Looking Ahead to a New Year of Programming | Essays

Looking Ahead to a New Year of Programming

Jan 11, 2017

16-17 SEASON | January 11, 2017

We are just about two weeks into the New Year. The post-holiday blues are starting to fade and only a handful of us are still sticking to our New Year’s resolutions. In these early days of 2017 we look ahead to what the Schimmel Center has in store to ease those winter blues in February and March.

The SteelDrivers Photo Credit: Robert Rausch

The SteelDrivers
Photo Credit: Robert Rausch

Highlights include the acclaimed bluegrass group The SteelDriversperforming songs from their latest Grammy Award® winning album, The Muscle Shoals Recordings on Friday February 10. Speaking of bluegrass, The Hillbenders come to us straight from the South by Southwest Festival with their presentation of Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry on March 25. This engaging concert reinvents The Who’s classic Rock Opera with an all acoustic orchestration including banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass and guitar. I recently had the opportunity to see this concert live and this energetic group had the audience and myself in the palm of their hand. The group has an obvious passion for the piece which shows through in their performance. Their comic narration and original orchestrations bring a fresh outlook to the Rock Opera that has previously shown its age.

If you are looking to, “brush up your Shakespeare,” and tickle your funny bone, look no further than the New York premiere of The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s latest play William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged.) The hilarious production re imagines the Bard’s most famous characters, speeches and plot scenarios while hilariously combining them into an imaginary, newly discovered work. I remember seeing the group perform in college and on DVD’s of their classic PBS performances and their work never disappoints. Whether you are a Shakespeare aficionado or someone looking for a night of classic slapstick and physical comedy, this is the evening for you. The play runs Saturday February 11th– 12th.

We continue our reputation for showcasing dance with lauded companies such as Lula Washington Dance Theatre on February 24. The company is celebrating 35 years of choreography that both celebrates and examines African American heritage and culture. The Los Angeles based choreographer, Lula Washington was responsible for the choreography in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Disney Animators watched filmed footage of her choreography to animate famous musical numbers like the Academy Award winning song, “Under the Sea.” She later returned to the silver screen in 2009 when she choreographed the movement for James Cameron’s groundbreaking film Avatar.

The Lula Washington Dance Company

The Lula Washington Dance Company

Our world roster is incredibly strong this winter. Gypsy Flamenco dancer José Maya brings his latest work, Latente: A Flamenco Journey to our stage on February 17th. The piece is accompanied by legendary Gypsy singer Juana la del Pipa, powerhouse vocalists José Valencia and Manuel Tañé, and celebrated guitarist El Perla. It is a deeply personal piece for the artist and explores the soul of a Gypsy Flamenco dancer. We are ecstatic to present the Portuguese Fado singer Gisela João as she makes her New York debut on February 25th. This young artist has been making a name for herself in her native Portugal, drumming up an impressive line of rave reviews. Straight form Argentina, the incredible Che Malambo will heat up our floor boards on March 24th.  This exciting performance showcases the thrilling and unique South American cowboy tradition of the gaucho.