Award-winning artists light up The Barclay

Procuring award-winning artists is a challenging task for any performing arts venue; curating a single season with artists who have collectively amassed such a great number of high caliber awards and nominations is indeed a fabulous feat. But, Irvine Barclay Theatre has managed to do just that. And the numbers are staggering!

117 Grammy nominations; 49 Grammy Award wins; 21 Tony nominations; 12 Tony Award wins; 18 Emmy nominations; 4 Emmy Award wins, 5 Oscar nominations. Plus, there’s even one Pulitzer Prize and one Royal Knighthood.

The Barclay has been bringing award-winning talent to Orange County audiences for nearly thirty years. One of southern California’s leading presenters of jazz, the theatre’s expanded jazz@thebarclay series leads off with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis; its ever-popular Broadway/Cabaret series includes such Broadway heavyweights like Bebe Neuwirth and Sutton Foster and other Broadway stars who have a storied history of appearing in more than 30 Broadway shows. A performance of Béla Fleck, a 15-time Grammy winner who has been nominated in more categories than any instrumentalist in Grammy history, is a true treat.

Along with award-winning superstars and legends, the Barclay is also showcasing rising stars. Kalani Pe’a, from Hawai’i, won the Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album in 2017 and made history by being the first Hawaiian recording artist to ever win in the category. A jazz prodigy, Grace Kelly, the 25-year-old Korean American saxophonist, performed at President Obama’s inauguration at 16, was a regular on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and has headlined at all major jazz festivals, from Montreux to Newport to Montréal.

The Barclay’s audacious programming is international in scope: its signature Dance series features the Martha Graham Dance Company alongside eminent companies from Cuba and Israel; the National Geographic Live speaker series includes primatologist Mireya Mayor, the “female Indiana Jones. The British theater screenings from London (with Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Ian McKellen), the enchanting family events and daring cirque presentations, are all audience favorites.

In January, a cast of over 30 gifted animals will scurry across the Barclay stage, wowing their wide-eye fans with their clever canine tricks and feline smarts. These lovable creatures, all stars of the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, were finalists on America’s Got Talent. With a penchant for unpredictable charm and cuteness, these extraordinary “artists” have, most assuredly, collected their own share of formidable awards—but we’ll let you guess what those are.