JMU Forbes Center announces masterpiece season

The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University announces its 2017-2018 Masterpiece Season. The season includes 34 Masterpiece events and features appearances or work by Tony Award-winning and world-renowned guest artists, ensembles and choreographers, and award-winning JMU theatre, dance and music students and faculty.

jmu forbes centerTopping the list are appearances by Forbes Center “Encore” artists including 21-time Tony Award-winning Broadway director and producer Harold Prince; the world’s most beloved vocal group, the Vienna Boys Choir; and Grammy-nominated Cameron Carpenter on his International Touring Organ.

Other Encore performances include young violin virtuoso, Ray Chen, Cleveland’s baroque orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, in A Night at Bach’s Coffeehouse, a cappella vocal ensemble, Cantus, electrifying “stepping” by Washington, D.C.-based, worldwide dance phenomenon Step Afrika!; Aquila Theatre’s clever and visionary touring production of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility; So Percussion, cutting-edge classical repertoire by the New York-based Catalyst Quartet; and the Valley’s own roots and Americana band, The Steel Wheels, playing music from its latest album, Wild As We Came Here.

Rounding out the list of Encore shows are Moscow Festival Ballet, who will bring the classic fairy tale of Cinderella to life in one of the world’s most beloved ballets; Dublin Irish Dance in Stepping Out, a dance and music extravaganza; one of the world’s most popular Irish folk bands, The High Kings, in a St. Patrick’s Day celebration; the Montreal Guitar Trio, Nobuntu, a female a cappella group from Zimbabwe in its first-ever American tour; The 13-Story Treehouse, a humorous production featuring live action, music and animation by Australia’s CDP Theatre Producers; and How I Became a Pirate, “by Dallas Children’s Theater, one of the top theatres for families in the nation.

The 13-Story Treehouse and How I Became a Pirate are new “Forbes Family Fun” events this season, as is Nobuntu; Community Collage Concert, which features artists and ensembles from the Shenandoah Valley and benefits Any Given Child Harrisonburg, Holidayfest and Sing Out! return to the lineup. Forbes Family Fan events are geared toward young audiences and their families, and this year’s series is sponsored by Union Bank & Trust.The 13-Story Treehouse, How I Became a Pirate, Nobuntu and The Steel Wheels will also give matinee performances for students in Rockingham County Public Schools and Harrisonburg City Public Schools.

The Masterpiece Season opens September 8-9 with Christopher K. Morgan & Artists headlining the New Dance Festival. Work by the Washington, D.C.-based company has been hailed as “charming and poignant by The New York Times.

The festival also features an experimental dance film by JMU dance faculty member Suzanne Miller-Corso, and new works by faculty artists Ryan Corriston, Cynthia Thompson and Kate Trammell. Other dance events includeDancescapes featuring JMU’s Virginia Repertory Dance Company and New Voices in Dance featuring JMU’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble.

The three-day Contemporary Music Festival celebrates the 150th birthday of Canada with music by Ottawa, Ontario-based Kelly-Marie Murphy and other celebrated Canadian composers. The JMU Symphony Orchestra and Chorale join forces with students from the Governor’s School of the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia, to perform Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. JMU faculty violist Diane Phoenix-Neal and EMU faculty violinist Joan Griffing perform as part of Musica Harmonia, a chamber group dedicated to promoting peace and cultural understanding through musical collaboration. The season also includes Jazz 4 Justice, a concert in cooperation with the Jazz4Justice Foundation and the Virginia Law Foundation benefitting Blue Ridge Legal Services, Inc. and JMU School of Music scholarships.

The JMU Opera Theater will perform Mozart’s comic opera, Così fan tutte (The School for Lovers), as well as Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore in the spring.

The School of Theatre and Dance presents Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning Equus; Out of Line, a musical comedy woven together by JMU theatre faculty member Julio Agustin (Matos, Jr.) from interviews with 25 Broadway performers; The School for Scandal, a “wickedly delicious” (The Times of London) show by Richard Brinsley Sheridan; Parade, a Tony Award-winning musical co-conceived and directed on Broadway by Harold Prince; and Stained Glass, a new play by JMU theatre faculty artist Ingrid De Sanctis.

Season offerings go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, June 28th. Tickets will be available and schedule at or at the Forbes Center Box Office in person or by phone at (540) 568-7000.

The 2017-2018 Masterpiece Season sponsor is Kathy Moran Wealth Group.

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