Scene & Heard


Scene & Heard


Date: November 30, 2011
by: Heidi Kurpiela | A&E Editor



+ Sarasota cops keep drama all in the family
After playing the part of a cop for 26 years, Linda DeNiro is ready to slip into something a little more glamorous.

The longtime city of Sarasota police officer will don a frou-frou period dress this month for her role in the Venice Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”

DeNiro is the only member of her family who hasn’t performed on the Venice Theatre stage.

In July, her police officer husband, Phil, made his acting debut in “Jesus Christ Superstar” alongside their two children, Teri and Tony. He followed up the performance by playing the father to his son’s Huck Finn in “Big River.”

Now he’ll appropriately play Mr. Fezziwig to his wife’s Mrs. Fezziwig.

The characters appear in a lively Christmas party scene during Scrooge’s journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past. If you catch the show, which runs Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, at the Venice Theatre, you’ll see the entire DeNiro family singing and dancing around a Christmas tree.

“I’m dipping my toe in the water to see how it feels,” DeNiro says. “My son is leaving for college next year, so this might be the only chance we’ll have for all four of us to do this together.”

+ Art Center Sarasota has good taste in ‘Material’
Kudos to the five artists who placed at the top of Art Center Sarasota’s juried “Material World” exhibition.
Co-juried by Brian Haverlock and Tom Stephens, the show drew an eclectic selection of entries from artists all over the area.

If none of these names rings a bell, you should make an effort to seek out their work: Jo Proietti, Janice Ketley, Gary Gorman, Marianthe Pastore and Pat Kaufman.

Their entries are up now through Dec. 31 in the lobby at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune building in downtown Sarasota.

+ Moving Ethos revels in its awkward phase
Moving Ethos is reprising its popular art-meets-dance-meets-quirky social statement this month at Art Center Sarasota.

“The Ability to Talk Socially With Others … Or Lack Thereof” premiered in October to rave reviews at Holley Hall in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center.

The work, which was choreographed by company directors Courtney Smith and Leah Verier-Dunn, is meant to represent the communication foibles and breakthroughs we experience on an everyday basis.
Inspired by an actual “how-to” conversation manual that exists on the Internet, the hour-long performance includes a mixed bag of banter-gone-bad, nasty gossip and funny miscommunications.

In addition to Smith and Verier-Dunn, the piece features dancers Claudia Rightmire, Keely Sullivan Henry and Jennifer Maecker.

The contemporary dance troupe — now in its fifth year — is also collaborating with local abstract expressionist and former gymnastics coach Beverly A. Smith.

If you’ve ever met the outspoken Smith, you know she doesn’t mince words. Her involvement can only add to the experience. Trust me.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, at Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail. For more information, call 312-1693 or visit

+ ‘Butterfly’ nets record sales at Sarasota Opera
Sarasota Opera played it safe this year by picking “Madama Butterfly” for its fall repertoire.
Sure, it was a mainstream choice, but in tough economic times, you’d do the same thing.
The three-act romantic melodrama is one of Puccini’s most beloved operas. After running for six performances, it closed Nov. 15, after having grossed more than $500,000 in ticket sales, making it the best-selling fall production since the organization launched its pre-season opera series in 2008.
Well done, Sarasota Opera. Here’s hoping your shows continue to give us butterflies as the season continues.

‘RAIN ­­­­— A Tribute to The Beatles’: Now is your chance to re-enact that famous 1960s Beatlemania footage. RAIN is the closest you’ll probably ever get to hearing the famous foursome. They’ve mastered it all — the early bubble gum pop to the psychedelic rock. They’re playing at 8 p.m. Dec. 6, at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Hey, if you sit in the nosebleed seats, you might think you’re watching the real deal. For tickets, call 953-3368 or visit

‘Next to Normal’: This Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical about a mother with bipolar disorder was nominated for 11 Tony Awards when it opened on Broadway two years ago. Directed by Richard Hopkins, the show stars Stacia Fernandez, Mike Backes, Leo Daignault, Ashley Picciallo, James LaRosa and Scott Guthrie. It runs though Jan. 7, at Florida Studio Theatre. For tickets, call 366-9000 or visit


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