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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Friday, Apr. 7, 2017 3 years ago

Van Wezel announces 2017 – 2018 season

The Broadway, classical and dance series features Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, ‘Motown’ and more.
by: Nick Friedman Managing Editor of Arts and Culture

As Executive Director Mary Bensel notes, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall still has plenty to look forward to in the remainder of its current season.

Actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, Broadway star Idina Menzel and diva Diana Ross all have performances scheduled before the season’s end June 23.

But Bensel, entering her 10th year in the position, is already excited for December when the performing arts hall kicks off its 2017-2018 season she told patrons and subscribers from the Van Wezel stage at a season announcement party Monday, April 3.

The evening included a video highlight reel, Motown performances by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and a food and beverage reception near the bayfront.

The season includes the following Broadway, classical and dance performances:



“Motown the Musical”
March 27 through 30, 2018

Headlining the Broadway series in its Sarasota premiere is eight performances of “Motown the Musical,” which tells the true story of Berry Gordy, who founded Motown Records and helped launch the careers of stars including Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and others.


“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
Jan. 6 and 7, 2018

Another Sarasota premiere, this Tony Award-winning musical tells the outlandish, tongue-in-cheek tale of an impatient heir who decides to resort to methods most foul in order to jump the pecking order and usurp the relatives standing in his way.


Jan. 30 and 31, 2018

This Tony award-winning production highlights the decadent nightclub culture prevalent in pre-WWII Germany and the role it played in uncertain times.


“Circus 1903”
Feb. 5 and 6, 2018

“This season, the elephants return to Sarasota,” Bensel said of this Sarasota premiere at the season announcement. “Circus 1903” features the producers behind “The Illusionist” and the puppeteers from “Warhorse” in a production that turns back the clock to the spectacular world of life under the big top at the turn of the century.


“The Wizard of Oz”
March 6 and 7, 2018

An iconic film comes to life onstage in this adaptation, packed with lavish production, spectacular choreography and special effects galore.


“Peter Pan”
March 26, 2018

You’ve never seen Never Land like this. The Sarasota premiere of this classic story treats audiences to a 3D experience, in which holograms, video-mapping, LED screens and flying actors bring a family favorite to life.


“Jersey Boys”
April 10 through 12, 2018

This multiple award-winning show returns to the Van Wezel, telling the story of music group The Four Seasons.


“A Chorus Line”
April 24 and 25, 2018

“A Chorus Line” embodies the struggle performers face to achieve greatness in a heartfelt, memorable way.




Dec. 5, 2017

Follow rock ’n’ roll pioneer Buddy Holly’s quick rise to stardom and his tragic early death, accompanied by his most memorable tunes, performed live onstage.


“A Night with Janis Joplin”
Jan. 8, 2018

Spend an evening with the music and legacy of Janis Joplin.


“Neil Berg’s 109 Years of Broadway”
March 13, 2018

Neil Berg returns to the Van Wezel with a show highlighting the most memorable moments and songs from the last century of Broadway.



Renée Fleming
Jan. 16, 2018

Internationally renowned singer Renée Fleming returns to Sarasota for an encore performance following her sold-out Sarasota premiere inn 2016. The Grammy Award-winning soprano performs operas, orchestral works, classical, jazz — even indie rock. This performance will include classical, opera arias and popular musical selections.


Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert
Jan 3, 2018

A Sarasota tradition for 22 years, this performance features acclaimed European singers and dancers ringing in the new year, as inspired by Vienna’s traditional new year’s concert.


China National Symphony Orchestra
Feb. 22, 2018

This orchestra, known for its high level of artistry, performs a vast repertoire of both Western and Asian compositions. Performing for the first time in Sarasota in celebration of the Chinese New Year, the orchestra will feature conductor and artistic director Tan Dun, soloists Sandy Cameron on violin and Liu Wenwen on surnay.


Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell
March 24, 2018

The world-renowned chamber orchestra, led by Music Director and virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, performs onstage at the Van Wezel.


The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma
April 19, 2018

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma leads this Grammy Award-winning ensemble, which performs with a global array of influences for a 21st-century audience.



German Cornejo’s Tango Fire
Jan. 12, 2018

German Cornejo and his dance troupe, The Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires, bring Argentine tango dancing to Sarasota.


Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound: ‘After the Curtain’
Feb. 6, 2018

Emmy Award-winning choreographer Travis Wall tells the story of a man searching for his creative voice after the death of his true love.


Feb. 1, 2018

In a Sarasota premiere, cheeky U.K.-based 10-member dance troupe Balletboys present two works, “Serpent” and “Fallen.”


Moscow Festival Ballet
Feb. 27, 2018

The renowned ballet company performs “Romeo and Juliet” and “Carmen.”


Dance to the Movies
March 12, 2018

Professionals and finalists from television shows including “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “American Idol” and “The Voice” recreate famous choreography from iconic movies.


Mummenschanz: ‘You and Me’
April 26, 2018

Employing shadow, light, and illusion, this Swiss theater troupe brings an element of the unexpected to its live visual theater show.


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