Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota complete 2012-13 season announced

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall announces 2012-13 season

wtatangelo@bradenton.comAugust 26, 2012 

Sheryl Crow, the singer-songwriter who has garnered nine Grammy Awards and survived breast cancer, finally has a date in Sarasota.

Her Van Wezel debut, in February, is the foundation gala centerpiece of the performing arts hall's eclectic 2012-13 season.

Single tickets for Crow and all the other upcoming shows, which range from pop vocalists and classical orchestras to contemporary dance companies and Broadway blockbusters, go on sale Sept. 8.

"She's just the coolest lady," Mary Bensel, executive producer of the Van Wezel, said of Crow. "She's a celebrity who supports wonderful causes and we're so thrilled to have her for our gala."

R&B singer John Legend, hip-hop artist/actress Queen Latifah and actor John Lithgow are also among the Sarasota premieres during the Van Wezel's 43rd season.

Singer-songwriter/jazz pianist Diana Krall and country-pop icon Glen Campbell, who has Alzheimer's disease, are among the returning favorites.

Campbell, the singer of such classic recordings as "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Southern Nights" and "Galveston," is scheduled to perform Nov. 4.

"It was really important for us to get him," Bensel said. "His agent say he's doing brilliantly and that this is so good for him, to see his fans and play his music."

A week-long engagement of the new 25th anniversary production of "Les Miserables" in March, plus premieres of "Catch Me If You Can" (based on the 2002 hit Leonardo DiCaprio film about real-life con man Frank Abagnale Jr.), and "The Addams Family" song-and-dance adaptation, are among the Broadway season highlights.

"Les Miserables" happens to be Bensel's favorite musical of all time.

"I've seen it 15 times," she said. "And when I saw this (25th anniversary production) it was just brilliant."

The Great American Orchestra Series includes The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Boston Pops

Esplanade Orchestra.

The Bravo Dance series offers new performances from U.K. dance theater company Motionhouse and the dancer-illusionists MOMIX.

The Broadway season also includes the 50th anniversary tour of "West Side Story;" followed by the Sarasota premieres of the acrobatics show "Traces" and the multi-media tribute "Here to Stay: The Gershwin Concert Experience" as well as engagements of "Hair," "Chicago," "Spamalot" and "A Chorus Line."

There will also be the 14th annual Salute to Vienna, a performance by violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, the Russian National Ballet Theatre's "Sleeping Beauty," Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" and Parsons Dance.

"It's a great blend," Bensel said. "There's really something for everybody."

Wade Tatangelo, features writer and columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow him on Twitter@wtatangelo.

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