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This Week
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 8 months ago

This Week in A+E: Dec. 9 to Dec. 15

Catch all the holiday action and performances in Sarasota this week.
by: Spencer Fordin A+E Editor


Jim McCue will perform at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre Dec. 10-12.

Jim McCue

7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.



Some of Jim McCue’s best material is made up on the spot. McCue, who bills himself as “Boston’s King of Crowd Work,” prides himself on his ability to improvise, and he’s been featured on Comedy Central, Comcast Comedy Spotlight and NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Runs through Saturday.

Crosley Christmas — Holiday Songs & Fables

7:30 p.m. at Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave W., Bradenton



The Crosley Theater Co. will ring in the season with a festive collection of holiday songs and fables. The troupe, aiming for an entertaining evening long on laughter and celebration, will perform "A Christmas Carol" after the holiday show’s intermission. Runs through Dec. 19.



Jazz at Two: The Bruno Connection

2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road



The latest act in the Jazz Club of Sarasota’s weekly afternoon concert series is bringing their family art to the masses. The four-piece ensemble, which consists of trumpet player Joe Bruno, bass player Joe Bruno Jr., piano and keyboard player Christine Allen-Bruno and percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Nick Bruno, are following in the footsteps of progenitor Rocco Bruno, who came to the United States from Italy in 1900 with a trumpet and a dream.

In Studio Performance featuring Stephanie Bastos

7 p.m., Virtual



Stephanie Bastos has made a life in ballet. Bastos, a former child performer for the Miami Ballet and a founding member of the Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble, overcame a tragic vehicular accident early in her career and retrained herself to dance with a prosthetic right leg, and she’ll take her passion and consummate skill to the stage for a command performance.

'A Christmas Carol'

7:30 p.m. at Venice Theatre Jervey Stage, 140 Tampa Ave W., Venice



The Tiny Tim tradition continues. The Venice Theatre is staging its original musical interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol" for the 20th year, and Brad Wages stars as Ebenezer Scrooge grappling with Christmas Past, Present and Future. The play is directed by Murray Chase and choreographed by Michelle Kasanofsky. Runs through Dec. 20.

Flor de Toloache

7:30 p.m. at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road



The intoxicating Flor de Toloache has emerged from an unlikely place. The all-female mariachi band got their start in the subterranean halls of the New York City subway system, and their second studio album, "Las Caras Lindas" earned a Latin Grammy win in 2017. The band’s name pays tribute to a Mexican plant that has traditionally been used as a legendary love potion.


Guest conductor Teddy Abrams


Masterworks 2: American Voices

8 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail



It's a Sarasota debut for a prominent conductor. Teddy Abrams, the music director of the Louisville Orchestra, will conduct the Sarasota Orchestra for his own signature piece, Overture in Sonata Form, and pianist Conrad Rae will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The evening will conclude with performances of Ellen Reid’s Petrichor and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Runs through Sunday.



Selby Gardens' Lights in Bloom runs Dec. 11 through Jan. 2.

Lights in Bloom

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 1534 Mound St.

$25 for adults, $20 for members, $7 for children


Natural beauty augmented by neon lights. The downtown Sarasota campus of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will be illuminated by more than 2 million lights for the Lights in Bloom exhibit, bathing the gardens and walkways in a technicolor holiday display. The display will stand into the New Year, but it will notably be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Runs through Jan. 2.

Sarasota Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival

10 a.m. at JD Hamel Park, 199 Bayfront Drive



Runs through Sunday

Beat the supply chain! Buy holiday gifts in person. The Paragon festival features original works constructed by artisans from Florida and around the country, and it will give you a chance to peruse paintings, photography, sculpture, candles, metalwork, digital art and much more.


8 p.m. at  Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court

$15 Members, $18 General, $9 Students (13+)


Passerine, a bluegrass quartet, is returning to familiar nesting grounds. The Sarasota-based ensemble and festival staple is preparing a new album and will be playing some new material but will also return to more familiar tunes at the intimate setting of Fogartyville. 



Christmas in the Quarter

3 p.m. at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3131 61st St.



The Suncoast Jazz Ambassadors are swinging you into the holidays with Christmas in the Quarter. The big band, conducted by Bob Schaer, will play its way through holiday staples and standards at the Northminster Presbyterian Church.

Ring in the Holidays with The Pops and Ring Sarasota

3 p.m. Sunday at Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way


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You've heard an orchestra. But have you heard an orchestra with bells? The Pops Orchestra is staging its annual holiday extravaganza, and for the first time it will team up with Ring Sarasota.

The show will feature 65 instrumentalists and 17 bell-ringers working an array of more than 200 bells, and two of the songs required a brand new orchestration to be written by Ring Sarasota's Rick Holdsworth.

Robyn Bell, conductor of the Pops, says the combined size of the two organizations necessitated a switch to a larger rehearsal space, and the Neel Performing Arts Center graciously lent its stage.

"It’s a little frantic, but I think a little pressure puts everybody on their best level," says Bell.

The Pops and Ring Sarasota will play five numbers together, and the Pops will play a number of holiday medleys on their own. Composition student Nathan Reid, who attends State College of Florida, worked out an arrangement of "Frosty the Snowman" and will be guest conducting the Pops at the Holiday Concert. Runs through Monday.



'Infant King'

7 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 4300 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton



Musica Sacra will perform a selection of enduring choral masterpieces for their holiday show at Christ Episcopal Church. Luis Gonzalez, the featured baritone soloist, will sing Fantasia on Christmas Carols, a 1912 work by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, as part of the holiday program.



Sarah Brightman: ‘A Christmas Symphony’

8 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail



Sarah Brightman, who starred in the original West End production of "Phantom of the Opera," will step on stage and give voice to both her greatest hits and her holiday favorites accompanied by an orchestra and choir.

Standup comedian and SNL alum Jim Breuer

Jim Breuer

7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.



Nothing is out of bounds for Jim Breuer, the ex-Saturday Night Live cast member and star of the film Half Baked. Breuer, known to a whole new generation from his relentless social media presence, will unleash his uninhibited blend of comedy in two shows at McCurdy’s.

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