Curtain Going Up!
Anticipation mounts as the performing arts season begins! What follows is a preview of some of the productions that promise to dazzle and delight you. Be sure to check Datebook every
month for the latest scoop.
Shakespeare famously mused, “What is in a name?” Well, if it’s known throughout the world, a lot! Get ready for the sort of monikers you might find on Chateau Marmont’s guest register, all in Tucson doing what they do best.
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, replete with performers who are respected throughout the classical music world, brings in guest artists whose shining reputations precede them. Among the stars slated to perform with the TSO are legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman (Jan. 14, 2014); captivating young pianist Gabriela Martinez (Dec. 6 & 8, 2013); iconic singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka (March 15, 2014); and Tony and Grammy-nominated Broadway vocalist Michael Cavanaugh (Jan. 25-26, 2014).
Count on UApresents to have an eclectic group of performers on its roster, including some people you’ve likely seen on TV numerous times. Michael Feinstein, one Invisible Theatre presents not only several world and Southwest premieres, but also brings in a mix of names that you won’t see elsewhere in town. Be sure to catch Sandy Hackett — son of actor/comedian Buddy Hackett — in My Buddy, a show about his dad (March 8-9, 2014). And film composer extraordinaire Brad Fiedel will perform Borrowed Time, a piece about his career, which includes the soundtracks to The Terminator, True Lies and The Accused, as well as a return to his musical roots. (Dec. 15, 2013).
Speaking of music, the “guitarist’s guitarist” Leo Kottke will perform an In Concert! show in his patented finger-picking style (Jan. 31, 2014).
Many famous names will be on the marquee of the Fox Tucson Theatre, including blues great Taj Mahal (Oct. 12, 2013); multi-genre performer Bruce Hornsby joining country royalty Ricky Skaggs (Oct. 20, 2013); and Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Vince Gill will headline the Chasing Rainbows Gala (Nov. 3, 2013).
It may be hard to contain your excitement with the array of exciting works slated to be performed throughout the musical arts season.
For 2013-14, the TSO has programmed everything from Kip Winger’s “Conversations with Nijinsky,” (Oct. 19-20, 2013) to Corigliano’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Jan. 17 and 19, 2014), to Wagner’s The Ring Without Words (April 4 and 6, 2014). Expect to hear the full power and beauty of the orchestra in works like Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust — with mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano (Feb. 14 and 16, 2014); and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 “The Great” (Jan. 11-12, 2014).
The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music will deliver excitement with the Fry Street Quartet playing Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” Quartet (Dec. 11, 2013); The Takács Quartet offering Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet (Jan. 15, 2014); and the Imani Winds teaming up with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott for Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds. And don’t miss the opportunity to hear Beatrice Rana, the Silver Medalist of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, who enthusiasts will recall played a stellar Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 in the finals. Her recital (April 13, 2014) will be no less thrilling.
At UApresents classical music is well represented, with a performance by premier pianist Lang Lang of works by Mozart and Chopin (Oct. 22, 2013); an eclectic collection of works awaits listeners at the Bahia Orchestra Project’s concert (Feb. 7, 2014), including Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Inon Barnatan, who wowed the audience with his piano playing last season at Centennial Hall with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, returns to perform works by Bach, Beethoven, Franck and Barber (Feb. 20. 2014). Olivier Messiaen’s moving Quartet for the End of Time — written and first performed while he was a prisoner in a WWII German concentration camp — will be played by a group including clarinetist David Krakauer and cellist Matt Haimovitz, along with pieces by Brahms and David Schiff (Feb. 27, 2014).
Set the Way Back Machine and step into the beautiful confines of St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church for concerts presented by the Arizona Early Music Society. Kicking off with the Aulos Ensemble re-creating “An Evening in the Home of J.S. Bach” (Oct. 6, 2013), the season also will feature Asteria covering “Medieval Love Songs” (Jan. 12, 2014) and the Flanders Recorder Quartet transports listeners to the baroque era for “Circa 1600: The Birth of Affect” (March 9, 2014).
Tucson Chamber Artists celebrates 10 years of orchestral and choral performances with concerts that will range from American Folk Songs and Spirituals (Oct. 11-13, 2013); to Mozart’s Mass in C Minor (Nov. 1-3, 2013); and Bach’s St. John Passion (Feb. 28, March 1-2, 2014).
Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra continues to program a full season of wonderful music, including Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 (Oct. 5-6, 2013); Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 (Feb. 15-16, 2014); and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (May 10-11, 2014).
Instrumental soloists take center stage for the Tucson Guitar Society, which brings in fret masters from around the world. Roland Dyens from France (Oct. 18, 2013), Grisha Goryachev from Russia (Nov. 15, 2013) and Rene Izquierdo from Cuba (Feb. 6, 2014) are some of the greats who will perform.
At UA School of Music and the Pima Community College School of Music, you can hear guest artists, faculty members, and students in recital from September through May. With low-cost or free concerts each month, these are opportunities you definitely want to take advantage of. See our monthly Datebook, and check http://cfa.arizona.edu/about-us/box-office and www.pima.edu/cfa for details.
Whether you attend the theater alone, with a date, or with your entourage, you expect to be transported to another world. Groups around town will be doing just that with intriguing plays that cover all bases.
Arizona Theatre Company has it all, from classics to camp to contemporary. Take a walk on the Wilde side with The Importance of Being Earnest (Sept. 14-Oct. 5, 2013); relive the fateful last hours of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in The Mountaintop (Oct. 19-Nov. 9, 2013); disco down to the sparkly splendor of Xanadu (Nov. 30-Dec.21, 2013); or sail away via Around the World in 80 Days (March 1-22, 2014). Also awaiting playgoers is the double-barreled drama of the fractured family story Other Desert Cities (Jan. 18-Feb. 8, 2014) and Venus in Fur (April 5-26, 2014), the provocative tale about a very peculiar audition.
The ever-reliable Invisible Theatre hits the comedy button with Miracle on South Division Street (Nov. 14-Dec. 1, 2013), and Olive and the Bitter Herbs (April 17-May 4, 2014), as well as tantalizes mystery lovers with Dead Guilty (Feb. 6-23, 2014).
The UA School of Theatre, Film & Television has a season loaded with classics, such as the long-running musical The Fantasticks (Oct. 20-Nov. 10, 2013); the Kaufman & Hart comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner (Nov. 10-Dec. 8, 2013); and an original play based on the book Flatland (Nov. 21-24, 2013). Also, look for Widescreen Wednesdays, a chance to view film adaptations of the plays performed by Arizona Repertory Theatre (Oct. 2, Oct. 30, Nov. 20, 2013), and What’s Up, Docs? (Dec. 11, 2013), documentary films made by the BA and BFA junior students at UA.
More unique performance experiences await at Beowulf Alley, which will stage contemporary works such as the skewering of Hollywood, The Little Dog Laughed (Nov. 8-24); the war drama/fantasy Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (April 4-20, 2014); and classics like the farce Tartuffe (March 14-30, 2014).
Likewise, Rogue Theatre will perform both time-honored works such as Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (Nov. 7-24, 2013) and an adaptation of Dante’s Purgatorio (April 24-May 11, 2014), as well as more modern pieces like Pinter’s tale of the outcomes of infidelity Betrayal (Feb. 27-March 16, 2014).
Live Theatre Workshop contributes both plays for the whole family, such as The Adventures of Rose Red (March 30-June 1, 2014), along with late-night edgier offerings in the Etcetera series, and thought-provoking dramas like Photograph 51, about the X-ray image that lead to the discovery of the structure of DNA (Feb. 20-March 22, 2014).
A world premiere, a local favorite, and other plays worth checking out are all on the schedule for Borderlands Theater, which opens its season with Grounded, about a female air force fighter pilot who finds herself operating drones (Sept. 26-Oct. 13, 2013). The seasonal favorite A Tucson Pastorela will return (Dec. 19-20, 2013), and expect sparks to fly during the dramas Maria’s Circular Dance and Trash, both performed in cooperation with el Circulo Teatral (Feb. 13-March 2, 2014).
Singing spans the range of emotions but if it’s done well, no matter what genre or style of the performance, it gets to us.
Amazing voices will be on display throughout the season, thanks to arts groups that include UApresents, where you can hear international opera star Renée Fleming (May 4, 2014), the Soweto Gospel Choir (April 18, 2014), and A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, featuring Kim Nazarian (March 1, 2014).
The TSO brings in The Midtown Men, the four stars of the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys, for an evening of music of the 1960s (Feb. 22-23, 2014).
Invisible Theatre rolls into the Berger Center with Robert Shaw in Good Rockin’ Live (Jan. 11-12, 2014), an evening dedicated to Sun Records legends such as Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley.
Arizona Opera brings out the big guns with a season that includes beloved works such as Gilbert & Sullivan’s charming HMS Pinafore (Oct. 19-20, 2013), Wagner’s haunting The Flying Dutchman (Nov. 23-24), Verdi’s beautiful La Traviata (March 8-9, 2014), and Donizetti’s sparkling Don Pasquale (April 26-27, 2014). And be sure to mark your calendars for both performances (Feb. 1-2, 2014) of Puccini’s most elegiac opera La Bohème, when the role of Mimi will be alternated by two extraordinary young sopranos — Corinne Winters and Danielle Pastin.
Broadway in Tucson offers something for every musical taste, including The Australian Bee Gees Show (Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2014), the musical comedy Sister Act, based on the hit Whoopi Goldberg film (Oct. 8-13, 2013), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s re-envisioning of The Wizard of Oz (Feb. 25-March 2, 2014), the true tale of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons Jersey Boys (June 17-22, 2014), the ABBA-inspired Mamma Mia! (Dec. 27-29, 2013), and Green Day’s American Idiot (Dec. 7-8, 2013). Fans of 1950s TV icons also will want to get tickets early for I Love Lucy Live on Stage (March 25-30, 2014).
Check the schedules, too, for the home-grown vocal groups, including Kids Unlimited (www.kustars.com); Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus (www.boyschorus.org); Tucson Girls Chorus (www.tucsongirlschorus.org); Arizona Repertory Singers (www.arsingers.org); Tucson Music Theatre (www.tucsonmusictheatre.org); Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus (www.southernarizonawomenschorus.org); Sons of Orpheus (www.sonsoforpheus.org); Reveille Men’s Chorus (www.reveillechorus.org); and Tucson Masterworks Chorale (www.tucsonmasterworkschorale.org).
There are no two ways about it: Tucson is dance crazy, as evidenced by the numerous places where you can take instruction around town, the world-class UA School of Dance, and the locally based groups that present dance recitals and programs.
If you aren’t already familiar with Ballet Tucson, get to know this group. Celebrating almost 30 years of performances, BT presents world premieres of new works, as well as much-loved pieces of every stripe. Check out their revival of a work based on Dracula (Oct. 11-13, 2013); enjoy a classic presentation of The Nutcracker (Dec. 14-15, 2013); see brand-new works during the Spring Concert (April 4-6, 2014); and end the season with B2, the troupe youth company, performing Act II from Swan Lake (May 17-18, 2014).
UApresents will be hosting some of the top dance troupes in the world, including Diavolo Dance Theater (Nov. 9, 2013), Unión Tanguera (Nov. 30, 2013), Compagnie Kafig (Jan. 18, 2014), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (Feb. 6, 2014), and The Joffrey Ballet (March 23, 2014). TSO hosts Hot!Hot!Hot!, a Latin-themed dance spectacular created by Grammy-winner Victor Vanacore (Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 2013).
Don’t overlook local troupes like ZUZI! Dance Company, which regularly shows off the skills of its teachers and students (www.zuzimoveit.org); O-T-O Dance, which specializes in aerial choreography (www.otodance.org); the young Flor de Liz Dance Ensemble (www.flordelizdance.com); and Tucson Regional Ballet, where you can experience a Southwest-themed Nutcracker with a live orchestra (www.tucsonregionalballet.org).
Music or film — whichever is your passion, there are annual local festivals that will thrill you.
The Loft Fest (at press time, Nov. 7-14), showcases the best of current films from various festivals, and honors outstanding individuals in the movie industry. Rub shoulders with celebs, see some unforgettable cinema, and support a local treasure. www.loftcinema.com.
The Tucson International Jewish Film Festival (Jan. 16-25, 2014) selects top recent films that have some relation to Jewish culture or history. Held at several locations around town, this is one of the winter’s most-anticipated arts events. www.tucsonjcc.org/arts/tucson-jewish-film-festival.
Movies with a local connection, as well as classics and new indie projects of all types, make up the program of the Arizona International Film Festival, now in its 23rd year. At press time, the dates were TBA, but it usually is held in April. www.filmfestivalarizona.com. Likewise, Tucson Terrorfest, the only exclusively horror-related festival in the city, has not yet announced the dates for its third outing, but October 2013 seems likely. Http://tucsonterrorfest.com.
The Winter Chamber Music Festival (March 16-23, 2014) is a dream come true for fans of the world’s greatest composers, interpreted by some of the best musicians of today. www.ArizonaChamberMusic.org.
New to the scene is the Tucson Desert Song Festival (Jan. 31-Feb. 15, 2014), now in its second year. Bringing together various local dance and music groups, this two-week exploration of the arts hits all the right notes. www.tucsondesertsongfestival.org.
The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association produces the annual Tucson Folk Music Festival (May 3-4, 2014), a wonderful opportunity for the community to gather and listen to local artists and internationally known acts. www.tkma.org.
It’s no surprise that with the depth of talent in this region that the Desert Bluegrass Festival (Oct. 25-27, 2013) is going strong after 14 years, with everything from concerts to workshops to vendors. www.desertbluegrass.org.
The Blues & Heritage Festival (Oct. 20, 2013) sets up shop at the historic Rillito Park Racetrack, offering a day full of activities for the whole family. www.azblues.org. TL