Saturday, January 10, 2015

JANUARY 11, 2015



There are several reasons to live or visit this, accessibility to other Florida cities, shopping, dining....BUT one of the best reasons is our many venues featuring music, theater, opera, orchestra and art.  This week I will hit what I consider some of the best, but surely not all.

Extended for a last time through 1/24,  HAIRSPRAY, at FST/Gompertz is a must!!! I finally saw this production last week and was literally blown away.  The show, as performed on a small stage with one of the best casts I have seen anywhere, to my mind anyway, is the most entertaining of all the other editions The cast is genuinely engaged, energetic, talented and puts on a show that brings the audience to its feet at the end.  Greg London, in the featured role of Edna Turnblad, is BETTER than Harvey Firestein.

Now playing at the original FST Keating location is DANCING LESSONSOnly 90 minutes without an intermission, it is nevertheless compelling theater.  The subject matter about a college professor with autism in search of dance lessons has received rave reviews from critics and friends. 

I have not seen DANCING LESSONS yet, and won't until the middle of January,  but based on word of mouth and the quality of this theater's productions, I recommend going.  What can you lose?  Literally, for the price of a pizza and beer  you can see a high caliber show.

This weekend at the Van Wezel, the Sarasota Orchestra under the direction of Andrew Lane is presenting  the first of three Pops Series programs...VOICES of the Movies.  Some of the most memorable music of our era has been composed for the cinema.  Oscar winning as well as classic favorites will be performed by Broadway talents Susan Egan and David Burnham. 

Among the dozens of songs are last year's Academy Award winner Let It Go from Frozen, a Judy Garland medley, music from Lawrence of Arabia, Fiddler on the Roof, a medley of several Oscar winners, and much, much more.

These Pops concerts are nearly sold out.  You can call the box office at 941-953-3434 or click here to order tickets on line.  If you are a Great Escapes attendee, you surly will enjoy the full Pops Orchestra in an acoustically friendly environment.

Friday, January 16 from 4:30-7 pm, you are invited to a new event hosted by Ringling College of Art and Design: ART WALK.  Have you ever wondered what is going on at one of the best universities of its kind in the US?  Here is a chance to check it out.  Seven galleries throughout the campus will be open to visitors. 

Exhibitions include a traveling show from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, stunning artist glass, creative videos and more.  Along with plenty of convenient parking, refreshments will be served at all seven galleries. For a complete list of galleries along with exhibitions at each click here.

Now playing through February 8 at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is the well reviewed Knock Me A KissWritten by Charles Smith, it is the story of the clashing of wills between a  well-known father and his adventurous daughter. This is the second show of this season's subscription series.

The third show,  February 25-April 4 , Jazz Hot Mamas has already been extended a week due to popular demand and is nearly sold-out. Featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, and Peggy Lee it will bring lots of memories for those lucky enough to have tickets.If you  have not been to this theater,  it is located downtown on Orange and 10th Street. To learn more about the theatre, purchase tickets, show times and more click here.

Last week, SILL (Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning) began its 44th season of classes/lectures with one of the most popular of SARASOTA  programs, Music Monday Series.  This year due to the limited capacity of Holley Hall, they have moved to the spacious, beautiful, accessible and the vastly improved sound system of Church of the Palms 3224 Bee Ridge Rd.  Eleven programs remain, and you can still order a season ticket for $85.  Tickets are available at the door and cost $10 for each performance.

Host June LeBelle was the first female announcer of a major commercial classical music station in the U.S.  She continues on radio today Sundays 4-5pm on WSMR 89.1&103.9 with artist interviews and music. For information on GLOBAL ISSUES SERIES now extended to Lakewood Ranch click here.

ASOLO REPERTORY THEATRE began their 56th season in style with the nearly sold out run of South Pacific.  Now, the theater resumes its schedule with a series of plays  culminating in May and June with a world premiere Luck Be a Lady, the iconic music of Frank Loesser and Woody Sez, the life and music of Woody Guthrie.

Currently playing is The Matchmaker, a play by Thornton Wilder.  This is the show that inspired one of the most popular musicals in Broadway history, Hello Dolly.  Opening a few days ago, I will have more to say about this in a coming blog. To get a complete schedule click here.

TELEVISION ALERT...Tonight( Sunday) on NBC 8-11pm, it's the GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  This is the first of many award shows leading up to the ACADEMY AWARDS hosted by Neil Patrick Harris on February 22 on ABC. The Oscar nominees will be announced live on Good Morning America this Thursday.

JIM'S RANT.....How many of you have recently had phone conversation with a bank, credit card company or newspaper...stupid question, as I am sure most of us have had  the "pleasure" of being prompted to death only to get the wrong department and go through all the same prompts again while yelling "representative" or customer service"??  And all those out-source call centers.....makes you yearn for good old cash only days....

Thanks to all of you who purchased DERSHOWITZ tickets this week for his now sold out presentation.   And thanks to Tracy for her attention to detail....until next week.....JIM

Guess the grandchildren

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