New season begins this summer at GSU Center for Performing Arts

2013-06-30T00:00:00Z New season begins this summer at GSU Center for Performing ArtsFor The Times nwitimes.com
June 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

UNIVERSITY PARK | The 19th season at Governors State University Center for Performing Arts opens in July.

During its 2013-2014 season, GSU Center will again bring the best in performing arts to the Chicago Southland region in a world-class theater that is affordable, accessible – and where parking is always free.

GSU Center favorites like Ailey II, Opera Up Close, and the Salt Creek Ballet Nutcracker return this year. One More Night, featuring the best in Chicago live performance, is back with four lively shows. Trumpet virtuoso Orbert Davis, a smash hit at a concert earlier this year, will commemorate Mardi Gras onstage in a show that should not be missed. "The Miracle Worker," from Montana Repertory Theater, tells the moving story of Helen Keller. Family shows will tell the well-loved tales of "The Ugly Duckling," "Johnny Appleseed," and "Beauty and the Beast." Musician Jim Witter is back onstage at GSU with a collection of mega-hits by Lennon and McCartney.

GSU Center is located on the campus of Governors State University, 1 University Parkway. To purchase tickets, or for further information, contact the box office at www.centertickets.net or (708) 235-2222.

One More Night is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust. Other 2013-2014 sponsors include the Illinois Arts Council, First Midwest Bank, and Arts Midwest Touring Fund.

The season gets off to a rousing start with the musical "Hair" on July 27 and 28, and Aug. 3 and 4. Experience the show that ignited a generation as it awakens from its bell-bottomed, tie-dyed time capsule to bring its message of freedom, peace and love to the 21st century. "Hair" is presented by SLATE, the Southland Area Theatre Ensemble.

Lyric Opera Preview, at 4 p.m. Sept. 22 is the first of three Opera Up Close shows during this season. New singers from Lyric Opera will bring selections from “La Traviata,” “Otello,” “Madama Butterfly,” “La Clemenza di Tito,” “Die Fledermaus,” “The Barber of Seville,” and more, to life.

Take a memorable trip with piano powerhouse Jim Witter at The Long and Winding Road, featuring the songs of Lennon and McCartney, at 8 p.m. Sept. 28. This multimedia presentation includes more than 30 hits, including “A Hard Day's Night,” “Hey Jude,” “Blackbird,” “Yesterday,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Penny Lane,” and Witter’s favorite, the “Abbey Road” medley.

Flamenco Passion – The Chiara Mangiameli Ensemble will bring searing energy to GSU Center at 8 p.m. Oct. 12 in the first One More Night show. Take an emotional journey through the musical landscape of Spain with Chicago's best flamenco and world music talent and guest singer Alfonso Cid. A sampling of food and wine native to the region will be offered one hour prior to the show, along with a discussion on the cultural history of Spanish flamenco.

Ailey II brings its magnificent dance to Southland audiences at 8 p.m. Oct. 25. Ailey II merges the spirit and energy of the most talented young dancers with the passion and creative vision of today’s emerging choreographers. See why the New York Times says, “The future is theirs.”

"Johnny Appleseed," at 2 p.m. Nov. 3 is perfect family entertainment. This energetic, funny frontier musical about the legendary folk hero who planted apple orchards throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois is part rollicking adventure, part inspiring history, and 100 percent All-American.

Chicago Live! returns to the GSU Center stage at 7 p.m. Nov. 14. Presented by the Chicago Tribune and the legendary Second City comedy troupe, Chicago Live! brings reporters, newsmakers, artists, and entertainers together in a radio variety show format.

A holiday tradition continues on Dec. 7, when "The Nutcracker," presented by Salt Creek Ballet, returns for two shows at 1 and 5 p.m. This timeless, magical tale of young Clara and her holiday journey features talented dancers and Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score — along with waltzing flowers, giant mice, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Two original works, "HAIR Crownicles" and "SUGAR Funk: Defining Images of SELF," at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 comprise the next One More Night offering. This production examines the issue of women’s body image. HAIR Crownicles explores the expectations of black women, peer pressure, and cultural identity associated with hair. In SUGAR Funk, Penelope Walker shares her struggle with diabetes. A panel discussion will explore the juxtaposition of these seemingly distinctive issues that equally impact women’s sense of self.

"Love and Marriage," at 4 p.m. Feb. 9 is the next Opera Up Close presentation. Two married couples explore the passions, tumult and ultimate joy of marriage. You'll be up close and personal as four opera singers deliver arias and songs inspired by romance, jealousy, hate, and timeless love.

Lightwire Theater’s "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Tortoise and the Hare" at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 is a wonderful entry in GSU Center’s Family Fun series. Lightwire Theater, a finalist in NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” brings these beloved tales into a new and brilliant light through the use of cutting-edge technology, poignant choreography, and music ranging from classical to jazz to pop. Recommended for children 4 and up.

"The Miracle Worker," presented by Montana Repertory Theater at 8 p.m. March 21 is a stirring portrayal of Helen Keller, deaf and blind since infancy, and her gifted tutor. This warm, heartfelt show reminds us that triumph over disabilities and unbelievable odds is possible through perseverance and love.

"An Afternoon of One Acts," at 4 p.m. March 30 is the finale in the 2013-2014 Opera Up Close series. This musical tour de force features “The Telephone” by Gian Carlo Menotti, “A Hand of Bridge” by Samuel Barber, and “The Old Maid and the Thief” by Menotti.

Master trumpeter Orbert Davis celebrates the rich musical culture of New Orleans with Mardi Gras Carnival at 8 p.m. March 1. Davis and the 15-piece Chicago Jazz Philharmonic will bring the sounds of the world’s best street festival to life with jazz, blues, funeral processions, Mardi Gras Indian music, brass bands, and more.

TEATRO LUNA’s "Generation SEX," at 8 p.m. April 11 is the third One More Night show. From sexting to Skype to online dating, the five Latina Ladies of Luna guide you through finding love and satisfaction in the digital age. Generation Sex is presented in English with a sprinkle of Spanish.

Dee Alexander in Concert, at 8 p.m. April 26 is the final One More Night show. Alexander, selected as Chicago’s Best Singer by Chicago Magazine, celebrates the music of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Nina Simone, and Dinah Washington, highlighting her versatility as a jazz, gospel, soul, and world music vocalist. She will be accompanied by the Evolution Ensemble Orchestra. Join us for a pre-show lecture, “What is This Thing Called Jazz?” curated by the Chicago Jazz Institute, which will preview its 2014 jazz festivals.

"Beauty and the Beast," at 2 p.m. May 4 is an award-winning musical from American Family Theater. This classic tale, suitable for the entire family, tells the story of Beauty’s adventures at the castle of the Beast, leading to the magical moment when the Beast becomes a man.

Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts at GSU Center. Patrons who select three 2013-2014 shows are eligible for 15 percent discounts. Patrons who select four or more shows are eligible for 20 percent discounts. (Savings are not available online.) By purchasing tickets for three or more shows, you receive priority seating, discounted prices on additional tickets purchased throughout the season, and ticket protection that ensures exchange privileges on tickets purchased 72 hours prior to shows.

The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and two hours prior to performances. For further information, contact the box office at www.centertickets.net or (708) 235-2222.

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