5 FREE things to do at the Van Wezel


Thinking of visiting the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall? Perhaps you have tickets to see Salute To Vienna, maybe a bay side luncheon rental with your company or a Schooltime show for the kiddies. Well we are much more than just “shows”. In fact some of our best showy stuff is free! Yup, as in not a penny spent because you want a penny saved. Here’s your inside guide to all things free at The Van Wezel.

1. Bring your lunch, grab a waterfront seat courtesy of our outdoor furniture for your relaxing pleasure. Deep breaths, decompress and enjoy the soothing sounds of splashing surf, singing seabirds and slowly drifting clouds of wonder. The only other wonder you’ll be concerned with is “I wonder if I should go back to work?”


2. How bout them thar fish? Florida is kind of a big deal when it comes to fishing. With a boat launch right at our entrance, you could be serving fresh catch for dinner and catching shows by evening!VW_RINGLING_BRIDGE_2015

3. A little exercise helps keep are moving parts working. Ok fine, we know that. How bout walking our grounds, they’re part of the amazing trails network our lovely city of Sarasota has established. Another great lifestyle investment which just so happens to include commanding views of the Ringling bridge.VW_TRAIL_2015

4. If numbers is your thing, try counting all the purple street lamps that line the beautiful pathways, some easy and obvious, others will require a little sleuthing and getting off the path a bit.VW_DAYTIME_BAYSIDE_2015

5. Find the Purple Cow and give her a kiss. Kissing cows are rare indeed and ours is purple! Purple?

Let us know what are some of your favorite freeebies here so we can share the beauty that is The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall


December at The Van Wezel


Getting your extra curricular holiday plans together can be challenging to say the least, stick with us and will guide you through the best shows we’ve got this Holiday Season!

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For mature audiences only. Craig Ferguson entered the world of late night comedy following a diverse and eclectic career that encompasses film, television and the stage. Since taking the helm of CBS’s “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” in 2005, the show has set all-time viewer records in the nine years that it has been on the air. Ferguson stepped down as host of “The Late Late Show” in December 2014. Ferguson was most recently heard on the big screen as he reprised his character ‘Gobber’ in “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” On September 22nd, 2014, the new syndicated game show “Celebrity Name Game” debuted with Ferguson as host, from executive producers Courteney Cox and David Arquette. “Celebrity Name Game” puts celebrities on the spot as they compete to identify famous names based on improvised clues.

event details here

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Welcome back the Number-One-Selling Duo in music history! With so many chart topping and memorable hits, it’s no wonder Daryl Hall & John Oates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 and are one of the most sampled artists today. Their impact can be heard everywhere from boy-band harmonies, to neo-soul to rap-rock fusion. Well-known hits include “She’s Gone,” “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “You Make My Dreams” and “Say It Isn’t So.”

event details here

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Grammy® Award-winning saxophonist Kenny G has grafted elements of R&B, pop and Latin to a jazz foundation solidifying his reputation as the premiere artist in contemporary jazz. His most recent album, Brazilian Nights, is a salute to bossa nova, featuring Kenny’s performances of bossa nova classics as well as all newly-written originals. His return to the Van Wezel will include well-loved standards, highlighted by moving and spirited holiday tunes.

get your tickets here

Carrot Top 300x250DECEMBER 12


Becoming a pop culture icon is a difficult thing to achieve but Scott “Carrot Top” Thompson has done just that. The trademark red locks and the undeniably inventive use of props have vaulted him to the level that most comedians can only hope to reach. He is now a Las Vegas icon as well, celebrating his tenth anniversary with the Luxor Resort and Casino. Fans flock to see his show because it is as current as today’s headlines, consistently poking fun at pop culture, politics, music and whatever the real world has to offer. No one is safe from the “King of Props” hilarious and infectious humor.

get your laughs here




Bowzer’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Holiday Party returns to the Van Wezel with the sounds of the season! Hosted by Bowzer, star of TV’s Sha Na Na for 14 years, the show this year features Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (“I’m Into Something Good” “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter,” “I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” “Silhouettes,” “Just A Little Bit Better,” “Wonderful World,” “There’s A Kind of Hush”), Gary “U.S.” Bonds (“This Little Girl Is Mine,” “Out of Work,” “Jole Blon,” “Daddy’s Come Home”), Rocky & the Rollers as well as Bowzer & The Stingrays.

sing along to the hits here


Christmas Carol GodRestYeDECEMBER 23

A Christmas Carol

The holiday tradition continues. Since 1979 the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, has delighted audiences nationwide with this unique version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This Victorian version of Christmas magic is presented with a full array of traditional Christmas carols interwoven with the well-known story. Performed by a cast of 23 performers on a set evoking Currier and Ives prints and featuring special effects such as a spinning bed, this is a glorious holiday evening the whole family can enjoy!

Don’t be a scrooge, get your tix here

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This “boffo” hit, winner of a record twelve Tony® Awards, sets the standard for modern, outrageous, in-your-face humor! A scheming producer and his mousy accountant aim to produce the biggest flop on Broadway in Mel Brooks’ classic cult comedy. The names Bialystock and Bloom strike terror and hysteria in anyone familiar with the film. Now a big Broadway musical, THE PRODUCERS will have you laughing out loud!

produce yourself here





Undoubtedly one of Australia’s most successful touring entertainment groups of all time with more than 90 million people worldwide witnessing their charm, camaraderie and vocal power, The Ten Tenors have cemented their place as one of the world’s most-loved classically-based contemporary music groups. Join Australia’s rockstars as they amaze and enthrall with traditional and contemporary seasonal favorites: “Joy to the World,” “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas”, “Amazing Grace” and many more! The Ten Tenors ~ Home for the Holidays is the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the season.

Become the eleventh here


Filling your calendar should be a little easier now, pick one, pick a few!

May you have a wonderful holiday season with the ones you love, the ones you friend and the ones who need it most.

You can always visit us at vanwezel.org for additional show info or to just stare at some colorful pixels.

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Cook up 3 amazing sides for Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingMealWho doesn’t love stuffing themselves on Thanksgiving as long as we know the difference between stuffing and dressing. With these simple retakes on classic recipes you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time with family and friends being thankful for what truly matters. Performing arts takes on new meaning when these dishes are showcased at your table.


  1. Tyler Florence’s – Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing.

Incorporating the flavorful and textured delight of cornbread makes this stuffing especially full flavored in addition to the sweetness of the caramelized onions and savory salute of fresh sage.  Find this delicious delight over at our foody friends, the Food Network

Tyler’s Stuffing Recipe


2. Aunt Chelle’s Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Mac & Cheese is not only a comfort food staple, it’s also an easy go to for the little ones that have a demanding taste for the simpler foods in life. Prep this mouth watering, three cheese extravaganza in 10 mins for an almost hands free addition to your turkey day culinary feast. Recipe courtesy of Michelle Jones at CookingChannelTv.com

Aunt Chelle’s Three Cheese Macaroni & Cheese


3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Squash and Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette

Aside from the mouthful of a title, you’ll be thanking yourself for making this dynamo of flavors. Packed with nutrition and taste, the roasted vegetables bring out the earthy connection of the squash and brussels sprouts combined with the zesty cranberries which speak to the traditions of the holiday fest.

Find the Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Squash and Dried Cranberries w/ Dijon Vinaigrette here.

You can always stop by our site Van Wezel Blog where you can refer to these recipes in the future. In addition to Concerts, Comedy and Broadway, we think being well fed is the best way to enjoy a good performing arts show.

Have you considered booking a pre-show reservation with Mattison’s Bayside at the Van Wezel?


Top Five Things To do In Sarasota


As the season approaches why not take this time to figure out where you want to go. We’ve compiled a quick pick list for you to plan your next visit.


1. The Ringling

The Ringling preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. Home to a Museum of Art, the historic Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an Art Library, the Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater, The Ringling is much more than a museum, it is a destination for the whole family to enjoy.


Insider tip: Monday offers free admission to select areas.


Visit: The Ringling for more info


2. Myakka State Park

Parks are a great way to revitalize our spirits and get back in touch with the beauty nature has to offer. Myakka is famous for it’s diverse wildlife. You can see alligators and wading birds from the park drive year-round. In the winter, ducks and shorebirds feed in the shallows as bald eagles and ospreys fish from above. Sandhill cranes nest along the water’s edge. Twelve miles of the Wild and Scenic River flow through the park.


Insider tip: Renting one of the many cabins available is a great way to see everything while recharging your soul.


Visit: Myakkariver.org for more info


3. Sarasota Opera

Enjoying it’s 57th season, the Sarasota Opera entices visitors with moving performances and has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as The Verdi Cycle producing the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi.


Insider tip: Grab a bite at one of the many restaurants nearby and make an evening worth remembering.


Visit: Sarasotaopera.org for more info


4. Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Let your inner Tarzan run wild at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. One of the oldest continuously operated attractions in Florida established in 1939, Sarasota Jungle Gardens evokes memories of Florida days gone by. Full of flora, fauna and fun, yet it remains current and exciting for today’s families, locals and tourists alike.


Insider tip: Don’t feed the animals, well except the Flamingos which is allowed.


Visit: Sarasotajunglegardens.com

5. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

If you haven’t seen a show at the Van Wezel than you surely haven’t seen the best that Sarasota has to offer. Voted #1 destination in Sarasota, the Van Wezel is home to the best in entertainment for all ages. Live concerts by today’s biggest artists, orchestra, educational programs and much more! This magnificent venue sits along the beautiful Sarasota bay greeting visitors with magnificent water views as well.


Insider tip: Relax by the water and enjoy the views from one of the many seating areas around the venue.


Visit: VanWezel.org for more info




Got any suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below so we can share!