Van Wezel Announces Broadway, Dance and Classical Season

Included in the 2016-17 line-up: Broadway hit Kinky Boots.

By Kay Kipling March 31, 2016

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Scene from Kinky Boots. Photo by Matthew Murphy


Hundreds of past and potential subscribers turned out Wednesday night, March 30, for the announcement of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall’s 2016-17 Broadway, dance and classical seasons.

They mingled and munched on refreshments in the Grand Foyer before entering the auditorium to hear hall executive director Mary Bensel, with the help of some videos of the performances coming up for the season, deliver the line-up and invite subscribers to purchase their tickets.

Coming up in the Broadway category:

Fame the Musical, Dec. 7

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Dec. 27 and 28

42nd Street, Dec. 30

Dirty Dancing, a Sarasota premiere, Jan. 10 and 11

Riverdance—the 20th Anniversary World Tour, Jan. 24-26

Neil Berg’s 108 Years of Broadway, Feb. 14

Pippin, the new version of the musical, onstage Feb. 17 and 18

Annie, March 15

Once, a Sarasota premiere, March 17

Chicago, March 25 and 26

And the series’ biggest announcement, Kinky Boots, with songs by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, onstage April 25-30.

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The hall’s classical series includes:

The annual Salute to Vienna New Year’s concert, Jan. 3

Hungarian violinist Zoltan Maga in “From Budapest with Love,” Jan. 18

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, playing both classical compositions and music by the Beatles

Violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, Feb. 7

The Philadelphia Orchestra, Feb. 9

Pianist Lang Lang, returning to the hall Feb. 23

Orchestra National de Lyon, a Sarasota premiere, March 1

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Pianist Lang Lang. Photo by Harald Hoffman


For dance lovers, the season offers:

Twyla Tharp: Fiftieth Anniversary Tour, Feb. 15

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, returning Feb. 21

The Russian National Ballet Theatre’s production of Swan Lake, Feb. 28

Pilobolus, performing Shadowland, March 23

And Momix, presenting Opus Cactus, March 28

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The Alvin Ailey dance company. Photo by Andrew Eccles


After the announcements, Bensel introduced a special guest, Mayor Willie Shaw, who entered with a woman on each arm, both costumed in “Kinky Boots”—as was the mayor himself. Hard to top that.

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Mayor Willie Shaw wears kinky boots, accompanied by Van Wezel executive director Mary Bensel, right. Photo by Rebecca Baxter


For complete information about tickets to the hall’s shows, go to or call (941) 953-3368.

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