+ Observer gets a new boss
It’s all smiles when your new boss turns out to be an invisible rabbit named Harvey! On Tuesday, March 9, The Players Theatre Director Linda MacCluggage led the invisible rabbit to the Observer’s Main Street office, City Hall and a few other locations as a promotion for the upcoming comedy drama, “Harvey.” The play is about a man named Elwood P. Dowd, who befriends an invisible rabbit. Naturally his new friend makes his family question his sanity.
The play opens Thursday, March 28, at The Players Theatre and runs through April 7. If you go, be sure to lookout for the Business Observer’s web editor, Amanda Heisey, who plays Nurse Kelly (pictured at bottom left in the photo above).
+ John Olenick becomes king for a day
On March 1, John Olenick celebrated his 100th birthday. His wife cooked for him, which he enjoyed — pierogies are his favorite. And, the staff at the Sarasota Opera House, where he is the assistant house manager and has been volunteering for the past 25 years, gave him a special present.
Executive Director Richard Russell came onstage to make the curtain speech before “King for A Day,” in celebration of Olenick’s birthday. Olenick waved from what has become known as his “corner” in the back right of the Opera House, where he sits for every opera performance. The entire audience gave him a standing ovation. Following the production, the entire company sang “Happy Birthday” and celebrated his day with two birthday cakes.
“It feels pretty good that you’re still alive!” he says of the milestone.
+ Come to their cabarets
Georgia Court was honored Saturday, March 9, at Florida Studio Theatre for her patronage and donation, which made the new John C. Court Cabaret and “Georgia’s Johns” restrooms possible. A full audience sat in the new seats of the new Cabaret, which, because of Court’s donation, allowed subscriptions to go up by 2,000. And thanks to Court, there will no longer be “long lines and woefully inadequate space (in the bathroom),” says Jennifer Saslaw, on the board of trustees.
Richard and Rebecca Hopkins, along with Saslaw, spoke about what her donation means to the theater; the cast of “By Gershwin” performed “Our Love is Here to Stay”; and Kate Alexander gave a toast all in honor of Georgia Court.
+ Jack Perkins gets transcendental
Retired TV newsman Jack Perkins opted to end his career at its height after 35 years. He and his wife moved to a desolate island in Maine and lived using solar panels and a wood stove, away from all humanity. He wasn’t expecting to have a religious epiphany, but it changed his life forever.
He gave Diversions an exclusive video interview about his new book, “Finding Moosewood Finding God.”
‘Always Something New’: Fuzión Dance Artists presents its seventh season dance concert at 8 p.m. Friday, March 15 at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. This show runs through Sunday, March 17. Tickets are $30. Call 359-0099 for more information.
Lazy Fairy Improv: This comedy improv troupe performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets are $12. Call 365-2494.
Sarasota is arguably the cultural capital of Florida. The arts thrive here, and it’s because of one group of people — the supporters.
For the rest of the season, The Observer is producing a weekly online video series spotlighting patrons’ stories and their effect on the arts. Visit YourObserver.com/Content/Patron-Saints-378 to watch the Gardiners’ story involving WBTT.
First in this series, take Longboaters Michael and Karen Gardiner. They went to a Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) show four-and-a-half years ago because the Motown theme attracted Michael Gardiner’s attention. The man, who had retired from marketing for Hertz Rent-a-Car, noticed WBTT’s advertising was a little less than par. He offered his assistance to founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. Watch the video for the full scoop.
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23 Sarasota Mandolin Orchestra
23 A Wink and a Smile
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