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Performing Art
Judy Kaye. Courtesy photo.
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2012 8 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

+ Former Asolo Rep actors come this-close to snagging a Tony Award

Oh, Bonnie, we were gunnin’ for you …

Watching Sunday night’s Tony Awards felt a little like sitting in the audience at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. The list of former Asolo Rep artists nominated for Tony Awards was pretty staggering.

 “Bonnie & Clyde,” though it failed to wow critics on Broadway, did earn actress Laura Osnes (i.e., Bonnie Parker) a nomination.

The musical’s director, Jeff Calhoun, its male lead Jeremy Jordan, and scenic designer, Tobin Ost, also received Tony nominations, but not for their work on the depression-era musical. Instead, they were recognized for another scrappy period piece: “Newsies.”

However, only one familiar face walked away a winner: the superb Judy Kaye, who in 2009 appeared in the Asolo Rep’s “Souvenir,” won Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her performance in “Nice Work If You Can Get it,” starring Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara.

Kaye won her last Tony Award 24 years ago for “The Phantom of the Opera.”

In her acceptance speech she thanked all the audiences that she’s played to over the years — on Broadway and off — which means in a roundabout kind of general way, the actress was thanking you.

61412-Osnes: Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes in “Bonnie & Clyde” at the Asolo Rep. (courtesy)

+ Sarasota community rallies to watch Nik Wallenda cross Niagara Falls
Finally, the time has come for Sarasota’s circus golden boy to cross Niagara Falls on a wire during a live, three-hour television event.

You can either watch it on ABC from the comfort of your living room, or gather up the family for a Circus Sarasota-style street party that starts at 6 p.m. Friday, June 15, in front of Mattison’s City Grille.

I’d choose the latter, if I were you.

There will be music, dancing, food vendors and performances by the Sailor Circus. Family-friendly activities will include face painting, juggling, balloon-making and tightrope walking, of course.

Emceed by Circus Sarasota founder Pedro Reis, the event will culminate with a live broadcast of Wallenda’s walk on a JumboTron screen.

Oh, and there will be a live auction, the most coveted prize being dinner for eight with Wallenda and his wife, Erendira.

As someone who’s interviewed the daredevil several times, I can tell you the dinner table conversation will keep you on the edge of your seat.

+ Wirries is Italy-bound and blogging for Diversions
Two seasons ago, when I featured Maria Wirries, then 13, on the cover of this section, it seemed like everyone in Sarasota had their eyes on the rising songbird.

Wirries, who at the time was preparing to headline her first solo concert, was astonished by the attention.

“I feel famous,” she said sweetly. “People are coming just to see me. It feels like I’m achieving a new goal in my ladder.”

Well, Lady M, it looks like you’re climbing even higher up that ladder.

On July 4, Wirries will perform as a soloist on Gloria Musicae’s “Sounds of Freedom” program at the Historic Asolo Theater. Two weeks later, she’ll head to Italy with the choral group to perform as its featured vocalist at the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival.

So, what’s on the singer’s mind right now?

Her wisdom teeth. She got them yanked last week between rehearsals.

“I talked my mother into getting me a bunch of ice cream so that I’m healed enough to sing,” Wirries says. “I’m not letting anything stop me from being a part of this amazing experience.”

Wirries will be chronicling her overseas adventure for The Observer. Stay tuned for her stories from the tour bus.

• The Taffetas
The Taffetas: As Florida Studio Theatre can attest: Sarasota theater-goers love nostalgia. If you’re still looking for your “Soldier Boy,” you’ll find him this week at The Players Theatre. Running June 14 through June 16, “The Taffetas” is the first installment in the Players’ popular Summer Sizzler series. A tribute to the innocent girl groups of the 1950s, the musical revue includes numbers by The Fontane Sisters, The Chordettes and The McGuire Sisters, to name a few. For tickets, call 365-2494.

•‘Fanny Brice: America’s Funny Girl’
Lucy and Ethel emulated her on network television. Barbra Streisand immortalized her on Broadway, and now actress Marya Grandy is bringing her ballyhooing antics to audiences in Sarasota. “Fanny Brice, America’s Funny Girl” is the perfect way to kick off a freewheeling summer. Catch the now show before it ends Sunday, June 17, at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. For tickets, call 351-8000 or visit


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