“Get Down Tonight” at the Florida Studio Theatre

Hands down the seventies perpetuated the rock music spawned in the sixties, and also saw the birth of punk, new wave, hip hop, funk and electronic music. It saw the rise of legends like the Bee Gees, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, KC and the Sunshine Band, Elton John and scores of other master artists.

For those of us who grew up in this era, we are blessed. We’ll never see  nor experience again the emergence of some new music genres that have become staples of the modern era.

No surprise that The 70’s More Than a Decade has officially become the biggest hit in Florida Studio Theatre’s history. With 21,000 tickets sold, the wildly successful 5-person cabaret show surpasses every other record-breaking Cabaret performances at the Florida Studio Theatre (FST), including Unchained Melodies (2019) and Blue Suede Shoes (2018).

For Sarasota’s baby-boomer generation, there’s still time to go back into time and groove to the many tunes that played such a profound experience in our lives. The Cabaret performance is extended through April 9 due to popular demand, so run – don’t walk – to get tickets before the lights go out.

Present at this week’s performance was a Sarasota couple who sat next to me in the front row (best seats in the house!). This was the second performance for the midwest couple who participated in the Peace Movement and Woodstock (well, almost. He broke down in his van en route to the infamous outdoor rock event). So, here they sat rocking to the beat of a medley of top hits that brought ALL of us back to our pasts, and reconnected to our “inner youth” souls.

Classic rock music knows no age limits. Even in our 70’s we appreciate the 70’s music era more than ever! Pictured, one “rocking” couple from the midwest who is “Stayin’ Alive” with the help of the sounds of the Bee Gees and other iconic bands.

The artists who sing the tunes at The 70’s Cabaret are Broadway material. All have travelled extensively on tour and performed in many top shows and plays. Nick Anastasia, Stacey Harris, Jannie Jones, Eddie Weaver, Carl Haan — all highly talented singers who have you tapping your feet, and wide-eyed with glee for the entire ninety minute show (15 minute intermission). Seriously, Stacey Harris has Jannie Jones should be booked at the Van Wezel and playing in front of thousands. Carl Haan did a fabulous Elton John impersonation as pianist. And Eddie Weaver? You got to love this guy! His body language and jolly personality makes him most endearing. Kudos to Nick Anastasia, too, who rounds out the 5-some to deliver a spectacular performance!

The second half of the show gave us the delight of revisiting all the top musical scores for the weekly network TV series of the time. A true BLAST INTO THE PAST!

The 1970s created a perfect musical bridge from the rebelliousness of the 1960s and the happy songs that are characteristic of the 1980s. Following the counterculture of the 60s, the and the 70s created a trend of relaxing music as well as dance music. People may have grown tired of the fighting that happened the previous decade and many of them sought a refuge in dance clubs and other places to enjoy a good time. Out of this idea emerged the Disco movement. Of course, there were still the bands and artists that continued to speak of the ills of society, typically characterized by the punk music in the latter part of the decade. Although the rebellious idea had died down shortly following Woodstock in 1969, there were still many people that disagreed with the establishment and the way the country was being run. Most people, though, were just looking for another way to vent their frustrations, which helped to give rise to the fun that disco music provided. The 1970’s was not a unique decade in terms of creating innovations in musical styles and genres, but it was unique in that it was a musical bridge connecting the hippie lifestyle of the 1960s with the characteristic yuppie lifestyle that was about to occur in the 1980s.

“Joy to the World,” “Let It Be,” and “Stayin’ Alive,” uplift our spirits and give us a sense of hope for the future, much like these songs did for us 50 years ago.


Returning for a strictly limited return engagement, The ‘70s: More Than A Decade will play in FST’s Keating Theatre from March 8 – April 9, 2023. Single tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org and 941.366.9000.

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is Sarasota’s contemporary theatre. Founded in 1973, FST has grown to a village of five theatres located in the heart of downtown Sarasota. Each theatre is small in size and large in impact— providing intimate and engaging settings for high-quality, professional performances.


Andrea Martone

Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing. She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.

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