January Highlights

By Kay Kipling January 1, 2012


Venice Art Center. Wildly Abstract continues here through Jan. 13; it’s followed by a Portrait and Figure show, Jan. 20 through Feb. 17. 485-7136.

Ringling Museum of Art. Artists of Advertising continues through Jan. 16 in the Tibbals Learning Center; Josef Albers: Colors runs through the same date in the art museum, with The Amazing American Circus Poster: The Strobridge Lithographing Company 1878-1939 also there through Jan. 29. 359-5700.

Longboat Key Center for the Arts. On view in the center’s Cultural Media Room Jan. 5 through Feb. 23 is Horizon Lines, paintings by 2011 Hermitage Artist Rebecca Allen created with composer Laura Kaminsky. Up next, in the Durante Gallery: works by world-renowned photographer Clyde Butcher, Jan. 19 through Feb. 23. 383-2345.

Selby Gallery. Henk Pander: Sees All, Paints All features large-scale paintings that were created by the Dutch-born artist going back to his World War II days in occupied Holland, Jan. 9 through Feb. 15. 359-7563.



Whoopi Goldberg. The often outrageous Whoopi (recommended for mature audiences here) entertains at 8 p.m. Jan. 14 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Tim Conway and Friends. The friends this time around for veteran funny man Conway are Chuck McCann and Louise DuArt; they team up at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.



Step Afrika. This troupe presents rhythms and sounds linked to both African and modern dance, using the body as the instrument. In performance at 8 p.m. Jan. 12 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Sarasota Ballet. “Made in America” is the theme for this month’s performances at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, Jan. 27-29. That means Balanchine’s Donizetti Variations, Will Tuckett’s Spielende Kinder, and Johan Kobborg’s Salute. 359-0099 ext. 101.



Golden Dragon Acrobats. The spectacle and athletic artistry of the Chinese company return to the Van Wezel with a show at 7 p.m. Jan. 15. 953-3368.

Forks and Corks Food & Wine FestivalForks and Corks Food & Wine Festival. Time once more for this celebration of our region’s top chefs and vintners from around the world, Jan. 27-29 in various venues. Winemaker events, interactive seminars, and, of course, the Grand Tasting Jan. 29 in the Ringling Museum courtyard. For ticket info, head to



Salute to Vienna. The Strauss Symphony of America rings in the New Year at 8 p.m. Jan. 1 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

B.B. KingB.B. King. The thrill is never gone when blues master B.B. plays; he’ll perform at the Van Wezel at 8 p.m. Jan. 5. 953-3368.

Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks. Guest conductor Grant Llewellyn and pianist Robert Levin team for performances of works by Mozart (Idomeneo Overture and Ballet Music, Piano Concerto No. 21) and Rachmaninoff (Symphonic Dances), Jan. 6, 7 and 8 at Van Wezel. Then conductor Carl St. Clair joins violinist Chloe Hanslip, Jan. 27-29, for Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. 953-3434.

Perlman Music Program/Suncoast. The winter residency of this intensive program winds up this month, with a Celebration Concert Jan. 7 at the Sarasota Opera House, followed by a gala dinner. For complete performance info, call 955-4942 or go to

Trio con Brio Copenhagen. This chamber music ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 and 10 in an Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota event, at the Historic Asolo Theater. 360-7399.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Britain’s Philharmonic, with guest conductor Pinchas Zukerman, appears in a Sarasota Concert Association performance, Jan. 9 at the Van Wezel. 955-0040.

Sarasota Orchestra Great Escapes. Dirk Meyer leads the orchestra in “Eternally Tango,” featuring not only tango music but some polkas and waltzes, too. Jan. 11-14 at Holley Hall; 953-3434.

Venice Symphony. The orchestra presents “Music and Magic” pops concerts Jan. 12-14 at Church of the Nazarene in Venice. 488-1010.

Cirque des Voix. Last year’s collaboration between Key Chorale and Circus Sarasota was a big hit, so it’s back, Jan. 13-15, with Sarasota Young Voices, the Cirque Orchestra and both new and familiar circus acts combining for entertainment. Under the Circus Sarasota Big Top. 921-4845.

Ultimate Elvis Birthday Bash. Celebrate the King’s birthday with Elvis entertainers Scot Bruce (young Elvis) and Mike Albert (Vegas Elvis), at 8 p.m. Jan. 18 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Sarasota Orchestra Chamber Soiree Series. Tune in for a little “Night Music”: Mozart’s Serenade No. 12 for Winds and Grieg’s Holberg Suite, along with Grant’s Quintet for Brass. At 5:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.

Richard Nader’s Rock and Roll. Get ready for a musical flashback with Charlie Thomas and the Drifters, Tommy Mara of The Crests, The Vogues, Barbara Harris of the Toys and George Galfo’s Mystics, onstage at 8 p.m. Jan. 19 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Sarasota Orchestra: Wicked Divas. The divas in this case are singers Julia Murney and Alli Mauzey (both formerly onstage in Broadway’s Wicked), who join conductor Andrew Lane for a concert of showstoppers from the stage, opera and popular music. At 8 p.m. Jan. 21 at Van Wezel. 953-3434.

New Music New College. Pianist Kathleen Supové returns to New College for a concert featuring electronic media, costume, audience interaction and more to fashion a piece of performance art. At 8 p.m. Jan. 21 in the college’s Sainer Pavilion. 487-4888.

Legendary Broadway with Lee Roy Reams. Another Artist Series concert, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Historic Asolo Theater, featuring longtime Broadway song-and-dance man Reams. 360-7399.

Cleveland Orchestra. Music director Franz Welser-Most and pianist Yefim Bronfman present works by Brahms, Smetana and Shostakovich, at 8 p.m. Jan. 23 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Abba: The Concert. Mamma Mia, Waterloo, Dancing Queen…you name it, this recreation of the original Swedish and still wildly popular pop phenomenon will play it, at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Kenny Rogers. “The Gambler” returns to Van Wezel once more, in concert at 8 p.m. Jan. 26. 953-3368.

Thomas Hampson. Metropolitan Opera baritone Hampson, whose repertoire spans a wide range of roles both dramatic and comic, performs Jan. 30 in the Sarasota Concert Association series at Van Wezel. 955-0040.

Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Project. One musical star salutes another with Feinstein’s evening of standards made famous by “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” at 8 p.m. Jan. 31 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.



Sunshine from Darkness. This year’s mental health symposium (starting at 9 a.m. Jan. 14 at the Van Wezel) welcomes Dr. Charles Hoge, documentary director (Halfway Home) Paul Freedman, Sgt. Tommy Reiman and Luminary Award honoree Patrick Kennedy; among the topics being discussed, the problems of returning soldiers with PTSD and other issues. A fund-raising gala follows the day, at 6 p.m. at the Ritz. For more details call 504-6717 or go to

Ringling Town Hall. Former first lady Laura Bush kicks off this year’s in-demand lecture series, with appearances at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Van Wezel. Also this month: a Town Hall dinner for platinum subscribers only, featuring magazine editor Tina Brown, Jan. 25. For more details, call 925-1343.

Bookstore1Sarasota. Downtown’s bookstore offers a variety of events this month, including poetry open mics (Jan. 2 and 16), actress-playwright Ann Morrison (Jan. 10), musician-author Francis Schwartz (Jan. 18), self-help book co-authors Susyn Reeve and Joan Breiner (Jan. 19), and author Johanna Moran (Jan. 23). For complete info, go to



Breaking Up is Hard to Do. A lot of good old Neil Sedaka tunes (Sweet Sixteen, Solitaire, etc.) propel this comic story of two girls looking for romance in the Catskills, circa 1960. Continuing through Feb. 5 at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. 366-5454.

The Last Romance. An elderly widower gets a new lease on life in Joe DiPietro’s heart-tugger, running through Feb. 12 in Florida Studio Theatre’s Gompertz Theatre. 366-9000.

Rock of Ages. Get your fill of ’80s rock tunes (we’re talking Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar and Foreigner) with this musical comedy about a small-town girl and a big-city rocker who meet on the Sunset Strip, Jan. 3 and 4 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Million Dollar Quartet. The quartet is Sun Records 1950s superstars Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, brought together for one magical recording session that includes such hits as Blue Suede Shoes, Great Balls of Fire and That’s All Right. Jan. 3-8 at the Straz Center in Tampa. (813) 229-7827.

Lobby Hero. Kenneth Lonergan’s comedy-drama about a Manhattan night security guard who gets caught in the middle of the relationship between two cops takes to the stage Jan. 3-22 in an FSU/Asolo Conservatory production at the Cook Theatre. 351-8000.

Almost, Maine. A work new to local audiences, as playwright John Cariani takes us to a remote, mythical town where everyone is falling in and out of love in unexpected ways. Jan. 5-22 at Venice Theatre’s Stage II. 488-1115.

Once in a Lifetime. Travel back to those days when silent movies were being replaced by talkies in this Kaufman-Hart comedy, playing in rotating rep Jan. 6 through Feb. 29 on the Asolo Rep’s mainstage. 351-8000.

Smokey Joe’s Café. Many of the songs of long-running team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (think Hound Dog) turn up in this revue at Venice Theatre, Jan. 10-29. 488-1115.

Dear World. Music master Jerry Herman’s stage adaptation of The Mad-woman of Chaillot gets a run at the Players Theatre, Jan. 11-22 (Jan. 29 if extended). 365-2494.

Happy Days. All right, everybody sing along: “Sunday, Monday, Happy Days”…the hit TV series about the fab ’50s spawns a musical adaptation at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre, Jan. 12-29. 748-5875.

God of Carnage. Yasmina Reza’s Broadway hit about what happens when the gloves come off as the parents of two squabbling children launch into their own battles, Jan. 13 through April 6 at Asolo Rep. 351-8000.

Blast!Blast! This explosion of classical, blues, jazz, rock, techno pop music and theater won the Tony in 2001 for “Best Theatrical Event”; it hits the Van Wezel stage at 8 p.m. Jan. 17.

Yentl. Isaac Bashevis Singer’s story about a young 19th-century Jewish woman seeking education gets a new take (forget the Barbra Streisand film for now) in this production playing Jan. 20 through April 26 at Asolo Rep. 351-8000.

Hemingway at the Crosley. The Powel Crosley Theater production onstage this month at the Crosley Estate offers tales by Ernest H., as told to hostess Gwendolyn Crosley, with a little help from some of his literary friends. Performances Jan. 24-29, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2 and 3. 722-3244 ext. 0.

Damn Yankees. Would you sell your soul for a winning baseball team? This classic musical presents the case of one man who did, onstage at 8 p.m. Jan. 25 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Next Fall. Geoffrey Nauffts’ play about an unlikely couple’s five year-relationship, which faces a sudden trauma. Playing Jan. 25 through March 25 at FST’s Keating Theatre. 366-9000.

Robert Dubac’s The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron. What do women want? That’s Dubac’s eternal question in this one-man comedy, onstage at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

A Raisin in the Sun. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe brings to the stage Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking play about a black family’s move to a white neighborhood, Jan. 27 through Feb. 19. 366-1505.

Les Miserables. The megahit musical theater production returns to Tampa on its 25th anniversary tour, incorporating new staging and scenery. Performances Jan. 31 through Feb. 12 at the Straz Center. (813) 229-7827.


The Golden Dragon Acrobats have been touring for more than 30 years across five continents; they made an acclaimed Broadway debut in 2005.

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun was based in part on her own family’s struggle to integrate a segregated neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, when she was still a child.


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