This Season in the Arts
Performing arts season is about to reignite here in Sarasota and I cannot wait for what is to come in the next few months! There are so many of my favorites coming to our theaters here; I will certainly be getting some tickets. Take a look at some of the best selections from Sarasota’s main stages in the 2019-2020 season:
An Array at the Asolo Rep
The Sound of Music
An absolute classic, The Sound of Music will run from November 13 through December 28. This timeless story of the Von Trapp family features some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best-known music of all time set in the tumultuous time of the Nazi invasion of Austria. If you thought Julie Andrews brought this to life in film, it is time you saw it on stage.
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express
Coming to stage from film (x4) and the original novel this winter is Murder on the Orient Express, an adaptation of the 1934 Agatha Christie novel. The story follows Detective Poirot as he puzzles through a murder case that to a tycoon en route to London via train, and everyone on board has an alibi. This one promises to be both humorous and glamorous, with suspense to spare.
The Lifespan of a Fact
2018’s Broadway hit comes to Sarasota in The Lifespan on a Fact. In an age where the spectrum of truth inside a fact is debated on television screens every day comes this contemporary and relevant show. A magazine is struggling to survive hires a fact-checker to work with one of their best writers. The collaboration could mean a new start for the magazine - or curtains - depending on how “truth” and “accuracy” are interpreted by both writer and fact-checker.
The Players Centre Performances
This month, the Players Centre for the Performing Arts is hosting two spooky specials: Halloween favorite The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will be performed at the Polo Grounds for one day only as part of the Harvest Festival on October 19. Also this month, the Players opens its extremely haunted theater for a scary late-night tour on Halloween night. Don’t miss this festive fun!
This December, the role perfected by the likes of Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler comes to the Players as Hello, Dolly! returns to Sarasota. A matchmaker sets to work in New York City and has a day of run-ins with some small town gentlemen of Yonkers. Full of fun tunes and Dolly’s hilarious wit, this is a fun show for all ages.
From screen to stage must be the theme of our theaters this season, because here is another one. Whoopie Goldberg made this role famous, as lounge singe Delores Van Cartier enters witness protection in a nunnery. Sister Act might be her best act yet, as she embarks on rehabbing the nuns’ choir to revitalize their humble church. A lounge singer from Sin City + a whole new set of “habits” = hilarity.
Van Wezel’s Wealth of Shows
Book of Mormon
Relatively new musical from 2011 , Book of Mormon is a satirical and uplifting comedy following two Latter-Day Saints missionaries as they work to spread the Good Word to the natives in a remote Ugandan village. After its opening, Book of Mormon received 9 Tony awards and has gone on to become one of the newest musical classics of our time.
The beloved Broadway adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables will be marching into Sarasota for one week in February. A man seeks to restore his honor after serving - and escaping - prison while his captor ceaselessly searches for him in the midst of the French revolution. In my opinion, the movie version does not have the impact that the stage version has so it’s worthwhile to see this one live!
World-famous violinist Itzhak Perlman will be performing at Van Wezel on March 21. This Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner puts on a beautiful show, with both unparalleled beautiful music as well as a marked joy for his craft and love for performance. A must if you are a fan and have not experienced watching this living legend perform.
Master trumpeter and composer Chris Botti will be stopping by our town on April 19. In addition to an innumerable host of accolades and notable duets with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma & Paul Simon, Chris Botti’s music is extremely accessible. If you have not heard his music, I suggest you put it on in the background of your next dinner with friends or family; it’s the perfect complement to a sophisticated or quiet evening.
Stay tuned later in the season for focus on the smaller stages of our arts & cultural scene here in Sarasota. We have so much to offer in performing arts and the 19-20 season promises to continue the tradition of stellar performances across the board.