Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A day for the arts at Lakewood Ranch

In February, where else can you see former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, comedienne Joan Rivers, violinist Itzhak Perlman, singer Gladys Knight, comedian Tim Conway and productions of "Hairspray" and "Mamma Mia"? All that and more?

Why, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, of course, in Sarasota.

While Condie or Gladys won't be traveling to Lakewood Ranch for Saturday's Ovation - A Day for the Arts, Van Wezel staff will be present down on Main Street to tell festival goers all about the great performers and personalities on tap this month.

Ovation is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., down near the Main Street fountain. The event will be emceed by the voices of WUSF radio, including Russell Gant, Susan Giles Wantuck, Bob Seymour, and Coleen Cook.

There will also be performances on the Ovation stage throughout the day by Manatee Players, Fuzion Dance Artists, the Sarasota Opera, local high school performance groups and others.

The Van Wezel's Janet Arena said many patrons of the performing arts center are drawn from Lakewood Ranch.

"It's a very up-and-coming area," Arena said, and the Van Wezel wants to get its message and offerings out to that community.

"There are some wonderful shows here," Arena said of the Van Wezel.

For more about Van Wezel offerings, visit:

For more about the Ovation performance schedule, visit: and click on Ovation.


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