Season Preview

Hot Tickets: Performing Arts

Celebrate a return to the stage with international orchestras, riotous stand-up and substantive stories.

BY November 1, 2021
Celebrity comedian Sebastian Maniscalco returns for more laughs at Fort Myers’ Barbara B. Mann this November. (Courtesy Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall)

The Stand-up Guy: Sebastian Maniscalco

Nov. 4-7 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

With five TV specials under his belt and a new Discovery+ series, “Well Done,” which premiered in August, the Chicago native (who is married to Lana Gomez, daughter of local philanthropist Simone Lutgert) is irreverent, funny and timely.

The Modern Musical: “Come From Away”

Nov 30.-Dec. 5 at Artis—Naples; Dec. 14-19 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

The award-winning, cathartic musical follows the true events of Sept. 11 when, due to the terrorist attacks, 38 planes carrying nearly 7,000 passengers were rerouted to the small community of Gander in Newfoundland.

The Historical Reenactment: “The Complete History of America (abridged)”

Dec. 3-4, 9-11, 18-20 at The Laboratory Theater of Florida

Laboratory Theater is known for pushing the limits with its edgy and thought-provoking productions. This one traces 600 years of U.S. history in 6,000 seconds with slapstick, improv and a little naughtiness.

The Bigwig Symphonies: Cleveland Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic

Jan. 24 (Cleveland) and Mar. 1-2 (Vienna) at Artis—Naples

Known as one of America’s Big Five, the Cleveland Orchestra comes to town in January with Mozart’s “Symphony No. 36” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4.” Meanwhile, the Vienna Philharmonic—with its singular sound originating from atypical instrumentation and playing traditions— focuses on Russian masters like Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.

The New Jazz Darling: Veronica Swift

Mar. 30 at BIG ARTS

Riding high from its multimillion-dollar expansion, BIG ARTS keeps impressing with new exhibits, a lecture series and splashy concerts, including 27-year-old musician Veronica Swift, who has taken the jazz world by storm since launching her first album when she was 9. Catch her show to see if you agree with critics’ assertion that she’s the next Ella Fitzgerald.

The Operatic Sound: “Tosca”

Apr. 23 at Charlotte Performing Arts Center; Apr. 26 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall; Apr. 29 at Artis—Naples

Gulfshore Opera transverses all three counties with this epic production. Staying true to the piece’s original form, the group performs Giacomo Puccini’s three-act thrilling love story in Italian with plush costumes and artistic sets.



Visual Arts

New exhibits transport viewers from the streets of New York to Florida’s wilderness.

Exhibits dive deep into sense of place this season. Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum kicks things off with “Helen Levitt: In the Street” (through Dec. 5). The photographer’s images capture unfiltered vignettes of everyday life in working-class New York City neighborhoods over the course of 70 years, up until the early 2000s.

Florida’s wild spaces are front-and-center at the Marco Island Center for the Arts in “Florida: Paradise Found” (Jan. 10-Mar. 1), in which artists Emily James, Phyllis Pransky, Jo-Ann Sanborn and Rachel Pierce unite for an ode to our natural setting.  

And in Fort Myers, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s Let There Be Light Presents: “Quattro Mani” (Jan. 7-28), brings local luminary Darryl Pottorf to the spotlight with works from the series he created with Robert Rauschenberg. Blending Pottorf’s black-and-white images with Rauschenberg’s colorful works, the mixed media pieces explore places the two visited together over the decades, from Los Angeles to Turkey to Marrakesh.
Julia Browning

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