Keb' Mo', 'A Chorus Line' are highlights of season

Keb' Mo' is one of the highlights of the CityStage-Symphony Hall lineup.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
June 25, 2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

news@thereminder.com

SPRINGFIELD — Dinosaurs, classic musical theater, stand-up comedy and a Grammy-winner are all part of the 2012-2013 CityStage & Symphony Hall season.

When asked what is her favorite performance coming up, Interim President Tina D'Agostino admitted, "I'm excited about everything."

She noted that the interactive comedy "Ask Mrs. Honey Bee" would have its Northeastern premiere at CityStage and that Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo would be a different kind of attraction for spring school vacation.

She is also pleased that the venerable music classic, "A Chorus Line," will finally be presented at Symphony Hall.

D'Agostino said she and her daughter didn't know what to expect when they saw "Bowfire" — a performance by a string ensemble — but were very impressed.

She admitted that the past season was challenging with the two weather events — the June 1, 2011 tornado and the Oct. 29, 2011 snowstorm — which affected ticket sales. Yet, she said, she received many positive comments from audience members and noted the shows attracted people to downtown Springfield.

D'Agostino explained the organization is not here to make money as much as it is to act as a catalyst for economic development and to encourage the arts.

She added, "We've developed a new membership program that offers an array of exciting perks while giving patrons advance access to tickets at the best prices. This new program is a great way for more people to become connected with the organization without committing to a specific ticket package."

Patrons can become members of CityStage & Symphony Hall to get priority seating and the biggest discounts without having to commit to a specific number of shows as in the past with subscription packages. As additional shows are announced, members will receive priority notification of pre-sales and special events. Memberships are $50 and are 100 percent tax deductible.

Tickets for the 2012-2013 season will be available to members starting on July 9 at 10 a.m. Non-member tickets will be available starting Sept. 4 at 10 a.m.

The schedule at CityStage includes:

• Oct. 10 to 14 — "Ask Mrs. Honey Bee."

From the creator and star of "Late Nite Catechism" comes this new hilarious interactive comedy. Maripat Donovan is Mrs. Honey Buczkowski, a self-proclaimed expert on living the good life, and all that it encompasses. In this class, she will be sharing her best relationship advice — in-laws, bathroom habits, sex — nothing is off limits.

• Oct. 25 to 27 — "American Fiesta," written by Steven Tomlinson.

Judged the 2006 Best Play by an Emerging Playwright by the American Theatre Critics Association and starring Emmy Award winner John McGivern, this story is about an obsessive collector on a quest for the perfect piece of vintage Fiestaware while dealing with his parents' opposition to his same-sex marriage.

• Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. — Four Bitchin' Babes present "Mid Life Vices: A Guilt-Free Musical Revue!"

The Four Bitchin' Babes are a tour de force musical comedy theater group, comprised of four, multi-talented gal pals, each a brilliant writer-musician-comedienne.

For this, their brand new stage revue, these accomplished performers vowed to age gracefully, but refuse to go quietly.

• Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. — Comedian Jake Johannsen.

A self-confessed raconteur of weird stories, it's no wonder that Johannsen is one of David Letterman's favorite comics. With more than 35 Letterman appearances under his belt (not to mention a handful of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and "Politically Incorrect" gigs), Johannsen is no stranger to late night television.

• Jan. 19, 2013 at 8 p.m. — Comedian Paul D'Angelo.

Combining energy, charisma, and spontaneity with an endless array of intelligent humor that grabs and holds the attention of crowds everywhere, critics have written that D'Angelo is "an energetic performer who gives a peak performance at every show."

• Feb. 20 to 24, 2013 — "You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!"

After 15 years of marriage, TV personalities and real-life-married-couple Annabelle Gurwitch ("Dinner and a Movie," "Fired!") and Jeff Kahn ("The Ben Stiller Show," "Forty Year Old Virgin") have adapted their hilarious and often moving memoir, "You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!" for the stage.

• March 20 to 31, 2013 — "Shear Madness."

The Shear Madness hairstyling salon is scandalized by the wacky murder of its illustrious upstairs neighbor, and if the shop doesn't get to the bottom of things soon, someone is going to die laughing.

Filled with up-to-the-minute comedy and keen improvisation, "Shear Madness" has played tens of thousands of performances and drawn more than nine million audience members into its uproarious mystery.

• April 16 at 10 a.m., 2 and 6 p.m. — Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo.

Erth's awesome prehistoric creatures, from cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, live in a petting zoo like no other. These ancient life-like dinosaurs come to life in an eye-popping display in this fun, educational and imaginative performance that will thrill and delight audiences of all ages.

• April 17 to 20, 2013 — "The Marvelous Wonderettes."

The New York musical theater sensation, "The Marvelous Wonderettes" begins in 1958 where audiences meet four talented girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts. Act Two fast-forwards to 1968 as the Wonderettes gather for their high school reunion amid the passions of the Rock Revolution. As the audience learns about their lives and loves, they're treated to the classic songs of '50s and '60s.

• May 16 and 17, 2013 — Rocky Mountain High: A John Denver Tribute Starring Ted Vigil.

Vigil, a man who, according to long-time Denver guitar accompanist Steve Weisberg, closely resembles John Denver both physically and musically, is carrying on the tradition honoring this colossal music icon.

Weisberg accompanies Vigil and is happy to once again be bringing the great compositions and Denver's hits to audiences through this warm and delightful tribute concert.

The following will take place at City Hall:

• Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. — Keb' Mo.'

Keb' Mo' is a three-time Grammy Award Winner for Best Contemporary Blues Album, and a key figure in the acclaimed 2003 PBS series "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues."

Over the past few years, Keb Mo has played hundreds of shows on several continents as well as composed and recorded music for the TNT series "Memphis Beat." This singular artist's celebrated recordings and live performances bring together his diverse influences — pre-disco R&B, American folk and gospel, rock, blues, and more — in a sound that is truly and uniquely his own.

• Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. — Pumps and Punchlines.

A night of hilarious comedy featuring Rachel Feinstein, Erin Foley, Erin Jackson, and Renee Gauthier. Gossip, men, sex, family, and friends — no topic is off limits.

• Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. — The Pink Floyd Experience.

The Pink Floyd Experience features classic Floyd hits including "Money," "Comfortably Numb," "Run Like Hell" and much more. The spectacular light and video show, full quadraphonic sound and six outstanding musicians bring you the most authentic Floyd experience possible.

• Feb. 10, 2013 at 7 p.m. — "A Chorus Line."

"A Chorus Line" is the musical for everyone who's ever had a dream and put it all on the line. Winner of nine Tony Awards, including "Best Musical" and the Pulitzer Prize for drama, the singular sensation returns for an all new tour.

• Feb. 28, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. — "Bowfire."

As seen on PBS, an ensemble of world-renowned musicians takes audiences on a journey that moves seamlessly from jazz to classical to bluegrass to Celtic to rock. Hailed as "enormously entertaining" by The Washington Post, "Bowfire" is the total string sensation.

• March 21, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. — "Hooray for Hollywood."

Take a nostalgic journey through the most popular musicals of the last 50 years, featuring a cast of 14 singers and dancers, a six-piece band, and more than 300 costume changes.

• April 21, 2013 at 7 p.m. — "Fiddler on the Roof."

"Fiddler on the Roof," based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem, has captured the hearts of people all over the world with its humor, warmth and honesty with its rousing, heartwarming score.

• May 11, 2013 at 8 p.m. — "Tap — The Show"

"Tap — The Show" is a powerhouse production, celebrating the artistry of tap dance from around the globe. Included in this extravaganza are recreations of some of favorite Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly numbers, Broadway showstoppers, smooth and sultry soft shoe, flamenco, tribal, Irish step and more.

For more information about the 2012-2013 season or to become a member, call 788-7033 or go to www.symphonyhall.com.



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