Do you love the theater? If so, you will most likely be pleasantly surprised with the many opportunities to catch a good show in and around Anna Maria Island! I have not had the pleasure to visit and experience all the local theaters, but recently I had my first experience at the Manatee Performing Arts Center.
The Manatee Performing Arts Center is located in downtown Bradenton on the river (right by the Bradenton River Walk). It is a short drive off Anna Maria Island and within walking distance of many good restaurant options. The Center is a beautiful new building that has only been open since March of 2013. When you walk in, there is a beautiful chandelier from the movie set of ‘Gone with the Wind’. Large windows in the entrance let in natural light and high ceilings make the building feel open and airy – even with a lot of people mingling as they gather for a show. The Center houses two theaters – the main theater, and a smaller theater. I was very impressed with the main theater where I saw Les Miserables a few weeks ago. There is not a bad seat in the house – I am sure that even those in the back row felt that they were ‘up-close and personal’ with a wonderful view and good acoustics. Everything was very clean and the friendly volunteers that stood at each door were helpful in keeping people moving and showing you to your seat. We did not have to wait in any lines and were very happy with all The Center has to offer.
Les Miserables is one of my favorite musical performances, I have seen it on Broadway and other theaters around the country. I was very impressed with the level of talent the Manatee Players displayed and thoroughly enjoyed the show. The singing, acting, costumes and sets were very professional and I left thinking it was one of the best performances I have seen! Definitely worth the price and I look forward to attending more shows in the future! Tickets are reasonably priced between $25-$36 (this might very depending on the show) and are available on the Manatee Players website (http://manateeplayers.com/index.html). I would suggest planning and buying ahead of time as shows are often sold out before the night of the performance.
There are other theaters in the area that also routinely receive positive reviews. On the island, we have the Island Players (http://www.theislandplayers.org/). Their season runs from October through May each year and they will perform 6 different shows throughout the 2013/2014 season. Tickets are $20 and the theater is located on the corner of Gulf and Pine in Anna Maria. Additionally, The Players Theater (http://www.theplayers.org/) is located in Sarasota. Less than an hour from the island, it provides yet another alternative to enjoy a theatrical performance during your time on the island. I look forward to attending performances at both of these highly recommended theaters and will be sure to share my experiences with you!