West Virginia University Arts & Entertainment has announced the 2015-16 University Toyota University Arts Series. The season includes 12 events representing an eclectic mix of performing arts options, including a performance by comedian Craig Ferguson, the holiday spectacular Cirque Dreams Holidaze, an all-new production of the Broadway favorite “Ragtime” and the return of Blue Man Group. All series performances will be held in the Lyell B. Clay Theatre at the WVU Creative Arts Center.
The series line-up includes:
Craig Ferguson — Monday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Ferguson’s time at the helm of CBS’s “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” set all-time viewer records. Also an accomplished actor, Ferguson recently reprised his character Gobber in “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and he also hosts the syndicated game show “Celebrity Name Game.” Ferguson has three widely acclaimed stand-up specials to his credit: “A Wee Bit O’ Revolution,” “Does This Need to Be Said” and “I’m Here to Help” — based on his Grammy-nominated album of the same name. His performance in Morgantown is part of his New Deal Tour.
Ragtime — Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
“Ragtime” returns to the road in an all-new touring production directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge and produced by the team that most recently brought you “The Addams Family,” “Spamalot” and “The Color Purple.” Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, “Ragtime” weaves together the stories of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician — united by their desire for and belief in a brighter future. Their compelling stories are set to theater’s richest and most glorious Tony Award-winning score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker — Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
“The Great Russian Nutcracker” features exquisite artistry performed by the world-class Russian dancers of the Moscow Ballet. Moscow Ballet is the only internationally touring ballet group to perform to critical acclaim in more than 75 North American cities annually. The renowned, award-winning principal dancers and corps de ballet will thrill the audience with their expertise, dramatic expression, and their stunning leaps, turns and drops — all set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze — Wednesday and Thursday — Dec. 9 & 10 at 7:30 p.m.
This new cirque show is part Broadway musical and part Christmas spectacular. The show features more than 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 artists from every corner of the globe. The gravity-defying feats, elaborate production numbers, imaginative costumes, and illusions you’ve come to expect from Cirque Dreams will be performed by snowmen, penguins, angels and toy soldiers. Even Santa will make an appearance. The show also celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, original music and seasonal favorites all performed in a winter wonderland.
Mountain Stage with Larry Groce — Sunday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is a two-hour radio show produced in West Virginia and distributed by National Public Radio weekly on more than 150 stations across America and around the world via NPR Music and mountainstage.org. The show, which is recorded before a live audience, features performances by seasoned legends and emerging stars in genres ranging from folk, blues and country to indie rock, synth pop, world and alternative music, and beyond. Singer/songwriter Larry Groce serves as the show’s host, artistic director and co-producer. While Mountain Stage is based in Charleston, Morgantown has been the show’s second home for more than a decade.
The Bria Skonberg Quintet — Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
The Bria Skonberg Quintet is a powerhouse combination of emerging talent in the New York jazz scene. Leader Bria Skonberg is a triple threat musician—an award-winning trumpeter, vocalist and composer. The Wall Street Journal proclaims that she is “poised to be one of most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation.” Skonberg demonstrates a dedication to jazz tradition but her wide range of influences (swing, reggae, soft rock, pop, classical and gospel) are all impacting her personal style that is rooted in hot jazz, world percussion, soul and modern effects.
Once — Monday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
“Once” features an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments on stage while telling the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, “Once” draws you in from the very first note and never lets go. This production earned eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Flashdance — Sunday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m.
With electrifying dance at its core, “Flashdance–The Musical” tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a club dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. When romance with her steel mill boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, Alex learns the meaning of love and its power to fuel the pursuit of her dream. This production features a score that includes the biggest hit songs from the movie, including the Academy Award-winning title song “Flashdance – What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “Manhunt” and “I Love Rock & Roll.”
The Wheeling Jamboree — Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Since its 1933 premiere, The Wheeling Jamboree has been a byword for country music — bringing music from the heart of America to America’s heart. The University Arts Series and the College of Creative Arts’ Music Industry Program have collaborated to bring the 83rd anniversary celebration of The Wheeling Jamboree’s first stage presentation to the Lyell B. Clay Theatre. This special anniversary performance will feature the Jamboree’s patriarch Darnell Miller, WVU’s Mon Hills Records recording artist Steve Smith, Andrea Call, The Wheeling Jamboree house band and the WVU Bluegrass Band.
Straight No Chaser — Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m.
A cappella group Straight No Chaser has emerged as a phenomenon with a massive fanbase and numerous national TV appearances. Their “New Old Fashioned Tour” comes to Morgantown on the heels of the release of their new album of the same name available this month. “The New Old Fashioned” is their fifth release through Atlantic Records and features an eclectic array of songs that explore multiple influential musical eras highlighted by signature and singularly unique medleys. Straight No Chaser’s captivating sound — the combination of ten unadulterated human voices coming together to make extraordinary music — is moving people in a fundamental sense. On the road, Straight No Chaser has built a reputation as an unforgettable live act.
The Illusionists — Wednesday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m & 8:30 p.m.
The world’s bestselling magic show is coming to the WVU Creative Arts Center stage. This mind-blowing spectacular showcases the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth. “The Illusionists — Live From Broadway” has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on stage. This non-stop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions.
Blue Man Group — Thursday, May 5
Blue Man Group is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine comedy, music, and technology to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The New York Times heralds the show as “one of the most delightful performance pieces ever staged.” The Baltimore Sun raves, “Blue Man Group packs a wallop. It’s a big, loud, funny, silly, visually arresting production!”
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 three events. Additional details and subscription order forms are available for download at events.wvu.edu.
The University Toyota University Arts Series is produced by WVU Arts & Entertainment. For tickets and subscription information, call 304-293-SHOW or visit us online at events.wvu.edu. Stay connected with the latest event updates through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following @wvuevents.
CONTACT: Kristie Stewart-Gale, Arts & Entertainment
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