Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 09.16.10

Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ Parents: It’s time to let your children act out
Florida Studio Theatre has added a new youth program to its already stellar lineup of performing-arts workshops for kids.

Under the helm of FST Education Director Beth Duda, The Middle School Classics will be devoted to writing and performing scenes in short plays.

“The theater training our students receive benefits them in building confidence, poise and enhancing their artistic expression,” says Duda.

Eight years ago, Sarasota actor Austin Abrams’ parents enrolled him in FST’s youth acting classes to help him break out of his shell.

Now the shy teenager, who last year filmed a lead role in the Cuba Gooding Jr. movie “Ticking Clock,” is represented by the Agency for the Performing Arts, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Below: Austin Abrams discovered his love of acting at FST. 

Head to Ringling to catch an odd exhibition treat
For a month now, artist Yinka Shonibare’s headless mannequins have been on display at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Regarded as a reinterpretation of 18th- and 19th-century European paintings, Shonibare’s “Mother and Father Worked Hard So I Can Play,” is an exhibit of headless dummies dressed in Victorian costumes crafted from contemporary Dutch fabrics that are sold in Africa.

The exhibit is a juxtaposition of history and the misleading realities of post-modern life. It’s up through Oct. 24.

Check it out and see for yourself.

Below: Yinka Shonibare’s life-sized “Boy with Marionette”

+ VW announces a season of Sarasota premieres
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall announced its 2010-2011 lineup last week. The list includes a whopping six Sarasota premieres, starting with “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”

The ditzy-blonde-done-wrong-film-turned-musical enjoyed critical success during its 2007-2008 run on Broadway. The production kicks off its second national tour Sept. 21 in Jackson, Miss., with actress Nikki Bohne as Elle Woods. It hits the Sarasota stage Nov. 7.

Other local premieres include Cirque Dreams’ “Holidaze” (Dec. 14 and Dec. 15), “The Color Purple” (Jan. 13 and Jan. 14), Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (Feb. 7 to Feb. 9), “Spring Awakening” (March 20) and Monty Python’s “Spamalot” (April 20 and April 21).

Single tickets went on sale Sept. 12. Get yours now at

Below: “Legally Blonde: The Musical” is based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

+ Correction: Tea & Tarot
In last week’s issue, we incorrectly stated that Avananda Csiszar’s Tea & Tarot sessions were free.
Tea & Tarot, which is held every other Thursday at Local Coffee + Tea on Siesta Key, costs $10 per session.

+ Hot tickets
Sarasota Senior Theater’s ‘Three For the Money’: The tireless members of Sarasota Senior Theater continue to please audiences with popular plays that pack humor, poignancy and panache. The troupe will present its annual main stage show, “Three for the Money,” Sept. 24 to Oct. 2, at Florida Studio Theatre. The triple bill includes abridged versions of “The Matchmaker” and “Auntie Mame,” plus an original work titled “The Day They Kidnapped Blanche.” For more information, call 351-5106 or visit


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