A look at our favorite events taking place this week.
| 6:00 a.m. December 19, 2018
Arts + Entertainment
Things To Do
‘The Fence’ Sarasota
6 a.m. at Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle
Photography is a part of everyone’s lives with cameras built into our phones, but shows like this are keeping it an art form. “The Fence” is the largest public photo exhibition in North America, and its works are printed on vinyl mesh and installed outdoors in seven cities. Sarasota is one of the newest — and the only city in Florida — where it’ll be installed. Runs through Jan. 31.
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘The Sound of Music’
2 and 7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
There are no hills in sight around here, but if there were, they’d come alive the moment this touring show hits the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall stage. Enjoy all your favorite hits from this Tony, Grammy and Academy Award-winning score, which comes together perfectly through a narrative that will grab you by the heartstrings.
Deck the Halls
5 p.m. at Ca’d’Zan, 5401 Bay Shore Road
$15 (included in Art After 5 admission)
The Ca’ d’Zan has enough going for it when it’s not the holidays, so can you imagine what it looks like all dolled up for fa la la festivities? As a special addition to The Ringling’s weekly Art After 5 event, John and Mable Ringling’s breathtaking winter residence will offer extended hours for a unique self-guided tour of the first floor.
Lights in Bloom
6 p.m. at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave.
$25; $20 for members; $7.50 for children; free for children under 5
Selby Gardens never disappoints with its annual Christmas display, which includes more than 1 million lights illuminating the grounds. Bring the family and enjoy a visit from Santa and his elves, children’s arts and crafts activities, games and live entertainment provided by SoulRCoaster. Grilled food available for purchase. Runs through Jan. 6.
7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.
You know a comic’s good when he has people like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld as self-professed fans. But Brett Leake is more than a comedian. He’s one of the most-booked motivational speakers in the nation, and his act centers around his daily life living with muscular dystrophy. With past experience on “The Tonight Show,” his own PBS special and an award-winning documentary about him called “Knuckleball,” Leake has the experience necessary to put on a great show. Runs through Sunday.
7:30 p.m. at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
$15 to $75
Experience the Nativity story through the African-American lens at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s annual holiday tradition. Runs through Dec. 21.
Holiday Music by Sunnyside Singers
11 a.m. at Sunnyside Village Chapel, 5201 Bahia Vista St.
Free, donations appreciated
Not in the holiday spirit yet? This performance will help. Sarasota Music Club presents this festive concert of the Sunnyside Singers, a group of vocalists primarily made up of Sunnyside Village residents. Directed by Suzanne Stearns, the chorus will perform several festive favorites with musical guest Jason Stearns. Nonmembers are asked to contribute $2 or more to support the organization’s performance and scholarship programs. Those who pay an extra fee and reserve a table can attend the holiday luncheon following the concert.
Jazz At Two: Lorri Hafer Quartet
2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road
$10; $20 for nonmembers
Need a break from the Christmas carols? Head to this Jazz Club of Sarasota performance that musicians Lorri and Mike Hafer have dubbed “Music of Their Life.” This concert will feature the works of composers such as Gershwin, Ellington, Jobim and Harry Warren, all infused with the sounds of the big-band era. The quartet features former Ellington bassist John Lamb and drummer Paul Hafer.
Holiday Art Walk
5 p.m. at Towles Court Artist Colony, 1938 Adams Lane
Every third Friday, fans of everything creative can enjoy a stroll through the Towles Court for food, various types of art and live music by Latin Rendezvous. This month’s walk is holiday-themed and features new artists, pop-ups and plenty of gifts for all the art-lovers on your list.
Hunsader Farms Country Christmas
6 p.m. at Hunsader Farms, 5500 County Road 675, Bradenton
Load up the family minivan and head to Hunsader Farms for this farmstead tradition. Enjoy hayrides, a petting zoo, live music, snacks, pictures with Santa and 250,000 Christmas lights (to be exact). Runs through Sunday.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
3 and 7 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
This 26-year-old holiday tradition is like a fine wine or cheese: it only gets better with age. The beloved holiday ballet features world-class Russian artists, larger-than-life puppets, nesting dolls and handcrafted costumes that will get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
‘When X Meets Y: Home for the Holidays’
7:30 p.m. at Bowne’s Lab Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 First St.
The holidays are a time for families to come together, so the entire cast of FST Improv’s “When X Meets Y” is getting onstage to perform a made-up love story (so basically the same types of stories you tell your own family during the holidays). All they’re given for inspiration is a location and three random notes on a keyboard. From that, a hilarious musical about the dysfunctional nature of families and love is born.
‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical’
6:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
See the most famous red nose of all time up close and personal with this stage musical adaption of the TV classic. Everyone’s favorite characters will come to life with a vibrant set and an even brighter message: What makes you different makes you special (even if you’re a flying mammal).
Works-In-Progress Student Recital
7 p.m. at USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail
Every year, 35 string students from around the world between the ages of 12 and 20 (and sometimes older) journey to the Sarasota-Bradenton area for a 17-day winter residency. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Perlman Music
Program/Suncoast’s winter residency, which was founded by Toby Perlman and is led by her husband, world-renowned violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman. Throughout the residency are several free public concerts like this to give residents and visitors alike a taste of what these music students are working on.
Nik’s Pick: ‘Hidden Holiday Treasures’
Orchestra concerts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but what if you had a professional dance company accompanying that live music? Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Contemporary Dance join forces for this evening celebrating three centuries of festive music. The dancers will interpret Franz Schreker’s “Birthday of the Infanta Suite” through movement, telling the story of a dwarf in love with a princess, a tale based on a story by Oscar Wilde. Audiences will also hear Gabrieli’s Sacrae Symphoniae, Berlioz’ Overture to Act II from “L’Enfance du Christ,” Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, and Hindemith’s “Tuttifäntchen Suite.”
If You Go
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Tickets: From $25
Info: Call 953-3434.
Drag Queen Bingo Bonanza
8 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.
Enjoy a night full of entertainment and join local drag queen Beneva Fruitville for an evening of bingo, live performances and lots of prizes. Beneva Fruitville welcomes guest drag queen stars Tamiami Trails, and for the first time to the Bingo Bonanza stage, Beyja King.
7 p.m. at The Elixir Tea House, 1926 Hillview St.
You can enjoy your tea with a sprinkle of spoken word every Monday night at The Elixir Tea House. From 7-10 p.m., writers of all experience levels are encouraged to participate at this snap-filled event. Whether you’re a poet (and you didn’t even know it) or you just want to sit back, sip and listen, everyone is welcome.
7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.
Need a break from all the Christmas hoopla? Laugh off the holiday stress with this evening of comedy with stand-up comedian Valarie Storm, most noted for her appearances at Boston Comedy Festival and on “The Bob & Tom Show.” Runs through Sunday.
Don’t Miss: ‘On Your Feet!’
Don’t you fight it till you tried it, readers — do that conga beat. This musical follows the inspiring story of Cuban immigrants Emilio and Gloria Estefan who, against all odds, became a crossover sensation that left a lasting mark on the history of pop music. Learn the story of adversity behind the music of this iconic couple through this feel-good musical staying at the Van Wezel for a whole week.
If You Go
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Runs through Dec. 30.
When: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail