Page 1



Mary Jane Clark slays her readers with suspense. PAGE 2



Spotlight: WBTT’s Drew Foster PAGE 4



Perlman Music Program gala PAGE 13

by Robert Plunket | Contributing Writer

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The most expensive house in town lives up to its $22 million price tag. HOME&GARDEN COVER STORY CONTINUED ON PAGE 10




by Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor


“My main characters are resilient and strong. It doesn’t mean they aren’t worried, threatened or scared to death, but they figure it out and no one comes in and saves them,” Mary Jane Clark says.

INSTINCTS There’s almost always a smart, strong leading character who has to save herself in the face of a killer in Mary Jane Clark’s mystery thrillers.


Photo courtesy Harper Collins

hen actor and wedding-cake designer Piper Donovan came to Sarasota for a wedding one year ago, she witnessed multiple murders. She’s headed to New Orleans this January, and she’ll take that mental baggage with her — Donovan always seems to be around when dead bodies appear. Luckily, Donovan is the fictional character in New York Times’ bestselling author Mary Jane Clark’s Piper Donovan Mystery Series. Clark is a part-time resident of Siesta Key who splits her time with Hillsdale, N.J. The fourth book and newest installment to her series, “That Old Black Magic,” will be released Jan. 21. It follows Donovan to New Orleans, where she guest bakes at a bakery in the French Quarter when a series of voodoo-related murders take place. Clark says the location of her books is always important. “New Orleans has everything you’d want to have in a mystery,” she says. She was inspired after an American Library Association convention took place there following Hurricane Katrina. “I remember being so touched because you could tell when you walked down the street and went into the little shops, that

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people were so glad that you had come,” Clark says from her Siesta Key apartment. “I got this feeling, and really keyed into what they had been through and the hope and resilience of the people.” In March 2012, right before she started writing, Clark went back for a visit. She saw the above-ground crypts, went on a voodoo tour, took a steamboat ride on the Mississippi and, of course, ate lots of food — to conjure just the right descriptions of the Big Easy. Her actress daughter, Elizabeth Higgins Clark, inspired the main character of the series. A $75 Martha Stewart coffee-table book on cake decorating inspired the character’s career. She says her daughter and Piper Donovan are very similar. “They know what they want. They have a good heart and a real sense of what’s right and wrong,” Clark says. Clark sits comfortably atop a cozy denim couch surrounded by rattan furniture in her Siesta Key condo with a killer view. Based on her beachy, relaxed appearance and upon a first introduction, she doesn’t seem like the type who spends her days thinking up gruesome black magic killers. But, her bio fits the bill, or rather, kill. First off, the name “Clark” might also

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// ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT Mary Jane Clark’s 5 favorite Sarasota spots: 1. Cà d' Zan 2. Standing at a sea turtle's new nest on the beach 3. Feeding the flamingoes at Sarasota Jungle Gardens 4. On a pontoon taking the Mote Marine/Sea Life Encounters cruise around Sarasota Bay 5. Watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from her condo on Siesta Key trigger the names Mary Higgins Clark (her former mother-in-law) or Carol Higgins Clark (her former sister-in-law) — two other famous writers. Although, Mary Jane Clark kept her name long before she started writing books, for her children’s sake. Her former mother-in-law had some influence on Mary Jane Clark’s career. “I always thought writing books was something mystical, like, ‘How could anyone write a book?’” she says. While the rest of the family was out waterskiing or having hot dogs on the deck, her former mother-in-law would be in her room working on her next book. “I would see how hard she worked and I realized it wasn’t so much about the magic, but it was about the hard work,” Clark says. More so than her former in-laws’ familial connection to writing, Clark herself grew up in an environment prone to suspense. She grew up in New Jersey where her father, Fred Behrends, worked for the FBI on Russian espionage, kidnapping and extortion cases. “He never would talk about his cases, but sometimes I’d read about them in a newspaper,” she says. “There was a feeling of suspense for what he did for a liv-

A shelf in Mary Jane Clark’s condo proudly displays her first 15 books. ing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that influenced me in going into suspense writing.” But, it was media coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination that made her want to work in television news. She got her first job in New York at CBS as a desk assistant making $117 a week, working the overnight shift. She’d work her way up over the next 27 years, covering everything from hurricanes and shootings to politics and visits from the pope. “Sometimes you’d think, ‘God, you couldn’t make this stuff up!’” she says about the content she was producing. “That was so wonderfully fertile and showed me that if I could think of it, it could happen.” She started writing her first book, “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” on the side of her CBS job. In 1991, she was newly divorced from her husband, David Clark. She had a 5-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and a 1-year-old son, David, with Fragile X syndrome, a developmental disability. Clark began working part time at CBS to be around for her son, and needed an additional means of financial support. She says she probably wouldn’t have started writing if it weren’t for her son’s birth — she wanted to secure a financial future for him. It grew into something much bigger

Photo by Mallory Gnaegy

than she thought. “It was totally therapeutic for me,” she says. “Because my life was kind of spinning out of control, and in writing the story I could control everything that happened.” She wrote 10 books while at CBS, and retired from the news career in 2007 as a producer. She now devotes her time to writing her successful thrillers. Clark fits the recurring theme of her books: characters, mostly women, who find themselves in hard situations, but figure it out and save themselves. “It may not be some killer with a knife hiding in your closet or anything that obviously dramatic, but I think everyone has ups and downs and hard things they have to get through in life,” she says.

IF YOU GO Luncheon with Mary Jane Clark When: Noon Wednesday, Feb. 19 Where: Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Cost: Tickets $25. Info: Call 366-9000.

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by Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor

Sarasota stages foster upcoming actor Actor David Foster is an example of what happens when a talented child grows up on the stages of Sarasota and then decides to pursue acting. He has performed in national tours and received positive reviews as a director, but for the next month, he will perform in the city where he got his start. He can be seen in Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s threeman play, “The Whipping Man,” through Feb. 2. He’s playing a Jewish Confederate soldier who returns home following the Civil War to learn it was destroyed and his family fled, and the only two remaining people who can help him are his former slaves who are now free. Foster calls it a “secrets play,” meaning the plot is well constructed with secrets revealed as the play goes on — it constantly surprises. Although Foster is from Sarasota, he showed big ambition when it came to his career. First, he didn’t go to just any college to study acting — he studied it at Juilliard. He isn’t one of those actors who has to work at a restaurant on the side. And he isn’t a “New York-based” actor who really live in Queens — he lives in Manhattan. He didn’t struggle for work upon graduation, either. Instead, he immediately joined a national tour of “West Side Story” for two years. He’s also met success as a director. Last summer, he and a producer took over Shelter Island Theatre Co. in Long Island, N.Y., and he directed “Much Ado About Nothing,” which garnered enough positive reviews that Foster will di-

IF YOU GO ‘The Whipping Man’ by Matthew Lopez When: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sundays. Runs through Feb. 2. Where: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Theater, 1646 10th St. Cost: Tickets are $29.50. Info: Call 366-1505 or visit

Photo by Mallory Gnaegy

“My plan was to go to school for theater or move to New York City and pursue acting, and I never had doubts that it would happen,” Drew Foster says. “There were always questions on what scale at which it happened, but whether I would be doing it was never a question.” rect a spring production and three more this summer. But, he still thinks that some of the best shows in which he performed were here in Sarasota, when he was a child. It all started in 1993, when a participatory children’s show at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall pulled him on stage to perform. He

enjoyed the experience so much his mother, Kim Raymond, enrolled him in Florida Studio Theatre’s youth acting program. When area professional theaters needed a child actor, such as in The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre’s 1999 production of “Camelot” and Asolo Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor”

— they cast Foster. Soon after, he was performing at Manatee Players, Sarasota Players and in the Island Shakespeare Festival on Anna Maria Island. Foster worked with Howard Millman throughout his youth. Millman is the former producing artistic director at Asolo Rep and is also directing “The Whipping

Man.” He contacted Foster about the latest role. “It’s so wonderful to be woring with Howard again now that I’m an adult,” Foster says with a small chuckle. “When you’re a kid, adults are just adults.” When he was a kid, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe wasn’t an equity house. Instead, it didn’t have a theater space. The theater at 10th Street, which it now owns, was a fencing academy then. The company has grown a lot in the time that Foster has been away. “I think ‘The Whipping Man’ will be really great for this company, without sounding too presumptuous,” Foster says. He thinks audiences will be impressed with the quality, the direction and the set. “Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe constantly has to raise the bar on itself to grow the audience and have a footprint in the community theatrically, and this is the next step in its path,” he says.

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by Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor

The Alfstad family paints a collaborative vision “All in the Family” is more than The Ice House’s most recent exhibit, which features the work of Sarasota artists and the work of their fellow artist children. But there’s another prominent family tied to this exhibit, which opens Friday, Jan. 10: the Alfstads. Sam Alfstad and his daughters, Casey Alfstad and Annie Mayme Alfstad, are the reason The Ice House debuted in November. In January 2013, Sam Alfstad, 67, moved to Sarasota to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He had previously worked in advertising as a creative director and eventually founded a market research company, eMarketer. When Casey Alfstad moved to Sarasota in summer 2012 to work in the arts (she was responsible for SRQ Magazine’s Saturday morning editorial cartoons), Alfstad decided to plant roots, as well. Annie Mayme Alfstad, the 28-year-old business-minded daughter, was living in New York in 2012 working at eMarketer. The trio doesn’t remember the specific details, but somewhere along the line they began to envision founding a production company in Sarasota. On Nov. 25, 2012, they met at Sam Alfstad’s home in New York for a first official meeting. “The thing that got us all excited was the concept,” says Annie Mayme Alfstad. They pictured a production company that would re-imagine how to make and market art. They pictured a studio space where artists could collaborate on one topic. “Most artists working independently go into the studio (to work),

IF YOU GO Sarasota artists: ‘All in the Family’ Featuring the work of the Andersons, Deans, Lindhardts and Strenks When: Noon to 6 p.m. from Friday, Jan. 10 through Sunday, Jan. 19 Where: The Ice House, 1314 10th St. Cost: Tickets are $25 for opening night gala, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10. General admission is $10. Info: Visit

Photo by Mallory Gnaegy

Casey Alfstad, Sam Alfstad and Annie Mayme Alfstad at The Ice House. Sculptural pieces by Mark Anderson on display in “Sarasota Artists: All in the Family.” then pop out with piece and say, ‘What do you think?’” says Alfstad. “And most people don’t know what to think.” Alfstad says it’s like when he was a creative director and had to focus his artists on one idea — narrow confinement and collaboration was how the artists worked best. In January 2013, the Alfstads rented a studio space at 1421 Fifth St. They gathered a group of local artists, freelancers and Ringling College of Art and Design students who began creating work in March 2013 for what would become “Reimagining Georgia O’Keeffe and

Alfred Stieglitz: 2014” (the February 2014 exhibit). That’s when Alfstad realized they would need a place to showcase the work. Before that, The Ice House wasn’t even a thought. The three Alfstads first envisioned a pop-up gallery, when Casey Alfstad stumbled across the old icehouse in the Rosemary District last summer. Back then, it was being rented as a furniture-upholstery and consignment shop. It had a contemporary feel — white 13-foot-high walls, cement floors and the perfect rough-aroundthe-edges quality reminiscent of major contemporary galleries in

Los Angeles and New York. It had a room they could revamp into an educational room to tell the story and context of the featured art. “It was perfect,” Casey Alfstad says. And the Alfstads’ business plan worked out perfectly, too: Alfstad would oversee the whole company, Casey Alfstad would run the studio space, and Annie Mayme Alfstad would run the gallery. “Reimagining Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: 2014,” which opens Feb. 6, will be the Alfstads’ realized vision. There are about 15 visual and dance artists represented who use a variety of medi-

ums — seven are in house, others are local collaborative artists, and some are internationally based. They created appropriations of the late groundbreaking artists’ (O’Keefe and Stieglitz) work using modern technology and techniques to create new pieces. “We’re trying to re-imagine something that’s been there, but hasn’t been fully realized,” Annie Mayme Alfstad says of the model they’ve formed. “It’s based on an ideal rather than a profit plan,” Casey Alfstad adds. Just as the Alfstads combined their unique talents and visions to create Alfstad& Productions and The Ice House, the artists do the same. “We think there’s room in the art world for other models and other ways to go,” Alfstad says.

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Super Strings have super experience with Itzhak Perlman

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PMP/Suncoast Super Strings fill the first two rows of audience at the feet of Itzhak Perlman as the Winter Residency orchestra play on stage.

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Photos by Mallory Gnaegy

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How tHey met: Both being at a point in their lives in which they were ready to meet “Mr. or Mrs. Right,” Dan and Courtney are happy to admit they met through eHarmony. At the time, Dan was living in Apollo Beach, so the two emailed back and forth for quite some time before they met in person. The couple’s first date was Feb. 13, 2010, at Mediterraneo.

He tried to get her to go out of town one weekend, but Courtney’s focus was on her 4-day-old nephew. Because he couldn’t get Courtney out of town, Dan decided the morning of Feb. 13, 2012, that he had waited long enough and was ready to propose.

tHe weDDING: The couple was married at sunset March 1, at Ringling’s Cà d’Zan Mansion. Courtney’s tHe PRoPoSAL: 12-month-old nephew was even Dan had the ring three months part of the processional. The Rev. before he proposed to Courtney. Andrea Taylor, of St. Boniface

Episcopal Church, performed off the beautiful neutral colors of shoes once the dancing began. the ceremony. the Ca’ d’Zan. The evening featured a photo booth by Bash Booths so guests tHe ReCePtIoN: HoNeymooN: could take their photo home as The reception also took place Wanting to go somewhere nei- a favor, including a photo holder at the beautiful Cà d’Zan. Sarah ther one of them had been, the designed by Inkling-Print. Tucker, of Sarah Tucker Events, couple decided to honeymoon The bride’s sister, Erika Wise Borwas instrumental in assisting on the islands of French Polyne- land, designed and created many with the look and many details sia. They became scuba certified of the paper items for the big day, of the wedding. The goal was to so they could dive on the trip. including the ceremony program, incorporate nautical elements table numbers and menu cards. that represented Dan’s passion FUN FACtS: The couple desired a smaller for fishing and softer elements To keep with the nautical theme, cake, because they wanted to to represent Courtney. The colors the bridesmaids wore matching have a dessert bar by Michael’s were a mix of navy, cream and lockets with tiny anchors inside and On East at which guests could gold. The couple wanted to play the groomsmen changed into boat choose their own sweet treat.

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January 2 was the culmination of what 25 students have been looking forward to since August. A huge tent on USF Sarasota-Manatee’s campus packed a full audience to witness the young musicians play under the direction of Itzhak Perlman. The mostly local students from different schools and of ages ranging from 10 to 18 auditioned in August and attended two afternoons of workshops Itzhak Perlman dir throughout the summer ec Suncoast Super St ts the PMP/ and fall to prepare a violin rings solo. They played Antonio Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 3, No. 6, movement through Jan. 4. Following an au1 and were accompanied by the dience Q&A relating to the Super Strings Program, the non-local PMP String Orchestra. Typically, the tent hosts au- PMP String Orchestra continued diences that sit in on free par- its rehearsal. This group consists ticipatory rehearsals during the of students from as far away as Winter Residency from Dec. 23 Australia, Norway and Israel.




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MUSIC // Perlman Music Program 10th Anniversary Gala This is not a review. I wouldn’t attempt to review what is, in most ways, perfection. Rather, it’s the personal story of one of the most exciting, fun evenings of music in memory, and it all revolved around the 10th anniversary gala of the Perlman Music Program’s Winter Residency here in Sarasota. Although the program involved open rehearsals, master classes and performances for a couple of weeks over the holidays, I’ll concentrate on the concert and gala that took place this Saturday evening at the Sarasota Opera House. The concert featured a bevy of super-talented string players between the ages of 12 and 20, with the internationally renowned and beloved violinist, conductor and singer (yes, singer), Itzhak Perlman. What we heard at the gala concert is that PMP is doing everything right. The first part of the program was devoted to choral music under the direction of Patrick Romano. Singing string players? Yes. They learn to sing in a chorus so they can sing with their instruments. They learn to breathe and phrase and be great musicians. These are string players, not singers. But the musicianship they learn from using their Godgiven instruments, the built-in ones, will make them finer players in the long run. (And there was, somewhere in that group, one soprano who had a real voice. Maybe she’ll become another Judith Blegen, the violinist-turned-Met

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“Loot” runs through Jan. 19, at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Call 351-8000 or visit conservatory for more information. make a nice comic duo portraying Hal, the rotten-but-honest son and Dennis, the oversexed undertaker, respectively. Brian Owen puts in an inspired comic performance as Truscott of the Yard. Essentially, he’s a self-satisfied, self-righteous rotter: a man with no morals whatsoever, who’s bloatedly moralistic about it. On top of that, he’s a bloviating parody of Sherlock Holmes, complete with deerstalker, pipe and magnifying glass. Truscott starts off with a series of dazzling deductions, but he fails to notice the corpse in the room. It’s a brilliantly written character — and the comic mainspring of the play. Owen brings him to life. Paul Herbig is fine as Meadows, Truscott’s robotic bobby sidekick, mangling the English language or suspects as the need arises. Michael Frishman channels Mr. McLeavy’s increasingly tattered presence. Nurse Fay (Olivia Williamson) cloaks herself in Heaven’s righteousness, as opposed to the State’s. She marries and murders for money while spouting sanctimonious drivel. Her walk doesn’t match her talk, but she never notices. Speaking of talk, “Loot” is stuffed with savagely funny dialogue. Bad people say nice things and it’s funny; hypocrisy is the fuel of farce. Orton didn’t discover that fact. His genius was unplugging the machinery of moral punishment. In the world of his play, crime often pays. It does in the real world, too, after all. That’s the uneasy joke at the play’s heart. And the joke’s on us. — Marty Fugate


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Read Popcorn Bob's Movie Magic reviews of “Grudge Match” and “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.”

Opera soprano, who used her instrumental training to become one of the world’s finest singers.) In the second half, the players did a memorable performance of Mozart’s exposed “Eine kleine Nachtmusik.” As Perlman said before he conducted the work, this may sound like simple music but it’s very difficult and very complex. With Perlman’s help on the podium, the kids got it, especially the richness of the inner voices, and this was a beautifully crafted presentation. They concluded with the outer movements of Mendelssohn’s great octet for strings in the orchestral version. Here, it was the lower voices that soared, especially in the final movement when the basses and cellos positively buzzed with passion and precision. But now we come to the personal part. Toby Perlman and I were both at the High School of Music and Art in New York City at about the same time. That means we’ve known each other for more than a half-century. Her inspiration gave birth to the wondrous PMP. And the party that followed the concert, and included the faculty and students as well as sponsors and PMP Friends, was what making music is all about. After a sumptuous dinner at Michael’s On East, the Perl-Tones — renamed the Try-Tones for this event — took the stage for some of the most cultivated Doo-wop in the history of music: Bass player Rachel Calin, violinist/singer Sean Lee and Merry Peckham (all faculty members) joined with choral director/Doo-wop soprano extraordinaire, Patrick Romano, and basso Woo-Woo-Woo specialist Itzhak Perlman for renditions of the 1956 best-seller, “In the Still of the Night,” and, our favorite, “Walk Like a Mensch.” Who knew? — June LeBell


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Back in the mid-1960s, Joe Orton, the late, lamented, bad boy British playwright, burned up the theater world with three outrageous farces. (“Outrageous” used in its original, literal sense of inspiring outrage.) “Loot,” the current FSU/Asolo Conservatory production of one of his farces, shows us what the outrage is all about. The play is a slaughterhouse for sacred cows. These include dogged detectives, noble nurses, religion in general, Catholicism in particular, sexual repression, the sanctity of the British family and respect for the dead. The plot? A young lad’s bisexual lover works as an undertaker at a funeral home next to a bank. The pair tunnel into the bank, steal a ton of loot and stash it in a wardrobe in the lad’s house. Unfortunately, a thuggish detective pokes his nose in, pretending to be from the waterworks to avoid the tedious paperwork of search warrants. Er, fortunately, the lad’s mum is dead — the victim of a serial killer nurse. To avoid detection, the lads stuff the money in the coffin, and they put the corpse in the wardrobe. Corpse and money change places repeatedly. A glass eye rolls away. Human rights are abused, and common decency violated. This goes on for a while as Orton dials the outrage up to 11. Ultimately, the guilty are rewarded and the innocent punished. This truncated summary may sound hilarious, but it doesn’t really say why it’s so hilarious on stage. Orton, for want of a better term, plays it straight. (His material reminds me of that Monty Python undertaker sketch where the bereaved son is informed they can bury, burn or dump his mother — and nobody ever cracks a smile.) Director Jonathan Epstein plays it straight, too. No winking, mugging, elbows to the ribs or giggles. He offers us an absurd, amoral, bizarro-world universe where black is white, good is bad and up is down — and nobody seems to notice. (Except for the one innocent person who gets what’s coming to him.) Nobody in this comedy knows they’re in a comedy, and that’s why the comedy works. Bravo. Epstein’s comic timing is equally sharp — a clockwork outrage, if you will. The reactions, pauses, double-takes and slow burns are all perfect. Kudos also for movement coach Eliza Ladd and fight choreographer Brian Nemiroff for the flow of bodies in space. This staging is as much a dance as a performance. As to the second-year conservatory student actors, they all seem to be having the time of their lives. Jory Murphy and Matthew Anderson


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MUSIC // The Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Just before the Christmas holiday, the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota had a particularly busy weekend; it produced three different programs in two days at the Historic Asolo Theater. We attended two of them: a semi-staged version of Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and a variety show called “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” featuring “Annie” star Andrea McArdle. The performances shared some of the same singers and, except for a couple of imports such as McArdle, most of the talent was local and, for the most part, non-professional. The afternoon performance of “Amahl,” for example, featured Le Voci di Venezia, an accomplished group of high school singers from Venice High under the direction of a rather self-effacing Stephen Johns. These talented young students had a lovely blend, excellent diction and paid special attention to well-accented rhythms with a wide dynamic range. There were also some excellent, though unnamed, soloists. “Amahl,” one of the wonders of mid-20th century television operas, didn’t come off quite so well, but it was still good to hear it again. Performed in costume with minimal staging and little theatricality or emotion, it was well sung, and we couldn’t help thinking it would have come off better in a simple concert setting. Although Amahl is supposed to be a young shepherd boy, Andrea Guaita, a 12-year-old local girl who sings with the Sarasota Young Voices and plays violin with the Sarasota Youth Orchestra, sang the role attractively. She’s an exceptionally musical singer with good diction, and it will be interesting to follow her path. Deborah Berioli, a local soprano, sang the role of the Mother

Courtesy photo

File photo

“Annie” star Andrea McArdle performed in the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s variety show “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” at the Historic Asolo Theater.

Sarasota’s Maria Wirries, 16, was featured in two songs in the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s variety show “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

with a rich, mellow sound that managed the low tessitura of the part (originally written for a mezzo), quite well. Tenor Christopher Culpepper and baritones Anthony Offerle and Todd Donovan suitably performed the roles of the three kings, with 19-year-old Jose Guaita as the Page. Pianist Mary Jeanne Moorman and flutist Michael Alegria, who offered clarity and support to the singers, accompanied the piece, originally scored for small orchestra. And members of Le Voci di Venezia played the chorus of peasants. “Amahl” is a particularly dramatic opera that, through Menotti’s music and libretto

(yes, he wrote it all), shows us one of the minor miracles of Christmas: a young peasant boy who, through faith, is able to cast aside his crutch, walk, run and even jump. It has wonderful arias for almost everyone, tuneful, beautiful melodies that further the plot and take us to a time when miracles were both astonishing and commonplace. It’s a beautiful story set to sublime music, and we commend the Artist Series for bringing it back to us and introducing it to youngsters who may not have encountered it before. “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” which we attended the next evening, was

less than wonderful because, like many talent-show-type events, it was a hodgepodge of miscellany centering around popular Christmas songs performed by a muddle of performers, some more winning than others. McArdle, who is now 50, has less voice than she had at 14 and seemed to have trouble not only sustaining her higher notes, but also making any real emotional connection with the audience. She’s professional. She looks good. But there’s an emptiness about her performance that I found rather sad. What used to be remarkable and cute is now hollow and tired. Maybe it was a bad night for her. Some of the other acts were more positive. A quartet of singers (Johanna Fincher, Amy Connours, Baron Garriott and Timothy O’Connor) from Gloria Musicae had an excellent blend and sound in a group of well-known carols, especially the Wilhousky setting of “Carol of the Bells,” which was originally arranged for a massive chorus and is particularly difficult for four solo voices. Sixteen-year-old local superstar, Maria Wirries, was featured in two songs, including a lovely new work by James Grant called “Christmas Comes Tomorrow.” Deborah Berioli returned with songs by Alec Rowley and Joaquin Nin, and Todd Donovan, who had played King Balthazar in “Amahl” the day before, was barely recognizable as himself in carols and pop songs. The three distinguished pianists performing with the singers were Lee Dougherty Ross, Alan Corey and, doubling as pianist/ musical director, Steve Marzullo. We should mention one funny moment when Berioli began one of a set of Nin’s “Villancicos” in a Spanish dialect. As do most of these charming songs, this one begins with the syllables “ah” and “ee” (spelled “A-iiii”). A gentleman a few seats away from us said rather loudly, “Can’t understand a word.” Ah, the joys of trying to impress an audience. — June LeBell


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by Robert Plunket | Contributing Writer (continued from page 1)

DREAMS FOR SALE Photos by Ryan Gamma

Architect Guy Peterson created a composition in mahogany and stone for the home’s exterior. The round cylinder at center contains one of two elevators; there’s air-conditioned parking for up to eight cars.

The main rooms open onto terraces overlooking the pool and the Gulf.

In the master bedroom: a fireplace, 14-foot ceilings, and expansive views of the beach.


A chickee hut, made in the traditional manner, provides shade for the swimming pool.

In addition to a room-size shower, the master bath boasts a stand-alone tub.

hana, the spectacular new home on Longboat Key, is more than the just the most expensive property in town. It’s also a glimpse into Sarasota’s future, where one-of-a-kind showplace homes are already beginning to lure the world’s super rich to our corner of Florida. Every day, it seems, writers and photographers show up to document the home’s design for the media. A TV crew from Qatar is preparing a feature. And real estate bloggers from all over the world are chiming in with gushing praise. For Sarasotans, Ohana has

a special significance. Here is something new. It’s like a page is being turned, from the hermetically sealed Mediterranean mansions of the past to something much more elegant and sophisticated. Ohana celebrates two of Sarasota’s greatest glories — its modernist architecture and its beach lifestyle. Here, no matter the price of the home — and Ohana is listed at $22 million — chances are the lucky owner still has a little sand in his very expensive shoes. *** Ohana was built by a wealthy Canadian family who lavished

three years and a medium-size fortune on getting their dream home just right. They hired Guy Peterson — definitely Sarasota’s architect of the moment — to design the home, builder Michael Walker to execute the structurally complicated plans, and renowned landscape designer Raymond Jungles (yes, that’s his real name) to turn the two-and-a-half acres of beachfront into a tropical resort. And “resort” is the key word here. Ohana feels like that exclusive getaway in the South Seas that you sometimes stumble across online: turquoise water,

white sand, and deceptively simple rooms that rely on nature for beauty. And as in a resort, separate areas create retreat-like spaces for privacy while others — the pool, beach, and tennis court — offer conviviality and recreation. The original bones of the compound date back to the 1950s, with a 2,900-square-foot beach home. Peterson turned the structure into a Zen-like guest house, spare and elegant, with large expanses of glass that draw the sea oats and white sand indoors. To one side is a large swimming pool, designed by Jungles, with a shallow “sunning shelf” and

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Handcrafted teak cabinets add warmth to the kitchen. Countertops are granite.

A tennis court and a private seawall are among the estate’s special amenities.

The main living area is elegant but informal. Across the terrace lies the master bedroom.

a deeper area for serious swimming. A chickee hut, the local equivalent of the classic tiki hut, covers a portion of the water. The property contains several “chickees” built using the traditional methods and materials of the Miccosukee Indians — palm thatch covering a cypress roof structure. Set a little further inland are the three new pavilions, elevated and connected by outdoor walkways. Farthest south are a guest suite and staff quarters. Next comes the main living area, with a large gathering space more than 40 feet long. The surprisingly small — but very deluxe — kitchen opens off the living area, reinforcing the fact that this is a vacation home for family and friends. A wet bar and a “breakfast nook” — actually the size of a dining room — add flexibility to the space, and a semi-circular media room is tucked off to one side. The northern-most pavilion is Ohana’s tour-de-force, featuring what may well be the most beau-

luxurious and deluxe, which repeat his design theme of wood and stone. The floors in most rooms are white oak set in borders of Philippine shellstone, the oversized interior doors are of Douglass fir and mahogany, and the vaulted ceilings are also clad in carefully detailed mahogany. Built-in cabinets are teak. And there are touches you don’t expect. The home’s glass walls are tinted so as not to confuse newborn turtle hatchlings with bright lighting. There is not just one elevator but two; the one in the master descends directly to the pool and garage. There’s airconditioned parking for seven or eight cars, and a catering facility on the ground level. The most surprising touch is the cleverly hidden powder room near the living area. Hidden behind a sculptural wooden panel, you’d never know it was there. *** Who will buy Ohana? Realtor Deborah Beacham of Michael Saunders & Co., who

tiful bedroom in Sarasota. The ceiling soars more than 14 feet high and glass walls enclose three sides of the room. Because of the way the structure is situated, the view to the north encompasses several miles of white sand beach with no other houses visible. The master bath is entered through large sliding doors set on ball bearings, rather like an elaborate barn door. There are his and her water closets, each with the “light box” walls that have become a Peterson signature. The bathtub is filled through a waterfall mechanism but it is the shower that provides the real wow factor: it’s 8 by 10 feet, with various sprays, some wall-mounted, and a programmed lighting and sound system. There’s even a window offering a view of the Gulf. Ohana — it means “family” in Hawaiian — is a large home with many distinct spaces, and it was Peterson’s challenge to make everything seem part of the whole. He has done this by using a limited vocabulary of materials, all

is handling the sale, feels it will be someone who, up until now, would have headed for Naples or Palm Beach. In the race to capture the high-profile celebrities and mega-rich CEOs, our neighboring cities to the south and the east have traditionally held the edge. But maybe not anymore. Ohana is raising the bar. Sarasota is now firmly on the radar of the world’s rich and famous, drawn by our informality, our culture and our incredible beaches. And our prices don’t hurt either. Even the rich love a deal. Ohana, with its $22 million price tag, would easily cost twice that in Naples — if you could find something so unique.

White oak floors bordered by Philippine shellstone help unite the home’s design.

Most rooms are capped with vaulted ceilings and clerestory windows.

The doorway to the master bath: wood framed glass panels which slide on ball bearings.

For more information, call Deborah Beacham of Michael Saunders & Co. at 376-2688.

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Local News that’s

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by June LeBell


Contributing Columnist



e’re sure you’ve heard that Business Insider recently named Sarasota as the No. 1 city, for its size, in music and nightlife. Now we’re pleased to report Florida Trend magazine honored 10 Sarasota restaurants with accolades in its annual Golden Spoon Awards, which recognizes the culinary and dining leaders in Florida. Writing about Louies Modern’s Best New award in Florida Trend, Chris Sherman said it “… is hip casual and slamming. Bang into short rib burgers, 48-hour pork chops, wood-oven duck or ease into sweet potato taquitos or spaghetti squash pomodoro. Very smart drinking.” Meanwhile, LM’s older sister, Libby’s Café + Bar, also earned a top honor when it was awarded its fifth Golden Spoon. Writing about Libby’s, Sherman said it is “the (Hillview) neighborhood’s staple for nouveau comfort foods, from sliders of Kobe meatloaf and Velveeta, truffled fries



n this new year, as we all scramble resolutions and eggs with equal ardor, I thought I’d share with you part of an email my friend and WQXR colleague, Robert Sherman, sent to me last year. Although Bob loves food, he’s not what you’d call a seasoned chef. Here’s what happened when he attempted what he thought was a fairly simple recipe for banana bread by his late wife, Veronica, who was a fabulous cook.

and pork filet mignon, to Gulf grouper and Mote caviar.” We weren’t aware there was a “nouveau comfort food,” being old-school comf o r t , ourselves, but we’re certainly willing and happy to try it. Perhaps everything old really is new again. About Shore Diner, another Best New restaurant, Sherman wrote, “St. Armands gets a colorful shot of hip Southern California retro and a fresh take on shop-n-chew retail. Sip rubyred cocktails and eat quinoa salad and lobster LGBTs à la Malibu on the patio after eying/buying harem pants, jams, tees and fedoras.” In addition to Libby’s, Derek’s, Mozaic and Selva Grill also received Golden Spoon awards.  After receiving numerous Golden Spoon awards throughout the years, Michael’s On East earned the Hall of Fame award. And Carmel Café, Fleming’s and Roy’s, which all have restaurants in Sarasota, were named Best Brands.



he “Downton Years” are being celebrated at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 with a glorious four-course wine dinner in the traditional English style at the magnificent Powel Crosley Estate, 8374 N. Tamiami Trail. Love the TV series? Eat like a Downton lord and lady with smoked duck breasts on puff pastry (with cranberry and mint relish, of course), leek and Stilton cheese soup and a choice of several other sumptuous dishes,

“I warmed up the lemon told me that there was a juice and milk, set it aside, tube inside the spout preand then put the bananas, venting all but a few drops eggs, sugar and butter (I going through. I had to only had 3/4 of a stick, spoon out the soured milk, but who’s counting?) in which by now looked rather the food processor. ‘Whirl curdled, and dump it in. for five seconds,’ it says, “I then read further: ‘Com‘adding soured milk Steven J. Sherman bine flour, baking soda, bakthrough spout.’ The food Robert Sherman ing powder and salt, and sift processor, however, has over batter. That stumped no ‘whirl,’ only ‘pulse’ and ‘dough.’ me, since I assumed the batter was Dough didn’t sound right, so I pulsed, the glop still in the processor, and I but the thing kept turning on and off, had no idea what sifting meant. I inso I couldn’t pour in the milk. Eventu- tuited that it must mean putting the ally I managed to do it, except nobody flour through some sort of strainer.

including a classic beef tenderloin and Guinness stout demiglace served with a puff pastry crust that will have you untying your corsets and loosening your knickers for a few days to come. Be sure to make a resy, deah, at detail/511731/sarasota-taste magazines-downton-abbey-winedinner or 366-7950, or the butler won’t let you in. So I used a pasta drainer, shaking the flour through it into a pie dish, and (tried to) put it into the processor. Maybe 2/3 of it went in, the rest landing on the counter, floor and my shirt. The next line said, ’Add fruit and nuts.’ “Whoops, I had already done that. So, I panicked, and seeing the remaining walnuts, threw those in. Next, it said, ‘Turn into a well-buttered loaf pan,’ but I couldn’t because I used up all the butter. So I sprayed some vegetable oil in the pan, instead, and started ladling in the goop from the processor, removing some globs of flour that had somehow escaped my sifting.

One of Sarasota’s newest and trendiest restaurants, The Blue Rooster, at 1525 Fourth St., started a Sunday gospel brunch a few weeks ago and, between its authentic Southern food and the live, traditional and contemporary spirituals and gospel music, the place is really rocking. Fried chicken, brownsugar glazed ham, sweet catfish fingers, biscuits and red-eye gravy, cheesy grits and fried green tomatoes are just a few of the tasty treats you’ll scarf down while you wrestle with TBR’s signature brunch cocktail, the “Hail Mary,” and swing to the beat of Sister Tsa and the Spirit Singers. If Sunday brunch ain’t enough, ya’ll, remember there’s Southern comfort food and more music — blues, jazz, bluegrass and soul — seven nights a week. Again, make a reservation at or those low-country shrimp and grits will be kissing you bye-bye.

“I won’t bore you with the ghastly details of the mess I left behind, but I took the pan out of the oven, only burning myself slightly in the process, and it looks OK, except for being burned, and I’ll have to figure out how to remove another glob of unsifted flour at the top, that looks like a half-opened eye glaring at me. Maybe I could cover it over with whipped cream (if I had the cream).” We don’t recommend you follow the above, but it works for a really good belly laugh and reminder that not everyone who loves to eat also loves to cook. Hooray for great Sarasota restaurants. Happy New Year!

Larry Coryell Sat, January 11 at 8 pm Larry Coryell has been described as fresh and exciting, giving jazz standards a unique treatment that only a true master can give.

Just Added The Jake Pinto Quartet Fri, January 10 at 8 pm Cynthia Sayer and Her Hot Jazz Trio Sat, January 18 at 8 pm Sun. January 19 at 2pm

Allan Vache – clarinet Jay Mueller – string bass, Jan 18 Don Mopsick – string bass, Jan 19


552-5325 or


You’ll never think of the banjo in the same way again once you’ve heard Cynthia Sayer sizzling in her eclectic repertoire that ranges from swing and hot jazz to tango, western, classical, and more.

Black Tie

INSIDE: New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Soirée PAGE 14

Itzhak Perlman and Jed Paradies

Co-Chairs Linda Ross, Kathy Horowitz and Diana Houston


Valerie Leatherwood and Janet Ginn


by Heather Merriman Black Tie Assistant Editor

Holly and Paul Miller with Robert Miller and Erin Ma

To celebrate The Perlman Music Program Sarasota winter residency’s 10th anniversary, the organization held a celebration concert and gala Saturday, Jan. 4. To start off the evening, guests gathered at the Sarasota Opera House for the Celebration Concert, which featured a perfor-

mance by The PMP Chorus, led by Chorus Master Patrick Romano, and The PMP String Orchestra, led by Conductor Itzhak Perlman. Following the concert, more than 360 guests continued on to Michael’s On East for the Celebration Gala where they enjoyed a social hour, fine dining and got the chance to meet and mingle with PMP Winter Residency students, alumni, faculty and fellows.

The Perlman Music Program/ Suncoast board Chair Fran Lambert thanked the guests for attending the event and for their continued support of the organization, closing out her heartfelt welcome with, “Thank you for keeping the music playing.” Kathy Horowitz, Diana Houston and Linda Ross co-chaired the event, which was dedicated to the late Dr. David Klein.

Photos by Heather Merriman

Max Winitz and Hayley Wielgus

Phil King, Ben Ellinor, Mark Keller and Dennis Stover

David Smith and JoAnn Vrofsky with Kathy and Jerry Jordan

Bonnie Bru, Chloe Thoniet, Cynthia McCague, Delin Bru and Randall Goosby

Mickey Fine with Judy and Jack Bloch




// BLACK TIE: CAMERA READY ‘SPEAKEASY SOIREE’ Benefiting Powel Crosley Estate Foundation Tuesday, Dec. 31, at Powel Crosley Estate

Bill and Carolyn McCree, Bob and Diane Subach and Joanne and Pete McCree

Mary and Ed Jarcy with Sandy Faignant and Daryl Flemion

Photos by Heather Merriman

 Tyler and Richeal Parisi

Adam and Patty Gayton

Dominique Bass-Terpstra, John Bradley, Nicole Water and Matt Horton

Katy and Chris Wilson


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1312 Tamiami N., Sarasota, FL 34236 941-951-9222 1312 Tamiami Trail N., Sarasota, 34236 941-951-9222 1312 Tamiami Trail N.,Trail Sarasota, FL FL 941-951-9222 1312 Tamiami Tamiami Trail Trail N., Sarasota, N., Sarasota, FL34236 34236 FL 34236 941-951-9222 941-951-9222 13121312 Tamiami Trail N.,10:00-5:00 Sarasota, FL Sunday 34236 941-951-9222 Mon—Sat 10:00-5:00 Sunday 11:00—4:00 Mon—Sat 11:00—4:00






// BLACK TIE: CAMERA READY DEBUTANTE BALL Benefiting Sarasota Orchestra Saturday, Dec. 21, at Sarasota Municipal Auditorium

Co-chairs Bill and Debbie Partridge

 Mark and Robin Serbin

Lauren Jeffrey, Emily Schofield, Claire Cornetet, Kelly Pacifico and Taylor Karp

Sydney Edwards, Chloe Thacker, Emily Goff and Olivia Sinclair

Photos by Heather Merriman

Steve and Edie Watson with Dr. Mike Spellman

LEE WETHERINGTON BACK IN THE SADDLE! Florida Orthopedic Specialists provides expertise in a broad range of orthopedic treatments and dedication to the best patient experience. With a state-of-the-art facility featuring the latest in technology and a highly skilled team, you can expect unparalleled patient care.

Masterworks Series: “Superb, Sublime, Splendid ...” WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10 WHERE: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall COST: $30 to $84 This showcase spotlights scores by composers whose names begin with the letter ‘S.’


Lee Wetherington

“During a recent flight to Europe, my elbow had an unfortunate collision with a beverage cart, resulting in a large bone chip. By the time I arrived at my destination, fluid had accumulated and the pain was significant. Upon my return home, with an elbow three times its normal size, I was immediately seen by Dr. Sforzo, surgery was completed, and thankfully, I quickly resumed my normal activities. Dr. Sforzo is an outstanding skilled surgeon and coupled with his caring bedside manner is why I recommend Florida Orthopedic Specialists and Sports Medicine.” - Lee Wetherington

For a list of local ev ents, or to submit your own, visit ThisWeekI nS da




5831 Bee Ridge Road • Suite 200 Sarasota, FL 34233


941.378.5100 •





Merrin Overbech, Cami Berlin and Katie Molinari

Danielle Gladding, Leslie Jeffrey and Margaret Mobley

Hayden Richau and Rachel Cramer

urns Ret

Max Klauber, Josh Simon, Mary York, Alex Watson, Peyton Thomas and Philip Knowles

Emily Schofield and Kate Flanders


Keyboard Conversations®



American pianist Jeffrey Siegel’s concert-with-commentary format in which lively, captivating remarks precede virtuoso performances of piano masterpieces. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 - BACH AND THE ROMANTICS The exhilarating Chromatic Fantasy of Bach followed by works of later composers inspired by him - Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Mozart. Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2014 - MISTRESSES & MASTERPIECES Works of passion, love, and longing inspired by “significant others” in the lives of Brahms, Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt. Shows begin at 8:00pm in the Beatrice Friedman Theater on the Federation Campus. (582 McIntosh Road, Sarasota). Tickets: $36

Please visit or call Jennifer New at 941.552.6304 to purchase tickets.




Klingenstein Jewish Center 580 McIntosh Road, Sarasota, FL 34232


West coast






preseNtING proDucer Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

Directed by Howard Millman



Get tIcKets NoW! 941-366-1505 WBttsrQ.orG

Carlos Toribio, Vanessa Montero and Joshua Lopez

Photos by Heather Merriman


Verdi’s American Home

Benefiting YMCA Foundation of Sarasota Inc. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Michael’s On East

Winter Opera Festival 2014 international soloists | Full orchestra | Professional Chorus | Historic opera House | real-time english Translations | Tickets: $19–$135

Il trovatore

The Barber of Seville

Verdi part of the verdi cycle

Feb. 8–Mar. 22

The Flying Dutchman


Feb. 15–Mar. 21


Jérusalem Verdi

Jackie Dickinson and Fernanda Camarillo

Nola and Larry Hietbrink

part of the verdi cycle

Mar. 1–23

Mar. 8–22

(941) 328-1300 | Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues. Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

SeASon SPonSor


Sarasota opera House 61 n. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236


- Sarasota Herald-Tribune


Prima Donnettes by Richard Hopkins and Jim Prosser

“Delivered... with great spirit”

Kurt Stringfellow, Paul Bowman and Dale Berkowitz

Travel Expo


- Total Theater

Liz Power and Susan Haefner. Photo by Maria Lyle.

Dominick Cicco and Sarah Hund. Photo by Brian Braun.

Featuring songs: “Take Me Home Country Roads,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” and “You’ve Got A Friend”


Wednesday, January 15th 3-6pm Private Presentations: 3pm ............................................ Viking River Cruises 3:35p.................................Regent Seven Seas Cruises 4:10pm ................................................African Travels 4:45pm ...Compagnie du Ponant Luxury Yacht Cruises 5:20pm ..............................................Oceania Cruises

Serving Sarasota & the Keys since 1962

Hyatt Regency Ballroom 1000 Boulevard of the Arts • Sarasota

Open to the Public

Where do you want to visit?

- Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director

Sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.

366-9000 �

1241 N. Palm Avenue, Downtown Sarasota



TOO DARN HOT Brought to you by:

Azamara Cruises • Celebrity Cruises • Silver Seas Cruises • Exter International • Seaborn Cruises • Holland America Cruises Compagnie Du Ponant Luxury Yacht Cruises • Regent Seven Seas Cruises • Ker & Downey • Denihan Hospitality Group Princess-Cunard Cruises • African Travel • Windstar Cruises • Oceania Cruises • Viking River Cruises

415 St. Armands Circle | 941.388.4421 |




// BLACK TIE by Heather Merriman | Black Tie Assistant Editor

SOCIAL STUDIES: JEAN WEIDNER GOLDSTEIN Sitting on a couch in Designing Women Boutique, founder and CEO Jean Weidner Goldstein opens up about her life as a dancer, an entrepreneur and a newlywed.

GROWING UP we used to go on

family picnics and campouts — I love to fish; people think that’s so funny. I’m actually a bit of a tomboy. They had trouble putting shoes on me, but the next day I would be performing in a large production looking like a little princess; the day before I was covered in dirt, barefoot, up a tree. I’ve kind of kept that.


was 4 1/2 years old. I had a wonderful teacher, a brilliant teacher, who taught her students how to interpret and act, as well as dance — I was a full artist already as a young child. I loved the fact that my parents used to rehearse and coach us — they were very supportive. My mother made all of my costumes and taught my sister and me to sew. I can sew anything from a tablecloth to a wedding dress.

MY FIRST real professional job

was Stuttgart — they were the leading company in the world at that time. I took a big chance leaving my homeland, my family, my friends and my language. I was working with a company composed of 17 different nationalities — it was like the United Nations of ballet. It was such an amazing experience; I loved my years there. The company had a wonderful musical reputation, I worked in the theater with the opera, the ballet, the dramatics, the symphony, with the artists on new productions. And we had huge budgets — real minks on stage.

It was incredible to be a part of that. I performed in all of the great opera houses of the world for 14 years. Every day when I got out of bed it was so exciting knowing that something great and incredible would happen that day.

IN BALLET, you work with designers all the time, and not just ballet designers. I can remember we had clothing designers that would take a stab at doing a ballet. I was always in the costume department — I loved watching the creative design of the production. But I think it was also living between Paris and Stuttgart that spiked my interest in fashion. Everything was a cut above, everything was so beautiful, the streets, the buildings, the restaurants, everything — it was such an easy style. And my mother being an artist, watching her make my costumes and décor, learning from her at such a young age and being in two companies with the best design — I’ve always loved it. I’ve always been fascinated with sequins, crowns, I loved it and I can do it. I used to make my own costumes, sew on every sequin. I HAD ALWAYS SHOPPED

at secondhand stores in Paris — not the mothball-smelling, grubby secondhand stores, high-end stores with secondhand designer clothing. There is a great deal of taste and style in this community, so I thought, “Let’s do something like that.”


— as a dancer, you’re always correcting what you’re doing wrong. I’ve come to work slightly different with people who aren’t professional dancers. The way I correct (and have been corrected)

Photo by Heather Merriman

any other person to do.” And I live by that. If you’re going to do this, I’ll do it too.


oto Courtesy ph

is taken as criticism to someone else. People need that feeling that you are aware of what they are giving forth. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is knowing how to thank people. There are thousands of shoulders on which we stand and we must appreciate.


how I handle my companies, my businesses. It’s like choreography — everything must be planned out, a business plan is all about organization, it’s as if you are putting together a choreographed dance.


you’re going to lead, you can’t lead from the rear. You have to be up front, doing what you expect

much at times — too involved. I’ve had to let go a little. Being newly married, I have to be able to devote a little more time to my husband — being with him, having fun together. It’s nice now with Skype and Facebook, I can be available for a meeting or whatever, but be anywhere.


got a new boat that he loves and he is just enjoying it — I think if he had his way he’d never come back again and he’d be on the boat. We are going to spend a few months in the Mediterranean this summer, visit a few different places; the trip will really just evolve as we go.

ALFRED AND I have been married one year. He’s a great philanthropist. We’ve been friends for

25 years. He’s a brilliant man — he has a work ethic I understand.

I’VE COLLECTED vintage gowns for many years — I have a few of those. I love embroidery work. I was in Turkey and I bought this beautiful split sleeve jacket with heaving embroidery, on a heavy black base, just amazing. I’ve kept pieces for many years. But really, I’m a pant girl. And I like a pant that can move, that I can move around in. THERE ARE SO MANY wonderful people in this community — dedicated people trying to give back. And that’s a very American thing, giving back. You don’t see that in other countries, at least nothing like what we do in this country. I still sometimes shake my head and can’t believe the generosity here — and I believe, that if you took everything away that is volunteer-based, the country would come to a standstill.




- Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“Absurdly funny”


- Sarasota Magazine

by George Stevens, Jr.

“Passionate performance”

Book & Music by ERIC IDLE Score by JOHN DU PREZ & ERIC IDLE

- Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“Charismatic, commanding performance” - The Observer

“You1241start laughing N. Palm Avenue, Downtown Sarasota and then you don’t stop”

“Strong, full of energy and zeal” - Sarasota Magazine

Montae Russell. Photo by Michael Henninger.


family — my father came to Rhodesia, what is now Zimbabwe, during the war and never returned to England [where he is from]. My father was a professional soccer player before joining the Rhodesian Air Force.


I COME FROM a very large

Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director

Sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.

- The Observer

“Spamalot gives new meaning to “LOL’” - Venice Gondolier



1241 N. Palm Avenue, Downtown Sarasota





b roa dway






j A n u A ry 2 4 & 2 5 At the VAn Wezel heAr BroAdWAy shoW tunes performed By your

sarasota orchestra

With guest VocAlists from the neW york stAge

With Music from: phAntom of the operA

Les MiserabLes

BeAuty And the BeAst












1949 - 2014 Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

guest VocAlist susAn egAn

Diversions 1.9.14  

Diversions 1.9.14