March Highlights

By Kay Kipling March 1, 2012

A walk in the creekbed. by Joseph melançon, on creators and collectors tour. (Andrew Eccles)Art

Art Center Sarasota. Continuing on view here through March 10 are two exhibitions: Artists Who Made Sarasota Famous and The Story of the Sarasota Art Association 1926-1966, both providing glimpses into the visual arts community of yesterday, with works by such artists as Julio De Diego, Jerry Farnsworth, Syd Solomon, Eric von Schmidt and many others. Coming up next: It’s Who We Are, a members-only all-media juried exhibition, running March 22 through April 21. 365-2032.

Selby Gallery. Genius Unfolding: Annotated Proofs by J.M.W. Turner presents artist proofs with Turner’s notes for engravings of the Loire Valley and Seine Valley, along with bound books from the series. The exhibition runs through March 28. 359-7563.

Ringling Museum of Art. Peter Paul Rubens: Impressions of a Master, presenting more than 75 engravings after compositions by Rubens (displayed alongside several major Rubens paintings), continues on view here through June 3. Also, an exhibition featuring videos and installations by Greenfield Prize-winning artist Sanford Biggers takes place March 30 through Aug. 19. 359-5700.

Longboat Key Center for the Arts. The center presents its annual juried members exhibition March 1-29. 383-2345.

Venice Art Center. The center’s members-only all-media spring show runs March 9 through April 6. 485-7136.

Light Chasers: Plein Air Painters of the Suncoast. This exhibit featuring more than 40 artists in the plein air tradition opens March 16 at the Celery Barn Gallery in Towles Court; through March 30. 400-3408.

Downtown Sarasota Art & Craft Festival. Admission is free to this annual festival, taking place March 24 and 25 along Main Street. [email protected].

Art Sarasota. The mega-yacht SeaFair returns to Sarasota for this second annual event, hosted by International Fine Art Expositions. In all, 28 galleries will present paintings, sculpture, photography, design and fine art glass during the yacht’s stay at Marina Jack, March 30 through April 2. Tickets available at the door, but for discounts and more info go to




An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin. Tomlin fans will rejoice to see the comedienne-actress portray many of her beloved characters in this show, set for 8 p.m. March 1 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.



Tommy Tune Steps in Time. The ever-amazing Mr. Tune returns to the stage (with the Manhattan Rhythm Kings) for a look back at his theatrical career, at 8 p.m. March 14 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Joffrey Ballet. Look for works by James Kudelka, Christopher Wheeldon and Julia Adam when this modern dance company returns to the Van Wezel, at 8 p.m. March 29. 953-3368.




Founders Club Model Homes Showcase and Charity Event. This tour of homes continues through April 1, with proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen, the Humane Society and the Sarasota Orchestra. Tickets $5; call 404-3107.

Historic Homes Tour. The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation presents its 22nd annual tour, which takes visitors through the Hudson Bayou/Bungalow Hill neighborhood, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 4. Tickets at any home on the tour; call 953-8727.

Creators and Collectors Tour. More than 1,000 pieces of art by 17 artists working in Sarasota will be on view during this two-day tour, March 9 and 10, presented by the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota. Visitors will see the studios of artists Giovanni Lunardi, Joseph Melançon, Andrea Dasha Reich, Adam Todd and Nancy Turner, plus an exhibit of 12 more artists in the Ringling College Student Center space, also with emerging artists from Ringling College. Tickets, or the Van Wezel box office, Davidson Drugstores, State of the Arts Gallery or the art centers of Manatee, Sarasota and Venice.

Sarasota County Fair. Got an appetite for elephant ears? You’ll find those and lots more at the 76th annual version of the county fair, March 16-25. 365-0818.

Giving Hunger the Blues. The all-day block party along Hillview Street, complete with live bands, martial arts demos, games, and lots of food and beverages, benefits All Faiths Food Bank and takes place March 25; call 366-5555 or go to

PAL Sailor Circus. You won’t want to miss the 63rd annual spring show featuring the talented students of the Sailor Circus, in the big blue tent on Bahia Vista. Performances are March 28-31 and April 4-7. 361-6350.



Sarasota Orchestra Chamber Soirees Series. String quartets by Dvorak and Ravel are presented, at 5:30 p.m. March 1 in Holley Hall. 953-3434.

Lucia di Lammermoor. Donizetti’s opera about the poor, doomed Lucia continues at the Sarasota Opera House, with performances March 2, 7, 9, 17 and 23. 328-1300.

The Pink Floyd Experience. Six musicians reproduce live the entire Wish You Were Here album of the legendary Floyd, at 8 p.m. March 2 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Venice Symphony. Classical concerts this month include Haydn’s Symphony No. 88 and Strauss’ Concerto for French Horn, March 2, 3 and 4 at Church of the Nazarene. The orchestra also offers a free outdoor pops concert, March 17 at Maxine Barritt Park, and another classical performance, March 23 and 24, featuring works by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. 488-1010.

Otello. The Sarasota Opera presents for the first time Verdi’s masterpiece, based on the Shakespeare play. Performance dates are March 3, 6, 11, 14, 17, 22 and 25. 328-1300.

New Music New College Crossroads 4: The Meeting of the Minds Festival. The NMNC fest features two outdoor concerts, one honoring the late jazz legend Sam Rivers, performed by Fluid Motion. A panel discussion on race and experimental music takes place March 3; for complete info, call 487-4888 or go to

Sarasota Jazz Festival. The 32nd annual fest brings to the stage such greats as Dick Hyman, Derek Smith, JB Scott’s Swingin’ Allstars, Bill Watrous with the Sarasota Jazz Project and Warren and Allan Vache Brothers Swinging Quintet. Starts March 4 at Phillippi Estate Park, with concerts March 6, 8, 9 and 10 at the Players Theatre. Also a Jazz Caravan by trolley March 7; for complete info, 366-1552 or

Carmen. The Sarasota Opera continues performances of Bizet’s audience-pleasing story of a tempestuous gypsy, March 4, 8, 11, 16, 20 and 24. 328-1300.

It’s About Time: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, the Gershwins and More. Singer Gail Nelson salutes them all in an Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota event, March 4 and 6 at the Historic Asolo Theater. 360-7399.

Midori. The famed violinist appears with conductor Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra at 8 p.m. March 7 in a Sarasota Concert Association offering at Van Wezel. 955-0040.

The Women of Ireland: Celtic Goddess. Irish song and dance, as interpreted by a cast made up entirely of women. Playing at 8 p.m. March 8 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks. Guest conductor Edwin Outwater leads the orchestra in works by Glinka, Tchaikovsky (a violin concerto with artist Karen Gomyo), Mussorgsky and Shostakovich, March 9, 10 and 11. Also this month: guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen with guest violinist James Ehnes, March 29, 30, 31 and April 1. On the program: Kernis’ Too Hot Toccata, Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. 953-3434.

Vanessa. Samuel Barber’s prize-winning piece about a woman who waits 20 years for the return of a lover is a Sarasota Opera production, with performances March 10, 13, 15, 18, 21 and 24. 328-1300.

Sarasota Opera Apprentice Concert/Youth Opera Concert. Hear these young operatic voices at 1:30 p.m. March 10 at the Opera House. 328-1300.

Sarasota Orchestra Great Escapes Series. “On Broadway” offers music from West Side Story, Chicago, The Music Man and many more, March 14, 15, 16 and 17 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.

The 5 Browns. The talented Brown family—three sisters, two brothers—brings new energy to classical music, including works by Mozart, Liszt and Scriabin, with a few more contemporary works thrown in. At 8 p.m. March 15 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Neil Berg’s 104 Years of Broadway. Lots of Great White Way memories in this all-new song package, onstage at 8 p.m. March 17 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Northwest German Philharmonic. Eugene Tzigane conducts the orchestra, with cellist Amit Peled guesting, at 4 p.m. March 18 at the Van Wezel, in a Sarasota Concert Association offering. 955-0040.

Sarasota Opera Artists Concert. The opera’s singers present the best of opera and Broadway, at 8 p.m. March 18 at the Opera House. 328-1300.

Variations: Martina Filjak. Pianist Filjak interprets works by Beethoven and Haydn, March 18 and 20 in an Artist Series concert at the Historic Asolo Theater. 360-7399.

Bowfire. Get ready for an evening of string fever as the ensemble fiddles around with bluegrass, jazz, rock and more, at 8 p.m. March 20 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Sarasota Orchestra New Music: There Will be Strings. Works by three living composers—John Adams, Einojuhani Rautavaara and Jonny Greenwood—are featured in this concert at 7:30 p.m. March 24 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.

Neil Sedaka. Still going strong at 70-plus, Sedaka revives his hits, including Where the Boys Are, Laughter in the Rain, Calendar Girl and more in concert at 8 p.m. March 24 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Sarasota Folk & Acoustic Music Festival. Oscar Scherer State Park is the setting for this year’s fest, March 24 and 25, with headliners Gove Scrivenor, Roy Schneider, Mindy Simmons and Sam Pacetti. Food, workshops, jams and more. For info go to

Victor DeRenzi’s 30th Season Concert. Maestro De Renzi conducts soloists, chorus and orchestra in a program celebrating his 30th year with the company, at 7 p.m. March 25 at the Opera House. A gala follows. 328-1300.

Tony Bennett. You may be hearing more of Bennett’s distinctive voice in duets these days, but he proves he can still wow a crowd on his own with a concert at 7 p.m. March 25 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.




Ringling Town Hall Series. Up this month in the series: economist Steven Levitt (Freakonomics), March 5, and controversial cable TV show host host Bill O’Reilly, March 13, both at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Van Wezel. 925-1343.

Bookstore1Sarasota. At the downtown store this month: Thrity Umrigar (The World We Found), March 15, and Bruce Mowday (Richie Ashburn…Why the Hall Not? The Amazing Journey to Cooperstown), March 21. In addition, there will be a poetry awards event March 9 at Selby Library and a talk by the authors of The Challenge of Climate Change, March 5, also at Selby. For full details, 365-7900 or




Altar Boyz. A Christian boy band “Raises the Praise” in this popular musical comedy, continuing through March 4 in Venice Theatre’s cabaret series. 488-1115.

The Music Man. Time for another dose of nostalgia with this tale of Professor Harold Hill, Marian the librarian and the folks of River City. Through March 11 at Venice Theatre. 488-1115.

Aida. The Elton John-Tim Rice version of an ancient Egyptian love triangle continues through March 11 at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre. 748-5875.

The Robbers. Friedrich Schiller’s play concerns two brothers locked in a competition for their father’s love and money; it’s onstage through March 11 in an FSU/Asolo Conservatory production at the Cook Theatre. 351-8000.

Next Fall. Geoffrey Nauffts’ award winner traces the ups and downs of an unlikely couple’s five-year relationship, through March 25 at Florida Studio Theatre’s Keating Theatre. 366-9000.

Shake, Rattle and Roll. Revisit the early days of rock ’n’ roll via songs by the likes of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, through March 25 at FST’s Goldstein Cabaret. 366-9000.

Disenchanted. Some Disney princesses air their regrets and complaints in this reprise of the musical comedy which played at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre last fall, now onstage through March 25. 366-5454.

God of Carnage. Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning comedy about two sets of parents hurling insults and more after their children are involved in a playground spat continues through April 6 at Asolo Rep. 351-8000.

Yentl. This version of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s story, Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy, features music by songwriter Jill Sobule; it continues through April 26 at Asolo Rep. 351-8000.

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn. Jake Ehrenreich’s Broadway hit is a “true story” musical about growing up the son of Holocaust survivors and searching for both identity and meaning; onstage at 7 p.m. March 4 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Fallen Angels. Peter Amster directs this little-seen Noel Coward play, about two married female friends who discover they’ve both had a fling with the same charming Frenchman. Onstage March 9 through May 13 at Asolo Rep. 351-8000.

Sammy Tonight: A Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. Performer De’zhon Fields brings to life the late, great Sammy in a show running March 9 through April 1 in a Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presentation. 366-1505.

Avenue Q.  The popular puppet show (not meant for young children) gets a monthlong run at Venice Theatre’s Stage II, March 15 through April 15. 488-1115.

Steve Solomon’s My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, I’m Still in Therapy! The Chaos Continues. Writer-performer Solomon never runs out of things to say about his dysfunctional but lovable family; the latest installment arrives at 8 p.m. March 19 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Noises Off. Michael Frayn’s popular farce about backstage shenanigans during the run of a show entertains March 21 through April 1 at the Players Theatre. 365-2494.

The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein. Fans of Brooks’ Frankenstein parody movie, starring Gene Wilder, will jump at this chance to see the Broadway musical version, March 22 and 23 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.

Hamlet, Prince of Cuba. The classic Shakespearean drama takes on a Latin flavor with a new adaptation that places the action in Cuba; it’s directed by Asolo Rep artistic director Michael Donald Edwards. Playing March 23 through May 6 at Asolo Rep. 351-8000.

Oliver! Popular local actors Steve and Dianne Dawson play Fagin and Nancy in the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre’s production of the musical hit based on Dickens’ Oliver Twist, March 27 through May 6. 366-5454.

Come Fly Away. Choreographer Twyla Tharp’s revue centers on the songs of Ol’ Blue Eyes, in a tale of four couples looking for love. Onstage March 27 through April 1 at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa. (813) 229-7827.

Fiddler on the Roof. The show that opened the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall more than 40 years ago is back, telling once more the story of Tevye and his five daughters. At 8 p.m. March 28. 953-3368.

Ring of Fire. The life of the amazing Johnny Cash is revisited in this Richard Maltby Jr.-William Meade show packed with many of his hits, running March 29 through April 15 at the Manatee Players. 748-5875.

Red. The Asolo Rep tackles this Tony-winning John Logan piece about famed painter Mark Rothko and his creative struggles, March 30 through April 22 at the Historic Asolo Theater. 351-8000.


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