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Center for the Performing Arts Unveils 2012-2013 Season

Every year, the Center for the Performing Arts brings some of the best acts in theatre, dance, and music to State College, for relatively affordable prices. Now, their 2012-2013 season has been announced. Here are some of the highlights:

Have It All

The season kicks off with a joint concert from New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Appalachian-based Del McCoury Band, playing American classics from across the country. It’ll be interesting to see the mix between the two styles, and the concert promises soul, New Orleans standards, and bluegrass.

What the Folk

A sequel to a highlight from 2006, “The Banjo Summit 2” brings friend of the Center Béla Fleck, Tony Trischka, and four other banjo masters to explore the instrument, both through conventional and unexpected ways. “A Leahy Family Christmas” will take the stage in November, and American folk singer Kathy Mattea will come to Eisenhower in February.

For Broadway Fans

It’s always great to get a taste of New York in Central Pennsylvania, and this season’s touring Broadway shows are definitely a good reason to start getting excited for next year. The Addams Family, Hair, and Tap Dogs will take to the stage, with February’s performance being The Addams Family’s Centre County premiere.

A Classical Season

This season, the Center is giving special attention to its classical music concerts. Among the eight performances are a Penn State residency and performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Canadian ensemble Opera Atelier, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio performing a new André Previn composition, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Some Cool Jazz

If classical isn’t your thing, the Center’s jazz programming spans many countries and styles. Bassist Ron Carter, who has performed with artists from Miles Davis to A Tribe Called Quest, brings his ensemble The Ron Carter Trio in November. In February, Live at Birdland features the Birdland Big Band, directed by Tommy Igoe. In April, jazz musicians Stefon Harris (vibraphone), David Sanchez (saxophone), and Nicholas Payton (trumpet) will tour playing songs from their album Ninety Miles. As a former vibraphonist, I’m excited.

Tap, Ballet, and More

The Pilobolus Dance Theatre returns to Penn State for the first time in 22 years to show off its inventive and athletic choreography. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal will present Italian Evening, and award-winning choreographer Doug Varone brings his dance troupe in October. Donka: A Letter to Chekov by Company Finzi Pasca will interpret the author’s works through clowning, juggling, and acrobatics.

Creative Theatre

This season’s theater offerings include Shakespearean company Actors From The London Stage performing a minimalist production of comedy The Merchant of Venice, with a small cast and few props. Based on a web project, It Gets Better shows LGBT youth how to respond to bullying, involving the audience, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and Speak Theater Arts.

Penn State’s own College of Arts and Architecture celebrates its 50th anniversary with a collaboration of its own. The schools of Music and Theatre, in collaboration with the Center, will put on a production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, a “provocative exploration of faith in an increasingly secular and noisy world.” In addition, the season will showcase the annual School of Music Mosaic concert and the year-ending Penn State Glee Club’s “Blue and White” Concert.


No matter what your tastes are in the arts, there’s something to look forward to in next year’s schedule. You can view the full line-up at the Center for the Performing Arts’ website here.

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About the Author

Alex Federman

Alex is a Senior at Penn State who enjoys watching movies and television shows (probably a bit too much). He's a Film/Video major, with a Spanish minor.

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