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SRQ DAILY Aug 30, 2017

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"We're poised to make a big splash with the school."

- Michelle Bianchi, The Players Centre for Performing Arts

[Theater]  Players Opening New Arnold Simonsen Players Studio
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

The Players Centre for Performing Arts may soon be leaving its familiar locale off South Tamiami Trail for new, state-of-the-art digs in Lakewood Ranch, but that doesn’t mean Sarasota’s oldest community theater is relinquishing its downtown presence. And with the Sep. 9 soft opening of the new Arnold Simonsen Players Studio at 1400 Boulevard of the Arts in the Rosemary District of Sarasota, the theater’s community and educational outreach programs will finally meet, and eclipse, pre-recession levels.

Only a few blocks from the theater’s current location, and occupying the entire second floor of the building, the Arnold Simonsen Players Studio comprises three major rehearsal spaces, including two halls with sprung floors installed for dancing and tumbling, a music and vocals room for pitch-perfect acoustics and one hall similar in size to the actual theater stage, for the optimal rehearsal space.

The upgrade has been a long time coming, says Players Managing Director and CEO Michelle Bianchi, even if the company wasn’t planning to sell the theater and move to Lakewood Ranch. Before the recession, The Players’ educational and youth programming totaled close to 40 classes. When the recession hit, everyone tightened their belts, including The Players, which shuttered its secondary location, moved classes back to the theater and cut programming to 20 classes, losing programs aimed at teens and, in particular, outreach performance groups that would represent the area in competition. “We left that to the fundamentals of performing arts,” says Bianchi, which a community theater must always serve.

Still, interest in the studio and its programming grew as the recession broke and summer camps continued to sell out. “We have kids running around all over the place,” laughs Bianchi. Space was tight again, and The Players knew it was time to regroup. With a donation from supporter Arnold Simonsen, the new studio was born.

Opening just in time for the 2017-18 season, the new studio has already visibly affected Players’ programming. Cresting pre-recession levels, the theater now has 49 classes on offer, including new classes such as Boys Street Dance, Kids Musical Theatre and The Players Dance Company, an audition-only dance group that will represent The Players and the community in competition across the state. Teen/Adult Singing and The Players Teens, an audition-only group that will end the season with a full-length theatrical performance, also return. The faculty has also risen to number more than 20.

“We’re poised to make a big splash with the school,” says Bianchi. “It’s going to be amazing.”

The Arnold Simonsen Players Studio has its soft opening on Sep. 9 from 10am to 2pm at 1400 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota. Face-painting, balloon animals and more activities for the kids await. 

Pictured: Youth performers from the Ballet 2 class at The Players Centre for Performing Arts' Studio Year-end Showcase. Photo by Don Daly Photo.

[Exec Moves]  Beth Bush Joins All-Star Children's Foundation

MBJ Group recently spearheaded the successful search for the vice president of philanthropy for All-Star Children’s Foundation, an organization with the goal of providing state-of-the-art treatment for childhood trauma on its Campus of Caring. With over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, Beth Bush began her new role at the nonprofit last week. In this role, Bush will develop and execute a comprehensive fundraising strategy that will support a foster children’s trauma center in Sarasota. During her career, Bush has managed budgets that ranged from $100,000 to more than $15 million, supervised more than 15 staff members and was responsible for fundraising, volunteer recruitment and retention, marketing, special events and community engagements, among other activities. Following a 21-year career with the American Red Cross, she was most recently a consultant for A Life Story (ALS Foundation) and provided guidance and support for the nonprofit. Concurrently, she served as the vice president of philanthropy for JoshProvides Epilepsy Assistance Foundation. 

All-Star Children's Foundation

[Opening]  Bite Squad Comes to Sarasota-Bradenton

Bite Squad, the Minneapolis-based restaurant delivery service, is expanding its service area to Sarasota and Bradenton. The expansion comes after the company had a record Q2 in Minneapolis and opened in more than 20 new cities around the country during the past year. Bite Squad has merged with Sarasota’s Ashley’s Food Delivery and Doorstep Delivery and is transitioning those existing local fleets to bring restaurant food to Sarasota and Bradenton residents quickly and efficiently. Bite Squad will deliver from more than 80 restaurant partners throughout Sarasota and Bradenton, including Gecko’s Grill & Pub, Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi Grill, Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria and Flavors of India to name a few. The new service area will open on August 29, and will add nearly 110,000 more households and businesses to the company’s addressable market. 

Bite Squad

[Exec Moves]  Porter Joins GATES Construction

GATES Construction has announced the addition of Casie Porter as project manager/permit expeditor. Porter will be responsible for preparing, organizing, maintaining and monitoring project documentation. She will work closely with superintendents and project managers, assisting them in jobsite set-up, subcontractor meeting management, safety meetings and project close-out. Porter has seven years of experience in the Sarasota area with expertise in permitting, submittals, drawings, contracts, purchase order processes and direct material purchase procedures. Porter received an associate’s degree from the University of South Florida. Porter will be based out of GATES Construction’s Sarasota office. 

GATES Construction

[TODAY]  PERFORMANCE: Pilgrims , August 4 – September 10

On a ship to colonize a newly discovered planet, a soldier and a teenage girl find themselves quarantined in one of the ship’s cabins with only an outdated robot and each other for company. When they’re no longer able to create fantasies to escape their past lives, the two cabin-mates are forced to explore their own traumatic histories in order to connect and survive. For more information please visit www.urbanitetheatre.com for show times and tickets. 

Urbanite Theatre , 1487 Second Street, Sarasota

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Jeffery A. Cornwell , June 12 – September 22

Featuring paintings by Ringling College Fine Arts alumnus Jeffery Cornwell. Showing across the United States in galleries and alternative spaces, Cornwell draws inspiration from the natural environment and the relationship of sky to land.

Patricia Thompson Gallery , 2700 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Classic Movies at the Opera House , August 18 – September 22

Sarasota Opera announces an expansion of their “HD at the Movie House” series entitled “Classic Moves at the Opera House.”. This inaugural series will consist of five movies ranging in years from 1935-1972 beginning Friday, August 18th and run through September 22nd. Sarasota Opera will join forces with The Circus Arts Conservatory on August 18th for the opening showing of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show on Earth” re-creating some of the circus magic that was seen around the theater at the original Sarasota premiere of the film on January 31, 1952. Tickets for this new series are only $10 and all showings will begin at 7:30pm.

Sarasota Opera House, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALA: Women Realtor Luncheon Fashion Show , September 6, 11:00am

The Women’s Council of Realtors Sarasota Chapter will be holding their annual Fashion Show on Wednesday, September 6th at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota for an anticipated audience of over 500 participants.  Fashions for the ladies are from designer Camilyn Beth and men’s fashion provided by Martin Freeman. Cutting Loose Salon has volunteered their services for the models.  The Boutique with over 15 merchants will open at 10:30 with the fashion show commencing at noon.  In addition to the exciting show, there will be a live auction donated by Vanessa Fine Jewelry featuring a KABANA designer 14 karat yellow gold pendant with inlaid bronze mother of pearl and diamonds along with a “Lottery Tree.”  The event will also hold a silent and Chinese auction with amazing packages for bidding. Purchase your tickets online to ensure your attendence and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Mothers Helping Mothers.


Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts Sarasota, Florida 34236

[SOON]  THEATER: The Goldtones , September 9, 8pm

The Goldtones have been called the “hottest doo-wop group in Florida” and entertain their audiences with the sweet sounds of street-corner harmony and all those favorites from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The group is back by popular demand after performing at Venice Theatre for three years in a row. Tickets are $22.

Venice Theatre, 140 West Tampa Ave.,Venice

[SOON]  SEMINAR: 3rd Annual Lifelong Learning Showcase Event , September 13, 8:30am-2:00pm

The annual showcase is an exciting, jam-packed, one-day event for lifelong learners to experience the best instructors and topics our region has to offer. Hosted by the SunCoast Alliance for Lifelong Learning, this popular event is now in its third year.  The event includes 24 course sessions of which participants may choose four to attend, continental breakfast, a box lunch, exhibits, sponsor merchandise and more. A special Keynote speaker will also be present, Louise Gallagher an Educator and Certified Life Coach, will be giving an informed and insightful talk about “retirement: who needs it?”. Registration begins Monday August 7th and the price of the ticket includes all the classes and meals. Put your thinking cap on and get into the back to school spirit because SunCoast Alliance for Lifelong Learning can't wait to teach you something new!

RCLLA Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota, FL 34237,

[SOON]  GALA: 12th Annual Intertape Polymer Group Leadership Breakfast , September 15, 7:30am-9:00am

On Friday, September 15, the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County will present the 12th Annual Intertape Polymer Group Leadership Breakfast; celebrating community members who support youth as leaders in our community. The honorees this year are CEO of PGT Industries, Rod Hershberger, and Director of Sarasota County Library System, Sarabeth Kalajian. The event takes place at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club from 7:30-9:00am. Cost is $50 for an individual ticket. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please call 941-366-3911.

Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club , 3100 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34237

[SOON]  HEALTH: Grey Matters: A Symposium on Alzheimer's Research , September 22, 11am-1:30pm

The Roskamp Institute is hosting a Brain Health and Awareness Symposium this September the 22nd at The Sarasota Yacht Club. The aptly named Grey Matters Symposium will offer a deep dive into current Alzheimer’s research by Institute Directors and will be moderated by ABC7’s Hayley Wielgus. There will be a presentation, interactive panel, and an opportunity for Q & A. For more information or to become a sponsor today please call (941) 552-9832 or visit www.roskampinstitute.org/events.

Sarasota Yacht Club , 1100 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: iconcept jr 2017 , September 24, 12:00pm

Twenty-five young designers will use their problem solving and creative skills to create outfits from repurposed and unconventional materials. The incredibly talented designers will showcase their creations in an exciting runway fashion show.

Art Center Sarasota , 707 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  BUSINESS: SB2 Rumble: How Will STOP! Impact Our Economy and Growth? , September 26, 5:30-7pm

What will be the impact of the recent STOP! movement on economic growth and the quality of projects in our region? Join us at the Mildred Sainer Pavlion at New College for lively debates on issues that some consider “too hot to handle” where our modified Oxford-style debate gives us civil discourse designed to sway through both factual information and rhetorical skill. Attendees are asked their position on the topic of the day before and after the debate–the success of the participants being judged on those they sway from their initial positions. 

Mildred Sainer Pavilion, New College, 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  THEATER: The Will Rogers Follies , September 28 – October 15

Anyone who has heard of Will Rogers knows his signature phrase:  “I’ve never met a man I didn’t like”. This philosophy is the jumping off point for this showy piece of Americana that follows his many accomplishments as well as his tumultuous personal life. It was the winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and Best original score!

The Players Theatre, 838 N Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Forty Carrots 15th Anniversary Educational Community Speaker Event , October 3, 7:00pm

The not-for-profit Forty Carrots Family Center is commemorating 15 years of free annual education talks with its most prominent speaker to date. Dr. Siegel will explain how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that children can lead balanced, meaningful and connected lives by drawing insights from his best-selling book, The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind.  Dr. Siegel will offer parents, teachers and other professional strategies to nurture children’s minds at all ages, survive everyday parenting struggles, and help your family thrive. Along with Dr. Siegel’s sage advice, attendees will receive a free copy of the book and Sarasota County educators will have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits (CEUs). While admission is free, tickets are required and available starting August 1.

Riverview High School Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota, FL 34231

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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