The Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS) and the New Orleans Opera Association (NOOA) announced their 2013-2014 schedules. JPAS opens its season Sept. 20 with Blueberry Hill, an original musical production by Butch Caire celebrating classic New Orleans R&B with songs by Fats Domino, Irma Thomas and Ernie K-Doe. Many JPAS shows run in Jefferson Parish and on the Northshore. Visit the website for details. The opera association opens its season with Marschner's The Vampire (Der Vampyr). Opera productions are at the Mahalia Jackson Theater except for Noah's Flood, which is at Trinity Episcopal Church. The schedules are as follows:
Sept. 20-Oct. 20 Blueberry Hill
Oct. 11 Pasta and Puccini fundraising gala
Oct. 18-Nov. 17 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Nov. 22-Dec. 22 A Tuna Christmas
Dec. 21-22 Ballet Hysell's The Nutcracker
Jan. 24-Feb. 23, 2014 Murder at Cafe Noir
March 7-April 6 The Perfect Wedding
JPAS shows by and for young audiences
Nov. 1-10 Little Shop of Horrors
Dec. 6-8 School House Rock Live! Jr.
Feb. 14-16, 2014 Willy Wonka Jr.
March 21-30, 2014 Grease
Oct. 11 & 13 The Vampire
Nov. 17 Noah's Flood (at Trinity Episcopal Church)
Feb. 14 & 16 Cinderella
April 4 & 6 La Boheme
ACE Theatrical Group announced an impressive lineup of concerts, musicals, comedians and more for the Saenger Theatre, which reopens Sept. 28 with two performances by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The official opening gala is Oct. 5 and features Kristin Chenoweth and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Other performances include A Prairie Home Companion starring Garrison Keillor, Book of Mormon, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Bill Maher, Bonnie Raitt and Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker.
The theater is nearing completion of $52 million in renovations.
Schedule of events after the jump.
The Marigny Opera House (725 St. Ferdinand St.) is home to Press Street’s 2012 Draw-a-thon, which goes from 6:30 a.m. Saturday to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 1-2. The event is free and open to the public and there are presentations and prompts scheduled round the clock to keep the creative juices flowing. More on the Draw-a-thon here.
To host the event, owner Dave Hurlbert had to get a special permit from the city to use the space for a public event. When Hurlbert and partner Scott King bought the deconsecrated former church in August 2011, they had been looking for a warehouse space to put Hurlbert’s grand piano, a restored 1906 Steinway, and use as a large office. Hurlbert hadn’t thought about using the former church as a public events space until New Orleans Fringe Festival director Kristen Evans approached him about using it for the Fringe last year. After the festival and some other events, a neighbor complained and the New Orleans Fire Department disallowed further public events without appropriate city fire and safety permits.
“I didn’t think there’d be trouble,” he says. “It was all acoustic music and it ended by 10 p.m.”
Evans went to City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer to get a special permit for the 2012 festival. Since Hurlbert has now attained a couple of special permits for arts and theater events, he hopes he can continue to get them for future projects at the Marigny Opera House. He’s already supporting new art and theater projects through his private uses.
The University of New Orleans graduate program in arts administration is conducting a survey of local interest in performing arts events. Several local arts organizations, including Southern Rep, the New Orleans Opera Association, New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Fringe Festival and the New Orleans Arts Council, helped develop the survey. Results will be shared with the public.
The online survey is here. Responses are confidential.
“Bring me the big knife; I’m gonna cut my throat!”*
Several nights ago, as we walked in a chilly, blowing drizzle across the street from the Metropolitan Opera, I stopped, even as the crosswalk sign suggested we proceed.
“What are you doing?” asked George Rodrigue, as I explained that I saw Cher in my head, breathtaking, emerging from a New York City taxi to meet Nicholas Cage after sighing that morning, “Where’s the Met?”
“I love two things,” he said (the ‘he’ in my head is George or Cage; take your pick). “I love you, and I love the Opera. If I can have the two things that I love together for one night, I will be satisfied to give up, oh God, the rest of my life.”
The surrealism intensified as we entered the theatre. As the chandeliers ascended into the ceiling, I imagined that I sat in her seat and experienced the Opera for the first time, despite my Viennese immersion during a study abroad program years ago.
“I know!” exclaimed Cher, still in my head at intermission. “I mean, she was coughing her brains out, and still she had to keep singing!”
As Madame Butterfly sings good-bye to her son, portrayed by a Bunraku puppet and three masterful puppeteers, she lifts the knife to her own throat, stabbing herself with both the blade and the pain of love betrayed. The tears covered my face, and I was Cher again, as Mimi and Rodolfo (Puccini's La bohéme) sing of their passionate love, despite Mimi’s wretched illness as she dies of consumption.
Orleans Parish children between the ages of 6 and 18 can sign up for free dance classes this summer through the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance operated by the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC). The center has offered free dance classes since 1992.
The classes run from June 13 through July 22 and require advance registration. Positions in classes are granted on a first-come-first-served basis, and class times are assigned on the basis of age and proficiency level. Registrants must bring proof of address and family income.
Uniforms for the classes for girls are a black leotard, pink tights and pink ballet slippers. Boys will wear black tights, a fitted white T-shirt, dance belt and black ballet slippers. No baggy sweat pants will be allowed. Children who cannot afford the outfits should talk to their instructor; NOBA has limited numbers of mostly tights and shoes available.
Registration dates and places are below the jump :
It occurred to me as I listened to Sir James Galway (b. 1939) and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra during their performance Saturday night at the Mahalia Jackson Theater that I almost lost this accessible escape. Today, our computerized society tugs at us, leaving little time without interruption. A concert, at least for me, is one of the few experiences that commands an effortless mindfulness, existing without the threat of a waiting message or pressing conversation.
As the perfected tone of Galway’s breath on his golden flute darted like a dragonfly* throughout the concert hall, I scanned the rows and noticed young and old, all of us abandoning cell phones and computers. A petite Irish knight, a veritable leprechaun, brought us together and stunned us with his technical prowess in a contemporary work by William Bolcom (b. 1938) and enchanted us with Danny Boy, a piece by Galway’s favorite composer, ‘Traditional.’
“Pray for Japan, for your country, for your family,” he told us. “And pray with your eyes open. The Bible says nothing about closing one’s eyes. It says ‘watch and pray.’”
I recall specifically the first time a song moved me to such a degree that I retained the echo in my mind for years, revisiting it still today as needed. Puccini’s Chi il bel sogno di doretto as sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, launched my still-novice interest in classical music and an on-going passion for opera.
Paulsen to Bonaparte: "The jig is up!" You won't find it online, but at the end of this week's morning missive, WWL-TV's esteemed senior anchor (Hi Eric!) admitted he, um, actually reads these things:
10 p.m. Saturday, Blue Nile
6 p.m. Saturday, Antenna Gallery
Dance With a Stranger
2 p.m. Sunday, New Orleans-Birmingham Psychoanalytic Center
8 p.m. Friday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Closes Friday, Jazz & Heritage Gallery
Closes Sunday, New Orleans Photo Alliance
I probably should be blogging about former New Orleanian David Bologna, the 13-year-old whippersnapper nominated for his role in Billy Elliot. But no. This Tonys blog has absolutely nothing to do with New Orleans, except that with hurricane season starting and the mercury about to top out, perhaps we can all use a good belly laugh. And this is most certainly that.
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And that's why we call it home baby
Yah you right.
Only in New Orleans.