Performing Arts season features Avenue Q, Mamma Mia! and more

University Park, Pa. — The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State’s 2009–2010 season features an array of professional touring music, theater and dance presentations, including the State College debuts of the musical comedy Avenue Q and the hip-hop dance show Groovaloo, the return of Mamma Mia! and Stomp, banjoist Béla Fleck with guest musicians from Africa, Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Star Big Band, Brazil’s Orquestra de São Paulo with percussion soloist Evelyn Glennie, Martha Graham Dance Company in the evening-length Clytemnestra, Kronos Quartet and the family musical A Year with Frog and Toad.

Tickets for the 26 events that run from September through April at Eisenhower and Schwab auditoriums on the University Park campus go on sale May 11 to Center for the Performing Arts members (Affiliate or higher), last-season Choice series subscribers, sponsors and underwriters. Eligible patrons may purchase tickets by phone at (814) 863-0255 or 1-800-ARTS-TIX; in person at Eisenhower or Penn State Tickets Downtown; or by mail-in order form. For complete details, go to Tickets go on sale to the general public June 1.

The season begins Sept. 23 at Schwab with Juilliard-trained piano virtuoso Jeffrey Siegel and his concert-plus-commentary presentation The Power and Passion of Beethoven. The touring Broadway shows Avenue Q, Stomp and Mamma Mia! take place in Eisenhower.

Jazz offerings include the Julian Lage Group; the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band directed by trombonist Slide Hampton and featuring saxophonists James Moody and Jimmy Heath, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, trombonist Steve Davis, singer Roberta Gambarini, saxophonist Antonio Hart, bassist John Lee, trumpeter Terell Stafford and other jazz musicians; Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour featuring Kenny Barron Trio, violinist Regina Carter, singer Kurt Elling and guitarist Russell Malone; and the Terence Blanchard Quintet. The Lage and Blanchard concerts are at Schwab, while the larger jazz ensembles perform in Eisenhower.

Imani Winds, which enlarges the boundaries of the traditional wind quintet, and jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris perform Harris’ composition A Sonic Painting in Wood, Metal, and Wind — a piece co-commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts — and other works at Schwab.

Fleck returns to Eisenhower with The Africa Project, an offspring of his exploration of the origins of the banjo, the prototype of which was brought to America by African slaves.

Eight dancers (including Emmy Award-winner Jason Samuels Smith), a trio of jazz musicians, multimedia projections and live narration combine in Thank You, Gregory! A Tribute to the Legends of Tap. Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company makes its Eisenhower debut.

Family presentations include the a cappella singing ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, Groovaloo and Ivers in Beyond the Bog Road. Shows for kids include Enchantment Theatre Company in The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon and TheatreworksUSA in If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Other Story Books.

For information about becoming a Center for the Performing Arts member, contact Dave Shaffer at (814) 863-1167 or

A complete list of upcoming Center for the Performing Arts presentations follows.

Center For Performing Arts 2009–2010

Performances are in Eisenhower Auditorium unless indicated as being in Schwab Auditorium (SA). Artists, programs, dates and times are subject to change.

Jeffrey Siegel
Keyboard Conversations®
The Power and Passion of Beethoven
7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 (SA)

Imani Winds with Special Guest Stefon Harris
7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 (SA)

Thank You, Gregory!
A Tribute to the Legends of Tap
7:30 p.m. Oct. 2

The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon
Enchantment Theatre Company
2 p.m. Oct. 4

Avenue Q
7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7

Julian Lage Group
7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 (SA)

Emerson String Quartet
7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 (SA)

Orquestra de São Paulo
Kazem Abdullah, conductor
Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussionist
7:30 p.m. Oct. 23

Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Star Big Band
Directed by Slide Hampton
Featuring James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Roy Hargrove, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Davis, Roberta Gambarini, Antonio Hart, John Lee, and Terell Stafford
7:30 p.m. Oct. 28

Martha Graham Dance Company
7:30 p.m. Nov. 5

Kronos Quartet
7:30 p.m. Nov. 10

Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company
7:30 p.m. Nov. 17

Bang on a Can All-Stars and Trio Mediaeval
Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer
7:30 p.m. Nov. 19

Sweet Honey in the Rock
7:30 p.m. Dec. 2

If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Other Story Books
2 p.m. Jan. 24

Capuçon-Angelich Trio
7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 (SA)

The Actors’ Gang
The Trial of the Catonsville Nine
7:30 p.m. Feb. 2

7:30 p.m. Feb. 11

Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
Featuring Kenny Barron Trio, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, and Russell Malone
7:30 p.m. Feb. 16

Béla Fleck
The Africa Project
Collaborations with Amazing African Musicians
7:30 p.m. March 3

Eileen Ivers
Beyond the Bog Road
7:30 p.m. March 19

A Year with Frog and Toad
2 p.m. March 27

Aulos Ensemble
7:30 p.m. March 27 (SA)

7:30 p.m. March 30 and 31

Mamma Mia!
7:30 p.m. April 13, 14, and 15

Terence Blanchard Quintet
7:30 p.m. April 20 (SA)

Last Updated November 18, 2010