It's no secret that Sarasota has a lot of culture to offer. Being known as a city of arts and artists, Sarasota has no shortage of great shows. With more than 500 performances every year, the arts are alive and well here.
Related Blog: 5 Places to Go In Sarasota To Experience Arts & Culture
Where to See a Live Show in Sarasota
Due to the many theaters in Sarasota, it can be hard to know where to go for your next show. But don't worry! Whether you're in Sarasota for a quick visit, a seasonal stay, or the long term, here are the five best places where you can catch some entertainment:
1. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Often referred to as the best place for live theater in South West Florida, Van Wezel features both touring artists and homegrown talent. Located right on the shores of Sarasota Bay, the Van Wezel is one of the most picturesque locations for any performance in the area.
With seating for over 1700 guests and over 50 years of history behind it, this hall continues to be one of the top destinations for virtually any performance, including:
- Broadway musicals
- Popular comedians
- Top national and international performers
- Classical, modern, and ethnic dance
- World-class symphony orchestras
2. Asolo Repertory Theatre
Located on Tamiami Trail near the Ringling Museum of Art, this venue continues to be one of the finest theaters for cultural entertainment. The Asolo Theatre offers theatrical excellence, inspirational performances, comfortable and accessible experiences, and the chance to witness one of the most beautiful theater venues in Sarasota.
Equipped with a hearing loop system for those with hearing aids and cochlear implants, anyone can experience rich auditory immersion. Asolo Theatre also provides wheelchair seating in every theater, although seating must be requested in advance by calling their box office. No matter which shows you choose to attend, make sure to arrive early enough to prepare any accommodations and enjoy light refreshments before taking your seat!
3. Florida Studio Theatre
Florida Studio Theater (FST) is a top venue for local performing arts in the heart of downtown Sarasota. The FST is the largest theatre in Sarasota, with diverse programs serving more than 230,000 live attendees annually.
The FST is subdivided into five sections depending on the type of shows showcased:
- Mainstage—Showcasing the best in contemporary theatre, their diverse plays and musicals explore contemporary issues and ideas within our dynamically changing world.
- Cabaret— Relax in a Perisian-style dinner theater and enjoy FST's beloved cabaret series that draws inspiration from modern lyric poets and social/political satire works of our day.
- Stage III—dedicated to presenting plays that are challenging in content and unique in form
- Children's Theatre—Features heartwarming classics, twists on classic fairytales, and imaginative new works that are perfect for a family-friendly outing.
- FST Improv— offering never-before-seen shows week after week featuring the full spectrum of improv disciplines, from short-form, long-form, musical, and even free-form styles.
In addition to their on-stage performances, FST offers classes for all ages and all experience levels to learn theater skills, develop new work, and meet your creative goals. The community here is very welcoming; be sure to stop by for a show soon!
4. Sarasota Opera House
Home to the Sarasota Opera, this venue is also a center for theatre and dance. Located at 61 North Pineapple Avenue in Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Opera House is a stunning theater that hosts many of the world's most talented opera singers.
This venue, located at 61 North Pineapple Avenue in Sarasota, Florida, is also a center for many performing arts events, including:
- Classical ballet
- Film festivals
- Popular music concert
- Comedy shows
- Clown acts
There is nothing more enchanting than a night spent at the Sarasota Opera House, and it doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. The inside of this historic theater has been beautifully renovated so that you can enjoy great opera performances in an elegant setting with scenic views from every seat. Plus, there are fine restaurants and shops close by for after-show entertainment!
5. Urbanite Theatre
Urbanite Theatre offers unique, bold, and inclusive experiences for anyone interested in supporting new and up-and-coming voices. Urbanite has produced over 50 plays, three new play festivals, developed five world premieres, two United States premieres, and many regional premieres. Their plays focus on speaking the truth and diversifying their audiences' perspectives.
The venue's intimate space and innovative seating configuration strengthen the audience's connection with the performance. And if you're interested in fully immersing yourself in the performing arts, you can join Urbanite Insider. With a $75 donation, you get access to first-pick tickets, cast parties, playwright discussions, director's vision discussions, and dress rehearsals. Located at 1487 2nd Street, Sarasota, the Urbanite Theatre is perfect for anyone looking for something new and eye-opening.
Sarasota is a lively city, with many things to do. One of the best ways to enjoy it all is by catching a show at one of these five top places in town. From live theater to opera, there's something for everyone here!
If you’re considering making Sarasota your seaside home, contact us today at Sarasota Bay Club to schedule a private tour and explore our beautiful community.