University Arts Series Announced for the 2009-2010 Season


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The 18-event series promises a little something for everyone, including performances by noted musicians Brian Wilson, Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, and Pat Metheny. Concerts by Kathy Mattea, the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra, The Ten Tenors, and “RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles" are also on tap. For the musical lovers, the University Arts Series offers the national tours of “Jesus Christ Superstar, “ “Avenue Q, “ “Camelot and The Drowsy Chaperone." The series also includes performances for the entire family: the extraordinary Celtic dance event, The StepCrew, and the national tour of “Annie." These are just a handful of the many incredible performances that are part of the University Arts Series this season. All events will take place at the WVU Creative Arts Center.

Subscription packages begin with four events and may be purchased in person at the Mountainlair Box Office, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by phone at 304-293-SHOW ( 7469 ). Subscribers can create their own package from the 18 events offered.

Loggins and Messina will kick off the University Arts Series on Sept. 20 with a widely anticipated tour that harkens back to their days of “Sittin' In." As the most successful duo of the '70s, Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina have recorded some of the most timeless and classic songs of the past few decades, including “Danny's Song, “ “Angry Eyes, “ “House at Pooh Corner" and “Vahevala."

“RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles" returns to the University Arts Series with two spectacular shows on Oct. 3. “RAIN" boasts an extensive song list of Beatles favorites, ranging from beloved ballads like “Let It Be" and “Hey Jude" to classic hits including “Revolution, “ “Come Together" and “Can't Buy Me Love."

West Virginia native Kathy Mattea is the beloved Grammy-winning singer of such classics as “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses" and “Where've You Been." Mattea's music combines elements of folk, bluegrass, gospel and singer/songwriter intimacy. Her newest album, Coal, is a collection of mining songs that digs into Appalachia's heart in what Mattea describes as a tribute to “my place and my people." This concert promises an exceptional view of the American musical landscape through the eyes of a world-class singer and performer. The concert is set for Oct. 11.

One of history's greatest love stories will come to the Creative Arts Center Oct. 27 with Lerner and Loewe's timeless masterpiece, “Camelot." A sumptuous tale set in a land where honor and chivalry reign,

“Camelot" follows the love triangle of King Arthur, his Queen Guenevere and the young Lancelot. With one of Broadway's most enchanting scores, featuring the hauntingly romantic, “If Ever I Would Leave You, “ “I Loved You Once in Silence, “ and “Follow Me, “ “Camelot" is the definitive musical theatre fable.

November brings one of the most influential and most respected pop composers of the last half-century to town, when the legendary co-founder of the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, performs at the Creative Arts Center. Wilson's youthful, escapist anthems, including “I Get Around, “ “California Girls, “ “God Only Knows, “ and “Good Vibrations, “ helped the Beach Boys become an integral part of the fabric of American pop culture. This concert is set for Nov. 1.

With a cast of seven outstanding dancers, three of which are the genre's most talented fiddle players, and backed by an amazing five-piece band, The StepCrew seamlessly transitions from modern interpretations of traditional Celtic music and dance to completely original musical compositions and choreography. Featuring former Chieftans and Bowfire dancers, the troupe takes Celtic dance to new heights with this electrifying new performance, coming to town on Nov. 5.

Back by popular demand, The Ten Tenors return to the University Arts Series with a brand new show. Throughout the last decade, the group has been winning hearts around the world with their unmistakable charm, camaraderie and vocal prowess in opera, pop, rock and more. From arias to ABBA, The Ten Tenors' unique musical style is an unparalleled fusion of artistry, musicianship, and comedy. The performance is set for Nov. 13.

November also brings a Tony Award-winning musical of a different kind with “Avenue Q." A hilarious show full of heart and hummable tunes, “Avenue Q" is about trying to make it in NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account. Called “one of the funniest shows you're ever likely to see" by Entertainment Weekly, “Avenue Q" features a cast of people and puppets who tell the story in a smart, risqu and downright entertaining way. The New Yorker calls it “subversive and uproarious." Recommended for mature audiences. The show is Nov. 15.

The national tour of America's most beloved musical, “Annie, “ will return to the Creative Arts Center on Dec. 9. The timeless tale of Little Orphan Annie is giving a whole new generation the chance to experience this classic musical about never giving up hope. Complete with one of Broadway's most memorable scores, including the ever-optimistic “Tomorrow, “ “Annie" is a delightful experience for the entire family.

“The Drowsy Chaperone, “ a five-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy, kicks off the New Year on Jan. 13. The drama begins when a modern day musical theater addict plays his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called “The Drowsy Chaperone, “ and the show magically bursts to life. This performance speaks to anyone who has ever been transported by the aura of the theater. Critics call it “irresistible" and a “loving homage to the charm and magic of old-style musical theatre."

Also in January is a unique and visually stunning showcase of opera, dance and music called “The Opera Show." With four vocalists, five dancers and eight musicians, the show is anchored by a collection of well known arias from such beloved operas as “Carmen, “ “The Magic Flute, “ and “The Barber of Seville." The arias are presented outside their narrative context, but inside a series of visual allegories that burst forth onto the stage like an exceptionally vivid dream. This enchanting show will delight both opera enthusiasts and newcomers alike with its dazzling choreography and sublime performances. The show is on Jan. 20.

February brings the charming and witty Garrison Keillor to town. Performing on Feb. 7, Keillor will delight the audience with tales from “Lake Wobegon, “ his musings about life in the American Midwest and excerpts from his widely popular radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion."

One of the most beloved tales of true love will grace the stage on Feb. 15 when the critically acclaimed Acting Company wows audiences with a sensational production of William Shakespeare's “Romeo & Juliet." The Acting Company has garnered national praise for its work on over 130 productions of great classics and has given some of this generation's finest actors, including Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone and Jesse L. Martin, the opportunity to master their craft. This performance of the infamous tragic love story will surely be one you don't want to miss.

Rounding out the month of February is the fantastic international dance company, The Israel Ballet. Performing the great classical ballet, “Don Quixote" on Feb. 22, the company returns to the U.S. for the first time in 25 years. Today, “Don Quixote" is considered one of the most joyous and festive of the classical ballets, brimming with spectacular virtuoso dancing. The superb choreography, beautiful costumes, and enchanting music are garnering immense praise from audiences everywhere.

On March 8, the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Hobart Earle, will present Viennese fare, in a concert format that has become extremely popular a symphony, waltzes, marches and polkas and Johann Strauss after intermission. Earle, the only foreigner to be awarded the title of Distinguished Artist.

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