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Van Wezel hall re-opens Oct. 13

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[Photos courtesy of Van Wezel Hall]
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Oct. 24, stages Cinderella.

By JOHN FLEMING

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 30, 2000


The first season after its $20-million renovation features Itzhak Perlman, Bill Cosby, Kathy Mattea, Isaac Hayes and the Moscow Festival Ballet.

SARASOTA -- After being closed since March 1999 for a $20-million renovation, Van Wezel Hall reopens this coming season. The first performance in the renovated hall is by guitarist George Benson on Oct. 13.

One of the main aims of the renovation was to expand the stage house so Van Wezel could accommodate larger Broadway productions, and a tour of Chicago has a weeklong run in October. Other shows on the agenda are Jekyll & Hyde, Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun and Annie.

There will be a free grand reopening and open house on Oct. 28.

Last season, when the renovation took longer than planned, Van Wezel presented an abbreviated schedule of offerings in a circus tent in the parking lot.

Among the high-profile performers on the upcoming schedule are violinist Itzhak Perlman, comedian Bill Cosby, Broadway singer Audra McDonald, pianist Andre Watts, Motown's Smokey Robinson, songwriter Randy Newman and jazz vocalist Diane Reeves.

Jahja Ling, the Florida Orchestra's music director, will be on the podium for an all-Russian program by the Cleveland Orchestra, of which he is resident conductor. Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos will conduct the National Orchestra of Spain, with guitar soloist Pepe Romero.

New York City Opera has halted its national tour, a perennial attraction for many years, and three European opera tours will perform Carmen (London City Opera), Aida (Teatro Lirico D'Europa from Paris) and La Traviata (Helikon Opera from Moscow).

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The King Stag, Feb. 3, is a family play directed by Julie Taymor (The Lion King).
Theater highlights include The King Stag, a family play directed by Julie Taymor of The Lion King fame; The Comedy of Errors performed by the Acting Company; and Cyrano de Bergerac and Much Ado About Nothing by Aquila Theatre Company. In dance, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo stages Cinderella, the Moscow Festival Ballet performs Don Quixote, Momix plays Baseball and Parsons Dance Company does a modern program.

Eartha Kitt is featured in a New Year's Eve revue from the Lido de Paris.

Van Wezel season brochures and ticket order forms will be mailed on Friday. Tickets will be available only by mail order until the box office opens Sept. 15. To be put on the mailing list, call (941) 955-7676, ext. 200. Here's the 2000-01 schedule:

OCT. 13: George Benson, $31-$46.

OCT. 17-22: Chicago, $23-$56.

OCT. 24: Les Ballets de Monte Carlo's Cinderella, $37-$47.

OCT. 26: Aquila Theatre's Cyrano de Bergerac, $27.

OCT. 27: Randy Newman, $26-$29.

OCT. 28: Grand reopening and open house, free.

OCT. 29: Kathy Mattea and Asleep at the Wheel, $27-$34.

OCT. 30: Atlanta Ballet's Peter Pan, $15-$39;

Oct. 31: Capitol Steps, $22-$26.

NOV. 1: WOFA (West African drum and dance), $21-$25.

NOV. 4: Al Simmons, $6.

NOV. 4: Bill Cosby, $45-$50.

NOV. 5: Isaac Hayes, $26-$36.

NOV. 14: Rippingtons, $21-$26.

NOV. 16: Marvin Hamlisch, $30-$35.

NOV. 17: Black Watch/Choir of Wales, $30-$34.

NOV. 20: Dianne Reeves and Count Basie Orchestra, $27-$33.

Nov. 22: Les Tambours du Bronx, $27-$34/

NOV. 24: Bob McGrath of Sesame Street, $12.

NOV. 26: Veriovka Ukrainian National Dance Company, $33-$37.

NOV. 28: Colors of Christmas (Peabo Bryson, Bill Medley, Roberta Flack, Marilyn McCoo), $40-$60.

NOV. 29: Shaolin Warriors, $27-$34.

NOV. 30: George Carlin, $30-$35.

DEC. 2: Very Hungry Caterpillar/Very Quiet Cricket, $6.

DEC. 5: Moscow Boys Choir, $18.

DEC. 7: Andre Watts, $32-$40.

DEC. 12: New York Big Brass Holiday, $18.

DEC. 15-17: Jekyll & Hyde, $23-$52.

DEC. 22: Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show, $25-$36.

DEC. 27: Holiday Reunion Show ('50s rock 'n' roll), $25-$30.

DEC. 28: Audra McDonald, $30-$38.

DEC. 30-31: Lido la Tournee, $45-$110.

JAN. 4: Tango Passion, $30-$40.

JAN. 9: Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, $40-$50.

JAN. 12: London City Opera's Carmen, $40-$44.

JAN. 13: Huggabug Club, $11.

JAN. 14: Orion Weiss, pianist, $18.

JAN. 18: Elvis -- the Concert, $40-$45.

JAN. 19: Tomas Kubinek, $16.

JAN. 22: Hubbard Street Dance, $26-$30.

Jan. 23: Rhythm & Brass, $18.

JAN. 23: Vienna Mozart Orchestra, $31-$41.

JAN. 24: Acting Company's The Comedy of Errors, $27.

JAN. 29: Glenn Miller Orchestra, $18.

JAN. 31: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, $22-$26.

FEB. 1: Italian-American Music Festival with Jerry Vale, Al Martino, $30-$35.

FEB. 2: Cleveland Orchestra, $45-$60.

FEB. 3: The King Stag, $15-$25.

FEB. 5: Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, $22-$26.

FEB. 6: Cab Calloway's Legacy of Swing, $35-$40.

FEB. 9: Willie Nelson, $35-$40.

FEB. 12: Balletto di Toscana, $27-$31.

FEB. 12: Smokey Robinson, $41-$46.

FEB. 13: Diana Krall, $36-$43.

FEB. 14: Itzhak Perlman, $40-$50.

FEB. 15: Peking Acrobats, $16.

FEB. 16: Pieces of Eight, $17-$21.

FEB. 18: Teatro Lirico D'Europa's Aida, $40-$44.

FEB. 19: Awadagin Pratt, pianist, $22-$27.

FEB. 20: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, $22-$27.

FEB. 21: Bobby Short and Friends, $27-$37.

FEB. 22: Russian National Orchestra, $46-$56.

FEB. 23: New Orleans Jazz: Louis Armstrong Tribute, $30-$40/

FEB. 24: Are You My Mother?, $6.

FEB. 24: "Amazing Grace" gospel night, $30-$40.

FEB. 25: Momix's Baseball, $25-$29.

FEB. 26: Engelbert Humperdinck, $36-$41.

FEB. 27: Moscow Festival Ballet's Don Quixote, $32-$40.

MARCH 1: St Louis Symphony, $46-$56.

MARCH 2: Vienna Choir Boys, $20-$24.

MARCH 4: Daniel Jordan, pianist, $18.

MARCH 5: Maureen McGovern and John Pizzarelli, $27-$31.

MARCH 6: Aquila Theatre's Much Ado About Nothing, $27.

MARCH 9: Linda Eder, $31-$36.

MARCH 10: Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theatre's Puss in Boots, $6.

MARCH 14: National Orchestra of Spain/Pepe Romero, guitar, $46-$56.

MARCH 15: Eileen Ivers, Irish fiddler, $20-$25.

MARCH 16: Paul Anka, $33-$46.

MARCH 17: Helikon Opera's La Traviata, $38-$42.

MARCH 18: Christopher Parkening, guitar, Jubilant Sykes, baritone, $27-$31.

MARCH 19: August Rising (traditional Chinese song and dance), $32-$37.

MARCH 25: Show Boat, $25-$40.

MARCH 27: Pilobolus, $24-$28.

MARCH 30: Bobby Vinton, $25-$32.

MARCH 31: Turtle Island Tales, $6.

APRIL 10-15: Annie Get Your Gun, $25-$65.

APRIL 16: Parsons Dance Company, $25-$29.

APRIL 17-19: Annie, $25-$38.

APRIL 22: Melissa Manchester, $25-$30.

APRIL 28: Metro Theater's More Stuff, $6.

MAY 7: Florida Youth Chorus' Brundibar, $10-$18.

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