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Watching Abdul-Khaliq “A.K.” Murtadha portray Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in “The Mountaintop” is a bit like being visited in a dream by Reverend King himself. “The Mountaintop,” staged by the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, imagines the slain civil rights leader’s last conversation at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Emerald Rose Sullivan stars as Camae, a maid at the motel who is sent to serve the Reverend King a cup of coffee as he composes another of his rousing…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 15, 2018 at 8:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 15, 2018 at 9:30am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on December 4, 2017 at 7:30pm — No Comments
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.…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on December 4, 2017 at 6:30am — No Comments
Asolo Repertory Theatre has demonstrated another masterstroke with “Evita,” which opened last week. The casting, costumes, staging, and choreography all smashed through the barriers of the more traditional Broadway staging of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic. The action begins with Evita lowered from the ceiling on an aerial silk during a screening of a film. You know you want to get to know someone lionized as Evita was in Argentina.…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 27, 2017 at 10:13pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 6, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on October 15, 2017 at 6:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on July 23, 2017 at 7:24pm — No Comments
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!
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on June 26, 2017 at 6:39pm — No Comments
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.…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on June 15, 2017 at 8:00pm — No Comments
“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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on May 17, 2017 at 7:30pm — No Comments
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.…Continue
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 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.…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on March 18, 2017 at 4:30pm — No Comments
It helps to have friends in high places; and Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri have ably used their considerable ballet pedigrees to great effect in the Sarasota Ballet decade of Webb. The company scored another major coup this past weekend as the first United States company to perform “Scenes de Ballet” by choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton and was joined by the larger than life ballet star Marcelo Gomes, principal of the American Ballet Theatre. The “Tribute to Ashton” event was everything I…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on March 16, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments
Theater is a place of refuge; and Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Michael Donald Edward’s decision to develop a Washington Trilogy in the early weeks of a new administration is nothing short of brilliant. “The Great Society” was a cautionary tale; “The Originalist” was a peace offering extolling the search for common political ground; and “Born Yesterday” is a clarion call to energize citizens to reassert the founding principals of democracy.
Don’t get me wrong,…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on February 20, 2017 at 9:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 30, 2017 at 8:15pm — No Comments
Nearly every time I see the Sarasota Ballet these days, I think to myself, they have reached an entirely different level and they have outdone themselves! In fact, this weekend’s performance of the powerful line up of choreographers Ashton, Graziano, and Tuckett was transcendent; and there are three remaining shows (tonight, tomorrow afternoon, and tomorrow night).
I was eagerly anticipating “Changing Light” by Will Tuckett, which I first saw in 2013, my…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 29, 2017 at 3:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 17, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments
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.
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on December 17, 2016 at 9:00pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 1, 2016 at 9:01pm — No Comments