Art Center Sarasota. On view through May 3: the Sarasota North County Public Schools Art Show. Opening May 11 (reception 5-7 p.m. May 13) is the Spring Members Show, which continues through June 5. Information: 365-2032.
Venice Art Center. Continuing through May 14: The South Sarasota County Public Schools show. Coming up May 17 to run through June 19: the Winners Circle Invitational. Information: 485-7136.
Beverly Fleming Gallery. Tropics by Penny Brandon continues through May 20 at the Towles Court gallery. Information: 365-8683.
Galleria Silecchia. Continuing through May 29 is the Art Glass Invitational, featuring works by Hiroshi Yamano, Flo Perkins, Nick Mount, Duncan McClellan, Debra May, Joseph Rossano, Barry Sautner and others. Also: bronze sculpture by William Morris and paintings by William Whitaker. Information: 365-7414.
Museum of Asian Art. On view this month: Between Heaven and Earth: A Reflection of Family Life in China. Information: 954-7117.
Museum of Fine Arts. Chihuly Across Florida: Masterworks in Glass, presenting Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures, remains on view through May 30 at the St. Petersburg museum. Information: (727) 896-2667.
Tampa Museum of Art. Tales from the Easel: American Paintings from Southern Museums, continues through July 4 and offers works by Thomas Sully, Winslow Homer and Jacob Lawrence, among others. Information: (813) 274-8130.
Salvador Dali Museum. The St. Petersburg museum's salute to Dali's centennial continues with The American Collection, through Sept. 19. Information: (727) 823-3767.
Longboat Key Center for the Arts. A show of Women Contemporary Artists continues through Oct. 1. Information: 383-2345.
Palm Avenue Gallery. Oils and acrylics by Denny Arant are on view May 1-31, along with watercolors by Patricia Reeve Mead and ink sketches by Sol Schwartz. Information: 953-5757.
Selby Gardens. The Juried Photographic Exhibition runs May 1-30. Information: 366-5731.
Selby Gallery. Opening with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. May 7 (to run through May 28): In Gallery I, works by Sarasota Portrait Painters; in Gallery II, paintings by Martha and the late William Hartman. Information: 359-7563.
Palm Avenue First Friday Walk. From 6 to 9 p.m. May 7 along the arty avenue. Information: 373-9660.
Ringling Museum of Art. Early American Modernism presents works from the collection of Sarasotans Mark and Irene Kauffman, dating from 1913 to the mid-'50s, May 13-June 13 in the West Galleries. Information: 359-5700.
Towles Court Third Friday Gallery Walk. Stroll the artists' colony from 6 to 10 p.m. May 21. Information: 362-0690.
Venice Little Theatre's Theatre for Young People. Story Theatre, a collection of tales from the Brothers Grimm and Aesop's Fables, continues through May 9. Information: 488-1115.
Anne of Green Gables. Take a journey to Avonlea with this classic L.M. Montgomery story of a red-haired orphan girl, at 10:30 a.m. May 1 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration® On Tour tackles Twain's famous tale of Tom and Becky, Huck and Injun Joe, at 10:30 a.m. May 8 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.
Wonderland. An adaptation of the classic Alice in Wonderland story that manages to throw in some hip-hop and other modern-day references. At 7 p.m. May 9 and 2 p.m. May 9 at the Players. Information: 365-2494.
Howie Mandel. A recent visitor to town during the Sarasota Film Festival, Mandel returns to entertain at 8 p.m. May 21 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.
Projections: A Little Night Music. The Sarasota Film Festival presents an outdoor screening of the classic musical Singin' in the Rain, at 8 p.m. May 7 at J.D. Hamel Memorial Park on Gulfstream Avenue. Bring your lawn blankets, chairs and flashlights. Information: 364-9514.
Classic Corvettes on the Circle. More than 200 of those coveted cars will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 1 in St. Armands Circle Park. Information: 388-1554.
International Orchid Conservation Congress. More than 200 scientists and orchid enthusiasts from around the world will convene at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens May 17-21 for this event, which focuses strongly on conservation; but locals, even beginners, are encouraged to participate as well. For more information call 955-7553, ext. 311.
Venice Symphony. The symphony presents its final pops concert of the season at 4 and 8 p.m. May 1 at the Church of the Nazarene. Information: 488-1010.
Selby Gardens Sunday Afternoon Garden Music Series. Enjoy music in the gardens' lovely setting. From 1 to 3 p.m. May 2, American Troubadour Bill Schustik; from 1 to 3 p.m. May 9, Jennifer and the Venturas (all moms admitted free for Mother's Day when accompanied by a family member). Information: 366-5731.
Florida String Quartet and Friends. Pianist Jonathan Spivey joins the quartet on Shostakovich's Piano Quintet; also on the program are works by Beethoven and Janacek. At 4 p.m. May 2 at Holley Hall. Information: 953-3434.
Jazz on the Water. Hop aboard the Seafood Shack paddlewheeler at the Cortez dock at noon May 2 and listen to jazz on both decks until the boat returns at 4 p.m. Sponsored by the Jazz Club of Sarasota; call 366-1552.
Earth, Wind and Fire. The elemental band plays at the Van Wezel, at 7 p.m. May 2. Information: 953-3368.
Evening Under the Stars. Music from Florida West Coast Symphony members, May 8 at Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch; sponsored by the Manatee Community College Foundation. Information: 752-5390 or 408-1418.
The Language of Birds. A world premiere by composer John M. Kennedy, presented by the Sarasota Youth Opera at 5 p.m. May 8 and 1:30 p.m. May 9 at the Sarasota Opera House. Information: 366-8450.
Florida West Coast Symphony Spring Fest. All four ensembles of the symphony team for this musical event, at 7:30 p.m. May 14 at Holley Hall. On the program: Faure's Pianist Quartet in Eb, Debussy's String Quartet No. 4, and Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat with narrator and actors. Information: 953-3434.
Huey Lewis & The News. Huey and his band are still getting it done, performing at 7 p.m. May 16 at the Van Wezel. Information: 953-3368.
Festival Latino. A celebration of Latin culture with lots of music and dance, at 7:30 p.m. May 21 and 22 and 2 p.m. May 23 at the Players of Sarasota. Information: 365-2494.
Sarasota Folk Club. The club presents five Florida performers in an invitational concert at 7:15 p.m. May 24 at the Sailing Squadron. Also this month: a House Concert featuring Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, at 7:30 p.m. May 26 at 9771 Knightsbridge Circle. Information: for the Squadron concert, 377-9256; for the House Concert, 918-8333.
Smooth Jazz on St. Armands: Fourth Friday with Style. Enjoy the Circle and its sounds, from 6 to 9 p.m. May 28, with featured performer Stacey Knights. Information: 388-1554.
Sarasota Music Festival. The fest's 40th season arrives May 30-June 15, with lots of talented students and faculty performing classical music, especially next month; call 953-4252 for complete schedule; 953-3434 for tickets.
Manatee Community College Foundation First Annual Golf Tournament. Set for May 7 at the Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch; call 752-0390 or 408-1418.
Physicians' Golf Tournament. The third annual to benefit the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation's Physicians' Endowment, with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. May 7 at Laurel Oak Country Club. For more info call 917-1286.
Golf for Girl Scouts Benefit Golf Tournament. Proceeds of this tourney, which gets off to a shotgun start at 8 a.m. May 15 at El Conquistador Country Club, benefit Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. For registration information, call 921-5358, ext. 253.
Life of Riley Run/Walk. For the Life of Riley Foundation, which works toward a cure for pediatric brain tumors, this one-mile fun run/walk and 5K run/race takes place May 29 along Siesta Key Beach. For registration info call 923-3093.
Lettuce & Lectures. A discussion about the Banyan Theater Company, at noon May 5 at Selby Library. Information: 365-5228.
Arms and the Man. George Bernard Shaw's sharp-witted look at the follies of war ends its run May 2, in an FSU/Asolo Conservatory production in the Cook Theatre at the Asolo. Information: 351-8000.
Bells Are Ringing. The musical comedy about a very busy answering service operator continues through May 2 at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. Information: 366-5454.
The Producers. Your chance to catch the Mel Brooks superhit, through May 2 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Information: (800) 955-1045.
Divorce Southern Style. A comedy about a woman running out of money, who may decide to reunite with her ex. Onstage through May 16 at the Lemon Bay Playhouse. Information: 475-6756.
Much Ado About Nothing. A spicy Latin flavor inhabits this American Stage Shakespeare in the Park production, at Demons Landing in downtown St. Pete. Through May 16; call (727) 823-PLAY (7529).
The Diary of Anne Frank. The haunting true story of the Frank family continues through May 22 on the Asolo mainstage. Information: 351-8000.
Hay Fever. Noel Coward's lighter-than-air look at a weekend with a family of British thespians, through May 23 on the Asolo mainstage. Information: 351-8000.
One-Hit Wonders. Monster Mash, anyone? You can hear that and other hits that remained singular for their performers, through May 29 at Florida Studio Theatre's Goldstein Cabaret. Information: 366-9000.
Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins. A world premiere about a gay teen coming of age in the 1970s, onstage through June 5 at Florida Studio Theatre. Information: 366-9000.
Suds. Head to the laundromat-er, the Golden Apple-for this show filled with '60-ish tunes, May 4 through June 27. Information: 366-5454.
Greater Tuna. Two actors present most of the population of a small Texas town in this comedy, onstage May 6-16 at the Island Players. Information: 778-5755.
Forever Plaid. The perennial favorite about a hopeful male singing group cut down in their prime, onstage May 6-23 at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre. Information: 748-5875.
Free and Clear. This production of a newly "discovered" work by Robert Anderson replaces the previously announced The Smell of the Kill, May 7-30 in the Asolo's Cook Theatre. Information: 351-8000.
New Play Festival. Staged readings of new plays at Florida Studio Theatre are set for May 15, 22 and 29; the annual Young Playwrights Fest celebration day is May 8. For more info, call 366-9000.
Les Miserables. An encore performance of the musical megahit based on the Victor Hugo novel, at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, May 18-30. Information: (800) 955-1045.
The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wilde. Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Zindel penned this madcap comedy about a heroine who escapes her boring life through the fantasy of the movies. Onstage May 18-30 at Venice Little Theatre. Information: 488-1115.
A Stage Surprise
Asolo audiences might have been expecting to see a new play, The Smell of the Kill, this month in the Asolo's Cook Theatre. Instead, they'll see an old one-but one by esteemed playwright Robert Anderson that's never been seen before, except in a tryout production more than 20 years ago.
Anderson, who wrote such popular and acclaimed works for the stage as Tea and Sympathy and I Never Sang for My Father and screenplays including The Nun's Story and Sand Pebbles, is now an ailing 86; and longtime friend Richard Fallon, founder of the Asolo decades ago, says he's fulfilling a promise to the playwright to "get this play produced in a way that will truly do it justice." The work, Free and Clear, tells the story of two brothers returning home for their mother's birthday, and it asks the questions: What obligations do children have to their parents? How much can a parent expect?
Anderson, who's received the Edward Albee Last Frontier Playwright Award and the William Inge Lifetime Achievement Award for a Playwright, is also a novelist and has been elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame. In addition to staging Free and Clear, the Asolo plans a tribute to Anderson (whom they're hoping can attend) and is inviting those he has written for and his colleagues in theater, literature and film to attend, which could include some pretty well-known names.
Speaking of well-known names, the Asolo is also bringing in a special cast for this production, which will be directed by Eberle Thomas. Asolo veteran Polly Holliday (forever known to television audiences as Flo from the sitcom Alice) returns after a long absence; she's joined by Asolo Conservatory alumni Bryant Mason and Bryan Barter and also by John Krich, an actor who also performed at the Asolo during its early years.
Free and Clear runs May 7-30. For tickets call 351-8000.
Every May the Sarasota Youth Opera brings together hard-working young students, an interesting, often brand-new work, and appreciative audiences for performances at the Sarasota Opera House. This year, the nine to 18-year-old students, about 100 strong, tackle the world premiere of The Language of Birds, with music by John W. Kennedy and a libretto by Peter M. Krask, which will be onstage at 5 p.m. May 8 and 1:30 p.m. May 9.
The piece, commissioned for the Sarasota Opera, is based on a children's book by Rafe Martin, a retelling of a Russian folk tale about two brothers, one kind, one selfish, trying to make their way in the world. In the magical way of Russian folk tales, the kind brother manages to triumph over his challenges, thanks to the act of saving a baby bird, whose grateful mother grants him his wish to understand the language of the feathered species.
In addition to the performances, there'll be a roundtable with the composer, librettist, and artistic and executive directors on the task of creating an opera (5 p.m. May 4), a Meet the Artists event (5 p.m. May 5) and a benefit dinner (7:30 p.m. May 8). For information about any of these events, call 366-8450.