A look at our favorite events taking place this week.
Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency
Various times at USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail
The music is a work in progress, and so are the students, but it's a fascinating opportunity to watch and listen as world-famous violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman works with some of the most gifted young musicians in the country as they prepare for a concert.
7 p.m., McGurty’s Comedy Theater, 1923 Ringling Blvd
Hailed by comedy luminaries including Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno as one of the great comedy writers of his generation, Leake’s act reflects on his day-to-day life living with MS. Runs through Sunday.
Deck the Halls at Ca’ d’Zan
5 p.m. at The Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Surround ourself in old-time elegance in John and Mable Ringling's home. The mansion’s first floor will be decorated for the holidays, including a 10-foot Christmas tree, to greet visitors on this self-guided tour.
‘A Motown Christmas’
7:30 p.m. at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Created, adapted and directed by Nate Jacobs, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s founder and artistic director, this holiday revue blends Christmas carols and soulful songs made famous by Motown icons such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5.
Jazz at Two: Mark Moultrup Music
2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road
For 20 years, Mark Moulton was a regular in the Chicago and Detroit jazz scenes, sharing the stage with artists such as Smokey Robinson, Bobby Vinton, Dave Ruffin, Marcus Belgrave, Eddie Kendricks, Regina Carter and Leslie Gore, until he finally turned onto I-75 and made it to Sarasota, where he and his band will perform jazz standards, music from the American songbook and some holiday favorites.
Bolshoi Ballet: ‘The Nutcracker’
6:30 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road
$20; members $18
This magical production, featuring Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, will captivate audiences of all ages. Rising star soloist Margarita Shrainer perfectly embodies Marie’s joy along with the supremely elegant principal dancer Semyon Chudin as her Nutcracker Prince.
'Handle with Care'
8 p.m. at Florida Studio Theatre main stage, 1241 N. Palm Ave.
Ayelet, a young Israeli woman, finds herself stranded in a Virginia motel room on Christmas Eve with Terrence, a bumbling but well-intentioned delivery man who doesn’t know any Hebrew at all. Terrance calls on his friend Josh, who remembers a few Hebrew phrases from his bar mitzvah 20 years ago, to serve as interpreter.
‘John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker’
7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
The Sarasota Ballet, with the Sarasota Orchestra, team up for this original production that reimagines the classic holiday favorite, blending it with elements of The Ringling Circus and John and Mable Ringling. Runs through Saturday.
LLUMINA: Return of the Light
7 p.m., fire show 8 p.m. at Cock & Bull, 975 Cattlemen Road
$10 in advance, $15 at the door
Warm up on the darkest night of the year with this spectacular fire performance by Catalyst Fire. Release what no longer serves you with a sacred, purifying ceremony around a roaring bonfire and celebrate the Winter Solstice with music, dancing and fellowship. Guests are encouraged to wear white and come in solstice-inspired costumes.
‘Harmony for the Holidays’ with Duchess
7:30 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota swings with sweet-toned harmonies and sure-footed steps of acclaimed vocal jazz trio Duchess. The New York City-based threesome — Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou — are joined by jazz pianist Carmen Staaf, bassist Don Mopsick and percussionist Rick Costa for a sparkling holiday program that includes such traditional favorites as "Silver Bells," "What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve," and the Andrews Sisters’ "Christmas Island," plus holiday novelties like "Santa Baby," "Mele Kalikimaka" "Christmas Compromise"and more.
‘Outlaws and Angels’
7:30 p.m. at Goldstein Cabaret, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave.
Country might not be everyone’s favorite music, and even within the genre, there’s outlaws. FST honors the outlaws of country — such as Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash — and all the angels who loved them, including Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton. This revue features favorite hits “I Walk the Line, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Desperado” and more. Runs through March 29.
The Grass is Dead
8 p.m. at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court
$15 members, $18 general public
Take the music of the Grateful Dead and mix it with bluegrass — no, really, do it. Now add a pinch of Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, John Hartford, Allman Brothers Band, and Pink Floyd and you have The Grass is Dead — hot pickers won seamlessly weave bluegrass, blues, rock and funk into a unique sonic experience.
‘Sounds of the Season’
5 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave.
It will be like music to your ears when soprano Adelaide Boedecker, organist Ann Stephenson-Moe and and a brass and percussion ensemble join Choral Artists of Sarasota to make "Sounds of the Season." Program selections include traditional Christmas favorites alongside the “Christmas Cantata” by Daniel Pinkham and the Sarasota premiere of “Eja! Eja!” by part-time Sarasota resident James Grant.
‘The Ten Tenors: Home for the Holidays’
7 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
With more voices than Santa has reindeer, this act is sure to fill the air with holiday harmony as they sing festive favorites and modern holiday hits.
Jazz at the Cabaret: Valerie Gillespie Quartet
7:30 p.m. at Florida Studio Theatre, John C. Court Cabaret
Valerie Gillespie plays sax. She plays the flute, She plays the clarinet. And she sings. And she leads her own jazz group, who will perform songs off her album "Lush Life."
‘A Christmas Carol’
7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
The Nebraska Theatre Caravan comes into town with this musical version of the Dickens classic, interwoven with tunes such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” “Greensleeves,” “The Boar’s Head Carol” and more.
‘The Sound of Music’
1:30 p.m. at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Runs through Dec. 28
You'd have to be one lonely goatherd not to know this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that tells the (sort of) real-life story of the Trapp Family Singers and their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria. Asolo Repertory Theatre adds a note of real danger hovering over the singing and romance.