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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 7 years ago

A&E Season in Picks

by: Mallory Gnaegy A&E Editor

R. Luke Dubois “Now”
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Thursdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) Jan. 31 through May 4
Where: The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Cost: Admission is $25
Info: Call 359-5700 or visit

Curator Matthew McLendon told me about R. Luke DuBois in June — he was excited then, and that was before it turned into the most ambitious undertaking The Ringling will have achieved in contemporary art in the museum’s history. Plus, it will be the first exhibition ever devoted to an overview of the New York-based, genre-bending artist’s work. He composes music, produces video, makes large-scale installations, creates prints, showcases alternative forms of portraiture and hosts a variety of other works in all forms and disciplines. Plus, he has a heavy focus on collaborative performance — it’ll be something we’ve never seen. To coincide with the exhibit, there will also be a variety of performances by artists with whom he likes to work.

Sarasota Opera’s “Barber of Seville”
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.
Where: Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Cost: Tickets $19 to $120
Info: Call 328-1300 or visit

I can probably go without mentioning that you should see any Giuseppe Verdi production at Sarasota Opera, considering our fantastic company is in the final years of playing every one of his published notes — this season it’s “Jerusalem” and “Il Trovatore.” But, my favorite pick this season is “Barber of Seville.” You know at least a little of it. Gioachino Rossini wrote one of the most familiar operatic tunes in the world that would be reproduced in popular culture from everything from the Looney Tunes to “Mrs. Doubtfire.” You’ve heard  “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro” and “la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la”— but that isn’t the only thing going for this opera. It’s only two acts, it’s a comedy and it’s of the most beloved operas in the world. So much so, that Figaro stars in two other operas. He’s a barber who goes way beyond a shave and a haircut to help two people fall in love — of course, there’s a lot more drama involved. “The Barber of Seville” is great for both opera beginners and veterans. If you’re still unsure, just trust me — I love it, and I’m in my 20s!

Sarasota Orchestra’s Masterworks: Homage
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20; 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Cost: Tickets $30 to $84
Info: Call 953-3434 or visit

It’s pretty rare you’ll see a female music director at a big-league orchestra or, really, any classical-music group anywhere in the world. But, it’s not only Anu Tali’s crash through the glass ceiling that makes her special. She’s extremely talented, which is apparent in how she leads the orchestra to play music you don’t just listen to but also feel like you’re a part of. It’s the kind of depth and excitement you have to experience for yourself. And, for the upcoming program, the soloist in this program’s Mozart concerto, violinist Ray Chen, is supposed to be just as electric. If you haven’t jumped on the Tali bandwagon yet, this would be a great performance to attend.

Sailor Circus 65th anniversary Show
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27. Runs through April 6
Where: Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St.
Cost: Tickets are $12, children; $16, adults
Info: Call 355-9335

Its members might look young, but Sailor Circus is turning 65 this spring! To commemorate, the talented children will perform their circus acts in tribute to veterans and their families in a 65th anniversary production. They’ll juggle, balance, walk the tight rope, fly the trapeze and flip and twirl in partnership with the Legacy of Valor project. Sailor Circus always charms in an inspiring way that makes you want to be a kid again.

“Antigone” by Jean Anouilh
When: Opens 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 and runs through April 27
Where: FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Cost: Tickets $28 to $29
Info: Call 351-8000 or visit

Even though it’s comedy at which this particular class of second-year students seems to excel, this is the last performance to see all 10 FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training students in one place. And, even if it’s a tragedy that examines the price of human happiness and looks at the risks involved when taking a stand against “the man” — it’ll push these students to showcase the full extent of their abilities. They’ve impressed audiences all season, and it’ll be nice to see them do the same with the retelling of a classic Greek tragedy.

Vijay Iyer presents his Greenfield Prize Commission
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 10
Where: Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Cost: Tickets $40
Call: Call 366-8450 or visit

Vijay Iyer is a genius. So says the MacArthur Fellows Program of 2013 that awarded the composer-pianist one of its 24 genius grants. He was previously awarded the Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, which is a $30,000 prize in the form of a commission for a piece he had two years to write. He wrote it specifically for wind quintet Imani Winds and pianist Cory Smythe. It’s a piece called “Turbulence” that pays tribute to the Gulf Coast. The performance will be in collaboration with La Musica Chamber Music Festival, which means you’ll also be able to sit in on a rehearsal or attend a “Meet the Composer” lecture, too. He’s stirred up quite the publicity this year, and if you’re a chamber-music fan — this is a do-not miss.

Sarasota Ballet’s Sir Frederick Ashton Festival
When: Noon Wednesday, April 30. Runs through Saturday, May 3
Where: Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Cost:  Performance subscription costs $80 to $324
Info: Call 359-0099, Ext. 101, or visit

Sarasota Ballet is the word — so says The New York Times and The Washington Post in acclaimed critiques. And I agree! Sarasota Ballet’s loyalty to Ashton and the repertoire it has brought to our company is turning heads our way. A four-day festival with more than 11 works will pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of the choreographer’s death. It’ll include “Les Patineurs,” the piece critics triumphed in June at The Kennedy Center’s “Ballet Across America III” performance, and other favorites, such as park-based “Les Rendezvous” and the playful and comedic “Façade.”

The Players’ “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20 and runs through March 30
Where: The Players, 838 N. Tamiami Trail
Cost: Tickets $25
Info: Call 365-2494 or visit

Who wouldn’t love a plot centered on two competitive con men who make their living off scheming rich ladies? Add some show tunes and it’s sure to be an entertaining evening. Michael Newton-Brown, the man responsible for last season’s successful “Sunset Boulevard,” directs. That means it’ll be imaginative, have beautiful sets and a whole lotta heart.

Asolo Repertory Theatre’s “Grapes of Wrath”
When: Opens 8 p.m. Friday, March 14 and runs through April 19
Where: Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Cost: Tickets $21 to $73
Info: Call 361-8388 or visit

The local director and adapter Frank Galati won two Tony Awards in 1990 for his adaptation and direction of “The Grapes of Wrath,” which was a book that won a Pulitzer Prize in its time. You can’t go wrong with two Tony’s and a Pulitzer, right?  Asolo’s producing artistic director, Michael Donald Edwards, will direct the production. It’s about social justice and passion following the Joad family as they lose their farm and head west for better opportunity, yet find the Great Depression instead.

Voices of the Holocaust
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 28
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Cost: Tickets $25 to $70
Info: Call 953-3368 or visit

Well, I might be a little biased with this pick considering I sing in Gloria Musicae. But, even if I didn’t, this pick would be on my list. First of all, it’s at Van Wezel, which means I’m not the only one who thinks it will be something special — there’s going to be a big crowd. But, more importantly, you’ll see Sarasota Jewish Chorale, Sarasota Young Voices, Booker High music and dance programs, Sarasota-Manatee Dance Alliance and The Chroma Quartet all in one spot. Now, The Chroma Quartet alone is a group to keep your eye on in 2014 — these guys (and gal) have something special. This multimedia-dance-voice-and-string collaboration is sure to be moving because it’s about facing adversity.

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