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Performing arts center to present American Idiot, In the Heights, and more in 2011–2012

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May 10 2011 - 3:15pm

The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State’s 2011–2012 season of music, theater and dance presentations from around the world features the Centre County debuts of the touring Broadway musicals American Idiot, In the Heights and Young Frankenstein. It also features the musical Cats, four ensembles from China, the world premiere of a Center for the Performing Arts-commissioned dance and the start of a three-year journey through the string quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Tickets for the 29 presentations—on stage September 2011 through April 2012 at Eisenhower and Schwab auditoriums—go on sale May 16 to Center for the Performing Arts members, May 23 to last-season Choice series subscribers and June 6 to the general public. Eligible patrons may purchase tickets by phone at 814-863-0255 or 1-800-ARTS-TIX, in person at Eisenhower or Penn State Tickets Downtown or by mail-in order form. Visit for complete details or to download a brochure and order form. Patrons may also purchase tickets for two Penn State School of Music featured presentations at Eisenhower.
“I am particularly excited about the coming season as we have an array of artists from around the world and a rich representation of world cultures,” said George Trudeau, director of the Center for the Performing Arts. “Our patrons will find our signature mix of music, dance and theater featuring both familiar and returning artists and exciting newcomers.”
Heralded young jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato and her quartet open the season. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis makes its sixth appearance at Eisenhower. Israeli-born clarinetist Anat Cohen returns to Penn State, this time with her quartet, after performing with the Diva Jazz Orchestra at Eisenhower in 2007. Broadway and Private Practice star Audra McDonald, winner of four Tony Awards, sings show tunes, classic songs from movies and original pieces. Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés, a leading light of Latin jazz, performs with his Afro-Cuban Messengers.
The season includes the Mongolian folk music group AnDa Union, the National Acrobats of China, the traditional-instrument Shanghai Chinese Orchestra Chamber Ensemble and the contemporary Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai performing Shanghai Tango.
The presentation of the Paul Taylor Dance Company features a visit by choreographer Paul Taylor, who is scheduled to receive Penn State’s Medal for Distinguished Contributions to the Arts and Humanities. The dance company’s program features three works, including Taylor’s 134th dance, The Uncommitted, in the first performance after its world premiere.
“Paul Taylor continues to create ingenious dances each year, and we are thrilled to have the newest included on the program,” said Amy Dupain Vashaw, audience and program development director of the Center for the Performing Arts.
Los Angeles-based Diavolo, founded by French-born artistic director Jacques Heim, features 10 performers who collaboratively develop work on oversized surrealistic sets and everyday structures. The company’s performance includes the world premiere of a dance commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts. This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Water is Rising brings together 36 music and dance artists from the tiny Pacific nations of Kiribati, Tokelau and Tuvalu to celebrate the cultures of coral atolls at risk of being submerged by rising sea levels. Water is Rising features new songs and dances, plus projected images, conveying the performers’ deep connections to nature, family, ancestors and religion.
Spirit of Uganda’s performers, aged 8 to 18, share the music and dance of their East African homeland, while serving as ambassadors for Uganda’s 2.4 million orphans and promoting AIDS awareness.
Violinist Guy Braunstein, a native of Israel and the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Berlin Philharmonic, joins Germany’s Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, led by British conductor Jeffrey Tate, to perform Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major. The orchestra also performs works by Antonín Dvořák and Ralph Vaughn Williams.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra, resident ensemble at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, performs works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Beethoven. American piano virtuoso Leon Fleisher joins the orchestra, conducted by South African-born Gérard Korsten, to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 4.
The Chamber Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music, directed by Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor and featuring English soprano Deborah York, performs Love and Betrayal, opera arias and duets by George Frideric Handel.
In December, Austria’s Vienna Boys Choir performs Austrian folk songs and waltzes, classical masterpieces, pop tunes and holiday favorites.
Three events for children are on tap for Sunday matinees: the multicultural music group Hot Peas ’N Butter from New York City, TheatreworksUSA in an adaptation of the Broadway musical Seussical and the Maximum Entertainment production of The Magic School Bus LIVE! The Climate Challenge.
In The Island at the Birth of the World, monologist Mike Daisey recounts his journey to a South Pacific island whose people worship America at the base of an erupting volcano. Daisey wrestles with the largest questions of what their religion can tell us about our deepest values and the beliefs that lie at the heart of our world.
Sitar superstar Anoushka Shankar has collaborated with renowned flamenco producer Javier Limón and gifted Spanish musicians to develop a new sound that reinterprets the connections between the music of India and Iberia. Using sitar, tabla, bansuri flute, percussion, Spanish guitar and voice, Shankar and her band perform Flamenco.
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet’s four virtuosos, each possessing musical strengths in particular genres, perform multicultural programs ranging from Bach to bluegrass. The Penn State program highlights the quartet’s signature mix of classical favorites and far-ranging explorations.
The St. Lawrence String Quartet and the Brentano String Quartet perform the first two concerts in the ongoing series of Beethoven’s complete quartet cycle.
Two School of Music concerts are highlighted at Eisenhower during the 2011–2012 season. Mosaic features Penn State’s Philharmonic Orchestra, Concert Choir, Glee Club, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Centre Dimensions and more in a fast-paced, eclectic performance. The President’s Concert: A Sneak Preview gives patrons a chance to hear the Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Gerardo Edelstein, on the eve of the sixth annual President’s Concert at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall.
For more information about becoming a Center for the Performing Arts member, contact Dave Shaffer, assistant director for special programs, at 814-863-1167 or
A complete list of Center for the Performing Arts 2011–2012 presentations follows.
Performances are in Eisenhower Auditorium unless indicated as being in Schwab Auditorium (SA). Artists, programs, dates and times are subject to change.
Gretchen Parlato
7:30 p.m. Friday, September 30 (SA)
Hot Peas ’N Butter
2 p.m. Sunday, October 2
St. Lawrence String Quartet
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 11 (SA)
Paul Taylor Dance Company
7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 13
In the Heights
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 18
AnDa Union
Music of Mongolia
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 25
Anat Cohen Quartet
7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 27 (SA)
National Acrobats of China
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 2
Irish Chamber Orchestra
Gérard Korsten, conductor
Leon Fleisher, pianist
7:30 p.m. Friday, November 4
Water is Rising
South Pacific Music, Dance and Climate Change
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 8
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 15
Chamber Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music
Love and Betrayal
Arias and Duets by George Frideric Handel
Daniel Taylor, director and countertenor
Deborah York, soprano
7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 17 (SA)
Audra McDonald
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 29
Vienna Boys Choir
7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 1
(School of Music presentation)
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4
Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Jeffrey Tate, conductor
Guy Braunstein, violinist
7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 19
2 p.m. Sunday, January 22
Mike Daisey
The Island at the Birth of the World
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 24 (SA)
Chucho Valdés
with the Afro-Cuban Messengers
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 31
Shanghai Chinese Orchestra
Chamber Ensemble
7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 4 (SA)
Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai
Shanghai Tango
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 8
President’s Concert: A Sneak Preview
(School of Music presentation)
8 p.m. Monday, February 27
American Idiot
7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday,
February 28 and 29
Spirit of Uganda
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
with Wynton Marsalis
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16
Brentano String Quartet
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 23 (SA)
The Magic School Bus LIVE:
The Climate Change

2 p.m. Sunday, April 1
Anoushka Shankar
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4
Young Frankenstein
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 11
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 (SA)