Sarasota Shows: Where to See Comedy, Plays and Live Entertainment
Most know Sarasota, Florida, for its award-winning beaches, but the city also has a thriving arts and culture scene. There’s no better way to sample it than attending a live show. Whether it’s a family-friendly classic or more adult-focused, these Sarasota shows entertain and delight visitors of all ages. Don’t miss the chance to see live entertainment and read about top venues.
Sarasota Shows: Top Venues for Live Entertainment
Asolo Repertory Theatre
Asolo Repertory Theatre hosts live performances throughout the year including well known plays from all over the world. The group performs in three different theaters in Sarasota: Mertz, Cook and historic Asolo. An attraction in itself, Asolo Theatre stands among the only 18th-century European-style theaters in the U.S.
The repertory group, which consists of 40 actors, performs a shows year-round. Past performances include Guys and Dolls, Living on Love, Shakespeare favorites and West Side Story. Visitors can purchase single tickets or play passes, which provides one seat per show. Dress up, prepare to participate and check upcoming shows at Asolo Repertory Theatre.
Florida Studio Theatre
Located in downtown Sarasota, Florida Studio Theatre is the city’s contemporary theater and part of a village of live art venues. Each one measures smaller than most theaters, however audiences enjoy a more intimate experience.
Florida Studio Theatre has four different options for guests, such as main stage, cabaret, stage III and children’s theater. Shows vary per season with an improv show every Saturday. Parents and children also enjoy a variety of shows that tell popular stories and feature holiday celebrations.
McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre
Find big names and gut-ripping laughter at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. Also located in downtown Sarasota, the theater features a cabaret-style showroom with most seats less than 35 feet from the stage.
As the name implies, McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre hosts famous comedians Philly Plowden and Drew Hastings, and open mic events on select nights. In addition to comedy, guests attend burlesque, bingo shows and more. McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre only admits visitors 18 and older with a valid idea, so this venue ranks as a top date-night or adult group activity.
Sarasota Opera House
Sarasota Opera House has a rich history in the area and houses Sarasota Opera Orchestra. Guests who visit this award-winning opera venue see live performances, watch classic movies in the theater, attend festivals and meet local artists.
In addition to operas, the theater hosts A Taste of Downtown, concerts at noon, talk series, Cuban ballet and educational seminars that delve into the art form.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
One of the best venues for live Sarasota shows is Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Guests see over 100 events including Broadway shows, famous comedians, concerts, symphonies, dance and diverse cultural events.
The hall measures over 80,000 square feet including the grand foyer — which seats as many as 350 guests — with additional Van Wezel seating available at Sunset Terrace and Bayfront lawn. Shows run throughout the year, and top acts range from The Wizard of Oz to Leann Rimes and performances by international ballets and musicians. Get ready for a night out and view the Van Wezel schedule.
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Another spot for Sarasota shows with a twist is Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. This group performs five musicals per year that range from known Broadway hits to local stories written by area playwrights.
Other shows include dramas and comedies with a focus on African American life, culture, and history. One of the most popular events at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is Motown Christmas, which pairs Christmas carols with sounds from Motown’s finest voices. Past shows include The Color Purple, Little Shop of Horrors, Spunk and Broadway in Black.