Weekend Planner

Your Top 8 Things to Do: Jan. 5-11

Dirty Dancing at the Van Wezel, Thunder by the Bay, the Minnesota Orchestra and much more.

By Ilene Denton January 4, 2017

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Dirty Dancing Comes to the Van Wezel

Jan. 10-11

Nobody boxes Baby into the corner in the theatrical version of the classic movie about young love, summer camp and the power of dance. Almost a sellout; best ticket availability is the Wednesday matinee. Everybody, now: “Now I’ve had the time of my li-i-ife…” vanwezel.org

Asolo Rep presents The Great Society

 Opening Jan. 11

Talk about timely. As America hurtles toward Inauguration Day, the Asolo Rep opens its winter season with Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society, a searing political drama about embattled President Lyndon Johnson as he attempts to build a new America despite civil rights turmoil and the Vietnam War. It’s the sequel to the theater’s acclaimed All the Way last season. In rotating rep through April 2. asolorep.org 

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Image: Greg Helgeson

The Minnesota Orchestra


Jan. 9

The great Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä brings the Grammy Award-winning orchestra to the Van Wezel as part of the Sarasota Concert Association Great Performers series, so it’s fitting that works by Finnish composers Jean Sibelius and Kalevi Aho are on the program. And cellist Alisa Weilerstein will solo on Dvořák’s Concerto for Cello in B Minor. scasarasota.org 

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Image: C. Schneider

Beethoven & Brahms with the Sarasota Orchestra


Jan. 6-8

The orchestra’s next Masterworks series pays homage to two titans of classical music when guest conductor Case Scaglione leads the ensemble in Beethoven’s Overture to Coriolan and Piano Concerto No. 3 (with guest pianist Yulianna Avdeeva, shown here), as well as Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. Three performances at the Van Wezel. sarasotaorchestra.org

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Image: Liz Lauren

A Celebration of Two Worlds, Music and Dance


Jan. 8

The Sarasota Ballet brings to town a rare opportunity to see some world-renowned musicians and dancers in this fund-raising event at the Sarasota Opera House—but be prepared to pay, as tickets start at $500 each. You may think it’s worth that to see mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade, pianist Jake Heggie, American Ballet Theatre dancers and benefit the company. sarasotaballet.org

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Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents The Piano Lesson

Jan. 11-Feb. 18


Playwright August Wilson is getting plenty of national attention with the holiday release of the Denzel Washington film, Fences. You can see another of the plays in Wilson’s acclaimed American Century Cycle when WBTT presents this powerful drama about a Depression-era African-American family arguing over an heirloom piano. westcoastblacktheatre.org

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Image: Shutterstock

Sarasota Orchid Society 60th Anniversary Show and Sale

Jan. 7-8

Everything’s coming up orchids at the Sarasota Orchid Society’s big, big anniversary show and sale at the Municipal Auditorium. Hundreds of orchid hybrids and species for purchase, and free orchid-care classes, too. sarasotaorchidsociety.org 

Thunder by the Bay


Jan. 6-8

It’s going to get noisy out at Lakewood Ranch, when the motorcycle festival moves from its traditional downtown Sarasota locale. The Born to be Wild kickoff party is Friday night; the new Rockin’ & Ridin’ at the Ranch festival is Saturday and Sunday at the Premier Sports Campus. This year’s headliner is none other than Blue Oyster Cult. Get all the details at thunderbythebay.org.


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