"Ruby," an original piece penned by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Director Nate Jacobs and his brother Michael, aims to tell the story of Ruby McCollum, a real-life true crime story that occurred in Live Oak in 1952. The story, a musical, is told on behalf of Ruby, who was charged with the shocking killing of a doctor. The music is inspired by jazz, gospel and blues, and the story aims to reconsider the crime and its motivations with the perspective of time and changing social attitudes.
"Ruby" was originally slated to open in early January but was pushed back to a later date.
'Love & Betrayal'
When: Jan. 28-31
Where: FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail
The Sarasota Ballet's first program of the new year will be a triple bill featuring the choreography of Royal Ballet alumni Dame Ninette de Valois, Sir Frederick Ashton and Johan Kobborg. Ian Webb, entering his 15th season as director, will reconnect with the first act, Ashton's Valses nobles et sentimentales, which was performed by the Sarasota Ballet in 2012 after a long period of dormancy.
Next up is The Rake's Progress by de Valois, billed as a dramatic cautionary tale of betrayal and excess. And the final act is Kobborg’s production of August Bournonville’s Napoli; the production will mark Kobborg's first appearance in Sarasota since 2014.
"Tosca," the masterwork by Giacomo Puccini, comes to Sarasota as part of the 40th season helmed by Maestro Victor DeRenzi. The opera, which debuted in Rome in 1900, is a famous tale of jealousy and villainy. Stephanie Sundine will serve as stage director, and baritone Stephen Gaertner, a former member of the opera's apprenticeship program, will be one of two voices playing the role of Scarpia. Tosca is based on an existing opera that Puccini refashioned just four years before he penned Madame Butterfly.
Tosca will have performances on Feb. 12, 16, 20, 22, 24 and 27 and March 11 and 19.
Eleanor Merritt: 'Remembrance'
When: Feb. 18 to Aug. 21
Where: The Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bayshore Road
Eleanor Merritt, a former volunteer and board member at The Ringling, died in 2019, and this exhibition is dedicated to her spirit and creativity. Merritt, born in New York, arrived in Sarasota in the 1980s and she exhibited her work widely throughout the state of Florida. Her final exhibit came in 2017 at the Arts & Cultural Alliance celebrating her many decades in art.
The works in the exhibition come from the artist’s estate and from prestigious private collections, and the exhibit was curated by artist Mike Solomon and by Merritt's daughter, Lisa.
Who did it? The Sarasota Orchestra will present an evening of drama and intrigue with Journey on the Orient Express, a murder mystery that takes the audience over the fabled route of one of the world's most famous trains. The program is part of Sarasota Orchestra's Great Escapes program, and it will be conducted by Steven Jarvi. The shows that are scheduled on Thursday and Saturday will include a 45-minute intermission, but the shows on Wednesday and Friday will not.
This play, written by Rosa Fernandez, will make its world premiere at the Urbanite Theatre. The show is directed by Patrice Amon, and it's about a woman who tries to open up a bed and breakfast in an isolated area. She struggles before enlisting the help of two women from a popular ghost-hunting TV show, but nobody is prepared for the haunting hijinks that occur as a result.
This play is produced in conjunction with St. Petersburg's freeFall Theatre.
'Fiddler on the Roof'
When: April 19-21
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Tradition delayed, but not tradition denied. Fiddler on the Roof was scheduled to play at the Van Wezel in 2021, but COVID forced its postponement to 2022. This production, directed by Bartlett Sher, is a fresh take on the beloved musical and comes straight from Broadway to a North American tour. The cast and orchestra combine to tell the story of the relationships between parents and children and the traditions that inextricably link families and faith over the changing generations.
The 16th season of Sarasota Contemporary Dance is entitled "Grit," which is a testament to the tenacity the company showed while persevering through a global pandemic. The Cuban Project: Historias is masterminded by artistic director Leymis Bolanos Wilmott, who dives deep into her family history. The production is meant to explore personal stories, decision-making, displacement and the Cuban-American experience, and viewers will also be able to sample the performance virtually for $25.