringling Museum, but an exhibition there Feb. 18 through June 3—Peter Paul Rubens: Impressions of a Master—adds to the legend by featuring more than 75 engravings after compositions by the master. They’re drawn from the collection of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen in Rubens’ home city of Antwerp as well as the Ringling’s own holdings. The prints will be displayed alongside several important Rubens paintings from the Ringling collection

The museum heads east for an exhibition later in the year, with Deco Japan: Shaping Modern Culture 1920-1945, highlighting nearly 200 works from the Levenson collection—the world’s premier collection of Japanese art in the Deco style. Everything from ceramics to wood furniture to jewelry to textiles will be on display, July 14-Sept. 30

Luxury Yacht SeafairThe new SkySpace by James Turrell will make the most of Florida’s ever-changing light and weather as viewers are drawn into seeing the sky through an oculus in the museum courtyard. A Greet the Light solstice celebration is planned for 8 p.m. to midnight Dec. 22.

Snowstorm by J.M.W. TurnerYou can appreciate the landscape artistry of none other than J.M.W. Turner with a show at Selby Gallery Feb. 24 through March 28. What will be on view: artist proofs with Turner’s instructions written in the margins for published engravings of the Loire Valley and Seine Valley, and bound books from the series. Genius Unfolding—Annotated Proofs is part of the collection of Douglass Graem, founder of the Turner Museum in Denver and now a Sarasota resident.

 

Feb. 10-26   Bello NockBACK-STAGE STORY

The One and Only

Circus historian Deborah Walk on daredevil clown Bello Nock.

Known as The World’s One and Only Comic Daredevil, Bello Nock has delighted audiences all over the world with his comedy and daredevil stunts. A seventh-generation circus performer, Bello was born and raised in Sarasota. His family, the Swiss Stratosphere Specialists, came to America in 1954 to perform with the Ringling circus.

Early in his career, Bello performed with Mexico’s Circo Atayde and the Big Apple Circus. In 2008, he starred in the Ringling show Bellobration, becoming the first person in the history of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show to have a production named after him.

Deborah WalkEven when he’s dressed in a flashy tuxedo, bowtie, white gloves and spats, Bello’s trademark remains his 12-inch-tall red hair (yes, it is his—not a wig). Always looking for what has never been done before, whether on the wire, trampoline, sway pole or wheel of death, Bello walked a 403-foot cable suspended 160 feet above a cruise liner while at sea in 2010. The Guinness World Records awarded him the Longest Tightrope Walk Unsupported (not on land).

What makes Bello so unique? Bev Kelly, press agent for Ringling, once asked John Ringling what made a circus star different from other skilled performers of the Big Top. Ringling responded with one word: “fire—the rare and elusive magic that puts bubbles in the blood of an audience. Fire.” Bello Nock’s blend of comedy and daring electrifies the performance arena, and as he has said, “No audience member should need more than the edge of his seat.”

Bello has been honored with many awards. Time magazine once named him “America’s Best Clown.” In 2011, he won the prestigious Golden Clown award at the International Monte Carlo Circus Festival. Now you can see him headline this season’s Circus Sarasota, Feb. 10-26.

Deborah Walk is circus historian and Tibbals curator of the Circus Museum at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University.

Feb. 23-26 RINGLING IN BLOOMMore Highlights

Besides the annual Circus Sarasota extravaganza (which takes place Feb. 10-26 and also features the Shandong Chinese Troupe, hand balancer Encho Keryazov, Heidi Herriott’s horse act, the Muttville Comix, aerialists Dolly Jacobs and Yuri Rijkov and ringmaster Todd Robbins), the circus is again teaming with Key Chorale for Cirque des Voix, Jan.13-15. The music/circus mix was a big hit in last year’s inaugural event.

Comedienne, actress and frequent awards show host Whoopi Goldberg provides standup comedy laughs Jan. 14 at the Van Wezel, and Lily Tomlin does the same March 1, also at the Van Wezel.

Former First Lady Laura BushFormer First Lady Laura Bush kicks off 2012’s Ringling College Library Association Town Hall series, Jan. 11 at the Van Wezel (chances are she’ll chat about issues including literacy and women’s health); controversial cable news show host Bill O’Reilly, also on the schedule, speaks March 21.

Film buffs have two festivals: The Sarasota Film Society’s Cine-World Festival runs Nov. 11-20 at downtown’s Burns Court Cinemas and features 50 international films of note, while the 14th annual Sarasota Film Festival brings in the shows and the stars April 13-22.

JAN. 14 WHOOPI GOLDBERGRingling in Bloom, highlighting floral art and fresh floral arrangements from area designers, plus lectures, workshops and a luncheon, returns, Feb. 23-26 on the Ringling Museum grounds.

 

CALLING ALL KIDS OUR FIVE FAVORITES FOR THE CHILD IN US ALL.

If you like penguins (and who doesn’t?), Mote Marine’s Penguin Island exhibit, opening Nov. 1 and featuring the endangered black-footed variety, is a must. You’ll be both entertained and educated. A Penguin Party Nov. 5 at the aquarium includes games, craft and entertainment. (941) 388-4441.

Fairy tales come to life once more—with some unexpected consequences—when Booker High’s talented performing arts students present Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical Into the Woods, Dec. 7-10 in the school’s theater. (941) 355-2967.

Fans of the Shrek movies will delight in the Sarasota premiere of Shrek, the Musical, at the Van Wezel Dec. 14 and 15. This fractured fairy tale features that great green ogre, plus Princess Fiona, the talkative Donkey, and 19 all-new songs, just in time for the holidays. (941) 953-3368.

Katrin Sif/katrin.dohop.comThe ancient arts of Chinese acrobatics never seem old, especially when the world-famous Golden Dragon Acrobats bring their blend of traditional dance, stirring music, colorful costumes and unbelievable, gravity-defying physical skills to the Van Wezel, Jan. 15. (941) 953-3368.

Venice Theatre’s Generations: Theater for All Ages stages the classic children’s tale The Phantom Tollbooth, May 17-27. Bored young Milo mysteriously receives the gift of a tollbooth, through which he drives his toy car to discover the pun-filled Kingdom of Wisdom. (941) 488-1115.

 

 

STAR CHART

Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman

Legendary violinist debuted on the Ed Sullivan show in 1958 at 13. Plays a 1714 Soil Stradivarius that was Yehudi Menuhin’s. Here with Perlman Music Program Suncoast, Dec. 24-Jan. 7.

Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly

Controversial, combative cable TV host; outlines ultra-conservative views in nine books. Stephen Colbert calls him “Papa Bear.” At Town Hall March 21.

Kathleen Kim

Kathleen Kim

Korean-American soprano (“a tiny dynamo”), played Chiang Ch’ing in the Met’s Nixon in China; sings the mad Lucia in Sarasota Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Feb. 18 through March 23.

Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell

Superstar violinist (started at four), Grammy winner, great charisma and charm. Van Wezel, Feb. 2.

Patti LuPone

Patti LuPone

Tony Award-winning Broadway mega-star, original Evita, also Norma Desmond, Mama Rose, etc. Good buds with Mandy Patinkin since starring together in Evita; performs with him Feb. 14 at Van Wezel.

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

Master of New German Cinema, “the most important film director alive,” according to Francois Truffaut. Works occasionally with Ringling College students; may be glimpsed on campus.

J.M.W. Turner

J.M.W. Turner

19th-century master and “painter of light.” Last words: “The sun is God.” Exhibition of printers’ proofs at Selby Gallery Feb. 24-March 8.

Tommy Tune

Tommy Tune

Towering (6 feet, 7 inches) nine-time Tony winner appears in his own Broadway story, Steps in Time. Van Wezel, March 14.

De’zhon Fields

De’zhon Fields

Singer/dancer known for Sammy Davis Jr. tribute shows; works with troubled L.A. youth. Stars in Sammy Tonight! at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, March 9-April 11.

Johan Kobborg

Johan Kobborg

Danish-born dancer with the Royal Ballet of London; has also performed with Sarasota Ballet, which presents its first performance of his original choreography with Salute, Jan. 27-29 at FSU Center.

Mandy Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin

Broadway, TV, movie star (The Princess Bride). Often sings in Yiddish, too. With friend Patti LuPone at Van Wezel on Valentine’s Day.

Andrea Prestinario

Andrea Prestinario

Playing Eliza in the Asolo Rep’s My Fair Lady; started professional career at 11 in Joseph…Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond. Won Chicago’s coveted Jeff Award for her performance in Side Show.










Limelight People & Parties

Limelight People & Parties

Limelight Gallery 1 Limelight Gallery 2 Limelight Gallery 3 Limelight Gallery 4