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Speaking of the Arts: A Conversation with Lynn Ahrens

February 27 : 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


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Arts Advocates continues its Speaking of the Arts series with Tony Award winner Lynn Ahrens and Asolo Rep’s Assistant Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal in conversation about creating the lyrics and music for “Knoxville.” “A Conversation with Lynn Ahrens” will be February 27, 2020, 7:00 p.m., at the Art Ovation Hotel, 1255 N. Palm Avenue in Sarasota. Doors/cash bar open at 6:00 p.m. Tickets, available through artsadvocates.org, are $50 for Arts Advocates members, $60 for non-members, and $100 for patrons who wish to enjoy preferred seating and a champagne reception with Ahrens and Rosenthal.

Ahrens and Rosenthal will share the secrets of developing the lyrics and music for the musical “Knoxville,” which makes its world premiere in April 2020 at Asolo Rep. Learn about the songwriting process and what it entails, how the songs for musicals are created to reflect the drama happening on the stage, the criteria for engaging lyrics, and how the work of the playwright, composer and lyricist are blended together.

Lynn Ahrens began her musical career on “Schoolhouse Rock,” the renowned television series. Since then, she has written extensively for theater, film and television, winning theater’s triple crown – the 1998 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for the lyrics of the acclaimed Broadway musical, “Ragtime.” The same year, she received two Academy Award nominations and two Golden Globe nominations for Best Song and Best Score for the animated feature film “Anastasia.” She won the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2015. With her longtime collaborator, composer Stephen Flaherty, her many Broadway, off-Broadway and Lincoln Center Theatre credits include “Once On This Island,” “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life,” “My Favorite Year,” “Lucky Stiff,” “A Man of No Importance,” “Dessa Rose,” “The Glorious Ones,” and Broadway’s “Seussical.” She received three Grammy nominations for the original Broadway cast recordings of “Ragtime” and “Seussical.” For her extensive work in children’s television, she received the Emmy Award and four Emmy nominations.

Celine Rosenthal is in her fourth season as Asolo Rep’s associate artistic director. She is an NYU Tisch alum, Tony-nominated producer, New Georges Jammer, and the recipient of directing fellowships at Manhattan Theatre Club and Asolo Rep as well as an SDCF Observership. Her work has been seen at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London, NYMF, New York City Center, MMAC, 54 Below, 59E59, Abingdon Theatre, and in the Broadway’s Future Songbook Series at Lincoln Center. Recent projects include “Chicago” at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, “A Doll’s House” at The Studio Theatre, “Drowning in Cairo” at The National Queer Theater, the FSU/Asolo Conservatory production of “Motherf***r with the Hat,” and last season’s Asolo Rep educational touring production of “The Tempest.”

The James and Maryann Family Foundation is the title sponsor for Lynn Ahrens.

For more information about Speaking of the Arts and Arts Advocates, visit artsadvocates.org or call 941-330-0680.


February 27
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota


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Art Ovation Hotel
1255 N. Palm Ave
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