Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Announces 50th Anniversary Season Broadway and Classical Series

The Broadway season presents 10 shows, with seven of them Sarasota premieres.

By Kay Kipling March 6, 2019

The national touring production of Come From Away, onstage at the Van Wezel April 28-May 3.

Seven Sarasota premieres highlight the 2019-20 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Broadway season as the hall celebrates its 50th anniversary, including Come From Away, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Waitress.

The Broadway season was announced this week by executive director Mary Bensel, along with several performances in the hall’s Classical Series and Subscriber Specials. Sales are open now for both current and new subscribers, at the box office or by calling (941) 953-3368 or (800) 826-9303.

The Broadway Series begins with the premiere of the Jimmy Buffett musical Escape to Margaritaville (Dec. 2), featuring music and lyrics by the quintessential Florida songwriter. That’s followed by Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which has been well received on Broadway with its look at the musical career and personal life of songwriter King. That’s onstage Dec. 13-15.

Waitress, the musical based on the hit film starring Keri Russell as a pie-baking waitress in a pickle when it comes to her unplanned pregnancy, takes to the Van Wezel stage Jan. 24-26. Then the new Tony Award winner about six soldiers returning home from World War II, Bandstand, entertains Feb. 4 and 5. It features songs by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor as it tells the story of the soldiers’ readjustment made possible through music.

George Gershwin's An American in Paris, onstage March 16.

George Gershwin’s classic An American in Paris receives a splashy new production, March 16, after being acclaimed on Broadway, followed by the streetwise musical A Bronx Tale, based on the play and film by Chazz Palminteri that center on a  young Italian-American boy torn between the Mafia and the values of his hard-working father (April 21 and 22). Then the New York Times Critics’ Pick show Come From Away, which tells the true story of 7,000 stranded passengers in Newfoundland in the wake of 9/11, touches hearts April 28 through May 3.

The ever popular Les Miserables returns to the Van Wezel after an earlier sellout run (Feb. 26 through March 1) as does the outrageous musical comedy The Book of Mormon, Jan. 7-12. The Color Purple, winner of the 2016 Tony for Best Musical Revival, closes out the Broadway Series March 10.

Les Miserables returns Feb. 26-March 1.

Drawing audiences in the Classical Series will be the annual Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert, Jan. 2; the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, led by violinist Joshua Bell, Feb. 15; and virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, sharing the stage with pianist Rohan de Silva, March 21.

Academy of St Martin in the Fields, performing Feb. 15.

Subscribers Specials for the season include the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players’ The Pirates of Penzance (Feb. 13), Neil Berg’s 111 Years of Broadway (Feb. 19), the feel-good production The Choir Man, a hit at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (March 17), and the classic production of Cinderella, performed by the Russian National Ballet on March 3.

More shows, including comedy and pop music acts, will be announced later.


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