Date: June 17, 2004
Contact: Ann Fink
Carol Fox & Associates
773-327-3830, Ext. 112
For Immediate Release
National Touring Production of CATS kicks off a remarkable season featuring Joan Baez, The Blind Boys of Alabama, “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Richard Lewis and Jeff Garlin, Debbie Reynolds and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet
University Park, Ill. – The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University announces its 2004-2005 season performances. The National Touring Production of CATS, performances by Joan Baez, “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Richard Lewis and Jeff Garlin, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Debbie Reynolds and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet are but a few of the highlights from The Center’s 10th Anniversary Season. The Center will continue to offer its Saturday morning “Especially for Kids” series with shows including Christmas Toy Shop, Junie B. Jones and Alice in Wonderland. Season ticket information for The Center is available at 708.235.2222.
The national Broadway touring production of the musical spectacular CATS launches The Center’s 10th Anniversary Season with performances Oct. 1 and 2. Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, CATS features 20 of Andrew Lloyd Webber's timeless melodies in what the The Los Angeles Times calls “playful, eye popping, heart-stopping entertainment.” Other theatrical offerings of the season include Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s full scale presentation of North America’s most produced opera Puccini’s La Bohéme (Feb. 5), the tender yet tragic story about two struggling artists in love. And for the second year in a row The Center partners with Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater to bring a premiere work to The Center. The work this year will be Shoes (Mar 6). Andrea J. Dymond, director of last season’s Free Man of Color, stages Gloria Bond Clunie’s thought-provoking new play inspired by the tragic 1963 Birmingham church bombing which explores the impact of one child’s existence far beyond her own community.
Two funnymen from HBO’s award-winning series Curb Your Enthusiasm: Richard Lewis and Second City alum, Chicago’s own Jeff Garlin perform a double dose of stand-up comedy, and a joint improvisational set on January 22, and Second City draws from 45 years worth of famous skits from such comedic talents as John Belushi, Bill Murray, Mike Myers and many more when they bring their 45th Anniversary Tour to The Center on May 7.
Many concerts headline the 2004-2005 season beginning Oct. 16 with Joan Baez, the legendary queen of US folk music and first lady of the political activism. Baez will be joined by a special guest to be announced when she performs songs from her first studio album in six years, Dark Chords on a Big Guitar. Grammy nominated romantic pianist Jim Brickman, returns to The Center Nov. 20 to perform songs from ten albums that have touched the hearts and souls of fans everywhere. Roger Williams, another legendary pianist, who has entertained audiences and presidents for the past five decades, will perform signature classics like “Born Free,” and “Lara’s Theme,” in a seasonal concert Dec. 4 with special guest The Manteno Varsity Choir.
The new year will bring Grammy Award-winning Gospel music singing sensations The Blind Boys of Alabama with special guest the Chicago Children’s Choir (Jan. 29). Dennis Edwards, former lead singer of Grammy Award-winning Temptations, leads a Temptations Review featuring classic R&B hits from the 1960s and early 70s on Feb. 11, Valentine’s Day weekend. The Irish Rovers, the international ambassadors of Irish music bring their rollicking and rousing 40th Anniversary Tour to The Center on Mar. 5. The Kingston Trio, Glenn Yarborough and The Folk Reunion, and The Brothers Four unite for This Land Is Your Land: An American Songbook, an evening of great ballads, clean, crisp harmonies and good-natured fun Mar. 19.
Virtuoso lute player Barbarito Torres and his band join the Chicago based Afro Cuban jazz band Cheveré to bring a hot Havana night to The Center Apr. 9. On Apr. 17, American Canteen performs their inspiring musical tribute to the great American USO shows of the 1940s. Seasoned performer of television, stage and screen Debbie Reynolds caps the season May 21 when she blends laughter, song and dance into a night of intoxicating entertainment.
Dance and movement performances for the season kick off with international dance sensation known to many from their national PBS television special, Barrage (Nov. 13). The troupe will perform “Vagabond Tales,” a production combining unique choreography, colorful staging, and stunning musical arrangements that features seven high-energy violinists/vocalists. Salt Creek Ballet returns Dec. 11 with The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite at the Center since 1997, presented this year by Seehausen’s Food Centers. This year’s production will feature Tchaikovsky’s famous score performed live by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra who returns to the Center on Apr. 10 to perform selections from their impressive traditional and contemporary European and American repertoire. As in past years, families are invited to a special “Sugar Plum Party” in the lobby between the two shows. The party offers photos with Santa Claus, special holiday treats and the opportunity to meet the cast in costume. The award-winning, gravity-defying Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats take the stage for two shows Feb. 26. The sublime music of Mozart, dazzling choreography and costumes, and exquisite dance artistry come together in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s exclusive Chicago area engagement of the Magic Flute on Apr. 3.
“Especially for Kids,” the special Saturday morning series of performances designed for families with young children, is presented this year by Charter One Bank. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia draws upon the magic of blacklight to capture the charm of three favorite Eric Carle stories: Little Cloud, The Mixed-Up Chameleon, and The Very Busy Spider in Very Eric Carle (Nov. 6). Alphabet Soup Productions returns to the Center with two offerings: Christmas Toy Shop (Dec. 4) a heart-warming musical for the entire family about a Christmas that almost wasn't; and an engaging adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (May 7), the classic tale of little girl who follows a rabbit down a rabbit hole and has an amazing adventure. Theatreworks USA’s new musical Junie B. Jones, based on the books of Barbara Park (Mar. 12) completes the series.
The 10th Anniversary season also offers a special treat for its subscribers—the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus. This premier touring musical representative for the U.S. Army and world-renowned ensemble comes to The Center Apr. 4 as part of an international goodwill tour with an evening of pop, Broadway, folk and classical favorites. The concert is sponsored by The Star and the Daily Southtown. One free ticket is available to each subscriber to the 2004-2005 season.
The 1,200-seat, state-of-the-art Center for the Performing Arts at Governors State University serves Chicago’s greater metropolitan area and the southern suburbs and provides a superior stage for world-class fine arts presentations and theatrical productions. Last season, more than 31,000 children attended performances at The Center. For tickets or subscription information call the box office at 708.235.2222 or, new this year, visit the www.centertickets.net. Two-for-one tickets are available at the box office two hours prior to curtain for one hour only, based upon availability. Group rates are available for parties of 20 or more. For group information, call 800.386.6321. The Center is located at Governors Highway and University Parkway 45 minutes south of the Loop, off I-57 at Sauk Trail. Parking is free. For more information on The Center for Performing Arts, visit The Center’s website at www.centertickets.net.