Columbia Theatre announces 2011-12 season
Contact: Tonya Lowentritt
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1) COLUMBIA THEATRE PRESENTS A COCTAIL PARTY WITH A KICK – Comedian Larry Miller brings his new one-man show - that is two parts comedy and one part theater with a dash of music and a twist of truth – to the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts Oct. 27. Photo by Colette Blonigan.
2) AN EVENING WITH PAM TILLIS AT COLUMBIA THEATRE – Recording artist, songwriter and Broadway star Pam Tillis will perform at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre March 24 at 7:30 p.m.
3) SOUL QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS COMING TO SOUTHEASTERN’S COLUMBIA THEATRE – Grammy award winner and Blues Hall of Fame inductee Irma Thomas will take the Columbia Theatre stage this season on May 4 for one performance only.
HAMMOND – What’s life without a little culture? The 2011-12 season of Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts has it in spades this year with four music performances – two from Grammy®-winning artists – and two Broadway musicals. Sprinkle in some theatrical presentations, and a well-rounded recipe for entertainment emerges.
“This season offers not only more presentations than last, but a variety and quality that should appeal to our diverse and discerning audience,” said Columbia Theatre Interim Director Roy Blackwood. “Join us for the entire season through season ticket purchases, or for a selection of performances. Additionally, let us know what you would like to see in the future. I hope to see you at the Columbia Theatre, the Northshore’s cultural gathering place.”
The season opens Sept. 17 with a performance by Average White Band, a group widely regarded as one of the best soul and funk bands in history. Although best known for their hit “Pick Up the Pieces,” the band’s strength is found in their accomplished song-writing, which has contributed to several gold-selling albums and multiple Grammy nominations for the Atlantic Records label.
For a different take on theater, patrons will enjoy “Cocktails with Larry Miller” on Oct. 27. With over 50 film appearances, including “Pretty Woman,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “The Princess Diaries,” comedian Larry Miller performs a one-man show that’s two parts comedy and one part theater with a dash of music and a twist of truth. The perils of plumbing, the unmasking of marriage and a debate between Moses and God are just ice-breakers for one of the funniest cocktail parties ever.
The first of two Broadway musicals, “Fiddler on the Roof” takes the stage on Dec. 2. Winner of nine Tony Awards, “Fiddler on the Roof” has touched audiences around the world with its humor, warmth and sweeping musical score. In the little village of Anatevka, Tevye, a poor dairyman, tries to instill in his five daughters the traditions of his tight-knit Jewish community in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia.
Patrons will be treated to a performance by jazz pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton with the Champian Fulton Quartet scheduled Jan. 27. Described by the “Detroit Free Press” as “the most gifted pure jazz singer of her generation,” pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton is a rising star in the country’s jazz scene. She has performed in major New York venues, including Birdland, Lincoln Center, Smalls, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola and has played with jazz masters, such as Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess, Lou Donaldson and Louis Hayes. She recorded her debut CD in 2007 entitled “Champian with David Berger and the Sultans of Swing.”
“Hairspray,” the second Broadway musical of the season, is scheduled Feb. 10. One of Broadway’s most popular musicals of the past decade, “Hairspray” portrays Baltimore’s loveable plus-size teenager Tracy Turnblad and her passion for life and dancing in 1962. She wins a spot on a local TV dance program, which transforms her from an outsider to an instant teen celebrity. Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the program’s reigning princess, integrate the television show and find true love without mussing her hair?
On Feb. 25 devoted theater buffs will appreciate the presentation of the National Players Tour 63’s “John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.” Celebrated for their unique and innovative theatrical productions, the National Players present this tragic story, which follows the mismatched friendship of two displaced migrant ranch workers in Depression-era California – George Milton, a small man with big dreams and Lennie Small, a large but simple man. When George’s dreams seem within reach, his compassion is tested by Lennie’s mistakes, and the two discover what makes true men and true friends.
For country music lovers, an evening with Pam Tillis is scheduled March 24. A recording artist, songwriter and Broadway star, Tillis has been a formidable force in country music since her first single hit the charts in 1990. In addition to winning three CMA awards, two Grammy awards and, most recently, an IBMA award. Opry Member Pam Tillis has also had her compositions recorded by artists as varied as Chaka Khan, Martina McBride, Highway 101, Juice Newton and Conway Twitty.
The tradition of great musical talent at Columbia continues as Soul Queen of New Orleans and Blues Hall of Fame inductee Irma Thomas closes the season with a bang May 4. Thomas has a music career that spans 50 years, including numerous Grammy nominations, a Grammy award for her 2006 album “After the Rain” and two Soul-Blues Albums of the Year. She remains one of America’s most distinctive and classic singers, a treasure from the golden age of soul music who is as compelling and powerful as ever.
Other events scheduled this season include two Pajamas and Play presentations for young audiences, “The Frog Prince” and “How I Became a Pirate;” the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker;” and a concert by the Hullabahoos, an all-male a capella group from the University of Virginia that has performed worldwide for the last 23 years.
Tickets for Columbia Theatre events are available at the box office located at 220 East Thomas Street in the main lobby, 985-543-4371. Box office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and one hour before performances.
For more information on upcoming programs, contact the Columbia Theatre at 985-543-4366 or log on to www.columbiatheatre.org.