Live From the Islands

     The quality and abundance of liveentertainment on the islands often surprise visitors who think the Barrier Islands offer only daytime activities. Each season, these Islands of the Artsš offer professional theater productions, a wide variety of musical performances, even nationally known comedians. Whichever venue you choose for entertainment, you won‚t believe the value for the ticket price.
     Sanibel Island Comedy Club serves up the freshest talent in America today. You‚ll see hilarious adult-oriented shows by national touring comedians seen on HBO, MTV, and „The Tonight Show.š The club is conveniently located on Sanibel at the intersection of San-Cap and Rabbit roads. Call 941-472-8833 for reservations and information.
     Lots of laughs as well as drama are on the bill at The Pirate Playhouse, one of two professional theatres on Sanibel. The incredibly talented cast members hired for each season‚s productions are as memorable as the plays they bring to life in the intimate setting of the playhouse. The sets alone are worth the ticket price. Rounding out this season are „The Miracle Workerš by William Gibson, February 7 - March 1; „The Importance of Being Earnest,š by Oscar Wilde, March 14 - April 5; and Stuart Ross‚s „Forever Plaid,š with performances April 11 - May 3. Shows do sell out frequently, so advance reservations are almost certainly necessary. You can reserve your seats by calling 941-472-0006, or stop by the box office at 2200 Periwinkle Way. Dress is casual and refreshments are available during intermission.
     Just as enticing are J.T. Smith‚s fabulous musical extravaganzas at The Old Schoolhouse Theater on Sanibel. J.T. has legions of loyal followers who anxiously await each of his shows. An evening at this bright pink landmark is sure to please patrons of any age group, and music lovers will be amazed at Smith‚s ability to create such „funtasticš revues, encompassing song, dance, and comedy. This season‚s offerings include „42nd Street to Hollywood,š through March 8, with music by Harry Warren; and „Hammerstein,š March 11 - April 26, with music by Oscar, of course. Call 941-472-6862 to reserve your seats or stop by the box office window at 1905 Periwinkle Way, 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday for tickets or reservations.
     Live theater is certainly not restricted to Sanibel and Captiva. The Royal Palm Players stage seasonal productions in the Boca Grande Community Center. For information on tickets and performances, call 941- 964-2670.
     Music lovers have so many choices they‚ll be hard pressed to select which events to attend. Sanibel‚s Barrier Island Group for the Arts (B.I.G. Arts), 900 Dunlop Road next to City Hall, kicks off its Gala Grand Opening Week in February to celebrate the completion of the complex‚s new edition. February 16, find your way to Tarpon Bay Road to join the „Parade to B.I.G. Arts,š led by The Perserverence Marching Jazz Band from New Orleans. This free day includes lots of fun events at the B.I.G. Arts complex. February 19, Maestro Paul Nadler directs the Southwest Florida String Orchestra
     This year marks the eleventh exciting season of the Sanibel Music Festival. This beloved series of concerts features the best in chamber music. In addition, one fully staged opera, plus an evening of arias and ensembles round out this year's events. The schedule is as follows: Alexander & Angeles String Quartet, March 1; Cello and Piano Duet, March 5; Violin and Piano Duet, March8; Artis String Quartet of Vienna, March12; Frank Loesser: Music & Lyrics, March 15; "Carmen", March19; Opera Arias & Ensembles, March22; All performances are at the Sanibel Congregational Church, 2050 Periwinkle Way, across from Periwinkle Place. For reservations or series subscription, call 941-336-7999. This message line is monitored daily by a staff of dedicated volunteers who will respond to your ticket requests. Tickets are also available on Sanibel at Bailey's General Store and Macintosh Book Shop.
     To all the organizers, performers, and patrons of these wonderful events, Times of the Islands says "Bravo!"