Costume Contests and Classic Movies at the Opera



Look out for lions at Five Points Park next week, but don’t forget those ruby slippers—Sarasota Opera kicks off the second season of its Classic Movies at the Opera House series on Thursday, June 7, with a showing of The Wizard of Oz, and the Da Capo Society will be on hand to host and judge a special The Wizard of Oz costume contest. Tickets to the screening are $10, and entry into the contest is free with purchase.

With the film beginning at 7:30pm in the Sarasota Opera House, members of the Da Capo Society, an organization of Sarasota Opera supporters aged 21–45, will be set up early in the lobby to register contest entrants and review their costumes. Those entering the contest must purchase a ticket to the night’s screening, as this ticket becomes their pass to the contest as well. Once registered, the judges will appraise each costume based on criteria such as creativity, design, enthusiasm and thoughtfulness. Winners will be announced onstage before the film, and awarded gifts in keeping with the themes of the film—courage, heart and brains.

“You’re getting into the moment,” says Sam Lowry, the Da Capo Society founder and director of audience development for Sarasota Opera who conceived of the idea. Last year, with the debut of Classic Movies at the Opera, Sarasota Opera collaborated with the circus for some performance at the kickoff screening of The Greatest Show on Earth, but Lowry wanted something a little more interactive this time around, and enlisted the help of Da Capo members to make it possible. “Jump into the world of The Wizard of Oz,” he says, “and be a part of the movie.”

And while the event provides a welcome opportunity for Lowry’s Da Capo Society to make its presence known and take a proactive role with the opera it supports—and membership continues to grow—it also offers yet another way for Sarasota Opera to continue engaging with its audience, even in the off-season. “It also really highlights the history of the building,” says Lowry, noting that the Sarasota Opera House previously served as Sarasota’s silent movie house and then a regular movie house up through the ‘70s. “You really get a historical experience in an old-style classic theater like this,” he says. And what better way to enhance the experience than by dressing up like scarecrows, tin men and little poochies named Toto?

“Engage with the whole evening,” says Lowry, “and come to have an experience.”

Pictured: Before the judging begins, Da Capo Society members are all smiles. Photo courtesy of Sam Lowry.

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