by Steve MacQueen, Artistic Director
This year’s season kicks off with Pink Martini (Wednesday, September 24), the ultimate sophisticated lounge band (that’s a compliment!). The group draws from musical traditions around the world and across genres of pop, jazz, and classical. On Wednesday, October 1, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Los Lobos, whose music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music such as cumbia, boleros, and nortenos. Second City (Thursday, October 2) opened in 1959 to present a mix of sketch and improv comedy, and became the starting point for generations of America’s best and brightest comedians, including Joan Rivers, John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and Tina Fey. Featuring top global choreographers, distinctive groundbreaking works, and virtuoso dancers, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (Saturday, October 18) is one of the most dynamic, athletic, risk-taking contemporary ballets around. Wynton Marsalis calls Marcus Roberts (Friday, October 24) “the genius of modern piano.” Roberts and his 12-piece band, which includes Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra veterans alongside some up-and-coming jazz musicians, play an evening length original composition, Romance, Swing, and the Blues. R. Buckminster Fuller was quite a guy: architect, designer, engineer, inventor, linguist, writer, and philosopher. Documentary filmmaker Sam Green and indie-rock band Yo La Tengo pay homage to Fuller with a live-performance, multimedia documentary, The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller (Thursday, October 30; co-presented by the UVM Lane Series).
Winner of 31 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards and two Grammys, the Del McCoury Band (Sunday, November 2) was hand-picked by Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora to set previously undiscovered lyrics to bluegrass music. The legendary Martha Graham Dance Company (Friday, November 21) carries on the legacy of Graham’s focus on expressive movement. The New York Times says that “Graham’s choreography remains a true, living American document.” An absolutely astonishing vocal group that’s been around for more than 40 years, Sweet Honey in the Rock (Thursday, December 4) sings spirituals, freedom songs, and protest songs in unspeakably beautiful five-part harmony. A landmark in the funny-nun genre, Sister Act (Thursday, December 11) started out as a Whoopi Goldberg film before becoming a big Broadway hit.
Returning to the Flynn for the 33rd year, Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s A Christmas Carol (Friday, December 12) is true a holiday favorite. Emerging choreographer Camille A. Brown (Saturday, January 17) creates pieces that are high energy, provocative, and theatrically electrifying. Grease (Friday, January 23) is not only the word . . . it’s also a fun sing-a-long, so dress up in your favorite Grease outfit and sing along. Terri Lyne Carrington (Friday, January 30) was the drummer of choice for 20 years, playing with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Cassandra Wilson, and many more. Money Jungle is her tribute to the Duke Ellington/Charles Mingus/Max Roach album, but it stakes its own territory, and takes off like a rocket from the first downbeat.
Nice Work If You Can Get It (Monday, February 2) is like a jukebox filled with George and Ira Gershwin songs: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, ‘S Wonderful, I’ve Got a Crush on You, Someone To Watch Over Me, and of course, the title tune. The plot holding the songs together is great, frothy, screwball fun. The family matinee of Schoolhouse Rock Live! (Sunday, February 15) brings back all your old favorites, like 3 Is a Magic Number, Conjunction Junction, and How a Bill Becomes a Law. This performance is sensory-friendly for people with autism, which means that the house lights are a little brighter and the rules a bit relaxed. Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy (Wednesday, Februrary 18) are two great Cape Breton fiddlers who happen to be married. Along with the music and step-dancing, you’ll hear stories about Cape Breton, and catch glimpses of their family life (and even some family members). While Gregory Porter’s (Thursday, February 19) voice may recall the heyday of early ‘70s folk geniuses such as Bill Withers and Donny Hathaway, he’s a jazz singer, having won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Kuchipudi is classical Indian dance, as challenging and precise to perform as classical ballet. Shantala Shivalingappa (Saturday, February 21) makes it look easy with Akasha, a program of five solos accompanied by live singing, flute, and percussion.
Lily Tomlin (Sunday, March 8) studied acting under Charles Nelson Reilly and made her TV debut on the Merv Griffin Show, but it was Laugh-In that made her a star. Since then she’s won two Tony Awards, a Grammy, and the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize. Nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Eileen Ivers (Friday, March 13; co-presented by the UVM Lane Series) is not only the original musical star of Riverdance, but she’s also a founding member of Cherish the Ladies. She joins us this year for our annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. The Acting Company returns to the Flynn with one of Shakespeare’s most popular and enduring (and bloody!) tragedies, Macbeth (Wednesday, March 25). The Nile Project (Saturday, March 28; co-presented by the UVM Lane Series) is an electrifying all-star band that embraces numerous musical cultures under one roof, but it’s also a much larger project that embraces sustainability, clean water, and sharing of resources across borders of countries through which the Nile flows.
Peter and the Starcatcher (Tuesday, April 14) is the critically acclaimed prequel to Peter Pan and winner of five Tonys, including sound design, light design, costume design, and scenic design. The New York Times said, “With grown-up theatrical savvy and a child’s wonder at what it can achieve, this show never stops flying.” The iconic title design was created by Vermont woodworker John W. Long. Miwa Matreyek (Wednesday, April 15) is an incredible experimental filmmaker who creates hallucinatory dreamscapes, and then backlights herself into the action to create an immersive, in-the-moment film experience you haven’t had before. The African Children’s Choir (Thursday, April 16) started off as a way to assist children in Uganda, but they now have numerous choirs and seven homes for children who have been displaced by war or famine. Their performances are celebratory and jubilant. Gilberto Gil (Monday, April 20) is one of the world’s greatest and most influential musicians. As a co-founder of the Tropicália movement, he helped reinvent Brazilian popular music by incorporating rock, reggae and funk into traditional Brazilian rhythms. In concert, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (Tuesday, April 21) offers a funny, virtuosic, twanging, awesome, foot-stomping evening as they jump from Tchaikovsky to Nirvana via Otis Redding and Spaghetti Western soundtracks. This American Life host Ira Glass joins dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass in Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host (Saturday, April 25), a funny, lively evening of dance and storytelling. It’s This American Life . . . with dancing. Anything Goes (Monday, April 27) won three Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. Featuring Cole Porter favorites such as I Get a Kick Out Of You, It’s De-Lovely, and the title track, the story follows two unlikely pairs setting off on a course to true love, while on a ship heading out to sea. The New York Times calls Wendy Whelan (Thursday, April 30) “America’s greatest contemporary ballerina.” A longtime principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, Whelan enlisted four of the most dynamic young choreographers today and commissioned duets from each of them. In Restless Creature, she dances these duets with each choreographer.
Cirque Mechanics (Sunday, May 10) returns to the Flynn with Pedal Punk, which features the Gantry bike—a pedal powered circus caravan that moves around the stage as the performers —acrobats, cyclists, equilibrists, and funambulists—throw themselves around on the moving structure.
Explorations in FlynnSpace
Sometimes, you want something a bit more intimate and offbeat than the usual. For the Flynn, which has long had a commitment to cutting-edge work designed for smaller audiences, those moments generally occur during our Explorations Series in FlynnSpace, where the connection between artist and audience is immediate and magic seems to happen on a regular basis. These dance, theater, and music performances feature artistic perspectives from Vietnam, Japan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda, as well as various parts of the US. All of them have provocative, interesting artists with something to say, and we’re delighted to give them a place to say it.
Tri Minh Quartet, Sounds from Hanoi (Sunday, September 28)
A new musical voice from Vietnam, Tri Minh and his Quartet combine electronica, acoustic instruments, and traditional motifs in a program of collaborative and improvised works. Tri Minh’s evocative soundscapes have attracted international attention and he has worked with some of today’s top DJs and electronic musicians, though his music is equally evocative of classical music infused with regional sounds.
Andy Milne, Strings & Serpents (Wednesday, October 29)
Strings & Serpents is the latest venture from adventurous jazz pianist Andy Milne, who teams with French pianist Benoit Delbecq, the Japanese TsuguKaji KOTO duo, and animator Saki Murotani to create this fascinating tapestry of sight and sound. A multi cultural collaboration that marries Japanese and Western forms through improvisation and rhythm, set against the backdrop of Murotani’s startling animations, Strings is based on Japanese Rainbow Serpent mythology. The work was commissioned by the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.
Look Backward, Dance Forward: Tales from Home
Faustin Linyekula, Le Cargo (Friday, October 31)
Panaibra Gabriel Canda, The Marrabenta Solos (Saturday, November 1)
This unique two-evening dance-theater program features two remarkable dancers offering artistic perspectives on the complex histories of their countries. Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Faustin Linyekula presents his first solo piece Le Cargo, which recounts his return home and things lost and found on his journey. Panaibra Gabriel Canda’s Marrabenta Solos examines Mozambique and its struggles with colonialism, nationalism, and modernity. Accompanied by virtuoso guitarist Jorge Domingos, Canda tells the story through marrabenta, a dance that mixes local traditions and European influences. Both Canda and Linyekula are first-rate storytellers, both through words and movement, and their stories are well worth hearing.
Steve Paxton & Jurij Konjar, Bound (Thursday, November 6)
Dubbed “a titan of the 1960s and ‘70s avant-garde” (New York Times) and the founder of contact improvisation, Vermont resident Steve Paxton’s impact on modern dance is nearly incalculable. An early dancer with Merce Cunningham and one of the key figures in the deeply influential Judson Dance Theatre of the ‘60s and Grand Union of the ‘70s, Paxton (recently awarded The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance at the International Dance Festival of the Venice Biennale) makes his Flynn debut with a restaged version of his 1982 work Bound. He’s not actually dancing it, however; he set the work on Slovenian dancer Jurij Konjar, and advance notice on the piece is fabulous. Before Konjar’s performance, Paxton is interviewed by Polly Motley in the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery.
Raphael Xavier, The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance (Saturday, November 15)
Philadelphia-based hip-hop dancer/choreographer/spoken- word artist Raphael Xavier’s The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance is hip-hop dance as performance art, an autobiographical culmination of Xavier’s 30 years in the business. Xavier plays with the rhythms of rap, dance and narrative, deconstructing them along the way to give insight into the artist’s life and work. Visceral yet deeply thoughtful, the show, directed by Ralph Lemon, reflects an artist’s view on hip-hop’s influence and history as the form—and its practitioners—age.
Mat Fraser & Julie Atlas Muz, The Freak & the Showgirl (New date: Thursday, January 8) Mat Fraser is a writer, actor, musician, cabaret host/performer, and disability advocate, while his partner Julie Atlas Muz is an actress, burlesque celebrity, and former Miss Exotic World. The two will perform an evening of no-holds-barred, explicit, adults-only cabaret that will challenge the audience’s perceptions on a variety of topics.
Kristina Wong, The Wong Street Journal (Thursday, February 26)
L.A.-based performance-artist Kristina Wong concludes a week-long residency with an in-progress performance of her (by then) nearly finished work, a scathingly satirical look at global economic inequality, inspired by her trip to Uganda. Hilarious and fearless, Wong is a provocateur, solo performer writer, and cultural commentator who’s unafraid to live her life in public (her hysterical romantic pursuit of NBA star Jeremy Lin is a small example). Wong has five solo shows already to her credit—including the lauded Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which examined the high rate of suicide among Chinese-American women— and when she takes the stage in FlynnSpace, that number goes up to six. During her residency, Wong is also active in the community, working with high-school students.
Terry Galloway, You Are My Sunshine (Saturday, April 11)
Performance artist Terry Galloway performs her one-woman show, based on her experience as a deaf woman who received a cochlear implant well into adulthood, and her struggles/revelations as a person who suddenly emerges into a world of noise. A mesmerizing storyteller, Galloway is alternatingly thoughtful and hysterical, often one when you expect the other. While in residence, Galloway also reads from her memoir, Mean Little Deaf Queer, and hosts a performance workshop.