Bonnie Greenball Silvestri's Blog (75)

A Joyous Trip Around the World in 80 Days at Asolo Repertory Theatre

The Asolo Repertory Theatre’s latest installment in its foray into young people’s theatre was by far its strongest and most universally appealing. With a simplistic set design comprised primarily a sky-high stack of suitcases, a small smattering of very smart black umbrellas, and symphonic lighting entirely in tune with the performances, director Theresa Heskins took the audience on an epic journey across continents and cultures.

 

Phileas Fogg (Andrew Pollard), an eccentric…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on June 12, 2019 at 7:30am — No Comments

A Beautiful Giselle Closes Out the Sarasota Ballet Season

I’ll never forget my coloring book from my “very young dancer” phase that provided a short synopsis of the most famous ballets with a chance to color a scene. The scene of sweet, beautiful Giselle in her trademark yellow and brown dress captivated me, and yet it took decades until I had the chance to see the full ballet, which closed this year’s tremendous Sarasota Ballet season.

 

This was my favorite performance by Victoria Hulland, who captured the purity of Giselle’s…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on April 29, 2019 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Social commentary with sprinkles of humor is a piece of cake at Asolo Rep!

“The Cake,” now playing at Asolo Repetory Theatre, was the show I was most eager to see on the theater’s schedule for this season. Bekah Brunstetter, who is also behind the wildly popular TV show “This is Us,” has written a masterpiece about the ways hearts and minds can be influenced, one person at a time, to create a more hopeful, inclusive world.

 

I often marvel that “This is Us” became such a sensation during the most divisive political period of my lifetime. People all…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on April 7, 2019 at 5:00pm — No Comments

"Poetry and Liberty" prove an electric combination for the Sarasota Ballet

Sarasota Ballet combined two key ingredients to the good life for the March performance - “Poetry and Liberty.” Poetry without liberty is heartbreaking; and liberty without poetry results in an unexamined life – together they proved electric. The company turned in a powerhouse evening with two major ballets, Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Apparitions” and George Balanchine’s “Stars and Stripes” representing the range of human emotions.

 

“Apparitions” is an unusual ballet that could…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on March 10, 2019 at 5:36pm — No Comments

The Martha Graham Dance Company gives a jam-packed triumphant performance presented by the Sarasota Ballet

Several years ago, the Sarasota Ballet began hosting a touring company early in the new year to give local audiences a greater breadth of experience with modern dance and to give the dancers a chance to relax in the audience for a change.

 

Local balletomanes have been treated to companies ranging from the well-known Paul Taylor Dance Company to, more recently, the less familiar Smuin Dance Company. This year, the Sarasota Ballet has hosted the grande dame of the dance world –…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on February 17, 2019 at 2:30pm — No Comments

"Sweat" - a rumination on working class America is currently playing at Asolo Repertory Theatre

“Sweat” by Lynn Nottage opened February 8th at Asolo Repertory Theatre. “Sweat” is considered the first play to speak directly to the Trump era because of its focus on a working class community in America’s heartland.

 

Pundits have spent the better part of nearly three years discussing the forgotten working class voters that have been touted as the key to Trump’s appeal. I was intrigued to see a play that would address head on a community impacted by the loss of…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on February 14, 2019 at 8:08pm — No Comments

"Transcending Movement" moves beyond typical fare to achieve the sublime

Sarasota Ballet’s latest production “Transcending Movement” was an exciting mix of classic and modern featuring four divergent pieces that captured the spirit of what the company is all about.

 

The evening began with the delightful “Four Scottish Dances” by David Bintley – light and fresh with a particularly strong performance by Weslley Carvahlo, a coryphée dancer who brings leading male star quality to his role. Breezy and fun, this piece was a great aperitif for the rest of…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 26, 2019 at 3:00pm — No Comments

"A Doll's House, Part 2" features Kate Hampton in a revelatory performance about the revolutionary Nora Helmer!

“A Doll’s House, Part 2” now playing at Asolo Repertory Theatre started simply with an unopened door signifying the threshold where we last saw housewife Nora Helmer in the classic Ibsen original. As the lights came up the infamous doorway itself was met with thundering applause from an audience that has clearly been hungering to learn what became of Nora, who, in 1879, defied convention by departing through that door leaving behind her husband and children.

 

Lucas Hnath has…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 21, 2019 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Kicking off a Balmy Sarasota Holiday Season with Victorian Winters at the Sarasota Ballet

With “Victorian Winters,” the Sarasota Ballet took the audience on an elegant journey back in time celebrating the grandeur of belle époque choreography.

 

“Les Patineurs,” choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton to depict a Victorian skating party, was a gorgeous production. Kate Honea and Kaitlyn May were a lovely duo as Blue Girls; and I especially enjoyed watching them tiptoeing on toe gingerly across the “ice.”

 

We saw “Les Patineurs” a few years ago featuring…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on December 18, 2018 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Toe-tapping Joy in Re-Imagined "The Music Man" at Asolo Rep

From the minute the curtain went up, it was clear Asolo Repertory’s tap infused “The Music Man,” directed by Tony-nominated Jeff Calhoun, was going to be something special.

 

A group of salesmen on a jittery train introduce us to the tall tale of Professor Harold Hill, who is prone to skipping town once he has made his sale. The salesmen move up and down and sway a little until they reach a turn and then they gently lift their chairs and guide them around the bend simulating…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 25, 2018 at 7:30pm — No Comments

"Masters of Dance" - a Sarasota Ballet showcase featuring guest artist Mathias Dingman

We weren’t sure we could make it to this week’s performance of “Masters of Dance,” but the stars aligned. I am thrilled I had the chance to be introduced to Mathias Dingman, principal dancer of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, dancing the role first created by Sir Frederick Ashton for Mikhail Barshnikov.

 

For “Rhapsody,” the Sarasota Ballet secured the original sets from the Royal Ballet; and the exquisite dancing before the regal Greek columns had me enraptured from start to…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 23, 2018 at 10:00am — No Comments

Iconographic - a Triumphant Launch for the Sarasota Ballet 2018-2019 Season

The Sarasota Ballet officially launched its 2018-2019 season with “Iconographic,” an evening featuring three major works each introducing the audience to a very separate and distinct picture of time and emotion.

 

When the company of radiant female dancers in white and gold tutus entered the stage adorned simply with chandeliers, I felt a sigh of relief come over me. At the conclusion of yet another difficult news week, punctuated with familiar but continuously unthinkable…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on October 29, 2018 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Enjoy a Renaissance for Children's Theatre with "The Jungle Book"

We are living through a renaissance for children in Sarasota. A decade ago, our decision to start a family in town seemed an unusual step, but now everywhere you look offerings for children can be found in nearly every part of the local arts and culture scene.

 

Florida Studio Theatre recently concluded a second full season of children’s shows and is offering a summer cabaret. Currently, Asolo Repertory Theatre has embarked on its third major children’s show, “The Jungle Book,”…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on June 18, 2018 at 7:00pm — No Comments

"Soul Man" Delivers Feel Good Entertainment with a Side of Education

“Soul Men” closes out the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s “change is gonna come” season with all the style and pizzazz we have come to expect from productions at the little theater that could. Indeed change has come to WBTT, which has just opened its beautiful new education and outreach space and has plans underway to add additional seating and restrooms to the theater space. This has been a tremendous season, and I look forward to what is in store for the fall.

 

In the…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on May 7, 2018 at 8:00pm — No Comments

"Ragtime" - Exactly the Show We Need Right Now

“Ragtime,” reimagined on the Asolo Repertory stage, is a triumph of musical theater and truly defines the American Character, which was the theater’s theme for five years ending last season.

 

This season, I have been missing that common thread of the American Character theme, which the company handled so masterfully for half a decade. Yet this latest production is the culmination of everything that is both beautiful and profoundly discouraging about the American experiment –…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on May 6, 2018 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Two MVPs Exit Stage Right as New Stars Emerge in the Spotlight

As football fans focus on the draft, this week’s Sarasota Ballet performance gave balletomanes a chance to bid some MVPs a fond farewell and to begin to connect to newer recruits who are emerging in the spotlight.

Logan Learned in "Tarantella" (photo by Frank Atura)

It is no secret that I am a Logan Learned fan as the spritely and spirited dancer has…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on April 29, 2018 at 8:30pm — No Comments

"Roe" Examines Vulnerable Supreme Court Case with Revelatory Performances

“Roe,” which opened this week at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, brings the most famous case in Supreme Court history to life. “Roe” playwright Lisa Loomer has gained national recognition for transforming difficult subject matter into theatrical performances, and examining the controversial case, which rendered first-term abortions legal, is her latest endeavor.

 

Rather than focusing on the details of the case that has been at the centerpiece of the culture wars in this country…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on March 18, 2018 at 7:56pm — No Comments

“Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill”

When I learned that now six-time Tony award winner Audra McDonald was going to portray one of my favorite singers of all time, Billie Holiday, I became obsessed with the chance to see “Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill” on Broadway. The show was going to be in mid-winter in New York City; but I was willing to brave the cold for what I was certain would be a life changing performance.

 

What I didn’t realize was that Billie…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on March 10, 2018 at 9:30am — No Comments

High Powered One Two Punch with Ballet Hispanico and Dreams of Nature at Sarasota Ballet

Once a season for the past several years, Sarasota Ballet Artistic Director Iain Webb gives his hard-working dancers a chance to rest and settle into their seats to watch a guest ballet company perform. This is an equally pleasant opportunity for Sarasota audiences to check out a traveling company as a unique part of their season subscription.

 

Sure, our community has Sarasota Contemporary Dance making a splash on the arts scene as well a few companies occasionally visiting at…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on February 26, 2018 at 7:30pm — No Comments

"Moving Identities" is truly spectacular!

If it’s possible, the Sarasota Ballet just stepped up another notch with “Moving Identities” ushering in 2018, which is certain to be an epic year on many fronts.

 

The evening program was truly spectacular and sealed the ballet’s fate to rank highly among some of the best traveling companies I have seen in my decades as a lover of dance. The company has successfully combined some of the strongest veteran dancers such as Ricardo Graziano (2010) and Victoria Hulland (2007) with…

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Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 28, 2018 at 3:30pm — No Comments

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