Tickets go on sale Dec. 1
For its fifth season, the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center will present what is becoming a trademark for the young and artistically ambitious center: a season of surprising breadth, featuring artists who are among the most accomplished professionals in theater, movement and music.
The season begins on Dec. 27 and 28 with one of the biggest names on Broadway—Audra McDonald. McDonald, who has won a record-setting six Tony Awards, is joined on stage by fellow Broadway stars Vanessa Williams, Jessie Mueller and Abby Mueller in a Concert for America event.
Started by husbands Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley of the SiriusXM radio program “On Broadway,” Concert for America is a touring production that benefits five national charities. For the program itself, each performer will sing hit songs from their successful careers on Broadway and beyond.
“Getting stars of this caliber on our stage is just mind-blowing,” says WMPAC Executive Director John Zirkle. It is possible, Zirkle said, because the stars want to support the mission of Concert for America—raising funds for human rights, civil rights and the environment. The combination of stars and causes works for audiences too, Zirkle added. “Concert for America sells out because people are so excited about the performances and the purpose of this show.”
The Broadway-themed start to the season will be followed by—more Broadway. Two original theater productions and several more Tony winners and nominees will take the WMPAC stage. Michele Pawk and David Alford (from ABC’s hit television show “Nashville”) will appear in the world-premiere of “Levity,” a play developed during WMPAC’s summer acting workshop that will run Jan. 19 through Jan. 21.
A month later, from Feb. 16 to 18, WMPAC will premiere its first-ever professional musical, “[title of show].” No, that’s not a typo, Zirkle explained. That’s actually the name of the show, a production The New York Times hailed as “genial, unpretentious and far funnier than many of the more expensively manufactured musicals that make it to Broadway these days.”
Both shows mark WMPAC’s continuing commitment to developing new work, Zirkle said. “Producing our own shows is the next logical step for a theater like WMPAC, and we’ve seen how well our audiences respond to this effort.”
In addition to theater, the movement arts have also been a focus of WMPAC, and this effort continues with three high-energy programs, all geared toward family audiences throughout the season.These offerings feature world-class juggler and comedian Mark Nizer on Jan. 6, the astounding mind and body athleticism of the James Sewell Ballet accompanied by the accomplished Ahn Trio on March 10, and the fiery footwork of a troupe of Argentinean gauchos, formally known as Che Malambo, on March 31.
Finally, music aficionados know that WMPAC’s signature events always include artists internationally recognized for pushing their art in new and different ways. Cantus, an a cappella group renowned for its trademark warmth and innovative programming, performs on Jan. 13, followed by legendary double-bass player of bluegrass fame Edgar Meyer on March 3.
The modern music collective wild Up rounds out the listening experience on Feb. 3. Zirkle said the group will impress listeners with an auditory experience that pushes the boundaries of instrumental music with an adventurous, thought-provoking performance that leaves audiences with a totally new perspective on what “chamber music” really means.
“I think the word for this season is ‘excitement,’” Zirkle said. “There’s the excitement of the new, the excitement of intensity and excellence, and, I think, the excitement of anticipation. There’s a lot to look forward to this winter.”
Tickets for all season events go on sale Dec. 1 at warrenmillerpac.org.