Featured Blog Posts (48)

"Moving Identities" is truly spectacular!

If it’s possible, the Sarasota Ballet just stepped up another notch with “Moving Identities” ushering in 2018, which is certain to be an epic year on many fronts.

 

The evening program was truly spectacular and sealed the ballet’s fate to rank highly among some of the best traveling companies I have seen in my decades as a lover of dance. The company has successfully combined some of the strongest veteran dancers such as Ricardo Graziano (2010) and Victoria Hulland (2007) with…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 28, 2018 at 3:30pm — No Comments

What's in a Name? Shakespeare in Love explores the Making of William Shakespeare

What’s in a name? Before William Shakespeare became the most famous playwright of all time, he was Will, a struggling poet with writer’s block. “Shakespeare in Love,” a play within a play, imagines young Will’s transformation into the immortal William Shakespeare.

 

“Shakespeare,” based on the Oscar-winning film, is currently playing at Asolo Repertory Theatre starring Jordan Brown, as the love-besotted Will, and Laura Rook, his thespian muse. The two have a nice easy…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 15, 2018 at 9:30am — No Comments

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe's "A Motown Christmas" - the best place to get in the holiday spirit!

The Christmas season is in full swing, and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has outdone itself once again with this year’s “A Motown Christmas.” When performed in 2015, I really enjoyed the show, which was a nice balance of a mini-history lesson of the significance of the Motown sound in our musical lexicon and the Christmas spirit. This year’s production was largely the same as in 2015, but the performance felt entirely fresh and new.

 

Since they last performed the same mix…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on December 4, 2017 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Sarasota Ballet's Metropolitan - a Night to Remember

The Sarasota Ballet’s production “Metropolitan” opening on December 1st was a night to remember. The evening was billed as a tribute to New York and although the connection among the pieces was a bit tenuous (all were choreographed by or for New Yorkers), they shared in common a complexity and sophistication befitting Manhattan.…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on December 4, 2017 at 6:30am — No Comments

Sarasota Ballet makes a triumphant return for its 27th season with "The Secret Garden"

The Sarasota Ballet made a triumphant return for its 27th season with the magical production “The Secret Garden” choreographed by Will Tuckett. The ballet was choreographed for the Sarasota Ballet and was first performed three years ago. Time to grow is good for any garden, and this one was more lush and elaborate with the passage of a few seasons. “The Secret Garden,” with its timeless message about the healing powers of nature, seems particularly well suited to the Sarasota Ballet nurtured…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 6, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

"In the Heights" - a tour de force production exploding with heart!

Every once in awhile a show comes along that grips you from start to finish; and the Westcoast Black Theatre Company’s latest show “In the Heights,” which opened October 14th, was a tour de force production exploding with heart.

 

Before the show began, Nate Jacobs, Founder and Artistic Director, explained that years ago he couldn’t afford to go to Broadway to see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout production “In the Heights,” but that the Latin inspired musical that…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on October 15, 2017 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Dog Days Theatre - Inaugural Season Off to a Steamy Start With Relatively Speaking

Dog Days Theatre a new series presented by the FSU Asolo Conservatory is a welcome relief for sleepy Sarasota summers. Season can be such a whirlwind when the Sarasota arts scene kicks into high gear, but now even Sarasota summer has much to recommend it.

 

Kelly Elizabeth Smith and Wyatt C. McNeil…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on July 23, 2017 at 7:24pm — No Comments

"Broadway in Black" steams up the summer on the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe stage!

Just when the doldrums of the steamy summer sets in, Sarasota audiences can count on the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe to provide a much-needed jolt with their annual summer musical revue. “Broadway in Black” opened June 24th and runs through July 23rd featuring just over 50 musical numbers!

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on June 26, 2017 at 6:39pm — No Comments

Asolo Rep takes Sarasota audiences "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" through July 1st

Asolo Repertory Theatre’s latest foray into theater appropriate for children is a thrilling ride taking the audience “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” For Sarasota, a town punctuated by many beautiful bodies of water and home to a world-class sanctuary for sea life, the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, this play is the perfect entrée to the Jules Verne classic – fun and lighthearted but with an important message.…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on June 15, 2017 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Eerie charm in store in world premiere of "Beatsville"

“Beatsville” is a hip new musical making its world premiere at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. The Asolo tends to explore new musicals in late spring; and I applaud the theater’s efforts to support something so crucial to musical lovers like me – new productions. The theater world places a heavy emphasis on revivals such as the first production of the Asolo season, perhaps the most perfect Broadway musical, “Guys and Dolls," which are as they say, "s'wonderful," it is also critical to expand…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on May 17, 2017 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Brash bold and bombastic “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” delights at Asolo Repertory Theatre

Brash, bold and bombastic- "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" by Kristoffer Diaz is a truly original theatrical experience produced by the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Directed by the indomitable Jen Wineman, the black box Cook Theatre was transformed into a wrestling arena complete with laser lighting and rock music to pump up the excitement.…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on April 16, 2017 at 9:32pm — No Comments

"Girl Groups: The ‘60s Explosion” at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is one of the company’s best performances!

“Girl Groups: The ‘60s Explosion” at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe was my favorite show of the season and one of the company’s best performances. This show has everything Sarasota audiences love about WBTT. Artistic Director Nate Jacobs regularly designs shows that reintroduce some of the greatest songs ever written, interpreted by Broadway caliber performers for the WBTT’s loyal and adoring audiences.…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on March 18, 2017 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Ed Gero as Scalia wins hearts and minds in "The Originalist"

In these heady times where the Constitution is on everyone’s minds and lips, it was an unexpected pleasure to watch “The Originalist,” a play about famed and recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which premiered at Asolo Repertory Theatre on inauguration day.

 

Scalia’s death last year has thrown the Supreme Court into the forefront of political discourse. “The Originalist,” written by John Strand, premiered in Washington, D.C. while he was still alive. Edward…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 30, 2017 at 8:15pm — No Comments

Asolo's The Great Society is a poignant and important history lesson

At a time when our nation is riveted to partisan politics, it is refreshing to take a page out of history with the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s “The Great Society.” Last year, the Asolo began our journey with President Lyndon Baines Johnson with the fabulous production “All the Way.” That production introduced us to the intriguing tête a tête between Martin Luther King Jr. and LBJ. In the “The Great Society” the two continued their dance - each one needing each other, slightly loathing each…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 17, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments

"Jewels" - a perfect gift for the holiday season!

I have been eagerly anticipating the opening night of “George Balanchine’s Jewels” when all three pieces, “Emeralds,” “Rubies,” and “Diamonds” would be performed on one night; and the Sarasota Ballet delivered in spades.

 

Victoria…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on December 17, 2016 at 9:00pm — No Comments

The Grand Tour through a Decade with Iain Webb

The Sarasota Ballet started off the season with a wonderful opener, “Walsh, Tudor, Graziano, and Layton.” To honor Iain Webb's 10th season with the Sarasota Ballet, the company restaged the classic “Wolfgang for Webb,” choreographed by Dominic Walsh. This was the first piece Webb commissioned for the Sarasota Ballet, so it was a fitting beginning to his decade celebration. This relatively exotic piece began with a diaphanous tarp covering the stage and our beloved dancers lifting…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 1, 2016 at 9:01pm — No Comments

Ease on Down the Road to Check Out the New Production of "The Wiz"

Ease on down the road to check out “The Wiz” at the Westcoast Black Theatre Company through November 20, 2016. This timeless classic about Dorothy, a young woman searching for her way back home, is a tale of friendship, acceptance, and growing up. Dorothy, played with youthful exuberance by the radiant Khadijah Rolle, meets a cast of quirky characters on her journey. Rolle carries the show beautifully and is the moral compass at the center. As the cast swirls around…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 1, 2016 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Float to the Asolo for British production "Hetty Feather" here until June 26th

“Hetty Feather” is a unique and perfectly British production, adapted from the best-selling book by Jacqueline Wilson, about an impish and courageous orphan who is determined to rise above her tragic circumstances through the power of her imagination.

Frequently, Hetty (played by the indomitable Chloe Mantripp) calls upon herself or other characters to “picture it” and take a journey of their minds to where they need to be. With a relatively sparse set and characters who play…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on June 11, 2016 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Ashton and Balanchine - a pair for the ages

Sarasota Ballet knocked it out of the park again with its evening with Ashton and Balanchine. The Sir Frederick Ashton piece, “Enigma Variations,” debuting stateside, captured a classic setting in the late 19th century with some of the most elegant performances we have seen all season.…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on April 17, 2016 at 9:33pm — No Comments

"The Sam Cooke Story" is a brilliant production about a singularly gifted artist

“The Sam Cooke Story” featured an incredible artist whose life was cut short under very suspicious circumstances. In a remarkable performance, Cecil E. Washington, Jr. was transcendent as Cooke, singing some of the most beautiful songs ever written and performed by a singular musician. Washington’s voice seemed to be touched by divinity with his dulcet tones and charismatic stage presence, he was perfectly cast as the prodigiously talented Cooke.…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on March 29, 2016 at 6:00pm — No Comments

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