Carpenter Center releases season schedule

LONG BEACH - The Carpenter Performing Arts Center on the campus of Cal State Long Beach has announced its 2012-13 season featuring four subscription series and more - including inspiring and celebrated performers in music, comedy, dance and more.The season opens with performing artists Holly Hughes and Tim Miller on Sept. 27, and Karen Finley and John Fleck on Sept. 28. Known as the "NEA Four," the two evenings will feature performances with spirited humor and uninhibited insight into the human condition as each artist shares their latest work, including a world premiere from Finley. The performances are the centerpiece of The B-Word Project-Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted: Censorship and the Response to It-at Cal State Long Beach, an 18-month campus-wide initiative which runs through December 2012. The project consists of performances and other activities to stimulate wide-ranging discussions that examine what happens when a voice-whether in artistic endeavors, journalism, scientific research or other areas-is stifled through governmental, commercial, or social restraints. The popular Wit and Wisdom Series delivers comical insights and wildly witty observations about the human condition beginning with An Evening with Lily Tomlin on Sept. 29. Next in the series, charismatic creator and host of the award-winning public radio program This American Life, Ira Glass makes an appearance at Carpenter Center with Reinventing Radio (Feb. 9). Lastly, The Improvised Shakespeare Company brings spontaneous comedy and skits inspired by the language and themes of William Shakespeare on March 9. Over the past few seasons, Carpenter Center has become a leading presenter of dance in Southern California, offering a range of established companies, emerging choreographers, and sought after international performers. The highly acclaimed Aspen Santa Fe Ballet kicks off the Dance Series on Oct. 13 with an evening that will include the West Coast premiere of Over Glow-a dramatic piece by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo, where he contrasts contemporary movement with music from Mendelssohn and Beethoven. The series also includes the Orange County company, Backhausdance. Named "one of seven emerging dance companies to watch" in North America by New York's Joyce Theatre, Backhausdance brings artistic repertory of powerful, athletic dances and emotionally charged dramatic pieces that reveal whimsical, humorous glimpses of the human experience. The series finishes with a bang of energy and passion as the Cuban contemporary dance company Ballet Revolución-in its first U.S. tour-fuses ballet and contemporary dance with the music of modern hip-hop performed live by an all-star Cuban band. This season's Sunday Afternoon Concert Series opens with a hilarious tribute to legendary comedian Groucho Marx by actor Frank Ferrante-hailed as "the greatest living interpreter" of Groucho by The New York Times-in An Afternoon with Groucho. The series continues Nov. 25 with New Directions Veterans Choir comprised of formerly homeless U.S. Military veterans who sing renditions of doo-wop, traditional gospel and pop music. Next, Susan Werner returns to the Carpenter Center stage with her own innovative and bold contemporary folk songs. Lastly, on May 19, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra 'swings' into Carpenter Center as the big band continues the Dorsey legacy under the leadership of Terry Myers. The Cabaret Series, now in its 14th season, offers patrons an intimate experience as the four-event series transforms the Carpenter Center stage into Club Cabaret, with table seating that is less than 40 feet from the artists. Patrons may arrive early to enjoy dinner or drinks before the performance. The series begins on Oct. 3 with Dala, two darlings of the Canadian music scene who blend their voices to create lush harmonies inspired by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. The Pieter Meijers Quartet delivers humor, lyrical artistry and technical brilliance of jazz-joined by singer Brady McKay - Dec. 12-13. Acclaimed singer Kurt Elling, hailed by The New York Times as "the standout male jazz vocalist of our time," will make his Carpenter Center debut Feb. 6-7. The series culminates with a rousing concert of Louisiana-style blues with Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, named "best discovery" by Spin at the 2010 Newport Folk Music Festival, May 8-9. Carpenter Center presents an eclectic and entertaining mix of performances that are not part of a subscription series. First is the return of Circus Zoppé for seven performances Sept. 23-28, as the colorful circus tent goes up at the majestic Queen Mary in Downtown Long Beach. Legendary folk singer and Grammy Award winner Judy Collins mixes seasonal favorites with her greatest hits in the Judy Collins Holiday Concert on Dec. 22. At the heels of the presidential inauguration, Capitol Steps returns after three sold out appearances to recap a frenzied political year on Jan. 12. The Carpenter Center then launches into a trio of spectacular events: the explosive energy and sounds of Drumline Live (Jan. 26); an up-close experience with amazingly life-like prehistoric creatures at the Dinosaur Petting Zoo (Jan. 27); and the return of the Pink Floyd LaserSpectacular featuring cutting edge laser technology choreographed to the music of one of the greatest bands of all time (March 15). For St. Patrick's, the Makem & Spain Brothers-the three sons of Irish music icon Tommy Makem and brothers Liam and Mickey Spain-perform an evening of rollicking traditional Irish music. Finally, on March 23 the internationally renowned Kronos Quartet performs Sun Ring-a piece originally commissioned by NASA with intergalactic sounds and a multi-media display.

********** Published: March 29, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 50