New Summer Events Feature Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, The Lazour Brothers, and More

The Hermitage Artist Retreat today announced new programs throughout the months of June, July, and August. Continuing its commitment to innovative year-round arts programming, these events will be presented throughout Sarasota County, from the Hermitage’s beautiful beachfront campus on Manasota Key to the heart of Sarasota’s vibrant downtown arts scene. Hermitage programs introduce world-renowned artists to Florida’s Gulf Coast community for candid and engaging conversations, open rehearsals, play readings, and film screenings. 

Fresh from her 2024 Tony Award, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle nominations, Hermitage Fellow Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer returns to Manasota Key for “Stealing the Show: Broadway, Beach, and Beyond” on Wednesday, June 26 at 6:30pm on the Hermitage Beach. Leslie previously performed as part of the Hermitage’s 20th Anniversary Celebration alongside Andy Sandberg at the Van Wezel, then again at the 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner. Kritzer is a 2024 Tony Award nomineefor her showstopping performance in Spamalot, where the New York Times noted that “she steals the show.”Broadway audiences have celebrated Kritzer for years thanks to her powerhouse voice, her pitch-perfect comic timing, and her iconic roles in Broadway’s Beetlejuice, Something Rotten!Legally Blonde, The Robber Bridegroom, and moreTV audiences have also come to know her, notably through her memorable turn as Carol Burnett on the series finale of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Now, Hermitage audiences will get to know Leslie as a gifted writer, composer, and lyricist who has been developing her own original projects right here along the inspirational shores of the Hermitage. In this special beach program, this quadruple-plus threat will share some of her own original work as well as some of Broadway’s greatest hits.

“This year’s Hermitage summer season promises to be a memorable one,” notes Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “Year-round Gulf Coast residents have been growing rapidly, and we are excited to be presenting some truly one-of-a-kind offerings throughout the summer. Pulitzer Prize winners, Tony Award nominees, and more are well worth a little summer heat!”

On Friday, June 28 at 6pm, celebrated author and Hermitage Fellow Kimberly King Parsons will read selections from her novel and dive into conversation about the writing process in Bookstore1’s intimate loft space. Her short story collection Black Light was long-listed for the National Book Award, and this Hermitage program will shed light on her highly anticipated debut novel, We Were the Universe. Parsons’ remarkable style has readers turning pages and discovering entirely new frames of mind; from trips to Oregon to acid trips, life, death, and rock ’n roll, Sarasota audiences will get to experience this exemplary writer’s work from the author herself. 

The “2024 Hermitage STARs” initiative continues into its fourteenth season with a culminating program on the Historic Hermitage campus on Friday, July 12 at 2pm. The State Teaching Artist Residencies (STARs) at the Hermitage Artist Retreat is designed to nourish the artist within Florida’s dedicated arts teachers and proudly serves educators from across the state in partnership with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE). The STARs program is one of only a few programs in the United States that offers five educators an inspirational residency opportunity that culminates in a free public sharing with the Gulf Coast community. This public program is presented in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota and Desoto Counties as well as the Englewood YMCA. The selected teachers span multiple artistic disciplines and will be announced at a later date; this year’s STARs recipients will offer insights into their creative practice to an audience of all ages, in a program presented in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota & Desoto Counties and the Englewood YMCA.

On Thursday, July 25 at 6:30pm, Hermitage Fellows Jeffery Renard Allen and Yasi Alipour both work on paper to create narrative, but Allen uses letters while Alipour prefers lines and intricately folded patterns. In the original works created by these innovative Hermitage artists, time collapses and worlds expand; the future is present, and history is interrupted. Splitting time between New York and Johannesburg, Allen is an award-winning author of six books, including the critically acclaimed debut Song of the Shank. His latest work “Fat Time and Other Stories” is a collection of short works described by The New York Timesas a “fierce itching dazzle.” Alipour, a celebrated visual artist interested in paper, politics, and performance, explores systems of math and history in her work. Informed by her time studying at the University of Tehran, intricately folded pages take on three-dimensional presence when imbued with her intuitive and highly technical art. Hear from both artists about why they make the work they make, and what they hope an audience will see and hear when they encounter it with “Interrupted History” on the Hermitage Beach.

Hermitage programs continue into August with Hermitage Fellow Mónica Lavín and translator-collaborator D.P. Snyder for “Translation-Traducción” on the Hermitage Beach on Friday August 9 at 6:30pm presented in partnership with UnidosNow. When done right, two writers’ literary DNA recombine to create not mere reproductions but wholly new works. What is the alchemy by which this literary magic takes place? How does such an interchange enrich the work and its readers? In this age of A.I. and ever more present translation technology, these gifted writers offer audiences a chance to explore the Spanish-English literary dynamic and the deeply human activity of understanding another person’s voice as they share insight into the intimate, generous, and empathetic act of literary translation.

On Friday August 23 at 6:30pm, audiences will experience a truly dynamic duo as 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize finalists Daniel & Patrick Lazour present “The Lazour Brothers: A Lifelong Collabrotion.” Musical theater has a long history of storied collaborators: Rodgers & Hammerstein, Kander & Ebb, Ahrens & Flaherty, Pasek & Paul, and now Daniel & Patrick Lazour. The Lazour Brothers are already Jonathan Larson Grant and Richard Rodgers Award recipients, and their works have been recognized by such prestigious institutions as American Repertory Theater and Lincoln Center. Blending cultures and weaving stories as eloquently as they meld musical styles, the Lazour Brothers are two of the most innovative and evocative musical storytellers working in the American theater today. Hear selections of past and upcoming works and learn what’s next for this energetic duo on the Hermitage Beach.

Hermitage programs are free and open to the public (with a $5/person registration fee), offering Gulf Coast audiences a rare chance to engage and interact with some of the world’s leading talent. Running time for most Hermitage programs is 60-70 minutes. Due to capacity limitations, registration is required at