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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
big heart New College Doc
“Sincerely, The Black Kids” is a powerful documentary about racism on primarily white college campuses. YOUROBSERVER.COM
Venice Theatre’s production of ‘Stuart Little’ plays with scale and utilizes teamwork to teach audiences a big lesson. Two kinds of pops Sarasota Orchestra hits it out of the park with outdoor pops, and Artist Series Concerts shines. PAGE 8
NIKI KOTTMANN A+E MANAGING EDITOR
Charles Shoemaker saw “Cats” on a Disney Cruise, and ever since, it has been his dream play. For now, he’s a mouse.
on’t be fooled by the looks of Charles Shoemaker. He might resemble a cute blond 9-year-old boy, but when he steps onstage, he’s a rodent. Shoemaker plays the title
character in Venice Theatre’s production of “Stuart Little,” and Director and Scenic Designer Tim Wisgerhof says he couldn’t think of anyone who could fit the role more perfectly. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Florida Studio Theatre’s world premiere by Sarah Bierstock is compelling, but oddly anticlimactic. PAGE 7
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THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
Follow the golden rule FROM PAGE 1
“Just look at him, he’s adorable,” Wisgerhof says with a laugh. “I admire Charles for what he’s able to cram into his head. He’s in every scene except for two.” VARYING BACKGROUNDS
Shoemaker got his start at the age of 5 performing original one-man shows (he even did his own set design by creatively arranging boxes, his go-to set pieces) for his parents, five siblings and two dogs. Most recently, Venice Theatre audiences saw Shoemaker this winter as Randy in “A Christmas Story, the Musical,” and as Tiny Tim for the past two years in the theater’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” Now, eight shows into his commuIF YOU GO nity theater career, the young actor is ‘STUART LITTLE’ hooked. He says he When: Through Sunday, May 20 loves the exciteWhere: Venice Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave. ment of walking Tickets: $22; College students $14; into the costume $12 students through 12th grade closet to discover Info: Call 488-1115. what he’ll be wearing and what props
he’ll get to use. He’s particularly pumped about Stuart’s large pencil. Shoemaker wants to act professionally when he grows up. Or be a stage manager. He’s not quite sure yet, but he has some time to figure it out (Wisgerhof suggests starting his own theater company so he can do it all). Stuart’s mother in the musical is played by Yolanda Benoit, who, on the flip side, has no experience in theater whatsoever. Her friend was auditioning and persuaded her to give it a try just 30 minutes before the auditions began, she says. “I had nothing prepared, I just went in and did what I had to do,” says Benoit. “I never thought I would be Mrs. Little, but it was a happy surprise.” She auditioned with her 14-year-old daughter, Sabrina, who is playing one of the mice and singing several numbers. She says the fact that they both ended up in the show was pure serendipity, and it’s been a great bonding experience for them. Benoit started rehearsals with only a brief stint in high school choir for background knowledge of how to present herself onstage. But with cast members like Shoemaker and a director like Wisgerhof to help her through, she says it’s only been a positive experience. “I’ve been really impressed by all the professionalism that is supporting us,” she says. “It’s
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W NOPEN O
Left: Charles Shoemaker, a Sarasota native, has also performed in shows at The Players Centre for Performing Arts and Church of the Redeemer. Above: Costumer Francine Smetts, Director and Scenic Designer Tim Wisgerhof and Stage Manager Kelly Duyn play with Charles Shoemaker.
amazing, the amount of talent and the direction and choreography available … and Charles, he’s really teaching me about stamina, keeping yourself together and having a positive attitude.” AN EDUCATIONAL TAIL
“Stuart Little” is the musical adaptation of E.B. White’s classic tale about a small mouse living in the Big Apple. Born into a human family, Stuart is set on
living his life as if he were a “real” little boy. His determination takes him on an adventure through New York City and across the country to find a bird that helped save his life. Set to an emotional score by composer Ronna Frank, the story is told through six lead characters, a young men’s chorus and a young women’s chorus. Singers utilize everything from melodic ballads to exciting chorus members
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Wisgerhof also loves “Stuart Little” because it presents him with a fun challenge not only as a director, but as a set designer who has to make a 9-year-old appear to be the size of a mouse. “It’s all about playing with scale onstage and figuring out how to do that without graphics and computer screens,” he says. “The set has a lot of levels, so he’s always lower than everyone else.” This aspect of the show’s visuals is important not only for the sake of being realistic but to make an important point, he adds. It explores the notion of literally and figuratively talking down to others, and how ordinary people — regardless of their size — can become extraordinary. And when his young cast understands the reasoning behind this blocking, it’s thrilling. “There was a moment when we were doing a scene in a classroom and we had Charles go up and
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
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everyone else came down, and Charles said ‘Oh that’s because Stuart feels bigger’, and that gave me goosebumps.” TEAMWORK IS KEY
Shoemaker calls this his first “true” leading role, but for him, it’s not just about being the star of the show. He loves to perform, but he says one of the best parts of being in the show is all the friends he’s made in the cast of 20, which includes performers from Bradenton all the way to North Port. “It’s neat to see them become friends,” Wisgerhof says. “You see them blossom in their own roles and work together for a common goal.” Benoit says playing Mrs. Little comes somewhat naturally because she’s also a mother offstage, but her inaugural acting experience was also made easier working with a “gem” like Shoemaker and a team who always has her back. “I feel so supported, and I feel like they really drive us to do our best work,” she says. “I’m so pleased with this experience, I’d like to do this again.” Wisgerhof says this show is unique in that it affords every child — which is nearly the whole cast, because everyone but the three adults are between the ages of 9 and 15 — a moment to shine. Their collective goal as a cast is to get several messages across, but for Benoit, it’s all about inspiring audiences to believe in themselves and follow their own moral compass. “If they walk away with a sense that they can do anything they put their mind to, we’ve accomplished what we need to accomplish,” she says.
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to help tell the tale, which is all about Stuart overcoming several obstacles after leaving his family to set off on this journey. Wisgerhof says the show, which is the theater’s final “Generations” show of the 2017-2018 season, teaches audiences about the importance of kindness, forgiveness (toward others and ourselves) and forging your own path. “For Stuart, it’s all about being a friend,” he says. “All he’s trying to do is be a nice guy … but sometimes he isn’t and we can’t go back and fix all of our mistakes.” Shoemaker nods enthusiastically in agreement. “And you don’t have to judge someone if they’re small,” he adds. “Treat people like you would like to be treated.”
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
In many ways, Andy Warhol had a child-like vision of the world. Bring the whole family and channel his love of bright colors and his pop art style for this morning of creative fun. Kids can make their own Warhol-inspired art with tempera paint, crayons, colored pencils, markers, color paper and more. SARASOTA’S MONTHLY FOOD TRUCK RALLY 5 p.m. at JDub’s Brewing Co. & Tap Room, 1215 Mango Ave. Free admission Call 955-2739. Join the food truck craze and head to this monthly event for grub from several local mobile vendors and live music. HEAVEN VS. HELL MASQUERADE 6 p.m. at Kellys Live at Sarasota Sky Bar, 1927 Ringling Blvd. $10 Call 726-9243.
THURSDAY PINTS FOR PETE 2018 5 p.m. at Big Top Brewing Co., 6111 Porter Way, Unit B Free admission Call 371-2939. Every May, people around the U.S. come together to support the work of Pete Frates, the creator of the ice bucket challenge supporting ALS research. This local version of the national event will feature a 50-50 raffle, silent auction, inflatable speed pitch and a corn hole tournament. Enjoy two special Big Top brews, $1 from which will support Frates’ fight for a cure. SKY STAHLMANN RETURNS TO THE RESERVE 7 p.m. at The Reserve, 1322 N. Tamiami Trail Free admission Call 702-5859. The (former) singing barista at The Reserve is back in town after another semester at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, and she’s ready to show off what she’s learned. Stahlmann is working on her first EP in a style she likes to call “Popera” — a mix of the genres that influence her.
THAI RIVERA 7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd. $18 to $21 Call 925-3869. Thai Rivera isn’t afraid to make his audiences uncomfortable, so prepare yourself. His politically incorrect sense of humor will dominate this standup show, so check your sensitivity at the door and enjoy some laughs from the guy you might recognize from the Jo Koy Comedy Tour or Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham.”
‘FOOTLOOSE’ 7 p.m. at The Players Centre for Performing Arts, 838 N. Tamiami Trail $25 Call 377-2278. This beloved musical follows Ren McCormack, a teen from Chicago who moves to the strict Midwestern town of Bomont with his mom after his father leaves them. Join Sarasota Academy of the Arts as they tell the story of Ren fighting for two things he loves: dancing and rock ‘n’ roll.
MAY ART WALK 5 p.m. at Towles Court Artist Colony, 1938 Adams Lane Free Call 266-7318. Every third Friday, enjoy a stroll through the Towles Court Artist Colony for food, various types of art and live music by Latin Rendezvous.
‘RAGTIME’ Asolo Repertory Theatre 2 and 8 p.m. at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail $13 to $67 Call 351-8000. This Tony Award-winning musical follows the ups and downs of a white, upper-middle class family, an African-American musician and his girlfriend and a Jewish immigrant and his daughter in the era when ragtime music was the soundtrack to everyday life. Runs through May 27. ANDY’S ART FACTORY 10 a.m. at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave. Free with $25; $15 ages 4-17 admission to the gardens Call 366-5731.
ONLINE Find more information on these events at YourObserver.com.
Slip into your most daring costume and party for a cause. This live music dance party featuring local bands offers guests the chance to bring a nonperishable food item or hygiene product for the nonprofit Streets of Paradise. Streets of Paradise is an arts and outreach initiative that raises awareness for local homelessness through photography and also provides free access to basic necessities for the homeless.
NIK’S PICK SCD IN STUDIO SERIES: ‘COMING TO MYSELF’ This onewoman show, which doubles as a 45-minute journey of self-discovery, will kick off Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s new In Studio Series. Choreographer, writer and dancer Elizabeth Weil Bergmann won the Rasa Award at SaraSola Festival 2018 with this piece, which combines poetry and movement to tell her story of heartaches, triumphs and everything in between. IF YOU GO When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Where: SCD Home Studio, 1400 Boulevard of the Arts, Suite 300 Tickets: $20 Info: Call 351-3233. — NIKI KOTTMANN
FLEETWOOD MAX 8 p.m. at Stone Hall, Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton $22 to $32 Call 748-5875. No, we didn’t spell the name of your favorite rock band incorrectly. This is a performance by a Fleetwood Mac tribute band that pridefully calls itself an authentic recreation of the music and music of the original group. Enjoy a night of classics from the 1977 Rumours album to current hits.
MONDAY RINGLING BY THE BAY 6 p.m. at The Ringling Bayfront Gardens, 5401 Bay Shore Road $15; Members $5 Call 358-3180.
DRAG QUEEN BINGO BONANZA 8 p.m. at McCurdys Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd. $20 Call 925-3869. LDG Productions presents Sarasota’s beloved queen, Beneva Fruitville, in the naughtiest game of bingo in town. Enjoy performances by special quests and plenty of surprises — you’re in for a wild night.
This popular bimonthly event on the Bolger Campiello offers one of the best views of any dance party in town. Enjoy live music by Kettle of Fish while watching the sunset over Sarasota Bay. Food and beverage will be available for purchase on the bayfront.
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PEACE AND LOVE HOOTENANNY 7 p.m. at Sarasota Sailing Squadron, 1717 Ken Thompson Parkway Free, but suggested donation of $10 Call 377-9256. Pete’s Gang is a group of musicians who knew, sang and worked with legendary folk singer Pete Seeger. Help this longtime legend’s memory live on and enjoy an evening of folk with Fifi, Robert Killian and Jim Glover.
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
S P R I N G S AV I N G S
WEDNESDAY ‘HONOR KILLING’ 8 p.m. at Gompertz Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 First St. $25 to $36 Call 366-9000.
N E E D - N OW S A N DA L S F O R L E S S
This world premiere centers on Allisyn Davis, an American reporter for The New York Times who heads to Pakistan to cover the honor killing of a young woman. She’s denied entry in to the country, but armed with the most current technology, she conducts her reporting remotely from Dubai. Audiences ponder questions about forgiveness and justice in this intensely emotional play. Runs through May 25.
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‘HURRAY FOR THE RED, WHITE & BLUE’ Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota is ending its season with a belated celebration of National Armed Forces Recognition Day. Honor our troops and celebrate patriotism through
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music with the Capital Brass Ensemble. IF YOU GO When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday Where: Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road Tickets: $25 to $45 Info: Call 306-1202.
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
Big Break Sarasota author Sally Fernandez lands movie option for her latest book, ‘The Beekeeper’s Secret.’ SHELLIE TERRY CONTRIBUTOR
Sally Fernandez’s ride into the life of a published novelist has been almost as thrilling as the stories she creates. In less than 10 years, she has published six books with Dunham Books, and is now courting a three-part movie option. “I really have to pinch myself,” she says with a laugh. It’s the morning of the book signing event for her latest offering, “The Beekeeper’s Secret,” the second in her series following former CIA agent Max Ford, whom Fernandez describes as smartmouthed, rough and sarcastic. It was Fernandez’s storytelling and political intrigue that hooked publisher David Dunham six years ago when he published her first book, “Brotherhood Beyond the Yard,” just four months after Fernandez self-published it. The book was born out of political frustration in 2009 when Sally’s husband and later editor, Joe, implored: “Instead of ranting,
put it on paper.” To her surprise, Fernandez, who had previously only written technical guides and business plans, finished her rant with an 88,000-word novel. “Sally is an ardent and almost tireless researcher,” Dunham says. “The thing I love about her is that she can take historical events and weave storylines and build a plot. With her fifth book, ‘Climatized,’ she took that and turned it into a murder mystery.” The story follows central character Max Ford as she delves into the mysterious deaths of a senator and several climate scientists. Through the course of the book, Fernandez pits opposing views on the human impact on climate change that could reveal what would be “an inconvenient truth’ for a certain former vice president,” Fernandez quips, hinting at her real-world inspiration. Although her personal beliefs may lean one way, Fernandez says she tries to exhaustively present both sides of any argument in her political-leaning books. “The characters hash it, and I let the readers decide for themselves what they believe,” she says. It was the feisty Ford character who caught the attention of Los Angeles-based writerproducer team Noam Dromi and Evan Greene, who are working to adapt the book into film along with Legion of Creatives CEO Jay Williams and producer John
Thank you Sarasota for Voted Readers’ Choice Place for 25 years in a row! 231stConsecutive wins!
Film producer Noam Dromi, author Sally Fernandez and publisher David Dunham.
Gado. It’s the first of the threepart series. “The world has no idea what they’re in store for with Max Ford,” Dromi says. “She’s a smart woman who believes in the rule of law, but also understands that there are forces greater than what we’re aware of that are pulling the strings behind the scenes, and she’s our last great hope, and let’s hope she comes through because we need her now more than ever.” Fernandez says she could picture “Madam Secretary” actress Téa Leoni or “The Blacklist”actress Megan Boone taking on the role of Max Ford. Dromi is no stranger to movie making in Southwest Florida. He co-wrote Warner Bros. Alcon
Entertainment’s 2011 “Dolphin Tale,” starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freemen, and set in Clearwater. The team working on “Climatized” hopes to film at least a portion of the film in Sarasota, where Fernandez was inspired to set some of her scenes. With all the movie-related action to come, the Fernandezes, who had previously split their time between Florence, Italy, and Sarasota, have decided to plant roots here permanently. “When I first moved to Sarasota, I realized that it’s the culture capital of Florida,” Fernandez says. “At that time, I never thought that I’d be part of the culture here.”
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
IF YOU GO ‘HONOR KILLING’ When: Through May 25 Where: Gompertz Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 First St. Tickets: $35 to $39 Info: Call 366-9000 or visit floridastudio theatre.org/honorkilling.
Photo courtesy Matthew Holler
J. Paul Nicholas plays several roles in “Honor Killing.”
MARTY FUGATE THEATER CRITIC
Sarah Bierstock’s “Honor Killing” is a crime story. It explores a reporter’s struggle to expose the perpetrators and enablers of an ugly mob killing — and the hall of mirrors she enters in pursuit of the truth. The reporter is Allisyn Davis (Rachel Moulton), a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. The titular crime is a brutal honor killing in contemporary Pakistan. Allisyn flies into that country to get the facts and doesn’t make it past the airport. (She’s been blacklisted — in midair — because of her recent editorial
on Sharia law and other writings.) Allisyn takes a return flight to Dubai and books a hotel room. She reluctantly contacts Ben Adams (Michael Sweeney Hammond), her colleague and old flame. Ben agrees to go to Pakistan to be Allisyn’s eyes and ears. And that’s when she enters the mirror maze. Although Allisyn is physically stuck at the Dubai Marriott, she can run the story by remote control, thanks to 21st century technology. Smartphones and Skype open virtual windows to Ben and other human assets in Pakistan. They feed Allisyn bits of information. She pieces it all together, and the truth isn’t
neat or pretty. Mehreen (Devon Ahmed), Allisyn’s contact in the progressive Pakistan People’s Party, openly questions her motives: “I mean, sorry to be blunt, but what is your angle? Another episode of the noble, white American sweeping in to save the poor brown people?” To further muddy the waters, the grieving widower of the murdered woman turns out to be less than sympathetic. The Consul General also threatens the lives of Allisyn’s people in Pakistan. A veiled threat, but barely. It all adds up to two harsh questions: Is this story worth that risk? Does Allisyn have a right to tell it? Director Richard Hopkins pursues the answers in a surreal montage. Action in “the real world” is interspersed with the chimes of Skype announcing a parade of faces on ubiquitous pop-up screens. (Kudos
to Rocco DiSanti for the trip through the high-tech looking glass.) In the 21st century, being in two places at once is no big deal. Moulton’s Allisyn has nuance and depth. She thinks on her feet, and she saves her feelings for later. Her character’s a pro, but she’s far more than a generic plucky reporter. Allisyn has her own inner demons, but fights them when they threaten her objectivity. Hammond’s Ben is a nice guy with a few male chauvinist blind spots. Allisyn pushes him away, opens her heart, and then pushes him away again. Ben’s love and loyalty is a one-way street. It’s a good performance, although he never gets to be more than the guy-who’s-always-there. Ahmed’s Mehreen comes off as strident on her first Skype call. She pulls it back on her second vid chat, sounding more like a blunt friend than a nagging scold. J. Paul Nicholas does a chameleon-like turn as several characters, including Abbas, a dedicated Pakistani activist; the thuggish-yet-slick Pakistani diplomat; and the grieving, grievous widower. Maria Couch is sympathetic as Melissa, Allisyn’s expectant sister on the other side of the planet. William Langan is credibly stuffy and self-serving in his few brief scenes as Allisyn’s New York Times editor. Isabel and Moriah CurleyClay’s set is a hotel suite that doubles as the world. With
the aid of DiSanti’s ubiquitous video screens and projections, they cleverly evoke the sense of a place that’s both everywhere and nowhere. Susan Angermann’s costumes fit the needs of hardworking (or unemployed) people who don’t care what they look like. It’s a gripping play, but the narrative loses its grip in the end. The narrative wraps up with a revelation and a shocking crime. It’s all very moving, but oddly anticlimactic. There’s no clear turning point or resolution to the play’s big questions. Allisyn never openly decides: “Yes, this story is worth it. Yes, I have the right to tell it.” Allisyn doubts her right to tell the story of this honor killing. She finally overcomes her doubts and tells it anyway. That decision is glossed over. I’d make it more of a big moment. It feels like the organic climax of the play. Bierstock’s hall of mirrors is still compelling. “Honor Killing” conveys the hard work of real reporting today — and the dilemmas that real reporters face. Hidden cultural bias is one. False certainty is another. Instant connectivity creates the illusion of living in Marshall McLuhan’s global village. It’s still no substitute for actually being in the places you write about. Skype, YouTube and CNN show you the world, but it’s never the whole picture.
‘Honor Killing’ asks tough questions
OVERLOOKING ANNA MARIA SOUND
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
Sarasota Orchestra and Artist Series excel in end-of-season concerts EDWARD ALLEY MUSIC CRITIC
When the Sarasota Orchestra goes outdoors and the Choral Artists of Sarasota and Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota combine and begin waxing toward movies, Broadway and the patriotic, we know we’re almost at the end of another music season. True, the Artist Series has the Capital Brass Quintet on tap soon, and there’s the traditional July 4 concert of Choral Artists, but by then summer is in full sway. The Sarasota Orchestra opened its fifth year of outdoor concerts at Ed Smith Stadium last Friday with a surefire Hollywood and Broadwaybased concert featuring guest artists Deedee Magno Hall and Clifford Hall, both of whom have strong recent Broadway credits. Principal Pops Conductor Andrew Lane set the tone for the evening with John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme,” followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and relatively new suites from “Far and Away” and “La La Land.” The guest singers, Hall and Hall, sang two sets, including solos and duets. Their solo numbers were well done, but I thought their two duets were particularly effective — and so did the audience.
Lane also gave us two major Disney pieces, the overture to “Beauty and the Beast” and “Disney Classics Overture.” The strains of the Mickey Mouse Club theme and “It’s a Small World” had barely started when the audience joined in singing the lyrics with a fervor approaching that of our national anthem. The amplification seems to get a bit better each year, although we are still virtually bombarded with a wall of sound, with little if any subtlety. The orchestral sound was good and solid, except for the trumpets, which seemed to be having an off night. These outdoor concerts are about entertainment, not nuance, and the idea of sitting outside with hot dogs, popcorn and beverages while listening to the orchestra and watching fireworks is still a great occasion. On Sunday afternoon, Artist Series Concerts, together with the Choral Artists of Sarasota presented “Showtime,” a “reel” salute to the music of the movies, complete with a Twentieth Century Fox film introduction and a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Quickly followed by an a capella vocal — and kazoo — rendering of the “William Tell Overture,” sung from the balcony, the program was off to a barreling start. Guest soloists Jennifer Sheehan, soprano, and Tad Czyze-
wski, tenor, were featured in a series of duets in a tribute to those Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy operettas on film, followed by tributes to Mario Lanza and Judy Garland. Included was a setting of “Over the Rainbow” for voice, chorus and ukulele, played by Baron Garriott, which was certainly different, but charming. The big bonus of the afternoon was a long and sometimes rambling collage: “Cinemagic! Hollywood’s Best Movie Music,” by Mac Huff, with bits of narration and solos by Sheehan and Czyzewski. This was truly a potpourri and a half, ranging from favorites of the early movies, lots of “Fred and Ginger” songs, through the war years, Oscar favorites — including “Jaws,” ending with the “long song title” from “Mary Poppins” and just a dose of the “Flintstones” theme. All in all, the performance moved smoothly, quickly moving over some of the inevitable pitfalls of an undertaking of this size. At times things seemed a bit under rehearsed, but these were few and far between. The audience loved it. However, the season is far from over, as the Sarasota Music Festival moves into town in full force in a week or so , and the month of June is still a music month in Sarasota.
Vocalist Tad Czyzewski joined Jennifer Sheehan as a soloist in Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s “Showtime!”
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INSIDE MINT JULEP: SMART supporters don Derby garb. 10 COLUMN: Two familiar faces re-create Standouts cover. 11
MAY 17, 2018
GALA Friday, May 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota | Benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research KAYLEIGH OMANG | BLACK TIE REPORTER
tâ€™s no secret that host Dick Vitale has a passion for ending pediatric
Above: Dick Vitale and Jim Harbaugh at the press conference. Below: Honorees Leonard Hamilton, Mike Greenberg and Jim Harbaugh
The 13th annual Dick Vitale Gala,
which raises money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, reminded eventgoers of how much that passion fuels Vitaleâ€™s philanthropic efforts. At the pre-event news conference, Vitale, honorees, sportscaster Chris Berman and CEO of the V Foundation for Cancer Research Susan Braun spoke about the foundation and what fighting to end pediatric cancer means to them. Many of the speakers have lost a loved one to cancer, which drives them to commit to the cause. After the news conference, guests Photos by Kayleigh Omang
Above: Stacy and Emily Ayers Left: Trey and Yesenia Burton Right: Todd and Shannon Johnson with Monica and Kevin Negandhi
mingled and enjoyed cocktail hour before making their way into the ballroom for dinner and a presentation, during which Vitale once again gave an emotional address to the audience. The gala raised $3.7 million this year, which helped the foundation reach a total of more than $25 million raised since its inception in 1993.
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
Tropical Treasures Spring Luncheon Monday, April 30, at Michaelâ€™s On East Benefiting Historic Spanish Point
Robert Shankle, Amber Hall, Vincent Manzo, Sterling and Jennifer and Chris McDaniel
Mint Juleps & Roses Photos by Kayleigh Omang
Saturday, May 5, at Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy Benefiting SMART
Jessica Swift and Tracey Reid
Each guest received a tropical drink upon arrival.
Photos by Kayleigh Omang
Above: Executive Director Brandi Ezell and Chairwoman Melissa Spillenkothen Left: Michael Salmon and Marcia Carlson Pack Co-Chairwoman Laura Peters, Speaker Judi Gallagher and Co-Chairwoman Debbie Seitl
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BLACK TIE & TALES
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018
Who wore it best?
SERV THE OB
CIAL ER’S SO
SEASON OK FOR
Last week, Black Tie released its annual Season Standouts magazine, featuring two familiar faces on the cover: Donna Koffman and Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed. Soon after, another (unofficial) cover was released by philanthropists Brian Mariash and Bart Lowther. Brian came to Black Tie with an idea to parody the cover of his two good friends. It was too good to resist, so we made it happen. “As we wrap up our ‘season’ I couldn’t resist the opportunity when the Observer’s Black Tie recognized two local fundraising rockstars with huge hearts — my good friends Donna and Umbreen,” Brian said on Facebook. “Bart and I naturally had to post our ‘parody’ tribute to two of Sarasota’s First Ladies. Been an honor working with you both all year! Look forward to how we can make a difference together next year!” It’s rumored that Donna and Umbreen have a comeback up their sleeve. We are looking forward to what these two have in store.
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‘The Umbreen’ The Black Tie Standout cover also sparked a new trend: “The Umbreen.” Will this pose stay for awhile or drift away?
Sandra Boyajian, Donna Koffman, Henry Lawrence, Tammy Karp, Jaclyn Brunckhorst, Heather Dunhill, Asa Thomas, Tomeika Koski and Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed
Gray Bkg.:Layout 1 11/9/15 8:18 PM Page 1
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Cast of Ragtime. Photo by Cliff Roles.
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