Southeastern's Columbia Theatre announces new season

Thursday, August 24, 2017Mummenschanz
by: Tonya Lowentritt

GIANT PUPPETS TO TAKE THE COLUMBIA THEATRE STAGE – Mummenschanz, an experimental troupe formed in Switzerland, is just one of the programs included in Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts’ 2017-18 season. The group, scheduled to perform April 18, is made up of performers whose techniques include acting, puppeteering, expressive dance, and other forms of artistry.

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts launches its 2017-18 season, offering everything from live music to dance to theatre.
     The season also boasts entertainment from campus ensembles, said Roy Blackwood, director of the Columbia Theatre and Fanfare, Southeastern’s annual festival of the arts, humanities and social sciences. Performances will be scheduled throughout the season. Dates and additional information will be available soon at
     The Columbia Theatre curtain officially opens Oct. 5 with Southeastern Opera/Theatre Workshop’s presentation of “A Night on Broadway,” a concert with an on-stage orchestra that will consist of approximately 25 Broadway solo songs and ensembles.
     The production is scheduled on Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $21, adults; $18 faculty/staff and seniors, $8 for children 12 and younger. Southeastern students are admitted free with university ID. Tickets are available at the Columbia Theatre box office, located at 220 E. Thomas Street in Hammond, on line at, or by calling 985-543-4371.
     Next on tap is a concert from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which begins its series of performances at Columbia on Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. with “An Evening at the Cinema.” The program includes Verdi in “Overture to La forza del destino;” Beethoven in “Overture to Egmont;” Bock in “Fiddler on the Roof for Violin and Orchestra;” J. Strauss in “On the Beautiful Blue Danube;” Barber in “Adagio for Strings;” and Tchaikovsky in “Suite from Swan Lake.”
     Additional LPO concerts include the Yuletide Celebration, a fun program of holiday musical favorites for the entire family featuring local student choirs, on Dec. 1 and the “Beethoven Meets the Wild West” on Feb. 16. Both concerts are scheduled at 7:30 p.m.
     On Oct. 18, Columbia Theatre presents “The Heart Behind the Music” a group of entertainers who come together to perform a one-time concert, at 7:30 p.m. Every show is unique because each performance is composed of different musicians.
     “Since 2011 ‘The Heart Behind the Music’ has been bringing to the stage some of the world’s best singers and songwriters who share the meaning and music behind their hit songs,” Blackwood said. “This show provides an up close and personal insight into some of the greatest music ever written and performances by some of the industry’s most talented musicians.”
     Artists who have performed in the past under the umbrella of “The Heart Behind the Music” include Sam Hunt, Kim Carnes, Linda Davis, John Ford Coley, Will Champlin, Lee Roy Parnell, Marty Raybon of “Shenandoah,” Larry Stewart of “Restless Heart,” Richie McDonald of “Lonestar,” Teddy Gentry of “Alabama,” Deana Carter, Bill Champlin of “Chicago,” John Berry, and many more.
     The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience starring Joby Rogers is scheduled on Nov. 3.  
“As the mirror image of Michael Jackson, Joby Rogers is both entertaining and electrifying,” Blackwood said. “This full stage, high energy production is a tribute to the music and dance of the world famous star. Joby Rogers’ stunning resemblance to Michael Jackson, combined with the intricate dance moves of the genius himself, presents an exciting performance preserving the legacy and spirit of this entertainment icon.”
     On Dec. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. Columbia Theatre will present Hammond Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker.” The classic holiday ballet features professional guest artists and excellent all-star local dancers.
     Missoula Children’s Theatre will make a return visit the week of Dec. 11 - 16 with a production of “Gulliver’s Travels” for area youth. Upon their arrival Dec. 11, Missoula will hold auditions and cast approximately 50 to 60 area children. Rehearsals will begin that day, and a full scale production will be presented Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. Blackwood said the production is also a Columbia Theatre Pajamas and Play presentation designed to make theater performances especially accessible and appealing for children. Kids are invited to wear their pajamas, robes and slippers to the 60-minute performances, no matter the time, and will be given cookies and milk as an added treat. For additional information, contact the Columbia Theatre administrative office at 985-543-4366.
     Also in the theatre category is Aquila Theatre presenting “Hamlet,” one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, on Feb.24. Directed by Desiree Sanchez, Aquila’s “Hamlet” will seek to shed new light on this tragic story. Blackwood said the production will use movement, design, sound and superb acting to vividly explore the depths of rage, madness, love and death brought about by a culture of obsessive personal ambition.
     Rounding out the season is a performance by Mummenschanz on April 18 at 7:30 p.m. Mummenschanz is an experimental troupe formed in Switzerland. The group is made up of performers whose techniques include acting, puppeteering, expressive dance, and other forms of artistry.
     A compliment to the Columbia Theatre season, Fanfare will feature many “home-grown” artists. Fanfare will once again showcase music, theater, dance, lectures, children’s events, and art exhibits, highlighting the myriad of talent university faculty and students have to offer in Fanfare’s 32nd season. The complete Fanfare schedule will be posted soon and updated regularly at
     For Columbia Theatre season or individual ticket information, contact the administrative office at 985-543-4366 or log on to

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