With 14 acts and five different venues, the 2008-2009 Frostburg State University Cultural Events Series promises to be another exciting season of musical and theatrical performances for all ages, bringing the best of Broadway, world-class jazz, children’s events and high-energy performances to Western Maryland and the tri-state region.
FSU’s two performance series, the Main Stage Series and the CES Jazz Club sponsored by Kauffman Music, along with several special events, provide tons of opportunities for both residents and visitors to enjoy metropolitan-quality performances at an affordable price and in easy-access venues. Tickets are on sale now.
The CES season starts with a hilarious bang at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, with the ninth incarnation of “Forbidden Broadway ‘Special Victims Unit,’” an off-Broadway musical revue that gives scathing homage to Broadway’s biggest shows and brightest stars. Among this year’s “Special Victims” are the puppets of “Avenue Q,” the witches of “Wicked” and parodies of old favorites, including “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Les Miserables,” “Beauty and the Beast” and Mel Brooks’ “The Producers.” “Forbidden Broadway” will be performed at FSU’s Pealer Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center for one show only.
With his special blend of music, movement and humor, entertainer and motivator David Parker provides a perfect introduction to theatre for children of all ages. A free with-ticket performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, at Frostburg’s Mountain Ridge High School.
High energy, high kicks and high octane describe Barrage’s “High Strung” fiddle fest scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, in the Harold J. Cordts Physical Education Center’s Main Arena on the FSU campus. Barrage boasts an international, multi-talented cast of six violin players, a guitarist, a bass player and a drummer who create an eclectic mix of music, song and dance.
Returning to CES, The Capitol Steps takes politics to a whole new, hilarious level. The Capitol Steps is known for poking fun at Republican and Democrat politicians on Capitol Hill, as well as any other politicians who straddle the fence; they are scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, at FSU’s Pealer Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center. The group’s song parodies and skits have been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS, as well as National Public Radio’s “Politics Takes a Holiday” radio specials.
The Maryland Symphony Orchestra, led by the talented and spirited music director and conductor Elizabeth Schulze, is always one of the most popular events of each CES season. This year the MSO returns to Pealer at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, and will perform three great melodic masterworks: Wagner’s stirring “Prelude to Die Meistersinger,” Brahms’ formidable “Violin Concerto,” featuring the return of guest violinist Rachel Barton Pine, and Dvorak’s richly lyrical “Symphony No. 8.”
Grammy award winner, Kathy Mattea brings her coal-mining heritage to the forefront with “Moving Mountains” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, on stage at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg. This emotionally charged, heart-lifting concert by one of America’s finest country voices was influenced by the Sago mining disaster of 2006, and features songs by such celebrated songwriters as Jean Ritchie, Hazel Dickens, Utah Phillips and Merle Travis.
Jazz master Jimmy Heath is recognized as a brilliant tenor saxophonist as well as an outstanding composer and arranger. The first event in the CES Jazz Club sponsored by Kauffman Music series, Heath and his quartet will bring music to life at the Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22.
Toma´seen Foley’s “A Celtic Christmas” will transport you back in time to a rural Ireland when the motor car, television and telephones were mere rumors and the fiery sounds of the fiddle, bodhran, tin whistle and uilleann pipes combined with dancing jigs, reels and hornpipes warmed up a cold winter night. “A Celtic Christmas” is a joyous and unforgettable celebration of the season and will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, in FSU’s Pealer Recital Hall.
The CES Main Stage Series continues on the FSU Drama Theatre stage in the Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23, and Saturday, Jan. 24, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. with preview performances of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” There’s plenty of nostalgia in this delightful musical set in the 1950s when rock ‘n’ roll, angora sweaters and “The Ed Sullivan Show” reigned supreme. Winner of eight Tony Awards, “Bye Bye Birdie” offers lots of laughs and plenty of great songs, including “Put On a Happy Face,” “One Last Kiss.” and “What’s the Matter With Kids Today?”
Esperanza Spalding, a 23-year old prodigy-turned-pro, may be the hope for the future of jazz and instrumental music. The bassist, vocalist and composer will bring her voice and her instrumental chops to the stage at Windsor Hall at Town Centre on Sunday, Feb. 8. Patrons have the option of a 5 p.m. Supper Club or 6:30 p.m. concert only.
Who doesn’t know and love the Cat in the Hat? The Cat happens to be the host, emcee and all around mischief maker in TheatreworksUSA production of “Seussical” on Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in FSU’s Pealer Recital Hall. Enjoy a wild musical romp through some of Dr. Seuss’s best-loved stories with characters like Horton, the soft-hearted elephant; the unfuzzy Miss Gertrude McFuzz; the amazingly lazy Mayzie La Bird; and JoJo, the imaginative young Who. It’s a fast-paced, whimsical adaptation of the original Broadway version, perfect for ages 4 and up.
One of America’s pre-eminent pianists, George Winston, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, at FSU’s Pealer Recital Hall. Winston’s styles of music are both New Orleans R&B and his own folk piano style. He is known for his tribute album of Vince Guaraldi’s composition for the “Peanuts™” animations.
Composer and lyricist Neil Berg returns to CES at 8 p.m. Friday, April 17, with a brand new, high energy theatrical rock concert event, “The Twelve,” to be performed on stage at Mountain Ridge High School. “The Twelve” pairs each of the 12 apostles with a different, well-known, classic rock style, paying tribute to such music icons as David Bowie, Led Zepplin, U2, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. It’s a must-see for all fans of classic rock music.
Wrapping up the season will be Shakespeare’s rousing story of courage and the price of glory, “Henry V.” This classic will be vividly brought to life by The Acting Company/Guthrie Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in the Drama Theatre of the Performing Arts Center. Don’t miss the artistry and passion of this production.
Ticket packages and discounts are available, including the Build Your Own Series for those planning on attending several events throughout the year; Corporate Nights offering group pricing, priority seating and personalized service; and Group Sales, with special rates for purchases of 15 or more tickets for a single performance. Tickets may be ordered by calling 1-866-849-9237 or 301-687-3137 or by visiting http://ces.frostburg.edu.
The Cultural Events Series is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive and in part by the Allegany Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu.