The City of Sarasota Presents the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
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Welcome Letter

Last year was an award winning season and to follow it up we have assembled some of the world's greatest entertainment on the planet! Dolly Parton, Cats, Liza Minnelli, Foreigner, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld, The Cleveland Orchestra, Audra McDonald and Yanni to name a few!

It has been my dream since I started here to bring Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin, first as individuals to the theatre and then ultimately to have them both on the same stage, what a thrill!

I have been blessed with the hardest working staff any person could ask for (small in number but mighty in spirit); a great audience; an energetic Mayor, Vice Mayor and Commissioners; tireless Foundation and Advisory Boards; our generous Sponsors; and our fantastic new partnership with Mattison's Bayside. The support the Hall receives from the entire City, City Manager, Bob Bartolotta, and Deputy City Manager, Marlon Brown in particular, are beyond compare.

Oh, and I almost forgot, our children who are our future. Through Project Stage, the Kennedy Center's Partners in Education Program, Family Nights at the Theatre, Total Access and Sarasota's new designation as the 6th city in the Kennedy Center's prestigious Any Given Child initiative, we hope to strengthen students' lives.

Sarasota and its surrounding communities are rich with blessings and we are honored to be a significant part of them.

Mary Bensel
Executive Director, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall