Friday, September 25, 2009

REVIEW: Hello Dolly!

When a quest for love and adventure is in the air, you can bet Dolly Gallagher Levi will work her magic on it.

She did during the Manatee Players’ latest production of “Hello Dolly!”

The Tony Award-winning musical, directed by Ty Yadzinski, features the jack-of-all-trades widowed matchmaker. But after countless match making, she’s ready to settle down again. She has her eyes on rich entrepreneur Horace Vandergelder.

While plotting an elaborate plan to win his heart, she works on the hearts of other characters in the show in hopes of making their dreams come true, too. The bulk of her match-making takes place with Horace’s employees, Cornelius Hackl (Steve Dawson) and Barnaby Tucker (Zachary Vance Hlavac). They decide to take an unauthorized night off from work, heading to Yonkers for an ultimate adventure. Cornelius, who, at 33, sees life passing him by, vows that he will finally have his first kiss with woman.

The ever-helpful Dolly sends Cornelius and Barnaby to the hat shop of Mrs. Irene Molloy, who happens to be the love interest of Horace. A tangled web of love and adventure ensue.
Dianne Dawson spins her charm and lightheartedness over the show as Dolly. But much of the show’s charisma comes from the other leads. Standout Cliff Cespedes plays an impressive Horace, full of ornery. The hat shop scene and Horace’s other exchanges with Dolly definitely tickle the funny bone.

Steve Dawson’s whimsicalness as Cornelius also breathes life into the show as well as the endearing Caitlin Longstreet, who plays Minnie Fay, Mrs. Molloy’s employee. Tina Gilbert displays an air of grace and good vocals as Mrs. Molly. Besides Cespedes, the other standout in this production is Hlavac, who grabs many laughs as the naive, wide-eyed Barnaby. He and Steve Dawson are a delightful pair of sidekics in this show.

Joy Lakin also received a few chuckles as the over-emotional Emengarde — Horace’s young niece, who wants nothing more than to be married to her sweetheart.

The parts of the lighting design also makes “Hello Dolly” alluring during moments of the show, illuminating through the backdrop like a Thomas Kinkade painting — particularly in the opening scene at the train station.

Audiences will also enjoy the waiters’ stunts during the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant scene.
The rest of the ensemble did a fairly nice job as well, though I would’ve liked to see more smiles and a little more energy in their steps for some of the musical numbers.

Overall, “Hello Dolly!” and its well-cast actors will leave you with a smile.

-January Holmes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Music New College

New College kicks off its New Music series this weekend with NOW Ensemble at 8 p.m. Saturday on the campus' Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota. Tickets are $12.

The group will also be at the pavilion 3:30 p.m. Friday for a free musical demonstration. For those not familiar with the group, here's your chance to hear samples of their work that may entice you to go to Saturday's performance. The group's music is a mix of rock, classical and experimental melodies. Bathtub not included, though.

For more info or to RSVP, call 487-4888 or email

- January Holmes

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Witch is back

If you're a big fan of the Broadway musical, then you'll be happy to know that "Wicked" is returning for the third time at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. The show is slated for Feb. 3-28, 2010 but tickets go on sale at noon Saturday.

Here's details on this box office blockbuster from TBPAC

The show:
Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz. One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. "Wicked" tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

The tickets:
Regularly priced tickets start at $50 and go. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the TBPAC Ticket Office or online at For more information about the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and its upcoming events, please visit

Be part of the crowd, get on TV

Here's your chance to be seen on "Good Day Tampa Bay," the local Fox News morning show. The show, with host Russell Rhodes will be filming live Sept. 24 at the Palmetto Historical Park. As a treat, local restaurants will be there showcasing specialty dishes for the crew to taste. Palmetto High School's Future Farmers of America will also be in attendance. The channel 13 crew has asked that the community show up too.

If you plan to attend, come just before 7 a.m. The park is at 515 10th Ave. W., Palmetto.

For more information, call 721-2034.

- January Holmes

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Man vs Food tonight: In Sarasota

Tune into the Travel Channel's "Man vs Food" show at 10 p.m. today to catch host Adam Richmond try his luck in Sarasota. He'll dig into deep-fried hot dogs and yummy pies for his first-ever mystery challenge.

The episode, filmed in the area a few months ago, features three Sarasota eateries: Munchies, Yoders and Old Salty Dog.

Richmond's show has him traveling the country to find who serving the best traditional foods.


- January Holmes

Friday, September 11, 2009

Audition notice

The Manatee Players will hold auditions for the hit musical "Nunsense" 7 p.m. Sept. 13-14. Auditions will be held at the Courtyard condos two blocks up from the theater on Old Main Street. Someone will be waiting to let auditioners through the gate.

Those auditioning should prepare a song in their key and be ready for the movement portion of the audition that the director may require. There are no children’s roles in this show. The show is being directed and choreographed by award-winning director/choreographer Bob Trisolini.

Those interested in volunteering backstage on the tech crew should call Kristin Ribble at 941-748-0111 or to help build the set, call Bill Booth at 941-748-0111.

Questions about all auditions should be directed to Rick Kerby at 941-748-0111.

Please note that by auditioning, you are obligating yourself to a considerable rehearsal and performance process. Please be certain that you are willing and able to make this commitment.

"Nunsense" opens Oct. 29 and runs through Nov. 15.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Release Party at Christian Family Bookstore

Looking for some family entertainment this Saturday? Local film maker Ryan Bodie has signed a distribution deal for his family film "Click Clack Jack." He's celebrating with a release party at Christian Family Bookstore from 10 a.m. to noon. Here's details on the film and the party from Bodie:

“Click Clack Jack: A Rail Legend," is a family film about an 1870's rail engineer, Click Clack Jack, who tries to save Potters Gap from the evil Baron Snodgrass who seeks to destroy the town to further his own ambition and look for Gold beneath it.

He said the film is specifically intended to try and help to fill a much needed hole in the market as there is just not a lot of quality, family friendly, and entertaining programs and films for kids.

Click Clack Jack recently received the Dove Award for Approved Family Entertainment. The film has won Film Festivals all around the country including: The New York International Independent Film Festival, Indie-Fest, Gone with the Film Festival, Sky Fest Film Festival, and the WYSIWYG Film Festival for Film of the Year.

Party features : Meet the Filmmakers; Train Rides-Face-Painting; Free Chick-Fil-A-DVD Giveaways of Click Clack Jack
Christian Family Bookstore is at 5203 Cortez Rd W

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sarasota youth lands biggest role yet

I don't know if you had the opportunity to see last season's imagative "Willy Wonka" at the Manatee Players. For those who did, there's a certain Umpa Lumpa from the show who has recently been offered a role on the national tour of "Annie."

She's 10-year-old Sarasota resident Jordan Boezem. Jordan will play the role of July, a fellow orphan in Annie's crew. This will only be the second production she's been in, said mom, Joanne Boezem. Boezem attributes her daughter's sudden stage success to Spotlight Kids - a Sarasota-based musical theater group for ages 5 to 16. Cynthia Howe Ashford directs the group, helping them grow the necessary skills they need to shine during auditions and on stage. The group performs at area events, nursing homes and Disney World. Jordan has been with Spotlight Kids for two years.

When "Annie" kicks off another 30+ city tour in Dayton, OH in November, Jordan's father will be by her side. Mrs. Boezem, a pediatrician, will have to stay behind as she recently opened a new practice in town called Paradise Pediatrics. Regardless, Boezem is still beaming with joy at her daughter's good fortune. What mom wouldn't be proud? Unfortunately, the tour won't come this way next season since it made a stop in Tampa a few months ago. This season, it will only come as close as Panama City for a show in March 10, 2010.

We wish Jordan good luck!

- January Holmes