The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts announces 2024-25 Masterpiece Season lineup

Celebrating 15 years of artistic excellence


The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University (JMU) announced its 2024-2025 Masterpiece Season lineup today. Guests will enjoy some of the world’s finest music, vocal, dance, and theatre ensembles and “Forbes Family Fun” shows during the Center’s 15th Anniversary Season.  Subscription packages and single tickets go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, July 2 at 10 am and can be purchased online at, in person at the Box Office, or by calling 540-568-7000.   

Top performances include: 

  • Brittney Spencer, a recent Billboard Hot 100 artist in collaboration with Beyoncé in her song, “Blackbiird.” 
  • The multi-GRAMMY Award-nominated band Plena Libre. 
  • The critically acclaimed solo play Tennessee Rising. 
  • Irish music’s leading contemporary voice, Lúnasa. 
  • Acclaimed playwright and actress Leslie McCurdy in The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, a "Forbes Family Fun" show. 
  • Percussion All-Stars from the Silkroad Ensemble, conceived of by Yo-Yo Ma.  
  • Houston Ballet II, the second company of Houston Ballet, America’s fifth largest ballet company. 
  • And finally – a comic compendium of the world’s greatest books in All the Great Books (abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company.  

 Other exciting Encore performances include The Doo Wop Project reimagining some of the greatest music in American pop and rock history; twins Christina and Michelle Naughton, the first piano duo to win the Avery Fisher Career Grant (2019); Cantus, the acclaimed vocal ensemble with music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century; the Czech National Philharmonic Orchestra, the leading and oldest symphony orchestra in the Czech Republic; GRAMMY and Emmy-winning ensemble, Time For Three; Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents New Orleans Songbook, bringing the spirit and joy of Mardi Gras and the soul of New Orleans; Miró Quartet, one of America’s most celebrated chamber groups; and Cello Stories: A Life Under Broadway with acclaimed cellist, Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf.   

For families looking to enjoy the performing arts, Forbes Center presents five "Forbes Family Fun" shows to enjoy this season, including The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, a one-act performance invoking the ‘spirit’ of Harriet Tubman from her childhood to elder years; Holidayfest featuring favorite songs and readings from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” plus the annual audience Carol-Sing and Pirate School: Sea Dreams, a madcap, swashbuckling solo show set to an original cartoon-inspired musical score. Other family-friendly shows include Rusalka: The Littlest Mermaid, the School of Music’s inaugural family opera featuring a magical musical journey into the ocean, and finally, The Vanishing Elephant, an incredible story of resilience and friendship that comes to life through large-scale puppetry, illusion, and magic. 

This year, the beloved JMU Family Weekend Tradition, JMU POPS!, transforms into POPS PLUS! - a College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Collaborative Arts Celebration for Student Scholarships. Attendees will be treated to performances by five of JMU’s premier musical ensembles alongside a captivating School of Theater and Dance lineup. Additionally, guests can participate in a silent auction featuring over 20 original artworks by students, faculty, and alumni from JMU’s School of Art, Design, and Art History. Tickets are available for general admission, with the option to enhance the experience by attending an exclusive Gala pre-show cocktail reception in the Atlantic Union Bank Center Club Room.  

JMU’s School of Music has several exciting programs, including GRAMMY-winning composer Jessie Montgomery and Synergy Virtuosi in the 43rd Annual JMU Contemporary Music Festival. Other performances include The Little Prince, based on the beloved children’s book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, featuring the JMU Opera Theater and Opera Orchestra, and Idomeneo, a classical opera composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Finally, the School of Music will round out its featured programs with the JMU Symphony Honors Concert, a captivating concert with JMU’s Symphony Orchestra, and the 2024 School of Music Concerto Competition winners.   

In the School of Theatre and Dance, Masterpiece Season patrons can enjoy the captivating talent of Doug Varone and Dancers; Silent Sky based on astronomer Henrietta Leavitt; two-time Tony Award-Winning musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; Dancescapes with JMU’s Virginia Repertory Dance Company celebrating its 40th anniversary; the musical Big Fish, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton; The Antipodes by Pulitzer Prize-winner, Annie Baker; and New Voices in Dance, highlighting original choreography by five JMU dance majors and an inspiring piece choreographed by Doug Varone.   

The 2024-2025 Forbes Center Masterpiece Season is sponsored by Kathy Moran Wealth Group. Visit or call 540-434-7470 for more information.  

To purchase tickets beginning on Tuesday, July 2 at 10 am, or for more information on the Forbes Center, visit    


2024-2025 Masterpiece Events & Other Season Highlights 

Schedule of events for Masterpiece Season



Doug Varone and Dancers, New Dance Festival (MS) 

Fri., Sept. 13 @ 7:30 pm 
Sat., Sept. 14 @ 2 & 7:30 pm 

Brittney Spencer (CH) 

Sat., Sept. 21 @ 7:30 pm 


Fri., Sept. 27 @ 8 pm 

The Doo Wop Project (WH) 

Sat., Sept. 28 @ 8 pm 

Silent Sky (MS) 

Tue. - Sat., Oct. 8 – 12 @ 7:30 pm 

Sun., Oct. 13 @ 2 pm 

Christine and Michelle Naughton (CH) 

Sat., Oct. 12 @ 7:30 pm 

The 43rd Annual JMU Contemporary Music Festival Featuring Jessie Montgomery and Synergy Virtuosi (CMF) 


CMF – Concert I featuring Synergy Virtuosi (CH) 

Sun., Oct. 13 @ 7 pm 

CMF – Concert II featuring Šarūnas Jankauskas (CH) 

Mon., Oct. 14 @ 7:30 pm 

CMF – Concert III featuring JMU Symphony Orchestra and Richard Shuster (CH) 

Tue., Oct. 15 @ 7:30 pm 

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (CH) 

Thu. - Fri., Oct. 24 – 25 @ 7:30 pm 

Sat., Oct. 26 @ 2 & 7:30 pm 

Plena Libre (CH) 

Fri., Nov. 1 @ 7:30 pm 

Dancescapes, featuring JMU’s Virginia Repertory Dance Company (MS) 

Fri., Nov. 1 @ 7:30 pm 

Sat., Nov. 2 @ 2 & 7:30 pm 

The Little Prince (MS) 

Fri. - Sat., Nov. 8 – 9 @ 7:30 pm 

Sun., Nov. 10 @ 2 pm 

Cantus: Wanting Memories (CH) 

Sat., Nov. 16 @ 7:30 pm 

Tennessee Rising: The Dawn of Tennessee Williams (MS) 

Thu., Nov. 21 @ 7:30 pm 

*Holidayfest: Selections from Handel’s Messiah (CH) 

Sat., Dec. 7 @ 7:30 pm 

Sun., Dec. 8 @ 2 pm 

Lúnasa: Irish Solstice Celebration (CH) 

Thu., Dec. 12 @ 7:30 pm 

*Pirate School: Sea Dreams (MS) 

Thu., Jan. 23 @ 6:30 pm 

Percussion All Stars: Silkroad Ensemble (CH) 

Sun., Jan. 26 @ 7 pm 

Czech National Philharmonic Orchestra (CH) 

Fri., Jan. 31 @ 7:30 pm 

*The Spirit of Harriet Tubman (CH) 

Wed., Feb. 5 @ 6:30 pm 

Time For Three (CH) 

Fri., Feb. 14 @ 7:30 pm 

*Rusalka: The Littlest Mermaid (RH) 

Sat., Feb. 8 @ 6:30 pm 

Sun., Feb. 9 @ 2 pm 

Big Fish (MS) 

Tue. - Fri., Feb. 25 – 28 @ 7:30 pm 

Sat., Mar. 1 @ 7:30 pm 

Sun., Mar. 2 @ 2 pm 

Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents New Orleans Songbook (CH) 

Sun., Mar. 2 @ 7 pm 

*The Vanishing Elephant (MS) 

Fri., Mar. 7 @ 6:30 pm 

Houston Ballet II (MS) 

Tue., Mar. 25 @ 7:30 pm 

Wed., Mar. 26 @ 7:30 pm 

The Antipodes (ST) 

Tue. - Sat., Apr. 1 – 5 @ 7:30 pm 

Sun., Apr. 6 @ 2 pm 

Idomeneo (CH) 

Sat., Apr 5 @ 7:30 pm 

Sun., Apr. 6 @ 2 pm 

Miró Quartet (CH) 

Fri., Apr 11 @ 7:30 pm 

Reduced Shakespeare Company: All The Great Books (abridged) (MS) 

Wed., Apr. 16 @ 7:30 pm 

New Voices in Dance featuring JMU’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble (MS) 

Fri. - Sat. Apr. 11 – 12 @ 7:30 pm 

Sun., Apr. 13 @ 2 pm 

JMU Symphony Honors Concert (CH) 

Sun., Apr. 27 @ 2 pm 

Cello Stories: A Life Under Broadway (CH) 

Fri., May 2 @ 7:30 pm 


*Denotes a Forbes Family Fun event 




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Published: Friday, June 21, 2024

Last Updated: Friday, June 21, 2024

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