Top 10 arts events for Sarasota-Manatee: Nov. 25-Dec. 2

·7 min read
Juliana Cristina is among the performers featured in the Sarasota Contemporary Dance production “SCD + Duke Ellington in collaboration with Shane Chalke B.E. Jazz.”
Juliana Cristina is among the performers featured in the Sarasota Contemporary Dance production “SCD + Duke Ellington in collaboration with Shane Chalke B.E. Jazz.”

Contemporary dance meets Ellington

Sarasota Contemporary Dance is taking on the improvisational sound of jazz for its latest production “SCD + Duke Ellington in collaboration with Shane Chalke B.E. Jazz.” Company members and some project-specific dancers will be be accompanied Chalke’s jazz group performing such songs as “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing)” “Take the A Train,” “Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me” and some original pieces by Chalke. It’s all choreographed by artistic director Leymis Bolaños Wilmott. She is creating dances that allow both the band and her dancers the freedom to respond to the music and the audience within the framework of each song. Performances begin Dec. 2 and continue through Dec. 5 in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets are $10-$45. A virtual streaming option is available Friday through Sunday for $25. For more information: sarasotacontemporarydance.org

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Cast members from the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s holiday show “Joyful! Joyful!” clockwise from top left, Michael Mendez, Raleigh Mosely II, Marta McKinnon, Katherine Taylor and Canela Vasquez.
Cast members from the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s holiday show “Joyful! Joyful!” clockwise from top left, Michael Mendez, Raleigh Mosely II, Marta McKinnon, Katherine Taylor and Canela Vasquez.

Westcoast troupe is ‘Joyful!’

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs said he wanted to do something different this year to mark the holiday season. So the company is introducing its newest production “Joyful! Joyful!,” which begins Wednesday and continues through Dec. 30. Jacobs says it features more traditional Christmas tunes than the company’s other holiday shows – “Black Nativity” and “Motown Christmas” – and they’re performed with an R&B, soulful edge to them. He said the production is designed to offer “a fresh take at getting everybody out of the funk of a world pandemic.” The cast features longtime company members and students from the theater’s summer Stage of Discovery program. For ticket information: 941-366-1505; westcoastblacktheatre.org

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Yoko Kita, principal timpani for the Sarasota Orchestra.
Yoko Kita, principal timpani for the Sarasota Orchestra.

Orchestra turns on ‘Holiday Lights’

The Sarasota Orchestra is getting a jump on the holidays with its Great Escapes concert “Holiday Lights.” William Waldrop, who was music director and conductor of the recent Broadway revival of “Cats” and conductor of several productions of “The Phantom of the Opera,” leads the orchestra in a wide-ranging program that touches on a variety of holidays and traditions. It includes such favorites as “White Christmas,” “March of the Toys” from “Babes in Toyland” and Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song,” along with “Feliz Navidad,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Festive Sounds of Hanukkah” and “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24).” Concerts begin Wednesday and continue through Dec. 5 in Holley Hall in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $42-$65. 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

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CAN Community Health will display panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt during the Sarasota Art Museum’s Day With(out) Art 2021.
CAN Community Health will display panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt during the Sarasota Art Museum’s Day With(out) Art 2021.

Honoring World AIDS Day with art

CAN Community Health is partnering with the Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College to mark World AIDS Day 2021. Free to the public, the event will feature CAN’s historic AIDS memorial quilts and a special art installation by Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who died from complications related to AIDS. Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota will also perform. The quilt panels will be presented in a way that pays tribute to the display that was created on the National Mall in Washington, and will be featured in McGuire Hall. It is part of the museum’s day-long Day With(out) Art 2021, with the one-hour video program “Enduring Care,” looking at strategies of community care within the ongoing HIV epidemic. There are seven commissioned video pieces included in the program which will be shown at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. For more information: sarasotaartmuseum.org/day-without-art 2021

A scene from the 2019 edition of Florida Studio Theatre’s Children’s Theatre Series production of “Deck the Halls.”
A scene from the 2019 edition of Florida Studio Theatre’s Children’s Theatre Series production of “Deck the Halls.”

FST is ready to ‘Deck the Halls’

Florida Studio Theatre’s Children’s Theatre picks up where it left off two years ago by continuing a recent holiday season tradition with a new version of its annual show “Deck the Halls.” Created by Sarah Durham and Caroline Saldivar and designed for family audiences, the production follows four elves who have traveled to FST to remind the audience of the fun and fun and comfort that can be found in the way we celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah in Florida. It’s part of part of the theater’s Children’s Theatre Series. Performances begin Saturday and continue Saturdays and select Sundays through Dec. 24 in Florida Studio Theatre’s Bowne’s Lab, 1265 First St., Sarasota. 941-366-9000; floridastudiotheatre.org

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A scene from Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
A scene from Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Cirque Dreams marks the ‘Holidaze’

What could be more appropriate in Sarasota, with its rich circus history, than the return of Cirque Dreams Holidaze? It creates some magic and spectacle at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Cirque Dreams has been producing shows since 1993 and has been seen by more than 50 million people around the world. In this show, holiday storybook characters come to life in an elaborate wonderland with ballerinas, nutcrackers snowmen, reindeer, gingerbread people and more. Tickets are $52-$106. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 941-263-6799; vanwezel.org

Natalie Helm, principal cello for the Sarasota Orchestra, performs a concert for New Music New College.
Natalie Helm, principal cello for the Sarasota Orchestra, performs a concert for New Music New College.

Bach and a cello

New Music New College brings an end to its fall salon series at 5:30 p.m. Monday with a program featuring Natalie Helm, principal cellist for the Sarasota Orchestra. She is known for performing in a variety of styles, and over the last year, she released a series of videos of Bach solo cello movements that were paired with messages of positivity. In this program, she will perform movements from Bach suites that will help start a conversation about the relationship between music and well being. The program is in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota. Tickets are $10. For more information: newmusicnewcollege.org

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A piece by Rebecca Salter is part of a new exhibition at The Ringling highlighting work donated by Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Bring.
A piece by Rebecca Salter is part of a new exhibition at The Ringling highlighting work donated by Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Bring.

New gifts featured in Ringling exhibit

A new exhibit is now open at The Ringling with an unusually long title: “As long as there is sun, as long as there is light. Selections from the Bring Gift and The Ringling Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art.” Last year, the museum received a significant gift from Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Bring that includes a minimalist work by Anne Truitt and a monumental work on canvas by Gene Davis, who were both affiliated with the Washington Color School movement from the 1950s to 1970s. A number of other works from the gift are featured, along with some sculptures and paintings by distinguished African American and Latin American artists from The Ringling collection. The exhibit runs through Aug. 13 in the Searing Wing, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota. 941-359-5700; ringling.org

A scene from the national tour of the Tony-winning musical “Come From Away.”
A scene from the national tour of the Tony-winning musical “Come From Away.”

Final days for ‘Come From Away’

After a one-day break for Thanksgiving, the touring production of “Come From Away” wraps up its Sarasota run Friday through Sunday in the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. The Tony Award-winning musical is about the thousands of airline passengers who were forced to land near Gander, Newfoundland after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks closed the U.S. airspace and the local residents who provided them food, shelter and phones to stay in touch with loved ones. The show was nominated for seven 2017 Tony Awards and won for Christopher Ashley’s direction. The script and score by Irene Sankoff and David Hein are based on interviews with some of the passengers. Apple TV+ presented a live performance featuring the Broadway cast. There is no performance Thanksgiving Day. Tickets are $42-$112. For more information: 941-263-6799; vanwezel.org

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Soprano Mary Wilson is a guest artist with Key Chorale.
Soprano Mary Wilson is a guest artist with Key Chorale.

Ballet dancers join Key Chorale for ‘Sheer Grace’ concert

Sarasota’s Key Chorale join once again with members of the Sarasota Ballet Studio Company and Trainees for “Sheer Grace,” being presented at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. The program will highlight the combination of the large choir and the dancers performing to such pieces as Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs,” Ola Gjeilo’s “Dark Night of the Soul” and John Rutter’s tuneful “Magnificat.” Soprano soloist Mary Wilson will be featured. The program includes new choreography by Sarasota Ballet company members Arcadian Broad and Richard House. Tickets are $20-$55. For more information: 941-552-8768; keychorale.org

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This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Top 10 arts events for Sarasota-Manatee: Nov. 25-Dec. 2

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