Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul.  Photo courtesy of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Venice Theatre. Photo Credit: Heather Young

Best shows on the west coast of Florida to see this summer

Don't let the final days of summer go to waste – check out some of the summer theater performances and art exhibits on display and your favorite west coast of Florida venues.

Art often has a vital role in defining the culture of a community -- so it's no wonder that Florida west coast destination Sarasota County is known as the cultural coast thanks in large part to its numerous spectacular art and theater venues. And as the hot, heavy and humid Florida summer sizzles, you'll be glad they are all indoors -- no sunscreen needed!

With performances year round at many Sarasota County venues, check out five shows you don't want to miss:

Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders

Where: The Ringling
What: Art Gallery - Photography
When: Now until Dec. 7
About: The "golden age" of outlaw bikers is documented in these candid black and white photographs by Danny Lyon. Progressive for his time, Lyon immersed himself into the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club allowing for a dynamic and real look into this American culture.

Louis Cabot Photography Exhibit

Where: Longboat Key Center for the Arts
What: Art Gallery - Photography
When: Now until Aug. 28
About: Longboat Key, one of Sarasota County's most pristine barrier islands, is captured in photos by Longboat Key resident Louis Cabot at the Longboat Key Center for the Arts.

Summer Cabaret Festival

Where: The Pinkerton at Venice Theatre
What: Theater performances
When: Now until Aug. 24
About: A variety of popular cabaret acts will fill the stage at Venice Theatre, one of America's most admired community theatres. Learn more.

Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul

Where: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
What: Musical performance
When: Now until Aug. 10
About: One of America's iconic soul singers, Marvin Gaye, is idolized in this original musical theater by The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe.  Bringing his songs to the life, Sheldon Roden chronicles the singer through his start of Gaye's career in the 1950s with Motown through his death in the 1980s. Learn more.

Taking Shakespeare

Where: Florida Studio Theatre
What: Theater performance
When: Now until Aug. 17
About: Who appreciates Shakespeare anymore? Murph sure doesn't, and seeks out an older scholar, to bring the Bards words to life. This is an enchanting, eccentric journey with a beautiful dichotomy between Shakespeare's verse and today's language. Learn more.

For more shows visit