Broadway, cabaret and film vocalist Karen Akers performs an evening of classic and rarely heard songs by Cole Porter. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner calls Akers’ voice an “instrument with the power of Streisand’s, the dark passion of Piaf’s and the lean irony of Dietrich’s…”
(Sarasota, Florida) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents the riveting cabaret star, Karen Akers, in “Akers Sings Porter: Anything Goes,” Saturday, November 2, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 3, 2013, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. The performance includes a repertoire of classic Porter favorites, including “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “I Love Paris,” “Always True to You (In My Fashion),” the title song, “Anything Goes,” and the show-stopping “Begin the Beguine,” as well as lesser-known but charming Porter tunes. Akers will be accompanied by Don Rebic on piano. Tickets are $40 and $45 and can be purchased online at www.artistseriesconcerts.org or by calling 941-360-7399. For more information about this show or the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2013-2014 season, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org or call 941-306-1202.
Described as an “emotional volcano with a cool exterior” by Stephen Holden of The New York Times, Karen Akers is one of America’s most riveting cabaret stars. She is the recipient of the 2005 NY Nightlife Award for “Outstanding Female Cabaret Vocalist in a Major Engagement” and the 2008 “NY Nightlife Living Legend Award.” Akers has appeared in many prestigious venues worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and New York’s premiere nightspots such as Café Carlyle, Rainbow & Stars, Le Jazz Au Bar, and The Oak Room at The Algonquin Hotel. She has taken her music to the south of France, London’s Pizza-on-the-Park, to Russia and Barcelona’s Opera House. In a rave review of this show in the New York Observer, Rex Reed writes, “With her long limbs, aristocratic posture, Clara Bow bangs and doughnut-hole waist, she’s the perfect diseuse to relay the hidden messages and double entendres in Cole Porter’s elegant lyrics.”
Her concert and cabaret performances are just a part of Akers’ multifaceted career, which encompasses theater, television, film and recordings. She appeared at The Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway as one of the original stars of the Tony Award-winning musical, Grand Hotel, directed by Tommy Tune and made her debut on The Great White Way in the original production of Nine for which she won a Theatre World Award, as well as a Tony Award nomination. Akers’ television appearances include Cheers, The Equalizer, Hart to Hart, and the PBS specials Ellington: The Music Lives On and Ira Gershwin At 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall. In addition, Akers had two of her own PBS television specials: Presenting Karen Akers and Karen Akers: On Stage at Wolf Trap. Her film roles include the femme fatale in Mike Nichol’s Heartburn and Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo.
“I was excited that Lee Dougherty Ross, our artistic director, was able to book Karen Akers,” says John Fischer, the executive director of Artists Series. “I first saw and heard Karen years ago on a PBS special from Tanglewood, and then again as the night club singer Kitty Haines in the wonderful 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo. Interestingly, the music for that film was written by Dick Hyman, the noted composer/musician, now living in the nearby Venice community.”
Since 1996, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota has presented an ever-expanding annual season of concerts by globally renowned and celebrated emerging artists. The 2013-2014 season runs October 2013 to June 2014, and includes six concerts in its “Classical Recital Series,” four concerts in its “Pop Series,” and two special concerts. Three “Lunch, Look and Listen” events are also scheduled. For more information about the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2013-2014 season, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org or call 941-306-1202.
The 2013-2014 Season at a Glance
2013-2014 Classical Recital Series
· “Crossover” with the Rastrelli Cello Quartet performing works from Saint Saéns and Tchaikovsky, along with popular music classics by Dave Brubeck, Hoagy Carmichael, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Astor Piazzolla, and Leroy Anderson. November 16 and 17, 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Zing Went the Strings” with Augustin Hadelich, violin, and Joyce Yang, piano, performing works from Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Janacek and Previn. January 11 and 12, 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Great Music versus Superbowl” with the Ritz Chamber Players performing works by Hailstork, Piazzolla and Williams. February 1 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Trios Anyone?” with the Tempest Trio performing works by Beethoven, Bernstein and Dvorak. March 1 and 2, 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “88-Key Salute” with Alexander Schimpf, piano, performing works by Bach, Brahms, Debussy and Kapustin. April 12 and 13; 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Opera and More!” with Jeffrey Hill and Richard Ollarsaba, with Lee Dougherty Ross on piano, performing solos and duets from operas, including Carmen, Baby Doe, La Boheme, and The Pearl Fishers. May 31 and June 1, 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
2013-2014 Pop Series
· “Akers Sings Porter: Anything Goes!” with Broadway, cabaret and film vocalist Karen Akers and Don Rebic, piano, performing works familiar and rarely-heard songs by Cole Porter. November 2, 7:30 p.m.; November 3, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Colored Lights” with cabaret singer KT Sullivan and Jon Weber, piano, performing works from The Threepenny Opera, Sondheim’s Follies, and other musical theater hits. December 7, 7:30 p.m., and December 8 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “You Made Me Love You” with Jennifer Sheehan, cabaret/theater singer with James Followell, piano, celebrating 100 years of the Great American Songbook and including songs by Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Jule Stein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Stephen Sondheim, Henry Mancini, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mercer, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and more. March 15, 7:30 p.m., and March 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “The Merry Widow” with Susana Diaz, soprano, Lindsay Russell, soprano, Gregory Schmidt, tenor, Andrew Garland, baritone, Joseph Holt, piano, and the Gloria Musicae Singers performing highlights from Franz Lehar’s masterpiece operetta. May 10, 7:30 p.m., and May 11 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. At Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
2013-2014 Special Events
· The Dave Bennett Quartet, with Dave Bennett, clarinet; Tad Weed, piano; John Miller, bass; and Scott Blum, drums, performing such popular favorites as “Moonglow,” “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” January 26 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. At Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail. Sarasota.
· Mary Wilson, soprano, and Jason Ferrante, tenor, with Lee Dougherty Ross, piano, performing classical songs, popular operatic excerpts, selections from Broadway and more. February 16, 7:30 p.m. At Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail. Sarasota.
2013-2014 Lunch, Look and Listen
· Featuring Sassy, an award-winning barbershop quartet with Denise de la Cal, baritone, Donna Hill, lead, Betty Meinholz, bass, and Chelsea Young, tenor, performing a delightful program, including ”Fit As a Fiddle” from Singing in the Rain, “Til There Was You,” from The Music Man, “Someone To Watch Over Me,” from Oh Kay, and more songs of romance and relationships. February 20, 11 a.m., performance; 12:15 p.m., luncheon. At Michael’s On East, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.
· Featuring Leo Adamov and Eliot Lawson, violin duo, performing works by Prokofiev, Deberiot, and Wieniawski. March 20, 11 a.m., performance; 12:15 p.m., luncheon. At Michael’s On East, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.
· “Vivaldi and Verdi” soprano Deborah Berioli, violinist Margo Zarzyka, and pianist Lee Dougherty Ross. April 17, 11 a.m., performance; 12:15 p.m., luncheon. At Michael’s On East, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.
2013-2014 Soiree Series
· “Sahun Hong, piano, performing works by Schumann, Ravel, and Kirchner. October 6, 2:00 p.m.; October 7, 7:30 p.m. At the Weisenborne/Fischer residence.
· “Stephanie Block, viola, and Yi-fang Huang, piano, performing works by Johannes, Sergei and Sarasate-Zimbalist. October 20, 2:00 p.m.; October 21, 7:30 p.m. At the Weisenborne/Fischer residence.
· “Jason Stearns, baritone, with Jason Stearns, baritone, Lee Dougherty Ross, piano, performing Broadway favorites, including favorites from “Carousel” and “Kiss Me Kate!” the “Toreador Song” from Bizet’s “Carmen,” and “The Desert Song” from Romberg’s operetta. April 20, 2:00 p.m.; April 21, 7:30 p.m. At the Weisenborne/Fischer residence.
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as the Artist Series of Sarasota. The group is a non-profit corporation based in Sarasota, FL, that prides itself on presenting several major national and international varieties of concert, opera, orchestral, Broadway and film performances throughout their season. The majority of the performances are staged at the restored Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling.