Arts Converge to Make 2011-12 JMU Season

From: Public Affairs

After its highly acclaimed inaugural season last year, the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University is excited to announce its 2011-12 season.

Featuring 26 Masterpiece Season events ranging from Grammy Award-winning guest artists and groups to internationally acclaimed theater and dance companies to award-winning JMU theater, dance and music students, the complete arts calendar offers a lively year of dance, music, theater and visual arts shows. Performances include legendary rock band KANSAS with the JMU Symphony Orchestra, the hilarious cast of the live improvisational comedy show "Whose Live Anyway?" and "Donít Worry Be Happy" creator Bobby McFerrin with JMU's Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band.

The Masterpiece Season opens with the annual New Dance Festival Sept. 9-10 on the Forbes Center Mainstage Theatre. The festival features a premiere by Dance Alloy Theater, one of the mid-Atlantic's foremost performance ensembles, a new duet by locally based thompson & trammell, and new works by JMU faculty members Cynthia Thompson and Shane O'Hara.

Other dance events include concerts by JMU's Contemporary Dance Ensemble and Virginia Repertory Dance Company, as well as an intensely physical and theatrically stunning performance by AXIS Dance Company, one of the world's most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities.

Dancers and musicians playing to sold-out crowds across the country unite to satisfy audiences' "rhythmic appetites" in "Feet Donít Fail Me Now." Other professional music performances include America's premier postclassical string quartet ETHEL with Grammy-winning flutist Robert Mirabal and JMU's Madison Singers, as well as the undisputed king of mbube (South African a cappella singing) Ladysmith Black Mambazo and England-based Tenebrae in its first North American university appearance.

The Forbes Center will also host Grammy Award nominee and jazz/classical composer John Hollenbeck with his group the Claudia Quintet as part of the three-day Contemporary Music Festival, as well as "Sing Out!," a new celebration featuring a local high-school a cappella group with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting an area charity.

Also performing this season is singer-songwriter of Top 40 hits Livingston Taylor (brother of James), two esteemed vocal ensembles from the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C., and the Harlem Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players featuring professional musicians from the Harlem Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to accompanying guest artists, JMU's music ensembles will perform in concerts of their own, including the JMU Symphony Honors Concert featuring the JMU Symphony Orchestra and Johannes Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem Op. 45, featuring the JMU Symphony Orchestra, JMU Chorale and Madison Singers. After sold-out performances last season, Marimba Orchestra and Friends returns this year, as does Holidayfest with three heartwarming performances.

The JMU Opera Theater takes the stage for Johann Strauss' "Die Fledermaus," one of the world's most celebrated and popular operettas. The School of Theatre and Dance presents "Our Country's Good" by Timberlake Wertenbaker, "Dead Manís Cell Phone" by Sarah Ruhl, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" Ė A Musical Thriller with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, as well as "The Servant of Two Masters" by Carlos Goldoni. World-renowned professional theater company L.A. Theatre Works (Susan Albert Loewenberg, producing director) premieres its national tour of the great American history play "The Rivalry," Norman Corwin's riveting depiction of the famous Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates.

Information about Masterpiece Season, additional Forbes Center offerings and visual arts programs in JMU's fine professional and student galleries is now available. For tickets and event listings, visit http://www.jmu.edu/JMUarts or call the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568-7000. Contact Jen Kulju, public relations/marketing specialist at the Forbes Center, at (540) 568-4394 or by email at kuljuja@jmu.edu for further information.

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Aug. 10, 2011