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BIG ARTS celebrates 35th Anniversary

Tickets on sale for 2013-2014 season

August 29, 2013
Special to the Islander ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Barrier Island Group for the Arts (BIG ARTS) is pleased to announce our 35th Anniversary and new season for Schein Performance Hall, Founders Gallery, Phillips Gallery and Herb Strauss Theater. In wide-ranging programming that covers more than 250 performances of theater, dance, music of all kinds, educational lectures, film series and productions for young people, BIG ARTS continues its commitment to producing and presenting the best of national and international arts to residents and visitors of Sanibel, Captiva and surrounding Southwest Florida regions.

Series sampler subscriptions, special discount packages and individual tickets for the 2013-2014 season are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling the Marks Box Office at 395-0900 or the Herb Strauss Theater Box Office 472-6862 and at BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road.

"For our 35th season, BIG ARTS' theater, dance and music programming will continue our tradition to provide cultural enrichment as well as entertain, delight and surprise our audiences," said BIG ARTS Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder.

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Schein Performance Hall features some of the most innovative dance and musical performers in the world as well as distinguished speakers and thought-provoking film series designed to invite spirited discussions after each film. Founders & Phillips Galleries showcase an array of art exhibitions throughout the year and we are especially honored to host the annual International Society of Experimental Artists Juried Art Exhibit (ISEA) this year. As always, our art exhibits are free and open to the public.

Under the leadership of Production Manager Bobby Logue, Herb Strauss Theater will stage a variety of professional productions, ranging from the critically-acclaimed one-man show Hamlet to the hit Broadway musical, Into the Woods. BIG ARTS will also offer special events this year in multiple genres, including classical Steinway artists, The Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo, and popular jazz artist, John Pizzarelli. In support of the vast pool of local talent, our Community Collaborations include performances by Dance Alliance, Southwest Florida Symphony, BIG ARTS Community Players, BIG ARTS Community Chorus as well as BIG ARTS Concert Band, which is now under the new direction of Mike Lamade.

-Special Events

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Returning to Sanibel as the featured performer for this special BIG ARTS fundraising event, please save the date for John Pizzarelli Quartet in concert on Jan. 24. The jazz performance will be followed by a fine wine and dessert reception. You also won't want to miss the splendor of two of Steinway's finest artists as the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo takes their place at two Steinway grand pianos on stage in Schein Performance Hall. The special event concert will be followed by a champagne reception and tickets are on sale now.


The Herb Strauss Theater features the humorous murder mystery, "Art of Murder," a BIG ARTS Community Players production directed by Peter Sterns this October before kicking off its full season of professional productions, which includes the internationally acclaimed one-man "Hamlet" starring Raoul Bhaneja: an original fun-filled musical, "Holiday Spectacular," written and directed by Bobby Logue and John Ramsey; Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony-award winning musical, "Into the Woods," the thought-provoking drama, "Defamation," in which the audience is the jury; the light-hearted musical, "Romance/Romance," with book and lyrics by Barry Harman and music by Keith Herrmann; and closing out the season with the hysterical madcap musical, "The Big Bang," with music by Jed Feuer and book and lyrics by Boyd Graham. New this year, tickets to all Herb Strauss Theater performances are only $5 each for students with valid student ID and for children 17 and under.

-Family Programming

In addition to the summer arts camp, BIG ARTS offers several events specifically selected to appeal to the entire family. This season features a fantastical dance and musical performance by ArcheDream for HUMANKIND; National Geographic LIVE! speaker, Greg Marshall, inventor of the Crittercam; the 2nd Annual Photography Scavenger Hunt; and the free BIG ARTS Family Day in May. New this year, tickets to most family programs are only $5 each for students with valid student ID and for children 17 and under.


The Classical Afternoon series opens with a concert by the winner of the 2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition, Stanislav Khistenko, in December, and continues with a performance by violinist Miroslav Hristov and pianist, Vladimir Valjarevic, featuring works by Liszt, Bartok and Kodaly in January, before ending with chamber musician, cellist Dmitry Kouzov accompanied by pianist Peter Laul. Evening classical music concerts include internationally prize-winning ensembles, Calidore Quartet and The Faur Quartett. Tickets to classical concerts are free for children 17 and under as well as for students with a valid student ID but must be reserved in advance.


This season's roster of jazz, pop and contemporary musicians includes popular American folksinger and 2009 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Tom Paxon; the Rossano Sportiello/Nicki Parrott/Eddie Metz Trio featuring Harry Allen offers a journey through "The Great American Songbook;" The Piano Men Starring Jim Witter performs a musical journey through the 70's, featuring the song of Billy Joel and Elton John; while Country Royalty rounds out the season with Jason Petty & Carolyn Martin's Musical Tribute to Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. Tickets to all jazz, pop and contemporary performances are only $5 each for students with valid student ID and for children 17 and under.


The universal language of dance will be showcased this season through the artistry of Dance Alive National Ballet and Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater. The award-winning troupes will awe audiences of all ages with stunning performances. Tickets to all dance performances are only $5 each for students with valid student ID and for children 17 and under.

-Visual Arts

All visual arts exhibits are free and open to the public, including the ISEA Annual International Juried Exhibition & Symposium, Sanibel Captiva Art League, Big & Small Buy It Off the Wall, Based on Books, Gordon Coughlin Retrospective, Latin Beat, Trick of the Light: Black and White Photo Show, It's Illuminating, Eliza Brewster: Quilts and Prints, Beyond the Refrigerator Door (children's exhibit) and Open Doors (children's exhibit). In addition to the artwork on display, tickets are available for ART Poems and ARTSalons, which this season includes speakers Andrew Kurtz, Lydia Black, David Acevedo and Martha Graham.

-Community Collaborations

Featuring productions and performances by Dance Alliance, Wendy Webb, BIG ARTS Community Players, Writers Read, BIG ARTS Community Chorus, BIG ARTS Concert Band and three classical concerts by Southwest Florida Symphony, the new season offers a wide array of programming for all ages. Don't forget, tickets to most Community Collaborations events are free for children 17 and under as well as students with a valid student ID.


Experts in their fields, each renowned speaker in The FORUM lecture series will discuss a topical and key issue of our time. The 2013-2014 docket includes Luis Rubio (topic: Mexico), Tarek Masoud (topic: Egypt/Syria), David M. Walker (topic: U.S. economy), John Dickerson (topic: mid-term elections), Edward Luce (topic: India), Nicholas Eberstadt (topic: U.S. demographics), Anne-Marie Slaughter (topic: foreign policy) and Christie Todd Whitman (topic: the environment).


The popular Monday Night, Not for Monday Night and Documentary film series return with a slate of intriguing titles, such as "No, Barbara and Ginger and Rosa". Each Monday night screening is followed by a complementary reception and discussion led by knowledgeable film aficionados. A special chocolate and wine tasting reception followed by a Monday Night Film selection will be featured on Feb. 10.



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