2013-14 Collins Center for the Arts Preview

One of the artistic gems of the UMaine community is definitely the Collins Center for the Arts.  The Center was known as the Maine Center for the Arts from its inception in 1986 until early 2009, when it was re-opened after two years of re-designs and named in honor of donors Richard R. and Anne A. Collins.  It has hosted luminous talents from across all fields … from comedians George Carlin and Adam Sandler to musical acts such as the Dave Matthews Band and Arlo Guthrie.  And the Cohen Lecture Series, named for Mainer, Senator, and Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, has brought policy speakers/reporters like Madeleine Albright, John Glenn, Eric Holder, Dan Rather, and Bob Woodward to the UMaine campus.

In other words, if you haven’t been to the Collins Center for the Arts, you should go. 

The folks at the CCA are pretty pumped about their upcoming 2013-14 season, and with good reason.  Here’s just a peek at only a few of the acts stopping in at the college of our hearts always.  (Click HERE to get hip to the full season.)

The Manhattan Short Film Festival.  October 3, 7PM.  I really like this idea…  More than 100,000 people at theaters in more than 250 cities on six continents come together all together during the same week, to view and vote on the finalists in the Festival.  Five bucks gets you a look at some pretty good looking films.  Throw in some dinner at Woodman’s, and you’ve got yourself a decent Thursday night, folks…

Bob Marley.  October 4, 8PM.  For me (along with millions of others), there’s no one that mixes Maine and comedy like Mr. Bob Marley.  A list of comedic achievements that includes DVDs, CDs, appearances on, well, everything – Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Fallon, and Comedy Central, as well as in the Boondock Saints movies – and much, much more, Bob Marley’s show is one that anyone, Mainer or no, shouldn’t miss.  (And stay tuned for a FTS interview with New England’s King of Comedy, coming soon!)
The Vinyl Café with Stuart MacLean.  October 13, 3PM.
  For those of you tuning in from, say New Jersey or Virginia or areas south, you may mistake Maine for Canada.  Yes, we’ve heard that one before.  Well, The Vinyl Café, what with its stories and musical acts, has been called the Canadian “Prairie Home Companion,” for all you public radio kids, and up here in the Great White North, we all need to stick together, eh? 
Elvis Costello.  November 19, 7PM.
  I mean…  Elvis G-D Costello!  The original hipster comes to Orono.  This is the act I would’ve dropped everything for when I was on campus.  I’ve often said that if I could magically have a singing voice like any performer, it’d be Elvis Costello.  Rock & Roll Hall of Famer.  Lyrics, melodies, the dude has it all.  It’s clear by this point that I’m an Elvis Costello fan.  And boy, am I happy he’s passing on the awesome to a new generation.

The Nutcracker.  December 21, 2PM & 7PM; December 22, 3PM. 
I mean, you probably know The Nutcracker, but give it up for this annual production featuring local talent from The Robinson Ballet, the Bangor Area Children’s Choir, and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.  For the kids.

BSO POPS: The Music of John Williams.  February 1, 7:30PM.  If you’re of a certain age like this 30-something Stein Filler, there are certain tunes that will instantly make you think of a galaxy far, far away; a daring, globe-trotting archaeologist; or, the scariest thing ever: velociraptors.  Well, get your soundtrack kicks with the BSO, as they tackle some of Williams’ award-winning pieces.

Lonestar.  March 12, 7PM.  Even non-country fans know this group, since they’ve had great success crossing over to the pop charts, too.  1999’s ‘Amazed’ was the first song since ‘Islands in the Stream’ to reach #1 on both the Country Music and the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.  And to me, it’s no small thing when you’re in the same sentence as the immortal Dolly Parton.  And that song is among the favorites of one Mr. Jon Jenkins, to boot…

La Boheme.  April 5, 1PM.  By no means am I an opera aficionado.  But the productions from The Metropolitan Opera are among the coolest things you can see on a large HD screen, and it’s worth seeing once, anyway, if you’re even remotely into this kind of thing.  And, as most every theater major worth his salt can tell you, the musical, ‘Rent’ was based on Puccini’s ‘La Boheme…’ You can thank me for that piece of small talk later, I guess.

BSO: Carmina Burana.  April 13, 3PM.  Look, I know, it’s more classical music.  Maybe that’s really not your thing.  But if nothing else, there’s probably one of the most famous, powerful, and rousing pieces of classical music ever.  Movies, commercials, video games…  ‘O Fortuna’ is everywhere, but you can see it live at UMaine. 

Ani DiFranco.  May 7, 7PM.  When you went to college in the 90s, Ani DiFranco was an inescapable part of college music.  I’d be more than a little curious to hear how she sounds these days, after more than two decades on the job, and the Collins Center would be a terrific venue to do just that…

So, these are just a few of the many acts coming through Orono over the next nine months.  Seeing as how there’s truly something to appeal to everyone, I hope something caught your eye – and maybe you learned something here, too.  See you at intermission.


Photo courtesy of Ruth Clark, Bright Lights, Dark Room Photography

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