Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Herb Alpert & Lani Hall to Receive ELLA Award May 18

Music icon, legendary trumpet player and band leader Herb Alpert and his wife, internationally renowned singer Lani Hall, will be honored with the 18th ELLA Award by the Society of Singers on May 18, 2009 in Los Angles.

Alpert and Hall, who will make their debut in the Center's Jazz series December 5, 2009, are being recognized for their significant musical accomplishments and dedication to charitable and humanitarian causes. They created The Herb Alpert Foundation more than 20 years ago to fund the arts and arts education. The Foundation provides grants to emgerging artists in five disciplines annually. Alpert and Hall have also been major contributors to UCLA to endow the Herb Alpert School of Music, and to CalArts.

Named after its first recipient, Ella Fitzgerald, the ELLA Award has been given to Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Lena Horne, Placido Domingo, Tony Bennet among others.

Friday, March 27, 2009

2009-2010 Jazz, Cabaret and Concert Series Line-up

Today, the Center unveiled the 2009-2010 music season made up of the Jazz, Cabaret and Concert Series as well as two bonus events. As always, the Center has scheduled an incredible line-up featuring the world’s top musicians, singers and renowned ensembles - some new to the Center as well as returning favorites who will excite audiences with the thrill of amazing music in live performance.

Jazz Series: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis; Esperanza Spalding; Herb Alpert and Lani Hall; Django 100; and Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour featuring Kenny Barron, Regina Carter, Russell Malone and Kurt Elling

Cabaret Series: Christine Ebersole; Christine Andreas; Katey Sagal; Kelli O’Hara; and Paulo Szot

Concert Series: Emerson String Quartet; St. Lawrence String Quartet; Schubert Piano Trios with Philip Setzer, David Finckel and Wu Han; and Calder String Quartet with Gloria Cheng Bonus Events: Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis Christmas

Above, Aaron Egigian, senior director of programming, gives a preview of the Jazz Series. For more previews including highlights of each artist, virtual brochures and other details please visit http://www.ocpac.org/home/Content/ContentDisplay.aspx?NavID=644

Monday, March 23, 2009

Avenue Q Sneak Peak

Wondering what to expect from the musical Avenue Q? Luckily, our guest blogger, Jacob Matsumiya, has seen the Tony Award-winning show and he's offered his take on the puppets, story and tunes. Avenue Q visits the Center March 31 - April 12. After you've seen the show, let us know what you think and your thoughts may end up here too.

Jacob writes:

Avenue Q is a hilariously irreverent look at grown-up life. The story centers on a group of friends in an outer-outer borough of New York City and is filled with a riotous cast of characters that include humans, puppets, monsters and, yes, even Gary Coleman. The songs, which at times are both heartwarming and hysterical, relate the trials of these characters, but also offer insightful looks into adult life. Basically not only are you crying your eyes out in laughter at these songs, but you are also learning something in the process.

Sounds like a cute and wholesome musical, right? Wrong. Witty, topical, poignant it may be, but this show is anything but cute and wholesome. From songs like, “You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You’re Making Love),” to one of my favorite characters Lucy the Slut, Avenue Q is an uproariously funny night of adult theater. We learn that “The Internet is for Porn” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” These two hilarious songs and the life lessons they offer are just the tip of the iceberg of what Avenue Q has in store for its audience in terms of insightful send-ups of modern society. But what makes Avenue Q truly an amazing show – and deserving of the Tony Award it won for Best Original Musical – is that behind each biting critique are messages of determination, friendship, generosity, acceptance, and love. The characters, as outrageous and X-rated as they may be, offer the audience honest glimpses in to what life holds for all of us and what we can do to make our world a better place.

A true original, Avenue Q is an excellent night of theater that offers a perfect antidote to the constant barrage of depressing economic news and will literally have you doubled-over in laughter. This show is not to be missed. I have had the pleasure of seeing it several times and when it comes to the Center in two weeks I will definitely be paying another visit to Avenue Q.

Friday, March 6, 2009

News from Broadway

Here are the latest happenings from the Great White Way:

- Guys And Dolls opened at the Nederlander Theatre on Sunday, March 1.

- West Side Story will open at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, March 19.

- Blithe Spirit with Christine Ebersole, Rupert Everett and Angela Lansbury opens at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre on March 15 .

-The opening night of the new Broadway play Impressionism, which had been scheduled for March 12, has been adjusted by nearly two weeks. The new work, which co-stars Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen, will now officially open March 24 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

- Next to Normal will come to Broadway this spring, direct from its engagement at Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage, beginning preview performances at the Longacre Theatre on Friday, March 27 and officially opening on Wednesday, April 15.

- The current tour and upcoming April Broadway engagement of Robin Williams' new one-man show, Weapons of Self-Destruction, will be postponed so he can undergo surgery for an aortic valve replacement.

- Fantasia Barrino will be back in The Color Purple this summer, this time joining the national tour for its five-week stint in Washington, D.C.

- The world premiere engagement of Minsky’s wrapped up its engagement the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles last week.

- Spider-man, Turn Off the Dark, will open on Thursday, February 18, 2010 at Broadway’s Hilton. Production is directed by Julie Taymor with music by Bono and The Edge.

- Shrek the Musical original cast recording will be released March 24.

- Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Horton Foote, 92, died March 4 after a brief illness.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Author Who Inspired 'Fiddler on the Roof' Featured on NPR

"Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor. "
- Sholem Aleichem

Everyone knows Tevye, the iconic dairyman and father of five daughters, at the center of the much-loved 1964 Broadway classic Fiddler on the Roof. But you may not know Sholem Rabinovich - known by his pen name Sholem Aleichem ("peace be with you") - the author and humorist who's many works inspired the musical.

Rabinovich spent the latter half of the 19th century promoting Yiddish writers and was the first author to write children's books in Yiddish. Yesterday marked the 150th anniversary of his birth, and NPR commemorated Rabinovich - dubbed the Jewish Mark Twain - with a segment on "All Things Considered."

Check it out here.

That's Chaim Topol (above), who played the original Tevye on Broadway and also starred in the 1971 film. Topol returns to the Center to reprise the role in Fiddler on the Roof, running August 11 - 23.