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The best things to do in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat for Feb. 23 to March 1

Enjoy the best arts and entertainment events in Sarasota and Bradenton happening this week.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 21, 2023
Dance company Ailey II visits the Van Wezel Thursday, Feb. 23.
Dance company Ailey II visits the Van Wezel Thursday, Feb. 23.
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Thursday, Feb. 23

'Ailey II'
7 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

Founded by Alvin Ailey, this dance company pairs the country’s finest young dance talent with the most visionary emerging choreographers for a program that is fresh, modern and designed to delight. 

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

You’ve seen him on the TV shows “Louie,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and more, you’ve heard his podcast “You Know What Dude?” And you’ve seen his one-hour special on Netflix. Now see him perform in person. Runs through Saturday, Feb. 25.

In-Studio Performance featuring Charlotte Johnson
7 p.m. at SCD Studio, 1400 Boulevard of the Arts, Suite 300

Charlotte Johnson, a native of St. Pete, graduated from Juilliard before working as a freelance dancer for Ballet Noir and Trainor Dance in New York City. Since returning to Florida in 2011 to teach at the John Hopkins Middle School Center for the Arts, she has been performing, including with Sarasota Contemporary Dance. In 2020 she former her own nonprofit arts organization to use art and dance as a healing force in people’s lives. 

Friday, Feb. 24 

Famous Composers and Their Muses
3 p.m. at the Education Center at Temple Beth Israel, 567 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key
$25; members $20
Call 941-383-8222.

The stories of Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Gershwin and Hoagy Carmichael are brought to life by their muses in this showcase meant to educate and entertain.

The Movie Maestro: A Tribute to John Williams
3:30 p.m. at Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice

“E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” “Star Wars.” Yep, John Williams composed memorable music for all these films and more. Join the Venice Symphony as they play his most beloved work as well as some world premieres in this concert that tributes his talent. Runs through Saturday, Feb. 25.

Brain Health Talk
5 p.m. at the Meadows Country Club, 3101 Longmeadow, Sarasota
$55; members $45
Call 267-205-7229. 

Stephanie Peabody, the founder and executive director of the Brain Health Initiative, will be the guest speaker of the Sarasota-Manatee Science and Technology Society. The public is welcome. Admission includes dinner.

The Sarasota Ballet welcomes the "Dance Theatre of Harlem" Feb. 24-27.
Courtesy photo

'Dance Theatre of Harlem'
7:30 p.m. at FSU Center for Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail
From $35

The Sarasota Ballet hosts the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem, in what will no doubt be a special treat. Founded in 1969, the multiethnic company performs a forward-thinking repertoire of both traditional classics and new works. Runs through Monday, Feb. 27.

Saturday, Feb. 25  

Sarasota Festival of the Arts
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at J.D. Hamel Park, 199 Bayfront Drive

Peruse work from more than 70 artisans and crafters from throughout Florida and the United States. Take in everything from original paintings and woodworking to wearable art and jewelry, and engage with the artists themselves about their work, or even commission your own custom piece. Runs through Sunday, Feb. 26.

The Longboat Key Festival of the Arts
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Town Center Green, 600 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key
Call 561-746-6615.

An art showcase of 100 of the nation’s top fine artists representing an array of artistic media including painting, sculpture, jewelry, glass, photography, fiber, mixed media, metal, wood and more. Continues Sunday.

Curator Tour: ‘A Beautiful Mess’
11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail

Emilee Enders, curator of exhibitions and programs for the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts, for a guided tour of “A Beautiful Mess,” an exhibit that features the work of 11 female artists. Enders will bring the display of fiber art to life with the powerful stories of the artists and the traditions and norms that influence them.

Sarasota Chorus of the Keys Annual Show
2:30 p.m. at Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way

The Sarasota Chorus of the Keys performs its 73rd annual show, “Just Singin’ A Song” with special guests, international quartet champions, Nightlife. This show is packed with favorites featuring everything from four-part acapella harmony in barbershop style to the full chorus. 

The Jazz Club of Sarasota presents "Joy of Jazz" Feb. 25 at the Centennial Park Gazebo in Venice.
Courtesy photo

Joy of Jazz
2 p.m. at Centennial Park Gazebo, 200 W. Venice Ave., Venice

Vocalist Janet Planet and Friends with John Harmon will bring an afternoon of music to attendees at the Centennial Park Gazebo. A fun event for the whole family, be sure to bring chairs or blankets to sit back and enjoy the sounds. The event benefits the Jazz Club of Sarasota's scholarship fund. 

Osfest returns for its seventh year outside The Gator Club on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Courtesy photo

Osfest Reggae Block Party
4 p.m. at The Gator Club, 1490 Main St.
$40, kids 12 and under free

Join Sarasota band Jah Movement for its seventh annual Reggae Music Block Party, which celebrates the late great musician Oswald Caines of the Democracy Reggae Band. Enjoy food, drinks, live music, kids activities and more at this festival outside of the Gator Club at Lemon Avenue and Main Street.

Kensho Watanabe leads the Sarasota Orchestra in its "Masterworks: Copland and Stravinsky" program Feb. 24-26.
Courtesy photo

'Masterworks: Copland and Stravinsky'
7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

Rising conductor Kensho Watanabe will lead the Sarasota Orchestra in a program that pairs two 20th-century masterpieces: Stravinsky’s 1931 Violin Concerto, and Copland’s Third Symphony, which includes “Fanfare to the Common Man.” Runs through Sunday, Feb. 26.

'Don Giovanni'
7:30 p.m. at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
From $23

Travel to Spain with the Sarasota Operat to dive into Mozart’s opera, “Don Giovanni.” Follow the tragic tale of the infamous womanizer Don Juan, who in his final saga does not get a happy ending. Runs through March 25. 

Sunday, Feb. 26

Rae Radick performs at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Sunday, Feb. 26.
Courtesy photo

Garden Music Series: Rae Radick
1 p.m. at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Free with general admission

What better way to enjoy Selby Gardens than with a relaxing afternoon of music? Rae Radick, who describes herself as the “love child of Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert and a dash of New York City,” will perform in the gardens’ outdoor venue. 

Circus Sarasota
1 and 5 p.m. at the Ulla Searing Big Top on Nathan Benderson Park’s Regatta Island, 5851 Nathan Benderson

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, don’t miss your chance to take part in an area tradition celebrating its 25th season: Enjoying an afternoon of entertainment under the big top at Circus Sarasota. Be dazzled by a variety of performers all in the best venue for circus around.

Wizards of Ashkenaz
7-9 p.m. at Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave.

Come out and listen to The Wizards of Ashkenaz. This cappella group full of wizards will perform upbeat, fun and multicultural Jewish music.

Monday, Feb. 27 

Stefan Jackiw, Violinist
10:30 a.m. at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road

As part of the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning’s Music Mondays series, violinist Stefan Jackiw will perform and discuss his career and craft. 

Tuesday, Feb. 28

‘Quartet for the End of Time’
7:30 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road

The Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota welcome the Lincoln Trio: violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe and pianist Marta Aznavoorian with clarinetist Bharat Chandra for a performance of Oliver Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” Composed in a prisoner of war camp in Germany during WWII, Messiaen wrote this work for fellow prisoners to perform.

Wednesday, March 1

Ranch Nite Wednesdays
6-9 p.m. at Lakefront Drive in Waterside Place, Lakewood Ranch

Live music, food trucks, a market with rotating vendors, a mobile bar and a recreational cornhole league highlight this crowd favorite event. Pets are welcome but no coolers or outside food or beverage allowed.

Sarasota Concert Association presents the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Courtesy photo

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

In his final season as music director, Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in this visit to Sarasota. Hailed as one of the best in the world, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and Coriolan Overture, as well as Liadov’s “The Enchanted Lake” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures from an Exhibition.”

‘Gypsy: A Musical Fable’
7:30 p.m. at Venice Theatre’s Raymond Center, 140 Tampa Ave. W., Venice

One of the great American musicals, “Gypsy” delves into one woman’s efforts to get her daughters into show business. Enjoy the Venice Theatre’s rendition of this classic musical that helped launch Stephen Sondheim’s career. Runs through March 19.

‘The Last Match’
7:30 p.m. at Florida Studio Theatre’s Bowne’s Lab, 1241 N. Palm Ave.

This regional premiere by Florida Studio Theatre focuses on the U.S. Open semifinals match between Sergei Sergeyev, a rising Russian phenom, and Tim Porter, a celebrated American player reaching the end of his career. Explore the thoughts and feelings behind the match and the sacrifices they’ve made along the way. Runs through March 17.


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