Say hello to 2018 with our most anticipated events of the new year.
Every new year brings a bit of nostalgia and a bit of excitement with it, but this year Sarasotans have a great deal to look forward to on the arts and entertainment scene. From a craft beer and music festival to a captivating opera about the trials and tribulations of love at first sight, there’s something for everyone in 2018.
Festival of Dance from the African Diaspora
When: 10 a.m. Feb. 24 through Feb. 25
Where: Sarasota Contemporary Dance Home Studio, 1400 Boulevard of the Arts
Tickets: $15 to $35
Info: Call (201) 694-9799.
Youth Artist Network will host its first large-scale event in the form of a celebration of the rich, cultural tradition of African music and movement — all with the help of Sarasota Contemporary Dance. This two-day dance festival features classes in a variety of styles from West African and rumba to Afro contemporary and Caribbean — with both child-only and adult-only classes — along with a lecture titled “Conversations on Black Movement.”
When: 2 p.m. Feb. 10
Where: Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd.
Tickets: Music festival only $20; Music plus admission to Pros vs Joes Competition $40
Info: Call 955-2739.
For four years, J Dub’s Brewing Co. has been a go-to watering hole for beer lovers of all (legal) ages. From movie nights to its weekly 5K, this brewery and taproom truly has something for everyone, and its anniversary celebration is no exception. J Dub’s is celebrating four years of brewing with a craft beer and music festival headlined by nationally acclaimed Less Than Jake, a ska punk band from Gainesville. The music will run throughout the day and evening across two stages and feature bands ranging in style from a Grateful Dead cover band, Ship of Fools, to the 1980s hit-oriented The Spazmatics. From 2-5 p.m., guests can sip craft brews from all over the state and country, as well as vote for their favorite in the “Pros vs. Joes” competition between home brewers and brick and mortar breweries.
When: Feb. 10 through March 23
Where: Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Tickets: $19 to $139
Info: Call 328-1300.
The French know a thing or two about romance, so it’s no wonder composer Giacomo Puccini set his iconic opera in the city of light (though he’s from another romantic land, Italy). This four-act opera is based on the 1731 novel “L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut” by the Abbé Prévost. The story begins when Cavalier Des Grieux falls in love at first sight with the enchanting Manon Lescaut. He falls so hard, in fact, that he prevents her from entering the convent as her father had planned. They flee to Paris and everything is new and thrilling until Des Grieux’s money runs out and Manon leaves him for a wealthy man who had planned to steal her away all along. Yet despite the jewels and parties, Manon’s love for Des Grieux is everlasting, and they can’t stay apart. But when they reunite, trouble ensues — hang onto your seat.
‘Women Laughing Alone with Salad’
When: April 6 through May 13 (extended)
Where: Urbanite Theatre, 1487 Second St.
Tickets: $29; Under 40 $20; Student
Info: Call 321-1397.
Feminists rejoice, because award-winning playwright Sheila Callaghan’s rule-shattering play that tears apart our image-obsessed culture is coming to Urbanite. This raw, cheeky comedy about the unreasonable expectations demanded of modern women and their bodies is fearless, wonderfully vulgar and keenly poignant. Or as the Urbanite description more bluntly puts it, this play is a “gender-bending feminist fantasia with balls.”
When: April 4 through May 25
Where: Florida Studio Theatre Gompertz Theatre, 1265 First St.
Tickets: $36 to $39
Info: Call 366-9000.
In this world premiere by Sarah Bierstock, the story centers on Allisyn Davis, an American reporter for The New York Times who heads to Pakistan to cover the honor killing of a young woman. She’s denied entry in to the country, but armed with the most current technology, she conducts her reporting remotely from Dubai. In this play, audiences ponder questions about forgiveness, self-worth and justice.
'Toni Dove: Embodied Machines'
When: Feb. 28 through May 20
Where: The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Tickets: Free with $25 admission
Info: Call 359-5700.
Enjoy this debut exhibit of pioneering work by artist Toni Dove, whose work lives at the intersection of live performance, interactive narrative and virtual reality. Visitors will explore more than 20 years of Dove’s projects, from early installations through interactive cinema and stage performances. The experience ends with a look at her most recent project, a series of experiments at the forefront of technology and robotics. Dove is a New York resident who is best known for creating immersive experiences in which the line between the viewer and the performer is blurred. She also aims to examine the history of consumer culture and capitalism.
Young Concert Artists International: Narek Arutyunian
When: 3 p.m. March 4
Where: Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 Beneva Road
Info: Call 306-1200
Every year, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota hosts several of the most talented young musicians in the world. This year, that segment includes clarinetist Narek Arutyunian, an artist who the Washington Post says “reaches passionate depths with seemingly effortless technical prowess and beguiling sensitivity.” As the winner of the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Arutyunian was presented in debut recitals at Merkin Concert Hall and the Kennedy Center to rave reviews. In Sarasota, Arutyunian will perform several pieces such as Bernstein’s Sonata for clarinet and piano, Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 in F Minor Op. 120 and Olenchik’s Spanish Caprice for clarinet solo. Steven Bech, piano, will join Arutyunian.
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 10
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Tickets: $56 to $146
Info: Call 953-3368.
Living legend and 19-time Grammy Award-winner Tony Bennett is returning to Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and it’s not an evening to be missed. Bennett has not only sold both platinum and gold albums, he’s been honored with a Citizen of the World Award from the United Nations, adding a unique layer to his star power that makes people of all backgrounds connect to him. His legendary vocals have moved audiences for his more than 60-year career, and now Sarasota audiences can enjoy classics such as “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” and “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”