Hermitage Announces New Events for January and February 

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Sarasota County, Florida) today announced new programs throughout the months of January and February. Continuing its commitment to innovative year-round arts programming, these events will be presented throughout the Gulf Coast region, from the Hermitage’s beautiful beachfront campus on Manasota Key to the heart of Sarasota’s vibrant downtown arts scene in collaboration with Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Nathan Benderson Park, and The Town of Longboat Key. Hermitage programs introduce world-renowned artists to Florida’s Gulf Coast community and invite audiences across the country to experience candid and engaging conversations, open rehearsals, play readings, film screenings, and more.

Newly announced programs from Hermitage Fellows in January kick off on the Hermitage Beach with celebrated playwright, award-winning actor, and “American Horror Story” writer Halley Feiffer, who offers insight into her unique journey and her creative process. Feiffer’s program will be preceded by an open-studio experience from the imaginative mind of multidisciplinary visual artist Anthony Hawley. Join us on Friday, January 5th starting at 5pm for this special program on the Hermitage campus, blurring the line between humor and heartbreak, fantasy and reality, past and present. This event is presented in partnership with Asolo Repertory Theatre.

On Friday, January 12th at 5pm, Hermitage alumni Stephen Cole and David Evans share musical theater selections from their Golden Age musical, Merman’s Apprentice, on the Hermitage Beach. Twelve-year-old Muriel Plakenstein doesn’t know that the ‘golden age’ of music is coming to an end, so she runs away from home to become a theater star and meets the Queen of Broadway, Ethel Merman. Hear selections from this musical fable and learn more about what inspired the musical’s journey from this collaborative team. 

On Thursday, January 18th at 5pm on the Hermitage Beach, three gifted Hermitage Fellows share how their voice and vision inform their artistic practice across disciplines. Jacquelyn Reingold is an accomplished writer for stage and screen; Joan La Barbara’s groundbreaking vocal stylings have been heard across the country; Laura Kaminsky is one of the most-produced composer-librettists in contemporary opera. In a trifecta of innovative musical and theatrical creation, these artists represent a profound collective knowledge of the human experience and the multitude of ways it can be expressed in art.

Next up on Friday, January 19th at 5pm on Longboat Key, the Hermitage presents a cabaret of songs and stories from some of the most influential musical theater creators of our day. From Jeanine TesoriAdam GwonMichael R. Jackson, and Gavin Creel to Kit YanZoe SarnakRona Siddiqui, and more, the Hermitage has provided space and time to some of the most exciting musical theater writers working today. Hear selections from some of these composers and lyricists, performed by Sarasota’s finest talents at one of the area’s newest and most beautiful outdoor stages, Town Center at Longboat Key. This event is presented in partnership with The Town of Longboat Key on their newly built Town Center stage. 

Hermitage Fellows James M. Stephenson and Emi Ferguson make music that speaks to something universal in us all. On Thursday, January 25th at 5pm, this award-winning composer and celebrated flutist invite Sarasota audiences to hear selections and gain direct insight into their composition process. Each will share award-winning compositions that have been played across the county to great acclaim with audiences at Selby Gardens’ downtown Sarasota campus as the popular “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” series continues its fourth collaborative season. 

On Friday, February 2nd at 5pm, the Hermitage treats audiences to two gifted brass and jazz improvisors as they make music and ‘talk shop’ at Nathan Benderson Park. Hermitage Fellows Amir ElSaffar and Chris Ryan Williams will present an imaginative evening of sonic possibilities as the “Hermitage Sunsets @ Nathan Benderson Park” series continues. 

As a special addition in February, Hermitage Fellow, Pulitzer Prize recipient, and Tony Award winner Doug Wright (Goodnight, Oscar; I Am My Own Wife) returns to Sarasota to shed light on the role of a librettist and the uniquely collaborative process of creating and adapting Broadway musicals like his Grey Gardens, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Hands on a Hardbody. This Music Mondays event, “Hermitage Alum Doug Wright Writes Broadway,” will feature two opportunities to hear from Wright: Monday, February 19th at 10:30am at the Church of the Palms in Sarasota, and again at 3pm at the Venice Presbyterian Church.  Presented in partnership with the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning.