MARIE J. KILKER, Ph.D. – Advocating for the Arts…. ….Fall ’15 into Winter ’16
THE BOLSHOI BALLET LEFT ME BREATHLESS with its interpretation of THE LADY OF THE CAMELIAS via Fathom Productions, and my former neighbor who drove me to Regal Hollywood Stadium 20 was so taken with production and star ballerina that he’s volunteered to review it here on don411.com. So I won’t go into the details except to say that this version of the story of courtesan Marguerite and lover Armand said more without words than has any play I have seen and whose dialogue I’ve heard on this and comparable subjects. Sensationally romantic as well as sexy and with gorgeous costumes and props to behold. Can’t wait to see The Bolshoi’s version of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, a Fathom Event at Regal Hollywood 20 on Main St. in Sarasota on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, at 12:55 p.m. Will it be a dance equivalent of Opera Buffo? From previews, I’d say the following SPARTICUS will be a dance Epic.
ANOTHER FATHOM PRODUCTION HIT: Kenneth Branaugh’s production of THE WINTER’S TALE, Shakespeare’s fairy tale that was once so hard to find performed. Branaugh, who starred notably as the jealous king, has a series of classic and modern plays being done at The Garrick in London currently, and it’s a good bet Fathom will transmit the productions here. Check out Fathom’s web site.
DECEMBER IS TIME OUT for Starlite Theatre at the end of a successful (says Artistic Producer Jo Morello) first season. So watch for the announcement of a new program of mostly short comedies in January. One of the last batch, CONFESSIONS A DEUX, is being considered for production in London, according to playwright Stephen Cooper. Jack Gilhooley was encouraged enough by reception of his RAGE AGAINST THE ROBOT to do some rewriting, mainly to expand the play.
SARASOLO 2016 IS COMING ON FAST, toward the end of January. It’s not too early to subscribe for the two weekends of shows or a “Betwixt Week” class. Go to www.GottaVan.strikingly.com for all you need to know about subscribing or reserving individual tickets and even paying on-line. Fans of improv whiz Christine Alexander can experience a whole new show she’ll present on the spot at the Festival. Lynne Bernfield will star in her own new musical. Carolyn Michel, of Asolo Rep fame, will discuss and portray women she’s loved—by playing them, mostly at FST, through the years. Here’s a spectacular note: women as creators of plays predominate in ’16 SARASOLO, unlike on the national scene, a topic discussed at late November’s mini-meeting of the American Theatre Critics Association.
AT ATCA’S NEW YORK CITY MEETING I met playwright Arthur Kopit, a recent Hermitage resident artist who’ll be back in Sarasota soon to share some of what he worked on here. One speaker at our annual Sardi’s luncheon, Marlee Martin, also then headed to a conference here sponsored by the Jewish Federation. So we’re right into the national attention being paid to Deaf Theatre. On the evening of terrorist attack on Paris, I was picking up my ticket to review AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at The Palace, and by the time I entered the theater, outside on Times Square there was a lining of gunned police. After the terrific performance, all the players gathered to honor the place where they had launched their musical last year. The lead (who played Jerry Mulligan) spoke of how greatlyl they were welcome in Paris and they became good friends with the French they worked with. The audience joined in singing or at least standing for the French national anthem. There were many tears throughout the theater.
DAMES AT SEA was another play I reviewed in NYC. It’s a perfect parody of those Dick Powell-Ruby Keeler ’30s movie musicals with some MGM sets for tapper Eleanor Powell added. It’s been enjoyed in this vicinity several times, appropriate for a show whose music was written by Jimmy Wise of Venice. I was saddened to hear the musical closes in early January, but there’s a chance of a tour. Why not ask the Van Wezel to consider booking it, if so? I also hope we’ll eventually get a touring group doing SOMETHING ROTTEN, really a fabulous satire mixing references to Shakespeare’s plays and his theatrical times along with every Broadway musical that its fans love. Did you know BOOK OF MORMON is already sold out at Van Wezel? That’s despite a run of record breaking length. Of course, there will be some shows available due to returns or holding by commercial ticket sellers. Checking frequently might pay off for anyone without a ticket but with hopes of getting one.
FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE keeps reaching new local and national subscription levels. It’s also nearing completion of road construction and widening of the sidewalk in front of FST on First Street. FST is anticipating a brick-laying date of February for brick purchases made in support of its New Gompertz Theatre capital campaign. When it comes to development, no one beats FST. I noted that it wisely used widely distributed holiday gift suggestions booklets to advertise that it will be happy to issue gift certificates for holiday giving of individual shows or subscriptions. Betcha you can get gift cards any time of the year, though. How about a cabaret show for Valentine’s Day, for instance? Visit the box office or call 941-366-9000.
I LOVED WEST SIDE STORY at Asolo Rep, but I regularly love to see the few remaining members of the Repertory company show why they’ve been valuable for many seasons. I also like to see the next FSU/Asolo Conservatory grads on the mainstage. The first play with which these actors will now appear is also one I’m eagerly awaiting: ALL THE WAY. Politics, anyone? If you like to know a lot about Asolo Rep’s plays before they’re onstage, try joining Asolo Repertory Theatre Guild, writing to Membership Chair at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243. It’s a very active group, holding discussions, social events, and Play Readings of those not onstage. In January, for example, HAY FEVER comes on led by David Meyersburg. Dick Pell will host Short Play Selections on Feb. 8, and Jennie Aldrich leads a reading of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY on March 14.
GOOD TIMES FLEA MARKET on North Tamiami Trail closed down so suddenly that you might not have been able to take advantage of the watches servicing being done there, as I recommended last column. Gary Fredrick, however, may still take on a needy case. In any event, he and Darlene Hane are continuing to run their Handmade Bangles business. They not only will create jewelry for you but also perform repairs and additions to existing objects. Reach them at 941-447-8176 or email Gary at [email protected]. Can you guess he’s a vet? So’s his watch servicing dad.
THE COLOR PURPLE by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in early fall was another instance of Sarasota being on a national wave length. It is followed by a Broadway production! This musical has a special meaning for me: My nephew Steve Bargonetti played guitar in the very first Broadway run. WBTT continues its musical magic with some home-grown shows this season. Be the first to see them!
Be sure to help Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota (formerly the Artist Series of Sarasota) go with its new name into a 10th Anniversary Season. As its name indicates, all of its multiple offerings are mostly but not exclusively in Sarasota’s Historic Asolo. Its North Port Performing Arts series contains three concerts. That’s how popular its very varied seasons have become. For other glorious music, don’t forget Gloria Musicae, the Sarasota Orchestra, and Sarasota Concert Association. The latter’s Munchtime Musicals at Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center are free!