The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall turns a fabulous 50 this season, and that means champagne, cake and a new announcement of performers and shows just out.
The hall, which opened in 1970 with the musical Fiddler on the Roof, had previously released news about its upcoming Broadway, dance and classical season. Now the schedule (which is always being updated) includes a host of other events, ranging from familiar faves to newcomers, with family and holiday shows, slightly riskier adult entertainment and more in the mix.
Among the favorites paying return visits to the hall are Tony Bennett, with his “I Left My Heart” tour, Dec. 3; comedians Steve Martin & Martin Short, Jan. 23; singer-actress Kristin Chenoweth, in concert Jan. 30; Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Feb. 9; Mandy Patinkin, in concert with Diaries, Feb. 16; the Beach Boys, appearing Feb. 18; Michael Feinstein, singing songs of Gershwin in “Who Can Ask for Anything More,” Feb. 20; Paul Anka, in an evening of Frank Sinatra music, March 11; songwriter David Foster, here with special guest (and new wife) Katharine McPhee, March 22; The Pointer Sisters, April 2; Jackie Evancho, April 3; Johnny Mathis on his “The Voice of Romance” tour, April 16; and Chris Botti, April 19.
Fans of Irish music will be pleased to share Christmas music in a Celtic Angels Christmas, Dec. 1; and the Ten Tenors are “Home for the Holidays,” Dec. 22. There’s room for nostalgia with performances by the Righteous Brothers (Bill Medley and Bucky Heard) on Jan. 13; and tributes to The Carpenters (Jan. 14); Whitney Houston (starring Belinda Davids) Jan. 21; The Bee Gees with Stayin’ Alive (Feb. 10); ABBA (March 6); Ray Charles, with Georgia On My Mind (March 8); and One Night of Queen, May 6.
Comedians Louie Anderson and Rita Rudner both perform Jan. 28, and ventriloquist Terry Fator April 10. A little more offbeat will be a show called The Naked Magicians, which “strips away the top hats and capes, promising full-frontal illusions,” according to the hall’s press release. That’s a Sarasota premiere, taking place Jan. 16.
Other premieres of the season include Tony Award winner John Leguizamo in his show Latin History for Morons (Nov. 19); the band Collective Soul (here Nov. 26); a tribute to Nat King Cole and Ladies of Song, starring John Pizzarelli and Catherine Russell (March 18); An Evening with Bruce Hornsby (March 29); and multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Brian Culbertson (April 23).
One more premiere, and one that will help to celebrate the hall’s 50th anniversary the evening of Jan. 5: crossover quartet Il Divo, which has earned more than 100 gold and platinum records in over 30 countries.
There are even more shows listed on the Van Wezel’s website, vanwezel.org, and more will be added as the season commences. Public on-sale date for tickets is Sept. 7, starting at 10 a.m.; in addition to visiting the website, you can also buy at the box office or by calling (941) 953-3368.