CFA and HPAC bring Broadway and international legends next season

Written by Fourth Estate Lifestyle Editor Genevieve Hoeler

Mason’s Center for the Arts and Hylton Performing Arts Center announced their upcoming 2014-2015 theatrical seasons, which dance around each other to create a harmony of fresh and vivid performances.

As is customary, CFA and HPAC’s season includes dramatic as well as dance, musical and acrobatic shows—some returning to Mason’s campuses and others making their debut for a fresh audience.

The CFA announced what has come to be known as the “Year of the Piano,” as an homage to the Steinway pianos, which they are currently fundraising to obtain 23 more of, for the Musical Theater Building on Fairfax Campus.

The piano features as a major theme in many of the concerts coming to the CFA including the return of Jeffrey Siegel’s Keyboard Conversations; the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet playing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2; Christopher O’Riley and Pablo Ziegler in their dual piano performance called “Two to Tango;” and Todd Ellison playing a slew of Broadway romantic love songs accompanied by Broadway performers.

A particularly unique addition to this piano crazed season is “Holiday Celebration with The 5 Browns,” where a family of five Julliard trained, piano-playing siblings gathers, each armed with a piano, to simultaneously play a selection of Christmas music including “The Nutcracker Suite” and pieces from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

The 2014-2015 season is perforated with New York’s top talents. HPAC brings a night of improvisation and Broadway with New York musical comedy group “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical,” and a Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin inspired performance by Deana Martin called “A Tribute to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.”

Continuing along the stretch of Broadway riches, the annual tradition “Arts by George!” continues in this upcoming season. This year, the performer will be none other than Broadway legend, Patti LuPone, who is known not only for her completely one-of-a-kind singing, but for her soul-wrenching acting talents.

Aquila Theater, a theater company who has associated with Mason for many years, returns to both CFA and HPAC with two plays: “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, which will feature exclusively at CFA, and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” which will be at both venues.

Another returning company, Virginia Opera, will be presenting multiple pieces over the course of the 2014-2015 season. These shows include “Sweeney Todd,” “Salome,” “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “La Traviata,” all to be performed at CFA.

Another character permeates the performance season next year which is rather surprising, not to mention historical, is Eva Peron. Peron, who was the character LuPone received her first Tony win for in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita,” has a story perfect for the stage. Dance company Tango Buenos Aires brings “Song of Eva Peron,” to both CFA and HPAC. It follows the rise and fall of Eva Peron from her childhood to her reign alongside her husband over Argentina.

Royalty reigns over other dances brought to these two theater companies: including the returning Russian National Ballet Theatre who will be performing “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty,” the first of which will be performed at both HPAC and CFA.

Breaking away from ballet are the returning Mark Morris Dance Group, who will be performing modern dance, as well as Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Alonzo King has been redefining the world of ballet, using and breaking the rules of the art form to create new, vivid art.

HPAC breaks away from the large, dramatic pieces with some equally warming pieces featuring talented solo and a capella artists including Arlo Guthrie, Clint Black, Chanticleer,  Natalie MacMaster and Dennell Leahy, and Phil Vassar and Lyndsey Highlander.

As all of these pieces may help ease the hearts and minds of Mason students, they will have the chance to watch performances soar far above them with the National Acrobates of the People’s Republic of China in their show “Cirque Peking,” at both HPAC and CFA.

The CFA and HPAC’s 2014-2015 season is filled with nostalgia and fantastical themes. It encourages Mason students, as well as its surrounding communities, to look towards the greats, like Frank Sinatra, or peeking into the otherworldly works of acrobats and ballerinas.

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(Photo courtesy of Margo Moritz)