2013-14 University Arts Series season to feature Hello Dolly!, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Griffin, Man of La Mancha, and more
Subscription packages are on sale now for the 2013-14 University Arts Series. The 23-event series boasts a wide array of internationally touring and professional performances. Whoopi Goldberg, the Soweto Gospel Choir, the national tour of Hello Dolly! starring Sally Struthers and Memphis The Musical are just a few of the events coming to the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center as part of the University Arts Series.
Subscription packages begin with four events and may be purchased at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center box offices weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by phone at 304-293-SHOW (7469).
The series line-up includes:
Whoopi Goldberg, Sept. 13 – In 2002, Whoopi Goldberg became one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy (“Whoopi Goldberg,” 1985), the Academy Award (“Ghost,” 1991), the Golden Globe (“The Color Purple,” 1985 and “Ghost,” 1991), the Emmy (as host of AMC’s “Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel,” 2002 and a Daytime Emmy for “The View” in 2009) and a Tony (Producer of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” 2002). Goldberg has appeared in many films, on TV and graced the Broadway stage. She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities.
Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story , Sept. 23 – In just three short years, Buddy Holly set the music world on fire, breaking the mold and forever changing the face and sound of rock and roll. Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story charts his meteoric climb, legendary adventures and tragic fall on the fateful day the music died. Armed with a Fender Stratocaster guitar, his signature specs and a charismatic blend of rockabilly swagger, Buddy explodes onto the stage in a jukebox musical fully loaded with classics “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Well All Right,” “Not Fade Away” and many more. With an encore that will have you on your feet and dancing in the aisles, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story will “send you out of the theater on an unstoppable high” (The Boston Globe).
50 Shades! The Musical , Oct. 2 – 50 Shades! The Musical is the hilarious parody of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” phenomenon. A sexy, hysterical musical romp, 50 Shades! The Musical is a laugh-out-loud night of fun that you won’t want to miss! A resounding hit in Chicago and New York, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 50 Shades! The Musical opens with a ladies book club deciding to read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Through their interpretation of the novel, the audience is led on an uproarious roller coaster ride of this unlikely bestseller. The show is full of dance numbers and original songs delivered by an outrageous cast with a live, on-stage band. 50 Shades! The Musical is not associated with, endorsed or authorized by E.L. James or Vintage Books.
B.B. King, Oct. 15 – For more than 60 years there has only been one King of Blues: B.B. King. Since he started recording in the 1940s, King has released more than 60 albums, many of which are considered blues classics like 1965’s “Live At The Regal” and 1976’s “Together For The First Time.” It was in 1970 that his hit “The Thrill Is Gone” began his legacy of hit music that continued with “Riding With The King,” “When Love Comes To Town,” “Rock Me Baby” and “Sweet Little Angel,” to name just a few. Recognized with induction into multiple Halls of Fame, 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of the Arts, B.B.’s legacy is forever cemented. Coupled with the trademark licks on his well-worn electric guitar “Lucille,” his unmistakable vocals have defined the blues for a worldwide audience.
Kathy Griffin, Nov. 6 – Two-time Emmy winner, New York Times bestselling author and Grammy nominee Kathy Griffin has been making audiences laugh for years with her rapid-fire wit. Known to millions from her hugely successful reality show “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” Griffin dishes on everything from celebrity encounters to own life experiences. Sitcom fans remember her recurring roles of Sally Weaver (“Seinfeld) and Vickie Groener (“Suddenly Susan”); Broadway aficionados fell in love with her stand-up show “Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony;” and television audiences were riveted by her portrayal of a lesbian activist on “Law and Order: SVU.” Griffin’s first comedy album “For Your Consideration” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard top Comedy Album charts, making her the first female comedian to earn this distinction. This performance is recommended for mature audiences only.
Hello, Dolly! starring Sally Struthers, Nov. 13 – Winner of 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Hello, Dolly! is one of the most enduring Broadway classics. Emmy- award winning Sally Struthers (All In the Family, Gilmore Girls) stars as the strong-willed matchmaker Dolly, as she travels to Yonkers, N.Y., to find a match for the ornery “well-known, unmarried half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. Featuring an irresistible story and an unforgettable score including the title song, “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “It Only Takes A Moment,” and the show-stopping “Before the Parade Passes By,” Hello, Dolly! has been charming audiences around the world for nearly 50 years.
Kenny Rogers, Dec. 8 – A groundbreaking recording artist, distinctive vocalist and consummate entertainer, the legendary Kenny Rogers returns to the Creative Arts Center to celebrate the holidays and his “Hits Through the Years.” Rogers has recorded 24 No. 1 songs, including “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Lucille,” “She Believes in Me,” “Through the Years,” “Love Will Turn You Around,” and “Islands in the Stream.” Though theoretically a country singer, Rogers dominated the pop charts, consistently finding songs with universal appeal. “I’ve never considered myself a great singer, but I am a great storyteller,” Rogers told Billboard magazine. Rogers has earned three Grammy Awards, 18 American Music Awards, 11 People’s Choice Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards and five Country Music Association Awards. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in April.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Dec. 12 – The holiday favorite that’s entertained audiences around the world for two decades returns to Morgantown. Internationally renowned for its exquisite showmanship, lavish costumes and commitment to the rich tradition of Russian classical dance, the Moscow Ballet performs with “aristocratic finesse,” says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This visual feast, performed to Tchaikovsky’s famous score, will make memories that the entire family will cherish for a lifetime! The New York Times raves, “Knockout! Expansive! Elegantly generous!”
Bob Thompson’s Joy To The World, Dec. 14 – For the first time in its 20-year history, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is taking Bob Thompson’s holiday jazz program on the road! Thompson, a beloved jazz pianist, is a regular member of the “Mountain Stage” house band. “Mountain Stage” is distributed internationally by National Public Radio and recorded multiple times each year at the WVU Creative Arts Center. His seasonal celebration “Joy to the World” promises a festive and nostalgic kickoff to the holiday season. Thompson will be joined by Bob Thompson Unit members Tim Courts (drums), Doug Payne (saxphone), (Chris Allen, bass) and Ryan Kennedy (guitar). The evening will also feature special guest Heather Masse, member of the Billboard-charting folk group, The Wailin’ Jennys. Masse is a regular on the popular public radio program “A Prairie Home Companion.”
William Shatner – Shatner’s World, Jan. 16 – Through anecdotes, songs, jokes and even some poignant moments, you will experience William Shatner’s phenomenal path from classically trained Shakespearean actor to cultural icon, brilliantly creating the larger-than-life and most important character he has ever played, William Shatner. “Resistance is futile,” claims the Hollywood Reporter.
Memphis, Jan 19 – From the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tenn., comes a hot new Broadway musical that bursts off the stage with explosive dancing, irresistible songs and a thrilling tale of fame and forbidden love. Inspired by actual events, Memphis is about a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break. Come along on their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves – filled with laughter, soaring emotion and roof-raising rock ‘n’ roll. Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Memphis played pre-Broadway at the La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, and features a Tony-winning book by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) and a Tony-winning original score with music by Bon Jovi’s founding member David Bryan. Memphis is directed by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu), and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys).
Godspell, Jan. 25 – Prepare ye for Godspell, the beloved musical from Stephen Schwartz, the Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer of Wicked. Enjoy all the good gifts of one of the most enduring shows of all time—Godspell—in a brand new intimate, one-of-a-kind production. Raise your spirit with the Tony-nominated score filled with the popular hits “Day By Day,” “Light of the World,” and “Turn Back, O Man.” This timeless tale of friendship, loyalty, and love has touched the hearts of countless theatergoers all over the world—and now you can join in the celebration as a spectacular ensemble of bright young stars stirs your soul, raises your spirit and lifts you right out of your seat. “A family-friendly show that deserves to run forever,” raves Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal.
Soweto Gospel Choir, Feb. 11 – The two-time Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir is heralded as one of the most exciting groups to emerge in world music in years. Under the direction of choirmaster David Mulovhedzi, the choir draws on the best talent from the many churches and communities in and around Soweto, South Africa, and performs in six different languages—including English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. Australian Stage describes the Soweto Gospel Choir as “a tour de musical force ? a slice of musical heaven.”
Man of La Mancha, March 3 – Man of La Mancha returns to the stage in an all-new production, complete with the Tony Award-winning score and book that has inspired theatregoers since the first note of “The Impossible Dream” was heard on opening night. Enter the mind and the world of Don Quixote as he pursues his quest for the impossible dream. Against all odds, a man sees good and innocence in a world filled with darkness and despair. This lyrical and amusing adventure is a classic tale of the triumph of man over his own follies.
RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles, March 17 – RAIN performs the full range of The Beatles’ discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience. Together longer than The Beatles, RAIN has mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a totally live, note-for-note performance in this multi-media concert, that’s as infectious as it is transporting. From the early hits to later classics (I Want To Hold Your Hand, Hard Day’s Night,_ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band_, Let It Be, Come Together, Hey Jude and more), this adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!
The Irish Tenors, March 23 – Since 1998, Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan have toured together as The Irish Tenors delighting sold-out crowds at Radio City Music Hall, the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl and major concert halls throughout the world. Their faces and voices are familiar to PBS audiences through several specials, including the “Ellis Island” recordings that sold a million CDs and DVDs. All classically trained singers, the three combine to produce a sound and concert experience, which touches hearts and stirs the emotions. There is an aching, bittersweet quality to much of Ireland’s musical heritage, a melodic loveliness and emotional intensity that brings a tingle to the spine and a tear to the eye. The dazzling technique and depth of feeling that defines this musical genre, amplified to the third power, is the hallmark of The Irish Tenors.
Menopause the Musical, March 25 – This performance centers around four women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex and too much sex! This hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles! See what millions of women worldwide have been laughing about for more than 10 years!
Amernet String Quartet, March 26 – The internationally acclaimed Amernet String Quartet, ensemble-in-residence at Florida International University, comes to Morgantown in a program of classical and romantic works for quartet. Misha Vitenson (violin), Marcia Littley (violin), Michael Klotz (viola) and Jason Calloway (cello) have been lauded for their “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” playing by The New York Times. The Amernet has garnered worldwide recognition as one of today’s exceptional string quartets, winning the gold medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition and first prize at the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition. Paul Kreider, Dean of the College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University, will join the Amernet as a special guest.
Bring It On!, April 7 – Bitingly relevant and sprinkled with sass, Bring It On: The Musical takes you on a high-flying journey through friendship, forgiveness and determination. Bring It On: The Musical tells the story of the challenges and unexpected bonds formed through the thrill of extreme competition. With a colorful crew of characters, an exciting fresh sound and explosive dance with aerial stunts, this all-new story is sure to be everything you hoped for and nothing like you expected. The New York Times calls it, “Impossible to resist!”
We Will Rock You, April 22, 23 – We Will Rock You features the greatest hits of the legendary British rock group, Queen. Now in its 11th year in London and seen by a staggering 15 million people worldwide, this hilarious, multi-award-winning and record-breaking phenomenon boasts a fantastic score of killer Queen tunes that you just can’t resist singing along to, such as “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are The Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and, of course, “We Will Rock You.” It’s the world champion of musicals and the show that rocks harder than any other, so don’t miss the party – book your tickets now!
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake, April 27 – One of Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballets, Swan Lake symbolizes more than 100 years of tradition and some of the most revered roles in classical ballet. In a performance of emotional intensity and technical mastery, the ballerina captures the essence of both eternal love and deception in the coveted dual role of Odette and Odile. Swan Lake will be performed by one of the most exciting ballet companies in the United States. Under the direction of Terrence S. Orr, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has built a legacy of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1969. Its eclectic style and irrepressible energy can be seen through more than 50 performances annually at home and on tour.
Cirque Dreams Rocks, May 17, 18 – Cirque Dreams Rocks is the newest musical stage spectacle from Cirque Dreams and the mind of Neil Goldberg, creator of the groundbreaking Broadway hit Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy and the famed Cirque Dreams entertainment brand. This one-of a kind variety show unites generations through a mash-up of celebrated pop and rock tunes that will entertain family audiences of all ages. Cirque Dreams daring aerialists, gravity defying balancers, powerful strongmen and an array of edgy awe-inspiring acts are accompanied by a hip dance crew, cool singers and a jammin’ band performing over 20-chart topping hits live on stage. Audiences will enjoy “Call Me Irresponsible,” “King of the Road,” “The Heat is On,” “Like a Prayer” and “Rapper’s Delight,” just to name a few.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, June 5 – Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of over 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song.
Series subscription packages are on sale now at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center box offices or by calling 304-293-SHOW (7469). All performances are held in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre of the WVU Creative Arts Center.
Ticket prices vary by event. Series ticket prices include sales tax and/or box office fees. Packages begin with a minimum of four events. Current season subscribers must subscribe by August 16 to keep their seating priority from last season.
The University Art Series is produced by WVU Arts & Entertainment. For tickets and subscription information, call 304-293-SHOW or visit us online at events.wvu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/wvuevents and Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/wvuevents.
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