Nothing has the power to re-ignite nostalgic times than the power of music.

If you’re a Baby Boomer like me who craves the powerful, beloved songs of the 50’s and 60’s of our youth, you won’t want to miss “Up on the Roof” at the Florida Studio Theatre (FST). Playing at the magnificently Parisienne style John C. Court theatre in downtown, Sarasota, “Up on the Roof” performance by four vocalists captivates the audience and pays homage to the iconic songwriting teams of the 1950s and ’60s. The show features the timeless work of songwriting duos such as Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who produced one hit after another. The performance includes beloved songs like “A Teenager in Love,” “One Fine Day,” “Walk on By,” and “River Deep Mountain High,” among many others. The cast’s renditions, accompanied by beautifully arranged music, offer a nostalgic journey through the classic hits of this golden era of music, making it a must-see for fans of 1950’s and ’60s music.

The music of this era is particularly significant as it relates to the “Brill Sound” of New York City’s Brill Building era. It was a time of musical innovation and cultural change, with music serving as a voice for the revolution and counter-culture of that era. Ironically, I worked near the Brill Building for several years in my NYC public relations/marketing days. I clearly remember the Brill Building was a hub for professionally written rock and roll, where professional songwriters worked closely with producers and artists to create hit songs. On a cultural level this era also saw the rise of artists and bands that had a massive impact on music, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, and many others.

On a political and social issues level,  the music of this time period was closely tied to various social, racial and political movements, including the Civil Rights Movement, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam War, making it a reflection of the significant changes and challenges of the time. Indisputably, the  music of the 50s and 60s, including the Brill Building era, played a crucial role in shaping not only the music industry but also the cultural and social landscape of the time.

Fast forward to sitting in the audience at the Florida Studio Theatre, my guests and I clapped and sang along (verbatim) to the songs in “Up on the Roof” – which features iconic hits and beautifully arranged music, interspersed with bits of anecdotal  information. The cast delivers a high-energy tribute to the rebel musicians of the 60’s & 70’s, making it a show filled with one hit after another from artists we all love and recognize. The lively, upbeat performance showcases the talent of the cast, with specific praise for individual performances, such as Jannie Jones show-stopping songs from Aretha Franklin.
Jones, a talented actress, has a strong association with FST. She has been involved in various performances, and her contributions to the FST have been well-received, and she is regarded as a Sarasota favorite, having found a second home at the FST. Her involvement in the entertainment industry and her performances at the FST have significantly contributed to the theater’s success and reputation and contributed to the artistic landscape of FST.

Jacquelyne Paige is the second female in the talented singer pool.  She is a talented performer and graduate of SUNY Fredonia, bringing her exceptional skills to the stage and contributing to the success of the show.

The three males in the show include Jim Prosser, Brandon Wardell and Jeremy Weinstein.  In fact, this season marks the 31st season for Jim Prosser as FST’s Resident Pianist. KUDOS to his outstanding keyboard abilities! Jeremy Weinstein is an actor, musician and music director from the midwest with many stage regional credits behind his belt. Brandon Wardell’s involvement in the show adds to the rich tapestry of the show.

For me, the most poignant – and timely – song performed in the sho  “What the World Needs Now Is Love”  – a 1965 popular song with lyrics by Hal David and music composed by Burt Bacharach. Fifty-eight years later, our world still struggles to find harmony and peace and eradicate war.

Enjoy this upcoming holiday season, and give yourself a gift of buying tickets to “Up on the Roof.” It will uplift your spirit and reunite you with your “youthful self.”

If You Go:

Buy tickets here

Teaser video

“Up on the Roof” Performances  through February 4, 2024 at the John C. Court Cabaret  located in The Hegner Theatre Wing on the corner of Cocoanut and 1st Street. The Court opened in 2013 and, similar to our Goldstein Cabaret, was built in the Parisian Cabaret style. On-site dining available prior to the show and the food is very good and homemade. See menu here.

If You Like “Up on the Roof,” also see “Take it to the Limit”

Florida Studio Theatre ROCKS!  “Take it to the Limit” musical revue is a tribute to the music of the 1970s Rock & Roll rebels, who skillfully fused folk, country, and R&B to create a fresh, new sound.

Photo by John Jones

A nostalgic tribute to the music of the 70’s, featuring hits by iconic musicians like The Allman Brothers Band, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Fleetwood Mac. The show tells the story of lessons learned from hard knocks and lively living, and it includes songs such as “When Will I Be Loved,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Landslide,” and “Hotel California.” The revue runs now through April 7, 2024, at the Goldstein Cabaret in the Florida Studio Theatre (sister venue to John C. Court Theatre)

Buy Tickets here

Sarasota Events Calendar attended this performance (I’m a 70’s gal) and knew the lyrics of every song they played. Envision audience members reminiscing about the men’s long hair and bell bottom jeans. Women in their white “hullabaloo” Nancy Sinatra-like boots and  hippie attire. To all you BABY BOOMERS, put these two performances (Up on the Roof, and Take it to the Limit) on your “must-see” list.

~ Andrea Martone

Andrea Mastrocinque-Martone is Sarasota Event Calendar’s Chief Editor. She is the former A & E Editor for Sarasota Observer Newspapers and is currently a public relations consultant.