Several themes are evident in the newly announced UApresents 2013-2014 season, with more shows being offered in the Tucson community and many presentations geared toward young adults and families.
As always, the calendar is full of a diverse range of nationally and internationally known performers and artists, with some having selected the University of Arizona campus as one of only a few locations for touring appearances in the coming year.
Also, Broadway in Tucson, which recently unveiled its new season, announced it will be moving to Centennial Hall and will present, among other events, "Sister Act," "The Wizard of Oz" and Green Day's two-time Tony Award-winning "American Idiot," a co-presentation with UApresents.
UApresents, the UA's professional performing arts presenter, will open its next season on Sept. 7 with powerhouse rock vocalist Melissa Etheridge.
"We have seen a tradition in recent years that the season begins with a strong female vocalist," UApresents executive director Chuck Tennes said during the April 30 unveiling of the season at Centennial Hall. "I think it's going to be a great opening."
Also performing during the new season is acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming, who won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo. She will perform at Centennial Hall on May 4, 2014.
In addition to performances at Centennial Hall, UApresents will host a number of performances off campus at the Rialto Theatre, Fox Theatre, Club Congress and Reid Park.
Some of the other artists and performers include:
- Oct. 19: Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Dizzy Gillespie protégé, returns to the Fox Tucson Theatre.
- Oct. 20: During Cesar Millan Live!, Cesar Milan, host of National Geographic's "Dog Whisperer" series, will perform demonstrations with one of his dogs. He will donate $1 for every ticket sold to the Cesar Millan Foundation.
- Nov. 2: The UA School of Dance's "Premium Blend" will be presented, celebrating 10 years of dance at UA's Stevie Eller Dance Theatre.
- Nov. 9: Diavolo Dance Theater marks its return to Centennial Hall with two signature works.
- Jan. 18, 2014: Compagnie Kafig, a French-based hip-hop company featuring Brazilian dancers, is making its Tucson debut, performing at Centennial Hall.
- Feb. 1, 2014: The dance series includes a performance by the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, which Tennes describes as "the most important American dance company that has never been to Tucson."
- Feb. 9, 2014: Making his solo Tucson debut, mandolin virtuoso, composer and vocalist Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers will appear at Crowder Hall.
- Feb. 22, 2014: Another highlight of the classical series will be a performance of the luminous work "Quartet for the End of Time," originally composed and premiered in a prisoner of war camp.
- March 23, 2014: The Joffrey Ballet will perform a program entitled "American Legends." It was the first dance company to perform at the White House, having been invited by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
In addition, as part of the classical series, superstar pianist Lang Lang, whose UApresents performance was cancelled last season due to hurricane Sandy, will perform Oct. 22.
"I can confidently tell you that his performance will be better than it would have been last year," Tennes said, noting that UApresents was able to purchase a Steinway grand piano thanks to a donation from theMargaret E. Mooney Foundation.
In the new season, family-friendly offerings are especially strong.
The Zoppé Family Circus returns for a third consecutive year in January 2014 with six performances. The circus coincides with the UApresents sixth annual Children's Festival, which will be held Jan. 11, 2014.
Also, animal expert Jungle Jack Hanna will bring nearly 30 animals to the Centennial Hall stage Jan. 26, 2014.
And for the Bahia Youth Orchestra classical event, UApresents is offering patrons under the age of 18 the opportunity to attend free with the purchase of one adult ticket. Youth seats will be available until UApresents reaches capacity for the Feb. 7, 2014 performance.
UApresents' "An Evening With…" series will include a variety of artists, including Bobby McFerrin with a program of spirituals and American balladeer Michael Feinstein, who will reflect on his work with Ira Gershwin on April 27, 2014.
This season, the jazz series features tributes to Ella Fitzgerald with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Ramsey Lewis and his trio and John Pizzarelli – who received raves from audience members last season – will pay homage to Nat King Cole.
Audiences also will be introduced to Jonathan Batiste, who has appeared at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, and his Stay Human Band for a series of shows to be held in November at Club Congress in downtown Tucson. Only 99 seats and 26 standing room spots will be sold for each show. "It is likely that this will be our first sell-out show this season," Tennes said.
In November, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra with conductor Keith Lockhart will make a rare appearance with a program featuring works by John Williams and George Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue."
The world music lineup includes: Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, featuring many of the original members; the only bhangra brass band in North America, Red Baraat, which makes its Tucson debut; French-Argentinian tango company Unión Tanguera presenting "Nuit Blanche;" Danú, which will bring the music of Ireland; and Soweto Gospel Choir, which will inspire with its uplifting and soulful harmonies.
UApresents will host school matinee performances for three shows at Centennial Hall for K-12 students: Jonathan Batiste, Compagnie Kafig and the Bahia Orchestra Project.
For the school matinee performances, tickets are $6 per student. UApresents' education and outreach programs, which include master classes, in-school performances and artist residencies, reach more than 15,000 annually.