Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cats Makeover - see it on KOCE-TV tonight

"Real Orange's" Maria Hall-Brown had reason to meow and purr on her visit to the Center today. She was transformed into one of the felines from the smash-hit muscial Cats, which plays here through Dec. 21. The make-up magic was done by castmember Eva Kosmowski who has been with the touring show for two years. Eva along with the rest of the cast put on their own make-up every night in addition to dancing, singing and acting - now that's talent! Be sure to check out the makeover and interview on KOCE-TV tonight at 6:30 p.m. (it replays at 8 a.m. on Thursday morming). To see Cats while it's in Orange County, click here .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion honored in Russia

Prima ballerina Diana Vishneva has been nominated for Russia’s prestigious Golden Mask Award as Best Ballerina for her performance in Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion, which was also nominated as Best Ballet Event of the Season. Beauty in Motion is a co-production of Orange County Performing Arts Center and Ardani Artists in association with the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg. Beauty in Motion received its world premiere at the Center in February before going to New York's City Center and the Stanislavsky Musical Theatre in Moscow. Beauty in Motion will be presented in March, 2009 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

The Golden Mask was founded in 1994 as the Russian National Theater Award to honor acclaimed productions in all genres of theatre art: drama, opera, ballet, operetta and musical. The Golden Mask celebration also includes an Festival featuring the most significant performances from all over Russia. (Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion will be featured in the 2009 Festival and Award Ceremony.) The culmination of the Golden Mask Festival is the Award Ceremony, which takes place on one of Moscow’s most famous stages and is broadcast by the national television channel.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Flamenco 101

Ernesto Calvo, assistant director of Compañia Flamenco Jose Porcel, will present free preview talks before each performance of the acclaimed company this week in Segerstrom Hall. Preview talks begin one hour prior to each performance.

Friday, December 5, 2008

From You Tube to Carnegie Hall

Here's a new way to get to Carnegie Hall... Musicians of all ages, locations and instruments are welcome to audition for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra which will perform at the legendary concert hall under the direction of maestro Michael Tilson Thomas in April 2009.

Interested musicians can watch videos by Chinese composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) along with tools to help you learn the music, rehearse with the conductor, and upload your part for the collaborative video.

Learn more at the You Tube Symphony Orchestra Page here

Alvin Ailey celebrates 50 years in style

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater opened its 50th annivesary season December 4th with a performance New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay calls "the dest dance gala program I have attended in decades." Read the full review here

Twyla Tharp and others receive Kennedy Center Honors

Award winning choreographer Twyla Tharp will be one of six recipients of the 31st Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Others include stage and screen star Morgan Freeman; singer George Jones; Academy Award-winning actress, director and singer Barbra Streisand; and "The Who" musicians Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.

The Honorees will receive the Honors at the State Department Dec. 6. The six artists will be celebrated at an all-star gala Dec. 7. CBS will broadcast the annual "Kennedy Center Honors" Dec. 30 at 9 PM; check local listings.

Tharp's work has been seen often often on the Center's stage, including the recent West Coast premiere of ABT's Rabbit and Rogue (pictured), which was co-commissioned by the Center and ABT.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bolle on the beach

Ballet star Roberto Bolle is scheduled to be part of the Center's upcoming Tour de Force dance event on May 21. You can learn more about the star of ABT and La Scala Ballet in December issue of Vanity Fair

Grammy Nods for Center Collaborators

Trout Fishing in America was nominated for its fourth Grammy Award yesterday, this time for the album Big Round World, which features a song created by third graders at Costa Mesa's Sonora Elementary School. The song, "Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks" was produced in partnership between the Center's Education Department and the school district, and received its debut at a special record release party at Sonora in September. Congrats to Ezra, Keith and the kids at Sonora!

More in Grammy news ... John Pizzarelli, who will perform at the Center with his wife Jessica Molaskey January 15 - 18, can be heard crooning on the Grammy nominated track "Johnny One Note" from the album With A Song In My Heart.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Starlet O'Hara

Kelli O'Hara, currently starring on Broadway in the Tony winning best musical revival of South Pacific, can be seen on the cover of December's Town and Country which proclaims her "Broadway's biggest star". Center audiences can look forward to seeing O'Hara in a coming season as part of our cabaret series in Samueli Theater.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at 50

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a favorite of Center audiences, celebrates its 50th anniversary December 3 with an opening night gala performance at the New York City Center Theater. In honor of the occasion, the Empire State Building will be bathed in gold lights.
Oprah Winfrey is the honorary chair and honored guest for the gala night which features several Ailey masterpieces, including Revelations and Cry, and a world premiere.

Read about the Ailey legacy in the New York Times

Watch video of Dance Magazine's cover photo shoot featuring Ailey dancers (pictured above).

Grease kicks off national tour tonight

Grease, currently playing on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, kicks off its national tour tonight at the Providence Performing Arts Center. The tour, which stars American Idol winner Taylor Hicks as the Teen Angel, makes its way to the Center April 28 - May 10 as part of the Bank of America Broadway Series.

Read more about the national tour of Grease on Playbill online

Monday, December 1, 2008

Diana Ross goes from Center to Nobel Peace Prize Concert

After headlining the 2008 Candlelight Concert and a public concert on December 7, Diana Ross will head to Oslo where she'll join artists from all over the world to help spread the message of peace and celebrate this year's Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

Learn more here

Pizzarelli and Molaskey on the radio and at the Center

The talented husband-and-wife jazz duo of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey received an excellent writeup in Thursday's Washington Post for their radio show Radio DeLuxe, which features classics from the Great American Songbook performed by new artists. Pizzarelli and Molaskey performed together at the Center for last year's private Candlelight Encore concert, and will return to Samueli Theater January 15 - 18 for four performances only. If you can't wait a month to hear more from this delightful pair, tune into their program every Sunday at noon on KSPA 1510.

Check out the article here.

Broadway goes green

No, we're not talking about the opening of Shrek the Musical or the smash Wicked.

Broadway producers and theater owners are uniting in this initiative to identify and adopt better practices for sustainable theater. Learn more about the important initiative here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Broadway News Update

Here are some of the headlines from the Great White Way people are talking about this week...

  • 13 to play final performance on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009 after 22 previews and 105 regular performances.
  • Irving Berlin’s White Christmas opens at the Marquis this Sunday.
  • American Buffalo opened at the Belasco this past Monday.
  • Dividing the Estate opened at the Booth last night.
  • Jersey Boys celebrates three years on Broadway Thursday, November 6.
  • Performances for Shrek the Musical began on Saturday, November 8 at The Broadway Theatre . The official opening night is Sunday, December 14.
  • Oscar & Emmy Award winning screen legend Jane Fonda will return to Broadway in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations. The play marks Fonda’s first time on Broadway in 46 years.
  • The North American touring production of Dreamgirls will kick off at the Apollo Theater in November 2009.
  • Marissa Jaret Winokur, who picked up a 2003 Tony for her perf in the original cast of Hairspray, will return to the tuner next month to play the show's final weeks.
  • As rumored a number of months ago it looks like Hugh Jackman might be planning to make his return to the Broadway stage in A Star Is Born.
  • Richard Chamberlain will reign as King in the National Tour of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT . beginning Tuesday January 20th, 2009 in Chicago and will perform role for a limited time.
  • Jonathan Groff, the Spring Awakening Tony nominee who had originated the role of Claude in the Public Theater's recent stagings of Hair, will not reprise that role when the production arrives at Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre in February 2009
  • Clive Barnes, who as a critic in Britain and later for The New York Times died this week. He was 81.

Win tickets to White Christmas in NYC

The Orange County Performing Arts Center and its partner Broadway Across America invite you to sign up for free mobile alerts. You'll receive priority ticketing offers, special deals, insider information AND you're automatically entered to win tickets to see White Christmas on Broadway.

Click here for details

Girl Power

For those of you who weren’t able to make it to The Color Purple’s Girls Night Out because it was sold out (oh yeah!), here are a couple of snapshots of last night's fun-filled pre-show reception from Tier III.

More than 120 ladies enjoyed purple martinis made with Pom and Ocean Vodka and tasty apps by Patina including mac 'n cheese spoons, crab cakes and caprese salad skewers, all in a lovely setting of violet and lavender flowers.

Everyone loved the gift bags – a big thanks to Jaqua, Kiehl’s, shu uemura, South Coast Metro Alliance, Vitalae Wellness, Yogi Tea and YogaWorks for all the goodies!
And the show was a hit with the women. Who could ask for a better night out?!

Check back for details on upcoming Girls Night Out events. We’ll post them here first.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

ArtsConnect Kids Score Big

Great news has been reported from three schools that are part of the Center’s ArtsConnect program. ArtsConnect is a long-term partnership with five elementary schools in Orange County and two in San Bernardino. The program helps teachers to integrate the arts into core curriculum - such as relating music to history or math, dance to cultural traditions, etc. It's all about the big picture. The reports indicate that test scores from these three schools show a positive improvement on academic achievement.

Taft Elementary School, Santa Ana Unified School District
Scores were the highest in the district for 2008 and increased over 20 points from 2007.

Sonora Elementary School, Newport-Mesa Unified School District
Test scores for grades 3 & 4 were the highest in Orange County for 2007.

Palm Avenue Elementary School, San Bernardino City Unified School District
Test scores increased 20 points in 2007, when it became first elementary school in the district to exceed the state target on the Academic Performance Index (API). The school’s 2008 score reflected an additional growth of 18 points.

Congratulations to all schools, teachers and students!

Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson premiere new ballet in NY

Dwight Rhoden premiered a new work featuring Desmond Richardson at New York's Joyce Theater on Tuesday for their company Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Rhoden and Richardson were part of the Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion, which was commissioned and premiered by the Center.

His new ballet is reviewed in today's New York Times

A photo of Vishneva and Richardson in Beauty in motion

photo by Doug Gifford

The Center mourns the passing of Clive Barnes

Noted dance and theatre critic Clive Barnes passed away yesterday. Barnes was a great force in the dance world. He was a good friend of the Center, and led a passioned discussion on the role criticism for a board retreat. He will be missed.

You can read more about his life here

Listen to a story on NPR

The Color Purple's Felicia P. Fields on KOCE Tonight!

The lovely and talented Felicia P. Fields - who stars as Sofia in The Color Purple - will be featured on tonight's edition of Real Orange with Ed Arnold and Ann Pulice at 6:30 and 11 p.m. Ms. Fields (that's her on the left) lives and breathes Sofia as she originated the role on Broadway and has been playing it ever since. (For those who have seen the film version of Alice Walker's Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, you will remember Sofia as Oprah Winfrey, the generous producer of the musical.) For her efforts, Fields has been honored with a Tony nomination, a 2006 Theatre World Award, two Awards, as Drama League honoree and more. Tune in tonight to Channel 50 to catch Felicia musing on the show and come see her work her magic live on stage in The Color Purple, running now through November 30 in Segerstrom Hall. For more information on the show, click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Candlelight is all about WOW.

It's still two weeks away, but work is fast and furious on one of the biggest fundraisers in Orange County - the Center's 35th Annual Candlelight Concert. It's so big that it actually spans two nights - Candlelight Concert (December 5) and the aptly named Candlelight Encore (December 6). The look and Wow Factor are always kept top secret, but this much is known: Diana Ross performs on the stage of Segerstrom Hall for Candlelight Concert - looking out to 500 guests in evening dress. But the 1000 seats of the orchestra level will be covered with four specially built terraces that will accomodate tables and dance floors - yes - there's enough room between the tables to stand up and let go right there. Amazing projections, massive chandeliers, towering topiary centerpieces, mirrored tabletops, sparkling dinnerware -- with walls draped in shimmering gold. Think lots of red, gold and silver.

Candlelight Encore mirrors the Concert glitz and style for cocktails and dinner in Samueli Theater. Afterwards, guests adjourn to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall to hear Broadway legend Barbara Cook and opera superstar Debbie Voigt perform together for the first time. And if you haven't been to the Renée and Henry, you're in for a visual treasure and music and voices that - well, frankly, take a deep breath, because it will take your breath away. We'll update you as work progresses.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang composers honored by NEA

Brothers Robert B. Sherman (born December 19, 1925) and Richard M. Sherman (born June 12, 1928) were awarded the 2008 Medal of Honor by the National Endowment for the Arts. The duo's song-writing career spans five decades including two Academy Awards, one for Mary Poppins (score) and one for "Chim Chim Cher-ee" (song). The Sherman Brothers also wrote the world's most translated and performed song, "It's A Small World (After All)". Chitty Chitty Bang Bang comes to the Center July 7-19, 2009 as part of the Bank of America Broadway Series.

More information here

Girls Night Out - Sold Out

The Center's second Girls Night Out is Thursday, Nov. 20 for The Color Purple with pre-show reception and tickets to the inspiring musical. Just like the first event, this one is sold out. Check back to Center Scene for photos of the event and to learn more about upcoming Girls Night Out Events.

Color Purple cast members perform live for Clear Channel Radio

Two of the stars of The Color Purple, Jeanette Bayardelle who plays Celie and LaToya London who plays Nettie and was a finalist on American Idol, performed live in the Clear Channel Radio's studio for the listeners of MyFM, KOST and KHHT today.

The Color Purple plays Segerstrom Hall now through November 30.

More photos available here


Welcome to the Center's blog where you'll find interesting information about what's on stage, behind the scenes and in the works. Enjoy.