Bonnie Greenball Silvestri's Blog (81)

Hot, hot hot – Sarasota Ballet Turns in One of its Finest Performances of the Decade

“Redefined Movement” began with “Les Rendezvous” – a gorgeous, frothy confection by Sir Frederick Ashton that, as Marie Kondo would say, truly sparks joy. Dreamy crisp white costumes were punctuated with pink ribbons on the female dancers and blue accents on the males. This was also the first of three performances by relative newcomer Ivan Spitale who, even sharing the stage with the glorious Marcelo Gomes, was truly the MVP of the night. His height and carriage made a splash from the first…


Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on February 4, 2020 at 8:30pm — No Comments

A Tremendous Triumvirate Cast Bring a Lyrical Essay to Life

As we crest into the 2020s, John Adams' famous incantation that “facts are stubborn things” has never been more relevant. As a result, Asolo Repertory Theatre’s latest production “The Lifespan of a Fact” has been my most highly anticipated show of the season. We are living through an era where, depending on your point of view, facts are either the most sacred of all things or they are dispensable in a so-called “post-truth” era.


With speed and agility, the tremendous…


Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 29, 2020 at 9:30pm — No Comments

All Aboard for Fresh and Engaging Murder on the Orient Express

While Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” set in 1934 is perhaps the most famous of the murder mystery genre, I managed to walk into the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s play entirely spoiler-free. As a result, “Murder” was a fresh and engaging production.   

Christie’s simple concept of placing a group of intriguing characters in close quarters when a murder takes place is positively brilliant and has spawned…


Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on January 13, 2020 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Don't miss Maddie Shea Baldwin's Debut as Maria Extraordinaire in "Sound of Music"

Despite my lifelong love affair with Broadway, I have never seen a professional production of “The Sound of Music.” I had the record as a child so I know nearly every song by heart; and, along with legions of fans, I believe the iconic film is the greatest movie musical ever made.

Throw in the chance to see another Josh Rhodes production at Asolo Repertory Theatre and my anticipation for this season’s…


Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 24, 2019 at 2:16pm — No Comments

A Stellar Night at the Sarasota Ballet with "Symphonic Tales"

The Sarasota Ballet is performing at optimal strength with its latest production “Symphonic Tales” - catapulting the company into ever more rarefied air in the dance world with three world-class pieces. “Symphonic Tales” featured two stunning ballets by George Balanchine as well as the groundbreaking “Las Hermanas” choreographed by Sir Kenneth Macmillan. 

The Sarasota Orchestra accompanied the dancers with Orsmby…


Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on November 23, 2019 at 10:00pm — No Comments

"In a State of Weightlessness" Caps a Night of Tribute to Graziano

Beloved principal dancer Ricardo Graziano, who has been dazzling audiences with his charismatic performances and generous partnering, was honored with a retrospective of his diverse choreography.


Eight years ago, Artistic Director Iain Webb suggested Graziano begin choreographing ballets – a wise move for a dancer of Graziano’s calibre to carry on his legacy. Great performers live on in our memories, yet dancer/choreographers solidify their place in dance history every time…


Added by Bonnie Greenball Silvestri on October 27, 2019 at 2:00pm — No Comments

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…


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…


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…


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…


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 –…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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,”…


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…


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

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