The 2018-2019 seasons of Segerstrom Center, The Barclay and Musco Center shine
The Orange County community is fortunate to be blessed with three performing arts venues that offer an amazing array of cultural offerings.
The oldest, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, was launched in 1986, and is today one of the country’s major performing arts centers. Celebrating its 32nd season, audiences will enjoy everything from the world premiere of “Isadora,” starring today’s reigning prima ballerina Natalia Osipova as modern dance revolutionary Isadora Duncan, to Broadway’s smashing success, the six-time Tony Award-winning “Dear Evan Hansen.” Under the artful leadership of President Terry Dwyer, the showstoppers continue.
Irvine Barclay Theatre opened in 1990 to great acclaim and has grown to be an arts superstar in its 28 years. The past three years have seen arts aficionado Jerry Mandel take the reins as president to propel the theatre to even greater heights. This season features Broadway/Cabaret, an amazing jazz season and contemporary dance series and individual artists and ensembles presenting a plethora of music genres, i.e. bluegrass, flamenco, gospel music and Hawaiian masters. It is a season for all tastes.
Termed “the new kid on the block,” Musco Center for the Arts opened at Chapman University in March, 2016, and with expert leadership from Executive Director Richard Bryant, the venue has rapidly become known as one of the top university-based performing arts center in the country. This season showcases renowned tenor/conductor Plácido Domingo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Tony Award-winning Alan Cumming, violin superstar Sarah Chang, jazz icon Jon Batiste, country star Rosanne Cash, and the famed Julliard String Quartet.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
“I can honestly say this is one of the most exciting moments in the history of the Center,” Segerstrom Center for the Arts President Terry Dwyer says.
Starting with the Center’s very popular Broadway Series in Segerstrom Hall, Dwyer says:
“We have another great season coming up on the heels of our ‘Hamilton’ Season. Nearly every show is currently running on Broadway, including Waitress, Come From Away, Disney’s Aladdin and Hello, Dolly! starring Betty Buckley. Plus, we’ll have new productions of Fiddler on the Roof and Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Beautiful – The Carol King Musical returning, and the Center Premiere of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Dwyer says the International Dance Series has become an artistic signature for the Center.
“Once again, we are offering a season with several premieres performed by the world’s best ballet companies and dancers. The world premiere of Isadora, created specifically for today’s most celebrated ballerina, Natalia Osipova, has turned all eyes of the dance world on the Center.”
In addition to Isadora, there is ABT’s annual treat, The Nutcracker, the Mark Morris Dance Group’s Pepperland with music of The Beatles, Don Quixote with the Mikhailovsky Ballet and Orchestra, Pygmalion with the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, and ABT’s extravagant production of Harlequinade.
The Center’s Cabaret, Jazz and Chamber Music Series adds to the variety of musical styles and traditions that can be enjoyed in nearly all the Center’s venues.
This season’s Cabaret Series showcases Tony Award winners Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon fame), as well as Steve Tyrell, Aaron Lazar – “Broadway to Hollywood,” Rita Wilson – “Liner Notes,” and Rob and Friends – A Little Night Music.
Dwyer is particularly proud of the Center’s Chamber Music Series, with a world premiere by Third Coast Percussion and West Coast premiere by Emerson String Quartet – Shostakovich and The Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy. The Escher String Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Takács Quartet and Fauré Quartett round out the offerings.
The Jazz Series offers something new – uniting a jazz legend with a rising star: Branford Marsalis Quartet with the Yuko Mabuchi Trio and the Ahmad Jamal Quartet with Shahin Novrasli.
Other jazz performers include the Kenny Barron Quintet, Catherine Russell, Kurt Elling Christmas, and the great Diana Krall.
The Family Series continues its sold-out popularity with schools and families alike. It features eight fun and engaging shows in mainly Samueli Theater, with pre-show activities. Also included are performances designed so families with children with sensory sensitivity can share the magic and amazement of live performances.
The Center’s programming has broadened and reached new audiences with free performances at the newly-opened George and Julianne Argyros Plaza.
“We are complementing our flagship series with a broad range of offerings on the Argyros Plaza,” Dwyer says. “We look at the plaza as a major venue that features an eclectic selection of artists and entertainment as well as its own series of community-based performances and events.”
The Center also proudly serves as the artistic home, via the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, to three of the region’s major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Pacific Chorale.
Concluding, Dwyer says:
“I can’t tell you how lucky I feel and how proud I am to be a part of an institution whose programs are such high quality and which cares so deeply about its community.”
Visit SFTA.org for dates and times.
“I can honestly say this is one of the most exciting moments in the history of the Center.” – Dwyer
Irvine Barclay Theatre
Mandel was in retirement, after leading the Orange County Performing Arts Center (now Segerstrom Center for the Arts) for nine years, when he got the call to be president of The Barclay.
“I have to tell you, I’m having the most fun of any time in my career,” he says.
Under Mandel’s leadership, this season showcases a great roster of award-winning artists.
“For each genre, the artists are hand-picked,” he says. “There’s a reason everybody’s here. There are loads of Grammy, Tony, Emmy and Oscar nominees and winners, a Pulitzer Prize winner and even a musician with a royal knighthood.”
Always a mecca for jazz, the Jazz Series at The Barclay features an incomparable roster: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, saxophonist Grace Kelly, Dee Dee Bridgewater with the Memphis Soulphony, John Pizzarelli and a Salute to Sinatra & Jobim @50, Fred Hersch Trio, Dr. Bobby Rodriguez Latin Jazz Christmas, Christian McBride Big Band and, as a bonus, Miles Davis & The Blue Flame Incident, and Peak Experience – At Last, with guest vocalist Barbara Morrison.
The Broadway/Cabaret Series is filled with talent.
The roster includes Sutton Foster (“it took me two years to get her,” Mandel says), Christine Ebersole, Bebe Neuwirth, the Jerry Herman Broadway Legacy Concert, and now-famous Orange County School of the Arts graduates Krysta Rodriguez and Scott Barnhardt.
The Barclay’s signature Contemporary Dance Series features a diverse selection: Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (Israeli); Havana-based Malpaso Dance Company; Martha Graham Dance Company, Backhausdance, Jessica Lang Dance in world premiere of Tony Bennett music, and Orange County’s Festival Ballet Theatre.
The Musical Mavericks series showcases some great talent: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (“we’re setting up a dance floor,” says Mandel), Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Steep Canyon Rangers, Trio Céleste, “An Evening with Kathy Mattea,” and Tower of Power.
“The World Stages Series is a catch-all,” Mandel says, “with the Soweto Gospel Choir in a tribute to Nelson Mandela and Aida Cuevas, ‘Queen of Mariachi.’”
World Stages also includes flamenco stars Jesus Carmona and Diego el Cigala, Mohsen Namjoo (“Bob Dylan of Iran”) and Kerry Irish Productions in “An Irish Christmas.”
The Hawaiian Music Masters features superstars Kuana Torres Kahele and Henry Kapono and the Duke’s on Sunday Band, and rising star Kalani Pe’a.
The National Theatre Live screenings from London continue with Frankenstein, King Lear, The Madness of King George, and Antony & Cleopatra.
Mandel is proud of the new National Geographic Live! series (“Nobody else has it,” he says) with noted “female Indiana Jones” Mireya Mayor, accomplished mountain climber Hilaree Nelson, and ocean photographer Brian Skerry.
The Family Series, always sold-out, features six amazing, enchanting performances, including the captivating Popovich Comedy Pet Theater.
Two stand-alone performances include comedian/actor and UCI alumnus Jon Lovitz and cirque-like performance, The 7 Fingers in Réversible.
UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts performs at The Barclay and showcases its musical theater, dance, opera and classical music performances there.
Mandel sums things up, saying:
“The Barclay is in the best shape it’s been in with more performances and the best ticket revenue yet, increased fundraising support and new levels of financial commitment from our partners, the City of Irvine and UCI.”
“We are well received. The community gets to choose great performances, and everyone wants to be in a venue where every seat is a great seat. It’s a good place to be.”
For dates and times, visit TheBarclay.org
“The community gets to choose great performances, and everyone wants to be in a venue where every seat is a great seat.” – Mandel
Musco Center for the Arts
“Entering our third season, I think we’ve managed to reach a high altitude in a short period of time because of the people who are with us, not the least of which are S. Paul and Marybelle Musco, Chapman University President Daniele Struppa and international opera star Plácido Domingo,” Musco Center Executive Director Richard Bryant says.
Domingo will be performing the concert version of Verdi’s Don Carlo with the LA Opera Orchestra, marking his fourth appearance with the Center.
“Plácido is a friend and adviser, and there is no doubt his international prominence and endorsement have greatly helped us,” Bryant says.
Quintesssential stars of opera, dance, theatre and classical music grace the stage this season, including celebrated opera singer Nathan Gunn accompanied by wife Julie Gunn, classical guitarist Manuel Barreuco, the all-Stradivarius instrumentation Quartetto di Cremona, TV star Alan Cumming, singer Michael Feinstein’s holiday performance, superstar violinist Sarah Chang, and the fabled Julliard String Quartet.
Top names in other genres feature jazz favorite and Steven Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste, blues icons Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite, country star Rosanne Cash, the side-splitting comedy of Colleen Ballinger in “Miranda Sings Live…No offense,” and in genre-crossovers, violinist Lucia Micarelli and Kishi Bashi with a string quartet.
Visiting artists and companies include the high-flying Chinese Warriors of Peking, the bagpipes and pageantry of the Scottish Music Tattoo and Parade, Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, both sharing the stage with the Chapman University Big Band, and two bands, Dustbowl Revival & Hot Club of Cowtown, combine to celebrate American neo-roots.
Dance is represented by the acclaimed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the extraordinary dancer/athletes of Pilibolus.
Special Events include a screening of Disney’s beloved animated classic Beauty and the Beast with live orchestra, including professionals and Chapman students; Musco-Center-produced, “A Southern California Christmas;” and a Veteran’s Day performance of the Chapman-produced play saluting America’s Armed Forces, “If All the Sky Were Paper.”
Bryant says Musco is adding a new series this year, Provost’s Arts and Lecture Series.
“We’ve had a long list of important speakers here at Chapman – Robert Frost, Martin Luther King, former astronaut Scott Kelly, etc. Because of astronomical speaker’s fees, Chapman Provost Glenn Pfeiffer and I decided to join forces to continue to present international thought leaders.”
The names are impressive. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s talk will be based on his new book, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” theoretical physicist Michio Kaku’s talk will concentrate on his new book, “The Future of Humanity,” and Emmy-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s talk, “The Smear,” concentrates on the rise of fake news in influencing public opinion.
“We work diligently to engage our community,” Bryant says, “and Musco Center’s Heartbeat of Mexico Festival, presented in association with Chapman University’s Latinx Staff and Faculty Fourm, is held on Memorial Day weekend and features free all-day entertainment and ticketed headliners in the theatre.”
Bryant is proud of the fact that the student performances take the highest priority in bookings.
“The College of Performing Arts is our biggest user,” he says, “and that’s why when we book visiting artists and companies, we give priority to those who can also integrate their visits into the classroom with lectures, master classes and workshops.”
Speaking from the heart, Bryant says,
“Having the privilege of working with these people and leading this place as it ascends is wonderful.”
For dates and times, visit MuscoCenter.org
”Our success has come about because of so many people pulling for us in the university community, the community-at-large and the donor community.” – Bryant