The stars of tomorrow will light up the stage of the Sarasota Opera House when singing sensation Maria Wirries and her colleagues from Penn State University’s Musical Theatre program present this bubbly revue showcasing the timeless music of Cole Porter.
“In ‘Hot ‘n’ Cole,’ there’s a nonchalance that’s charming and disarming, celebrating the music’s self-conscious sophistication
while making it as simple and natural as falling in love.” (Variety)
“Once again (Maria) Wirries brought down the house with her beauty, charm and astonishing vocalism.” (Sarasota Herald Tribune)
(Sarasota-Manatee) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents soprano Maria Wirries and seven outstanding young performers from Penn State University’s Musical Theatre program in “Hot ‘n’ Cole: A Cole Porter Celebration,” Sunday, May 14, 3:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota. In celebration of the genius of Cole Porter, these eight outstanding young artists will take audiences on a spirited journey through the best of the renowned American songwriter’s works. Tickets are $45 and are available at www.artistseriesconcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202 (M-F, 10-4). Student tickets, for $10, are available at the door.
As part of Artist Series Concerts’ commitment to supporting career-bound young musicians, the organization collaborated with the musical theatre department of Penn State University, where local singing sensation Maria Wirries is currently a junior.
According to Joseph Holt, artistic director of Artist Series Concerts, “Hot ‘n’ Cole” fits the bill. “With its fresh, contemporary arrangements of Cole Porter’s music, this revue is the perfect vehicle for showcasing the talents of Maria and the other outstanding young musicians,” he says. “The show includes such captivating, classic songs as ‘Night and Day,’ ‘At Long Last Love,’ ‘In the Still of the Night,’ ‘It’s Too Darn Hot,’ and more. It’s going to be a memorable afternoon with sparkling renditions of beloved tunes.”
Show headliner Maria Wirries, now 19, burst onto the area arts scene in 2008 when she belted out “New York, New York” at The Players Theatre’s 2008 Talent Explosion. At the urging of her Juilliard-trained teacher, Maria, then 10 years old, auditioned for the competition, and was accepted into FST’s program. Since then, she has participated in a wide variety of programs for regional music groups, including Artist Series Concerts, Sarasota Orchestra and Choral Artists of Sarasota. Wirries is currently a junior in Penn State University’s Musical Theatre program and, last year, was named a finalist in the 2016 National YoungArts Foundation competition—one of 165 finalists selected from a pool of 12,000 applicants.
The “Hot ‘n’ Cole” cast also includes vocalists Julia Hemp, Laura Guley, Joseph Allen, Johnathan Philip Teeling and Daniel Teixeira; and pianists Chris Rayis and Loclan Mackenzie-Spencer. This production is directed by John Simpkins with musical direction by Dan Riddle. Choreography is by Erin Ferrel Speer.
Artist Series Concerts’ managing director John Fischer says he’s pleased to close Artists Series Concerts’ 21st season with this high-spirited concert. “It happens to fall on Mother’s Day and we can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the mother in your life than with the gorgeous, melodic and witty music of Cole Porter.” He adds that bringing Maria Wirries to the Sarasota Opera stage is a major coup.
“It’s our delight to bring Maria back to Sarasota,” says Fischer. “She’s captured the hearts of thousands of area residents with her outstanding talent. Maria is on the cusp of a major musical career and we’re thrilled to cheer her along her way.”
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2017-18 season will be announced in May 2017. For more information about Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org or call 941-306-1202.
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as Artist Series of Sarasota. The non-profit organization presents world-class musical experiences in a diverse range of genres, including classical, cabaret, pop, Broadway, orchestral and opera. A central focus of Artist Series Concerts’ mission is to spark a lifelong love of the musical arts by exposing young people to interactive music experiences. It accomplishes this through its performance-based outreach programs in area schools, creating unique learning opportunities for thousands of students and educators every year. In addition, Artist Series Concerts’ preeminent Sarasota National Music Scholarship Competition grants more than $20,000 annually to gifted, young musicians from around the country. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. For more information, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org.