Performing arts season features Joshua Bell, Dave Brubeck and more

May 07, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State’s 2010-11 season features an array of professional touring music, theater and dance presentations, including classical violin superstar Joshua Bell in a solo recital and the Centre County debuts of the touring Broadway musicals Monty Python’s "Spamalot," as well as "The Color Purple" and "Spring Awakening." The musical theater line-up also includes the classics "A Chorus Line" and "Fiddler on the Roof."

The upcoming season at the University Park campus also features jazz piano legends Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final-tour celebration of the works of its late founder, Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster’s Christmas in Cape Breton and Argentina’s Tango Buenos Aires in Fire and Passion of Tango.

Tickets for the 30 presentations -- which will run from September through April with performances at Eisenhower and Schwab auditoriums and the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center -- go on sale May 10 to Center for the Performing Arts members, May 17 to last-season Choice series subscribers, May 24 to groups and June 1 to the general public. Eligible patrons may purchase tickets by phone at 814-863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX, in person at Eisenhower or Penn State Tickets Downtown or by mail-in order form. Visit for complete details about the season or to download a brochure and order form.

“Our program this year has such depth, and looking at it beneath the surface, the theme running through much of it is finding your path, making choices, realizing your personal journey and finding your passion,” said Laura Sullivan, marketing and communications director at the Center for the Performing Arts. “This performance season, like all others, was put together with great care and artistic vision. It is our largest season in the last ten years with 30 events, some on multiple evenings. We hope that audiences will be just as thrilled to see the performances as we are to present them.”

Piano virtuoso Jeffrey Siegel, who also opened last season, gets things started Sept. 15, with one of his popular Keyboard Conversations concerts -- this time devoted to love-inspired music by Frédéric Chopin in the bicentennial year of the composer’s birth.

In addition to the Dave Brubeck Quintet and the Ramsey Lewis Trio, jazz offerings include New Orleans Nights featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Allen Toussaint, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and The Joe Krown Trio; guitarist John Scofield and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano; and pianist Taylor Eigsti (IKE-stee) with his trio and guest vocalist-guitarist Becca Stevens.

New York City’s Tectonic Theater Project performs "The Laramie Project," the influential play it wrote and first produced about the aftermath of the Wyoming beating death of gay student Matthew Shepard. The following evening, the company performs "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later–An Epilogue."

Rioult, also from New York City, showcases the contemporary dance of choreographer Pascal Rioult in a family-friendly program featuring "Small Steps, Tiny Revolutions," a work including young central Pennsylvania dancers selected through audition. Ballet Grand Prix pairs star dancers from the world’s leading companies with past winners of the Youth America Grand Prix competition. The roster includes New York City Ballet’s Jared Angle, a native of Altoona, Pa.

Buika (BWEE-kah), the child of West African refugees who grew up on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, makes the best of her deep and sensual voice in songs with roots in flamenco, jazz, rumba and soul.

American violin virtuoso Jennifer Koh performs as guest soloist with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pavel Kogan.

Eroica Trio, the world’s most sought-after classical piano trio, makes its Penn State premiere. The trio’s program includes a work co-commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts through its membership in Music Accord, a national consortium of chamber music presenters. Performances by pianist Jonathan Biss and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center also include Music Accord co-commissioned works.

The Scandinavian sopranos of Trio Mediaeval, who made their Penn State debut last November, return for a performance in the acoustically exceptional Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, performs the evening-length "Vespers of 1610" to mark the 400th anniversary of the Claudio Monteverdi masterpiece.

Three musical shows, each adapted from a best-selling children’s book, are on tap for Sunday matinees: New York City’s TheatreworksUSA in Click, Clack, Moo; the Maximum Entertainment and Berkeley Repertory Theatre production of Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead; and London’s Tall Stories Theatre Company in Room on the Broom.

For more information about becoming a Center for the Performing Arts member, contact Dave Shaffer, assistant director for special programs, at 814-863-1167 or

A complete list of Center for the Performing Arts 2010–2011 presentations follows.

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

Jeffrey Siegel
Keyboard Conversations
Chopin for Lovers!
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 15 (SA)

Monty Python’s Spamalot
7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, September 28 and 29

The Laramie Project
Tectonic Theater Project
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 6

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later–An Epilogue
Tectonic Theater Project
7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 7

Taylor Eigsti Trio
with special guest Becca Stevens
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 12 (SA)

Apollo’s Fire
Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610
7:30 p.m. Friday, October 15 (SA)

2 p.m. Sunday, October 17

A Chorus Line
7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 21

7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 28

Eroica Trio
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 3 (SA)

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Pavel Kogan, conductor
Jennifer Koh, violinist
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 9

New Orleans Nights
Allen Toussaint, Nicholas Payton and The Joe Krown Trio
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 16

Natalie MacMaster
Christmas in Cape Breton
7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 2

Jonathan Biss
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 19 (SA)

Click, Clack, Moo
2 p.m. Sunday, January 23

Fiddler on the Roof
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 25

John Scofield and Joe Lovano Quartet
7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 27 (SA)

An Evening with Joshua Bell
7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 3

Merce Cunningham Dance Company
7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 12

Cirque Éloize
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 15

Takács Quartet
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 22 (SA)

Tango Buenos Aires
Fire and Passion of Tango
7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 24

Ballet Grand Prix
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2

The Color Purple
7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 22 and 23

Lemony Snicket’s
The Composer is Dead
2 p.m. Sunday, March 27

Trio Mediaeval
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 29 (PSC)

Dave Brubeck Quintet
and Ramsey Lewis Trio
Two Legends, One Stage
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 8

Room on the Broom
Tall Stories Theatre Company
2 p.m. Sunday, April 10

Spring Awakening
7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, April 12 and 13

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Russian Spirit
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14 (SA)

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Last Updated November 18, 2010