Sarasota’s Asolo Repertory has installed a new feature called a “hearing loop system” in the Mertz Theatre, the larger of the two spaces within the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. They say it will significantly improve the sound quality for patrons with hearing loss, and those who have hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Here’s how the Asolo Rep people describe the new system: “A hearing loop system ... is a wire that circles a room and is connected to a sound system. The loop transmits the sound electromagnetically, and the signal is then picked up by the telecoil in the hearing aid or cochlear implant. A telecoil is a small copper coil that is an option in most hearing aids and is built into cochlear implant processors, and functions as a wireless antenna that links to the sound system and delivers customized sound to the listener. To use a hearing loop, a patron will simply flip on the t-switch on the hearing aid or cochlear implant to activate the telecoil. If patrons’ hearing aids do not have a telecoil, they will need a headset plugged into a loop receiver to achieve the same effect. Asolo Rep will provide headsets for patrons who need them.”
The new system should not affect the normally excellent sound quality of the Mertz Theatre for people who don’t need hearing assistance.
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If you’re excited about only one Broadway show that’s coming to area this season there’s a good chance that it’s “Wicked.” The mega-hit musical that takes an alternative look at the characters from”The Wizard of Oz” will be at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa for nearly a whole month, from Feb. 1 to 26.
Even with a long run, there’s a good chance that many performances will sell out. So if you want good seats you might want to get your tickets as soon as you can. They go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Regular tickets are $52.50-$102.50, and VIP tickets are $102.50-$152.50 (plus service charges, of course). Call 813-229-7827 or go to strazcenter.org.
“Wicked” has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (“Pippin”) and a book by Winnie Holzman (TV’s “My So-Called Life”). It’s one of most popular and most acclaimed musicals of the 21st century. It propelled Kristin Chenowith and Idina Menzel to superstardom and introduced such hit songs as “Defying Gravity,” “Popular” and “For Good.”
Comic books aficionados will be jazzed to learn that Bob Layton will be in Sarasota this week, and even more jazzed to learn that he’ll be at an event that’s open to the public.
Layton’s a comic book artist, writer and editor, who has worked on such Marvel Comics series as “Iron Man” and “Hercules.” He also co-founded Valiant Comic.
From 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, he’ll be at the Dr. Larry Thompson Academic Center at Ringling College, 2700 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, for a “mixer” hosted by the Sarasota Country Film & Entertainment Office. Layton has a residence in the Tampa Bay area, and he’ll be in Sarasota for a conversation and a Q&A, including details about a new live action/CGI feature film he’s developing.