+ Sister act steals The spotlight
Lakewood Ranch High School students Sophia and Marina Masterson earn above-average grades and are completely immersed in the area’s arts organizations.
Their parents, Peter and Teresa Masterson, hear a recurring argument between 15-year-old Sophia, who says, “It’s harder to be a singer,” and 17-year-old Marina who says, “No, it’s harder to be a dancer.”
In November, Sophia played Flip, the lead villain, in Sarasota Youth Opera’s “Little Nemo in Slumberland.” She also plays the French horn, is on the track team and is currently rehearsing for Lakewood Ranch High School’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
“Opera takes a lot of training to strengthen your voice,” Sophia says. She looks at her sister: “It does tie into dance a little bit.” Despite the argument, the sisters respect and support each other.
Marina dances with Sarasota Ballet School, plays clarinet and is a varsity cheerleader at Lakewood Ranch High School. She saw an article seeking dancers for the Sarasota Opera’s production of “The Pearl Fishers,” auditioned and will now be performing on the same stage as her sister recently did.
“You have to give respect to the singers because, without them, we wouldn’t have anything to dance to,” Marina says. She explains that when she and her sister argue, it’s more of a joke. To prove her point, she says, “Dance is obviously more difficult.” Both sisters giggle.
Sophia and Marina’s older siblings, Cole and Bianca, who are in college now, were involved in the arts, too. And their youngest sister, Gina, is 11 years old and is following in Marina’s footsteps. The whole family sat in the audience to watch Gina perform in Sarasota Ballet’s “The John Ringling Nutcracker.” The family frequently attends area theaters to see ballet, opera and orchestra programs.
“We have so many opportunities living where we do,” Marina says. “There’s so much offered to us, and we’re lucky to live in such a well-rounded area.”
+ Trailer Park hosts family reunion
For the third year, Venice Theatre will host “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.” In 2011, its first year playing at Venice Theatre, it sold out, and, as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The hilarious musical is full of repeat cast performances offering scenes of spray cheese, road kill, strippers and pregnancy.
Actor Travis Rodgers is preforming for a second year. Actress Danae DeShazer played Lin in her debut last year; she’ll play Pippi this go-around. Stage Manager Linda Kochmit is in her second year, as is Melanie Souza and Laura Priscilla Hoffman. Kelly Woodland is directing for a third year and might as well move into the trailer they use as a set.
But, there are plenty of virgin performers in this year’s production, as well, including actor Steve O’Dea; Assistant Director Lisa Figueroa; actress Liz Pascoe; and Music Director Peter Madpak.
“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” kicks off at 8 p.m. Feb. 6 and runs through March 9, in the Pinkerton theater, 140 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. Tickets are $25 to $28. Call 488-1115 for more information.
+ Plan ahead for Valentine’s Day
Listen up, men! Instead of buying flowers on Valentine’s Day, like you do every year, take your special someone out for a night on the town.
Three-time Grammy Award-winner Jon Secada is playing a concert, called “Return to Romance,” and it’s sure to be a luxurious evening. Cuddle in comfortable seating with plush red-and-white pillows and a view of the bay, at the Powel Crosley Mansion. Throw in Secada’s sultry tenor and it’s sure to make her swoon.
Tickets are $140 to $160 and feature food selections, drinks and a rose for your lady. Call 888-695-0888 for more information.
‘Steppin’ Out Live with Ben Vereen’: Tony Award-winning, one-man act Ben Vereen comes to Venice Theatre for three shows. He will takes the stage for a night of entertainment and stories. The singing, dancing, acting man, known for his roles in “Pippin,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Wicked,” performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, and at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday Feb. 9, at Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave., Venice. Tickets are $59. Call 488-1115 for more information.
Sarasota Pops Orchestra: Moody Blues is a household name in rock. Fortunately for Sarasota, the band’s drummer, Graeme Edge, is guest conducting Sarasota Pops Orchestra Sunday, Feb. 10, at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.
Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 926-7677 for more information.
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19 Towles Court Art Walk
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20 NATE NAJAR'S JAZZ HOLIDAY
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Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
River Club’s Cheryl Kaufman says she’s still pinching herself.
A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.