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SRQ DAILY Apr 28, 2023

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"Theater to me is about conflict and dialogue."

- Danae Deshazer, Producing Artistic Director, The Hat Theatre Collective.

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Ballad of Old Manatee
Dylan Campbell, dylan@srqme.com

This past weekend, a different kind of theatrical experience kicked off at the Manatee Historical Park in Bradenton. The Hat Theatre Collective, a new collaborative theater ensemble based in Bradenton, was created by Producing Artistic Director Danae Deshazer, a professional director, actor, teaching artist and choreographer. The Hat, named after the song “Finishing the Hat” from Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “Sunday in the Park with George”, is now airing its first ever production, The Ballad of Old Manatee.

The Ballad of Old Manatee, which runs on Fridays and Saturdays from April 21st to May 6th, is an immersive historical drama that takes the audience through the Manatee Village Historical Park over the course of the production. “We were approached by the Manatee Village Historical Commission because they used to do a production called Spirit Voices, which was kind of a spooky halloween story where they would do a living history presentation in the cemetery that would serve as a big fundraiser for the commission,” says DeShazer, who is the director of The Ballad of Old Manatee. “I pulled in my partner Derek Brookens who is an actor, playwright, multi-hat wearing person just like myself and we really wanted to find a story to tell. Theater to me is about conflict and dialogue, so Derek and I both agreed that if we were going to create a new piece inspired by local history we wanted to find the right story that had enough mystery and intrigue that we could turn into this theatrical historical drama.”

The story that came out of that became The Ballad of Old Manatee – an intense love story based upon the real life characters of James C. Vanderripe, his wife Sarah Lee, and a conflict between James and Sarah’s father, the Reverend Edmund Lee. “James Vanderripe came down to Manatee county from Kentucky and he ended up falling in love with this woman Sarah Lee,” says DeShazer. “Reverend Edmund Lee is kind of our antagonist – James married Sarah, the Reverend’s daughter and James and Sarah in our story have a torrid love affair, a la Romeo and Juliet, but Reverend Lee never approved of it. This leads into a larger issue, because after the passing of James and Sarah, Reverend Lee made the decision to bury them apart from each other, separating them for eternity.” 

Pictured: The cast of The Ballad of Old Manatee. Photo courtesy of The Hat Theater Collective.

For tickets and information click here.

[Arts & Entertainment]  Fresh Fridays May 5th Celebrates Mexican Culture with a Vibrant Fiesta

As May draws near, the Downtown Improvement District’s Fresh Fridays organizers work with the Art Ovation Hotel to bring a tasteful, fresh take to Cinco de Mayo celebrations for the month’s event. Former American Idol finalist, Jonathan Cortez, returns to Fresh Fridays, headlining as the night’s musical guest. The “Jac of all Trades” impressive ability to sing over 1,000 songs in three different languages, in addition to his powerhouse voice, superb showmanship, and unique charm will captivate and inspire the crowd to get on their feet. Partnering with the Art Ovation Hotel allows the event to occur rain or shine, as the festivities will take place both inside and outside the hotel. The Art Ovation Hotel will also be crafting flavorful Cinco de Mayo specialty beverages and light bites for the occasion. Along with live music and Mexican-inspired cuisine, one of the activities celebrating Cinco de Mayo will feature the chance for guests to capture the moment with a free Polaroid picture. Take home a memory of friends and family to relive an unforgettable night. As is Fresh Fridays tradition, there will be signature giveaways to start the fiesta. An elevated menu of food and drink offerings will be put on display from downtown vendors, including State Street Eating House + Cocktails, Azul Steak and Sushi Lounge, and Brick’s Smoked Meats. Fresh Fridays was recently recognized nationally as a main contributor in Sarasota being named the fourth best party city in the US by Yahoo. “We are thrilled that Fresh Fridays has helped put Sarasota’s nightlife on the map and we look forward to continue building its momentum downtown,” says Next-Mark president Joseph Grano, the event’s organizer and promoter. The event will take place at a new location on Palm Avenue adjacent to the Art Ovation Hotel. Parking will be available at Palm Avenue and State Street parking garages. 

Pictured: Former American Idol Finalist, Jonathan Cortez, Returns to Fresh Fridays on May 5th.

[Arts & Entertainment]  Sarasota Orchestra Completes Land Purchase

On Tuesday, Sarasota Orchestra completed its purchase of the 32-acre parcel at 5701 Fruitville Road, reaching a significant milestone in the journey to build a new Music Center. With ownership of the land and county approval to build the Music Center’s concert hall at the desired height to optimize acoustics, Sarasota Orchestra can now move forward with planning to realize a transformative vision nearly 10 years in the making. The Orchestra expects to finalize its Music Center project scope and timeline later this year, following the completion of a fundraising feasibility study, which is underway and will continue through mid-2023. Aspirational plans for the Music Center include an 1,800-seat concert hall built specifically to showcase acoustic music – one of only four in Florida and the first on Florida’s Gulf Coast – as well as a 700-seat flexible-use performance space, multiple rehearsal and practice rooms, music storage and office space. These facilities will serve as important resources for the Orchestra and many of the nearly 30 peer organizations that also face challenges in securing performance and rehearsal dates due to the limitations of the region’s existing arts and cultural infrastructure. The new Music Center will also provide expanded space and increased opportunities for the growth of Sarasota Orchestra’s youth education programs. 

[Roller Derby]  Bradentucky Bombers vs. Tampa Roller Derby

The Bradentucky Bombers are excited to announce the next home game of 2023 on Saturday, May 13th against Tampa Roller Derby, a team out of Tampa, Florida. This game is a DOUBLE HEADER. The first game is the Bradentucky Bombers vs. Tampa Bruise Crew and the second game, they are hosting Tampa Death Rollers vs. Magic City Mayhem. The Bombers will be hosting the games on Saturday, May 13th at Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex (5309 29th St E., Ellenton, Florida 34222) at 5:00 p.m, doors open at 4:30pm. Second game begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available! Presale—$10 online; Adults at the door—$15; Kids 6-12––$10 at the door; Kids 5 and under FREE! For more information visit www.bradentuckybombers.com or our Eventbrite to purchase tickets (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/double-header-bradentucky-bombers-vs-tampa-roller-derby-tickets-504859778187). 

Pictured: The Bradentucky Bombers are a part of the world-class athletes that Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex trains all year round. Photo by Patrick Laughrey.

[Recognition]  Local Child Welfare Professional Honored with National Award

Jone Williams, Educational Outreach Director for Safe Children Coalition, has recently been honored at the national level for her work with children and families. Williams is responsible for the HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) Program for Sarasota County as well as oversees Safe Children Coalition's Achievers Program for teens. Out of 12 nominees from throughout the nation, Williams won the Avima D. Lombard Award at the HIPPY National Leadership Conference in Mobile, Ala. in April. The award is presented to a HIPPY staff person at a local, state, or national program office in the U.S. whose professional services have made a significant contribution to HIPPY and to improving the lives of young children and their families. Individuals selected for the award embody the late Lombard’s dedication to the equalization of educational opportunities for young children and her active and determined approach to work. The award was presented during the HIPPY 2023 National Conference in Mobile, Ala., during the Avima Gala on April 16. HIPPY is a home-based early intervention program that helps parents teach their 2-5-year-old children. Early literacy and language skills are crucial in helping children be kindergarten-ready, so that they are poised to be successful learners. The ages of 2-5 are especially important as children experience rapid cognitive development and building of language skills. There are 125 area families currently participating in Safe Children Coalition’s HIPPY program. Williams says that she was first exposed to the HIPPY program 30 years ago, when she saw a flyer asking if caretakers wished to be their child’s first teacher and participate in the HIPPY Program. At the time, her son was 3 years old; she felt she had taught him all the basics for entering kindergarten. She contacted the program coordinator to ask questions about this new program in our community. She was offered a part-time job, at 15 hours a week, by the first local coordinator of the program. She was hired as a paraprofessional, someone who would go into the homes to provide a curriculum, storybooks and more on a weekly basis and work with parents to prepare their children for kindergarten. She moved up to assistant coordinator of the program and then, when the coordinator left the position and another hire didn't work out, she lobbied for the position and has been serving children and families in this role ever since. Williams has been a member of Business & Professional Women/North Sarasota since 2004; is on the executive committee for the Sarasota County Branch NAACP as well as a co-advisor for the Sarasota NAACP Youth Council; is a past Community Health Worker for the Newtown Wellness program, where she volunteered for years; and was a certified breast cancer awareness facilitator for the Susan G. Komen Foundation as well as for other forms of cancer. She has received numerous prestigious awards for her contributions to the community. 

Pictured: With Jone Williams for the presentation of the Avima D. Lombard Award were (from l-r) Nikki Martin-Bynum, National Program Director, HIPPY; Dr. Miriam Westheimer, Chief Program Officer, HIPPY International; Williams; and Benny Feifel, CEO, HIPPY

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Incoming Kindergarten Party , April 26 – April 28, 5:30-7:30pm

The Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County is teaming up with Sarasota County Schools to host two free parties for all incoming public and charter kindergartners and their families. District leaders, kindergarten teachers from various schools, and get their questions answered. Eligibility specialists with the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County will also be onsite to help families navigate their childcare search for younger siblings including Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK), a free preschool program for all Florida 4-year-olds regardless of income. In addition to food and dancing with a DJ, the event will feature hands-on art activities with the Ringling Museum ROAR program, interactive science activities with STEMania, clever guessing games with prizes, and free book giveaways. The Sarasota party will take place on April 26, and the North Port party will take place on April 28. For Sarasota information, visit https://fb.me/e/WOeTwCwo. For North Port information, visit https://fb.me/e/D3GSryMb. Sarasota party, Suncoast Technical College, 4748 South Beneva Rd., Sarasota. North Port party, Suncoast Technical College, 4445 Career Lane, North Port.

[SOON]  DANCE: Evolving Revolving Jehanne at Sarasota Contemporary Dance , April 27 – April 30, Various times

SCD closes its 17th Season with a comeback of its “Evolving/Revolving” showcase in which the company revives previously staged works to expand and deepen their meaning into evening-length performances. For Reclaim, SCD’s striking work of “Jehanne” returns to the stage, studying Joan of Arc’s strident and powerful cultural influence in the Hundred Year’s War, accompanied by live music with original composition by Mark Dancigers. This work honors the human spirit by demonstrating the resilience that has taken the company to this point and will continue its forward motion. Visit sarasotacontemporarydance.org to purchase tickets. Cook Theatre at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Noche Unidos , April 28, 7:30 pm

UnidosNow is bringing their second installment of Noche Unidos, an event that weaves a tapestry of musical delights combining the dynamic exuberance of traditional mariachi with the emotional power of a classical symphony. This visionary concert will feature the fusion of the nationally acclaimed Mariachi Cobre band and the 72-piece Venice Symphony, blending the most treasured music forms of the Old and New Worlds to create a one-of-a-kind sound and experience for thousands. All funds raised will benefit UnidosNow. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, vanwezel.org.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Friday Night Free Show at Oscura , April 28, Doors open at 7 pm, show begins at 8 pm

Oscura presents a free show with, Terrapin, TV Extra, Protman and Marianne Nowottny. All ages, no cover. Oscura, 816 Manatee Ave E., Bradenton, oscura.live.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: FST Spring Play Reading Festival , April 28 – May 5, 3 pm

FST’s 29th Burdick New Play Festival features staged readings of new works by contemporary American playwrights. This year’s Festival features the heartfelt one-man musical, Todd vs. The Titanic by Scott Rothman, Joe Kinosian, and Kellen Blair, and the dark comedy, Bleeding Hearts by Steve Yockey. Readings will takeplace on April 28, and May 5 at 3PM each day in FST’s Keating Theatre. Single tickets are $10. Subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or by calling FST’s Box Office at 941.366.9000. Florida Studio Theatre, Keating Theatre, 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 2023 Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature , February 12 – June 26, During garden hours

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ 2023 Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature showcases the creativity and innovation of American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The first exhibition of its type to be presented in a botanical garden, the exhibition highlights the inspiring connection between Tiffany Studios and the natural world through unique horticultural displays in the Tropical Conservatory and the Gardens, accompanied by seminal examples of Tiffany’s work on view in the Museum of Botany and the Arts. To learn more, visit selby.org. Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Reel Music at the Florida Studio Theatre , February 15 – June 25, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre presents the original music revue, Reel Music, celebrating the movies that helped create the soundtrack to the last century. Featuring classics like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Circle of Life,” and “My Heart Will Go On,” this new Cabaret traces how films—and the music highlighted in them—have evolved over the past one hundred years. Created by Richard Hopkins, Rebecca Hopkins, and Sarah Durham with musical arrangements by Jim Prosser, Reel Music begins playing February 15, 2023, in FST’s Court Cabaret. Single tickets for Reel Music
range between $18-39 and are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Reclaiming Home, Contemporary Seminole Art at Ringling Museum , March 29 – September 4, Museum hours

Reclaiming Home, Contemporary Seminole Art group exhibition will mark The Ringling’s first presentation of contemporary art by Native American artists with ancestral, historical, and present-day connections to Florida. An imperative step toward establishing a meaningful relationship with the Native American artistic community, Reclaiming Home will highlight the breadth and depth of the artwork by Seminole, Miccosukee, and mixed-heritage artists from Florida with the important work by internationally-recognized artists. The exhibition will expand the conceptual framework of Native American art made in Florida today and provide a fuller understanding of the complexities of issues within the art of the Seminole diaspora. Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  THEATER: Visit Joe Whitefeather and Bring the Family at Florida Studio Theatre , April 12 – May 21, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre is proud to present the world premiere of Visit Joe Whitefeather (and bring the family!) by award-winning playwright Bruce Graham. It’s the 1970s in Beaver Gap, Pennsylvania, a small town with a problem. Tourism has declined and it doesn’t look like there is any hope on the horizon. When a new resident joins forces with the bewildered city council, they devise a plan to rename the town to honor a dead, Native American war hero who had never visited the town before. It’s a plan so wild and insane that it just might work. Tickets range from $25-39 and are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000. FST’s Gompertz Theatre, 1265 1st St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Joseph's Coat, Skyspace by James Turrell , April 13 – May 26, Various times

Joseph’s Coat: Skyspace by James Turrell (2011) is a triumph of technology, engineering, and aesthetics. The Skyspace, created by internationally-renowned artist James Turrell, is a gathering place for contemplation and offers a unique experience. At sunset, a sophisticated system of LED lights is employed to change the color of the space. In doing so, the artist changes the context in which we view the sky through the 24-foot aperture in the ceiling, affecting our perception of the natural environment and the surroundings. As we gaze up at the sky we are invited to contemplate light, perception, and experience. Tickets are $10 and are free for members. Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Big Sexy The Fats Waller Revue , April 19 – May 28, Various times

Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller was an American jazz pianist, composer, singer and comedic entertainer. He realized his dream of becoming a professional musician at age 15. His Harlem stride style influenced the sound of modern jazz piano. Nate Jacobs’ original tribute, “Big Sexy, The Fats Waller Revue,” to this irrepressible artist features Waller’s signature songs, including “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Your Feet’s Too Big,” “The Joint is Jumpin’” and many more. Tickets are $50 for adults, $20 for students and active military (cost includes all ticket fees). WBTT's Donelly Theatre, 1012 North Orange Ave., Sarasota, westcoastblacktheatre.org.

[SOON]  SPORTS: Extended Orioles Spring Training , April 28 – June 3, Various times

With the Major League Baseball season now underway, the Orioles’ year-round baseball operations continue in Sarasota with Extended Spring Training. The public is invited to watch Orioles minor league players in action at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in April, May, and June. Baltimore’s farm system is currently rated as the top player development system in baseball, according to Baseball America, ESPN, and MLB Pipeline. Visit orioles.com/sarasota to learn more.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Live Music at Waterside Place , April 28, 6-9 pm
Enjoy live music from contemporary vocalist Myron Shamble on The Plaza at Waterside from 6-9pm while taking in waterfront views of Kingfisher Lake. Waterside Place, 1561 Lakefront Dr., Lakewood Ranch, lakewoodranch.com.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Dreaming the Blues Rock Brunch at Oscura , April 30, Performances at 10:30 am and 12 pm

Oscura presents a Sunday brunch featuring Dreaming the Blues. No cover. Oscura, 816 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton, oscura.live.

[SOON]  THEATER: National Theatre Live Much Ado About Nothing at Ringling , April 28, 1 pm and 6:30 pm

Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd) and John Heffernan (Dracula) lead the cast in Shakespeare’s romcom of sun, sea and mistaken identity. The legendary family-run Hotel Messina on the Italian Riveria has been visited by artists, celebrities and royalty.But when the owner’s daughter weds a dashing young soldier, not all guests are in the mood for love. A string of scandalous deceptions soon surround not only the young couple, but also the adamantly single Beatrice and Benedick. Following the award-winning success of National Theatre Live’s Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and Antony and Cleopatra, director Simon Godwin returns with this irresistible comedy, broadcast live from the National Theatre stage. This production will be screened at the Historic Asolo Theatre. Historic Asolo Theatre, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Walking Tours at The Ringling's Arboretum Available Now Through May 2023 , November 26 – May 29, 12:00 PM

This walking tour led by volunteer guides will introduce you to interesting botanical specimens on the estate while providing a historic overview of the development of the estate. The Ringling Arboretum has been accredited at Level II through ArbNet and there are over 2350 trees within the arboretum representing native, exotic, historical, and culturally significant trees. Garden Tours are available Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays and take place entirely outdoors. It is 90 minutes in length and covers approximately 1 mile. We encourage visitors to bring bottled water, and wear appropriate footwear, preferably closed-toe, sunblock, and hats. There will be a maximum of 10 participants per tour. Tours are subject to weather conditions. Please check it at the Visitors Pavilion prior to your tour. Tickets will be available 30 days prior to each tour.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Comedy Roulette , April 13 – May 17, Various times

FST Improv’s free-form show, Comedy Roulette, is an off-the-wall improvisation potpourri where performers are freed from the traditional do’s and don’ts of improv. Instead, improvisers are encouraged to follow the funny and launch into a new scene or storyline whenever inspiration strikes. Comedy Roulette plays Saturdays in FST’s Bowne’s Lab from April 8 to May 17, 2023. Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 1st St., Sarasota, floridastudiotheatre.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Summer Photo Contest with the Conservation Foundation , April 26 – May 31, Submissions open through midnight May 31st

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is delighted to announce the return of their virtual Summer Photo Contest. Entering its fourth year, this annual event invites photographers of all ages and experience levels to share their original work showcasing the natural beauty of the Sunshine State. As in years past, the exhibition will be entirely virtual with website and Facebook displays. Works submitted for this online juried exhibition must have been taken in Florida within the past year. There is also a Youth Perspective category for ages 15 and under. The submission deadline is midnight on May 31. For categories, details, entry rules, and submission forms visit conservationfoundation.com/summerphoto.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Ballet: Program 7 - Tribute to Balanchine , April 28 – April 29

The Sarasota Ballet is excited to announce the Company’s 2022 – 2023 Season. Over seven programs, The Sarasota Ballet will perform 15 works by some of the most celebrated and prestigious choreographers and composers of the ballet world. Program 7 - Tribute to Balanchine. April 28-29, 2023 at the Sarasota Opera House. Featuring: Divertimento No. 15 - Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Four Temperaments - Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Paul Hindemith. Western Symphony - Choreography by George Balanchine, Music – American folk tunes arranged by Hershy Kay. For more information visit www.sarasotaballet.org, Box office 941.359.0099

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

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Man of La Mancha , May 10 – June 11, Varied

Considered by many to be one of the best musicals of all time, MAN OF LA MANCHA is brilliantly reimagined with a contemporary urgency by celebrated director Peter Rothstein, who immerses us in Miguel de Cervantes’s retelling of Don Quixote and his quest. This epic and poignant journey celebrates the perseverance of one man who refuses to relinquish his ideals and who is determined to see life not as it is, but as it ought to be. The winner of five Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, and featuring a soaring score, including “Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)” and one of theatre’s most beloved songs, “The Impossible Dream,” this classic musical celebrates the power of theatre, the bravery of holding strong to our dreams, and the resilience of imagination.

Asolo Repertory Theatre

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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