Sarasota is well-known for being a city of the arts. Since opening its doors in 1970, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been one of the top-rated theaters in North America. As a matter of fact, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has occupied the top spot for theaters with 2,000 seats or less for multiple years.
The first rule at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is to get the name right. Aimee, the Public Relations Director, gave us a crash course.
“It’s pronounced Van WAY zul,” she says. “A lot of people want to pronounce it like ‘weasel.’ We actually have a picture of a weasel crossed out backstage as a reminder to all of our actors.”
It’s hard to miss the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall from the road. It’s a huge purple building with a unique shape. Aimee spoke to us about the shape and the color.
“The building is shaped like a seashell,” she says. “The purple color is also inspired by Japanese seashells.”
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has played host to some of the top productions and acts in the country. Some of the big names that have hit the Van Wezel stage are Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Steve Martin and Martin Short, Dolly Parton, Sophia Loren, Tony Bennett and Diana Ross.
But the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is certainly not without classic productions. Recognizable Broadway productions such as Jersey Boys and Les Misérables have captivated locals and tourists for years.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is also dedicated to educating the next generation. It is estimated that the Van Wezel introduces the magic of theater to over 30,000 students per year.
Enjoy an evening of the theater at Sarasota’s favorite venue, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.