The Van Wezel's 2009-2010 40th Anniversary Season is going to be fierce! It features a lineup of the hottest stars, performers and acts for everyone. Our Great Orchestra/Classical series is unlike any other. We have confirmed some of the youngest and brightest stars in Orchestral and Classical music to date. Our Broadway series will have you visiting Xanadu at one minute then joining the cast of Mamma Mia! at a wedding on a Greek island next! The Van Wezel is excited to bring programs that reflect the diversity of the ever changing population of Southwest Florida. The Van Wezel will host a number of SchoolTime Performances and Special Events throughout the year. Last year over 21,000 students and adult learners and educators benefitted from our Education Program.
Executive Director, Mary Bensel stated "I am so thrilled to be with the Van Wezel during this exhilarating 40th Anniversary Season. To have Tony Bennett commemorate our anniversary with a special concert and party is wonderful as he has a rich history with the Hall and he is one of the true icons in the business. We have planned such a jam packed season from Stephen King making a rare appearance to Boyz II Men opening the year and the Tibetan Monks blessing the end of our anniversary with a week long residence in addition to all the new stars and shows joining beloved favorites -it truly is an incredible celebration!"
The Van Wezel will kick off the 2009-2010 in October, 2009 with Boyz II Men. This Grammy® Award-winning R & B Band recorded five #1 hits and have sold more than sixty million albums; hits include; "End of The Road", "I'll Make Love to You" and "One Sweet Day", just to name a few (Oct.30), sponsored by: Michaels on East; Jewel, singer-songwriter, guitarist, actress and poet has garnered three Grammy® Award nominations, an American Music Award and an MTV Video Music Award; Best known #1 smash hit "Who Will Save Your Soul" (Nov.4), sponsored by: Bright House Networks & 106.5 CTQ; Always a sell-out at the Van Wezel, The Ten Tenors will perform a diverse repertoire in concert such as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Who Wants to Live Forever," a Bee Gees medley, and ABBA's "Dancing Queen". Join a lavish celebration of vocal power, witty onstage antics and pitch-perfect musicality with one of Australia's hottest exports on (Nov.6), sponsored by: Lakewood Ranch; The New Shanghai Circus acrobats, jugglers and contortionists defy gravity and execute breathtaking feats as they stretch the limits of human ability in this spellbinding show. If it is humanly possible (and even if it isn't) they do it with flair!
Nov.15), sponsored by: Boar's Head & Herald Tribune Media Group; Making a rare appearance at the Van Wezel is author of more than fifty worldwide best sellers. Stephen King will grace our stage to preview his new book, Under the Dome. Mr. King will be interviewed on stage by Susan Rife of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and entertain questions from the audience. The first 250 people who purchase tickets to the show (one per order) will be able to purchase in the lobby on the night of the show a pre signed copy of Under the Dome (Nov.16); Jackson Browne, internationally known for the piano-driven "Doctor My Eyes", the upbeat "Take It Easy" (co-written with The Eagles' Glenn Frey), "Running on Empty", "The Road", "Rosie" and "The Load-Out/Stay" (Brown's send-off to his concert audiences and roadies) are just a few of the American rock singer-songwriter and musicians repertoire (Nov.18), Sponsored by Bradenton Herald; The Bacon Brothers features movie star, Kevin Bacon on guitar and vocals and brother Michael on guitar, cello and vocals. They are a dynamic force on the American music scene and one of the most popular live bands on the concert circuit. They call their sound forosoco, a fusion of folk, rock, soul and country...their fans call it Awesome! (Nov.20), sponsored by: 107.9 WSRZ; Kicking off the holiday season is Dave Koz's wondrous Smooth Jazz Christmas returning to the Van Wezel by extreme popular demand with a great new show and another special group of friends including David Benoit, Rick Braun, Brenda Russell and Peter White. Be sure to put this "Rockin' Show" on your Holiday list! (Nov.28), sponsored by: Hyatt Regency Sarasota.
The longest lived comedy team in history is The Smothers Brothers and their lasting power is a testimonial to their intuitive humor, natural warmth and the pure joy they bring to audiences of all ages (Dec. 2), sponsored by: Comcast; Linda Eder, possesses one of the greatest contemporary solo voices of our time and with her starring role in the musical Jekyll & Hyde (winning a Drama Desk Award), she became a leading lady of the Broadway stage. Van Wezel fans will be delighted that we are bringing her back with a very special Holiday concert (Dec. 9), sponsored by: Herald Tribune Media Group; That's Amore - Dean Martin & Friends Holiday Special...Many superstars have dominated the American recording scene, but none have shined more brightly than Dean Martin! See Mark Adams perfectly capture the style, the looks, the charm, the voice and magnetic appeal of Martin. He will be joined by The Barry Robinson Orchestra and the glamorous singer/dancers, The Gold Diggers, along with some very special guests (Dec.12), Sponsored by: The Dove and Bright House Networks; Sandi Patty is one of the most highly acclaimed performers of our time, with five Grammy® Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three Platinum records, five Gold records, thirty nine Dove Awards as well as, an inductee to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Sandi Patty's Yuletide Celebration is (Dec.13), sponsored by: Herald Tribune Media Group; Nebraska Theatre Caravan's production of A Christmas Carol is a first for the Van Wezel! The lavish, full-scale Broadway production boasts a cast of 27 actors and live musicians. This time tested tale artfully brings to life the England of Charles Dickens and blends his classic story with rousing arrangements of traditional carols. Both children and grown-ups alike will be delighted with this treasured theatrical event of Scrooge and Tiny Tim...God Bless Us Everyone! (Dec. 22), sponsored by: Boar's Head & Comcast; Hot! Hot! Hot! Jason Bishop; the multiple award-winning illusionist brings a fresh and funny approach to an evening of fast-paced illusions, sleight-of-hand and audience participation (Dec.27), Sponsored by: Boar's Head & The Herald Tribune Media Group; Celebrate the festive season with some of the world's greatest fiddlers when BOWFIRE Holiday Heart Strings comes to the Van Wezel for a Ho Ho Ho Down mixing greatest hits with a holiday twist. A must see performance (Dec.30), sponsored by: Michael's On East and Bright House Networks;
Celebrate the New Year with Salute to Vienna when they return for another sensational performance! Inspired by Vienna's world-famous New Year's Concert brings the same splendor, charm and beauty to North America (Jan.1); Bernadette Peters is a legend having starred on Broadway, receiving two Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards and she's won the Golden Globe Award as Best Motion Picture Actress in a Comedy or Musical for Pennies From Heaven, as well as performing in solo concerts and recordings. Peters is particularly beloved for her starring roles on Broadway, including Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy (Jan.3), sponsored by: WSDV The Dove.
Tony Bennett, the superstar whom Frank Sinatra aptly named "the best singer in the business" will celebrate the Van Wezel's 40th Anniversary with a special party for Sarasota's jewel of a performing arts hall. With hits in the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, Tony Bennett moves the hearts and touches the souls of audiences worldwide. From "Rags to Riches", "The Good Life", "I Wanna Be Around" and his signature hit "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" to his recent Grammy Award winning Duets: An American Classic, Tony Bennett is a true Living Legend. After the performance the entire audience is invited to a wine and dessert party in the Grand Foyer and on the Bayfront complete with fireworks (Jan.5), Show Sponsored by: The Van Wezel Foundation, Celebration hosted by: Gateway Bank, Michaels on East and The Van Wezel Foundation.
Join Bobby Vee-Family & Friends with special guests Brian Hyland and Shirley Alston Reeves, (Original Lead Singer of The Shirelles) and enjoy some of the most memorable solid gold favorites like "Devil Or Angel" and "Rubber Ball" (Bobby Vee); "Sealed with a Kiss" and "Tragedy" (Brian Hyland); "Soldier Boy" and "Will You Love Me Forever", (Shirley Alston Reeves) just to name a few (Jan.6), sponsored by Wilde Lexus of Sarasota; Jackie Mason is widely regarded as one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time. Mason's stand-up routine is more popular than ever, combining pungent political satire and insightful observations on the foibles of modern life that leave audiences laughing until they cry (Jan.14) Sponsored by: Herald Tribune Media Group; Motown Live!...in Sarasota with The Temptations and The Four Tops- Three classic Temptations songs, "My Girl", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone", are among The Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that shaped American rock and roll. The Four Tops first Motown hit, "Baby I Need Your Loving", was followed by hit after hit including "Reach Out (I'll Be There), "Bernadette", and "It's the Same Old Song" which are just a few of the many songs you'll hear. The Temps and the Tops together-Wow! (Jan.17) Sponsored by Hotel Indigo; The Glenn Miller Orchestra is the most sought after big band in the world today for both concert and dance engagements. Their recordings of "In the Mood," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "Moonlight Serenade" and "Tuxedo Junction" were all major hit records. The Glenn Miller Orchestra still plays to sell out crowds and continues to dominate the airwaves (Jan.19), sponsored by: Holiday Inn Sarasota/Bradenton Airport; Recipient of America's highest civilian honor, The 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, Chita Rivera is truly a legend in her own time. Best known for her role as the firebrand Anita in West Side Story, she also received a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman. The Van Wezel proudly presents, Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life-a dazzling show that celebrates her own storied career (Jan. 20) sponsored by: Michael's On East; Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy are two of the world's most celebrated fiddlers. They also happen to be married. Together MacMaster and Leahy, reuniting on the Van Wezel stage, are a whirlwind of fiddle-driven music, dance and song. The foot-tapping rave-ups, heart wrenching ballads, and world-class step-dancing of this collaboration leave onlookers breathless from the moment they hit the stage. (Jan.21) sponsored by: Wilde Lexus of Sarasota; Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. They are former Capitol Hill staffers, who have worked in a total of 18 Congressional offices, representing 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. Having recorded 29 albums, Capitol Steps' latest comedy release is Obama Mia (Jan. 26) sponsored by: Herald Tribune Media Group; Vince Gill is one of the longest running stars of country music. The Country Music Association inducted Vince Gill as the newest member of the coveted Country Music hall of Fame in 2007 and he will be honored by the Recording Academy in the first-ever Grammy Salute to Country Music. He has received 18 CMA Awards, 19 Grammy Awards to date, more than any other male Country music artist, two Entertainer of the Year Awards and 5 Male Vocalist Awards (Jan.29) Sponsored by Hotel Indigo,SNN News 6, 106.5 CTQ, Herald Tribune Media Group.
Two great Jazz Giants Diane Schuur & Bobby Caldwell team up with a Big Band for a new program of material cultivated from the era of Swing when all great Orchestras had a vocalist and all great vocalists had a orchestra. Schuur is as eclectic as she is brilliant, recording 11 albums, two, of which were Grammy winners. Caldwell, song writer and multi-instrumentalist is known for his hit single, "What You Won't Do for Love". Two remarkable singers-one unforgettable evening (Feb.4) sponsored by: Wilde Lexus of Sarasota; Tim Conway & Friends Featuring Chuck McCann & Louise DuArt will be sure to have you cracking up. Tim Conway is best known for his role on The Carol Burnett Show, an 11-year stint that garnered him five Emmy Awards®, a Golden Globe®, major accolades from critics, and three generations of fans (Feb.5); Join us for Blue Suede Shoes-The Ultimate Elvis Bash a wonderfully, exuberant tribute to "The King," starring Scot Bruce (as the young Elvis) and Mike Albert (as the more mature Elvis) as they recreate the magic embodied by the King of Rock ‘N Roll! Scot and Mike's style and charisma and their ability to get the audience involved in the show have proved to be quite the crowd pleaser (Feb.6); They are back again with a vengeance RAIN - A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES, all the music and vocals are performed totally live! RAIN covers the Fab Four from the earliest beginnings through the psychedelic late sixties and The Beatles long-haired hippie, hard-rocking rooftop days. RAIN is a multi-media, multi-dimensional experience...a fusion of historical footage and hilarious television commercials from the 1960s lights up video screens and live cameras zoom in for close-ups (Feb.10); Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons meteoric rise to superstar status inspired the Tony Award winning mega hit Jersey Boys! With nineteen Top Ten hits they sold over one hundred million records world-wide. Frankie Valli, revered as one of the most distinctive voices in all of Rock ‘N Roll, scored number one hits with The Four Seasons such as "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Walk Like a Man", "Rag Doll" and more...As a solo artist his hits include "My Eyes Adored You", "Grease" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You". See the original Jersey Boy with The Four Seasons at the Van Wezel on (Feb.12), sponsored by: Sarasota Magazine, SNN News 6 & Longboat Key Club and Resort.
Legendary soul singer Gladys Knight takes the stage with a full orchestra to perform her # 1 Grammy-winning hit "Midnight Train to Georgia", along with other hits like; "Neither One of Us", "I've Got to Use My Imagination" and "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me". From R&B to pop, multiple Grammy-Award winner Gladys Knight has one of the most distinctive voices in popular music and is among the industry's most dynamic live performers...bring your Valentine (Feb.14) sponsored by: Comcast and Sarasota Magazine; Join us for The 9th Annual Van Wezel Foundation Gala, to support the Van Wezel Foundation's commitment to bring the arts to the children of the gulf coast! This memorable evening will feature a dinner party in the Grand Foyer, preferred seating for the Gladys Knight performance and post show festivities (Feb.14) Sponsored by: Boars Head, Sarasota Magazine, Gateway Bank, & Northern Trust.
Joan Rivers with special guest James Naughton take the stage on Feb.16. Joan Rivers is a Tony® nominated actress; best-selling author; Emmy Award® winning television talk-show host; playwright; screenwriter; motion picture director; and columnist, Joan Rivers has done it all! Joining her is Broadway headliner and two-time Tony Award winner James Naughton, noted for his roles in Chicago and City of Angels. Two great stars and an Orchestra in one evening! Wow, What a show! Sponsored by: Herald Tribune Media Group; The Irish Rovers, international ambassadors of Irish music, have charmed and entertained people around the world, and continue to delight audiences with their exciting stage show and their timeless ability to deliver a rollicking, rousing performance of good cheer that will have you singing and clapping along (Feb.18), sponsored by: Wilde Lexus of Sarasota; Patti LuPone-Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda! Tony® and Olivier® Award winner Patti LuPone stars in the concert event of the Season! She will perform songs from musicals which she could have played, should have played, did play and will play; the list of shows include Hair, Bye, Bye Birdie, Funny Girl, West Side Story, Peter Pan, and her Tony Award winning performances in Evita and Gypsy (Feb.19) sponsored by: The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota & Herald Tribune Media Group.