School of Performing Arts: Spring Semester Preview

Grab your seaweed wraps and hot stones!  We’re heading to the SPA!  What’s that, you say?  Not the spa?  Oh…  The School of Performing Arts!  Well, as much as I had my heart set on some shiatsu and a mud mask, I should’ve guessed that the FTS bosses wouldn’t let me expense something like that.  All the better, though – because there’s plenty to see on the UMaine campus from our performing friends this spring!  Like we did in the Fall Semester, we’re heading back to the Class of 1944 Hall to get the best of what’s around the UMaine culture scene.  (As ever, here’s your Public Service Announcement that all tickets are all free to students with a MaineCard…  And some of them are completely free to everyone!)  Remember, this is just a small selection.  For the full calendar, click here.

February 8, 7:30PM.  Minsky Recital Hall: Cadenzato Faculty Concert (Laura Artesani, Jack Burt, Soo-Yon Choi, Ginger Yang Hwalek, Nancy Ellen Ogle, Noreen Silver, Phillip Silver, Marisa Solomon & Anatole Wieck)
Lots of favorite faculty to pick from here; plus, Ginger Yang Hwalek is a family friend, so what am I gonna do, NOT pump the tires for this one?  But seriously, check out the serious talent represented in UMaine’s Music faculty, and tell me that you’re not impressed.  World class stuff, right in our own back yard – take advantage!

February 14-16; 20-23, varying times.  Hauck Auditorium: Grease 
You know it and (probably) love it – Grease is the word!  Fan favorites like Greased Lighting and Beauty School Dropout are now more than 40 years old, believe it or not.  But if I know anything, Director-Professor Sandra Hardy will be breathing some great new life into this one on Hauck stage, just as she’s done for Cabaret, Pump Boys & Dinettes, and countless other shows during her time at UMaine.  This production will be one not to be missed – and I certainly won’t.  I’m going on the first weekend, so…see you there!

March 22, 2:00PM.  Cyrus Pavilion Theatre: Baba Yaga and the Black Sunflower
I love “the Pav.”  There’s no place on campus I’d rather see a performance.  And a Saturday matinee that’s kid-friendly sounds like just the ticket to a toddler’s dad, especially when it’s written and directed by renowned playwright, Carol Korty.  A unique folktale, Baba Yaga should be right at home in this intimate theatre setting.  And Baba Yaga’s cast and crew won’t be headed to Daytona Beach on spring break.  No, sir – when UMaine’s books close for break, they’ll be touring local Maine schools with the production, so stay tuned to the SPA’s website for details on that.

March 22, 7:30PM & March 23, 2:00PM.  Minsky Recital Hall:  University Singers
Come see where our very own Keith Luhmann got his collegiate start!  (That’s not gonna do it for you?  OK…)  Come see Dr. Dennis Cox direct the finest collegiate chorus ever to sing The Stein Song in their annual spring event, which is always full of favorite songs, new and old.  How about that?

April 9-12, 7:30PM & April 13, 2:00PM.  Hauck Auditorium:  Crimes of the Heart
Every spring, there’s a show that is entirely produced by the Maine Masque, one of the oldest collegiate theatre organizations in the world.  It’s an amazing undertaking, with the direction, stage management, designs, props – you name it – all done by UMaine students.  And they’ve traditionally been very good.  Back in my day, we built a whole 7-11 on stage for SubUrbia…  We ran a huge revolving stage in the Pavilion for Reckless…  So, color me anxious to see what director Nellie Kelly has in store for this ambitious play by Beth Henley. 

April 11, 7:30PM.  Minsky Recital Hall: Pythagoreanism and the Music of Don Stratton featuring Stratton’s “KTAADN, The Highest Land”
That’s a heck of a title for an event.  Sponsored by The Center for Pythagorean Aesthetics (didn’t know there was such a thing, did you?  Learning!), this performance will see a reading of Henry David Thoreau’s Ktaadn set to music.  Pythagoreanism, as far as your humble correspondent can tell, is based in the belief that all art and nature is mathematically-based.  And since I saw Darren Aronofsky’s Pi once, I figure this must be something like that.  I’m lost.  But…I’m also very interested.  But still lost.  (Like, on a Mountain in Maine. Get it?!?  Meh.)  If I don’t come back in a few weeks, send a search party to Minsky Recital Hall.

April 19, 7:30PM.  Minsky Recital Hall: Opera Workshop
Another annual favorite, the spring Opera Workshop is a big deal for the vocal performers in the Class of 1944 Hall.  New this time around is the absence of retiring Professor Ludlow Hallman, who has led the way for this showcase for quite a while.  Sources say, though, that the performance is in capable hands with Professor Nancy Ellen Ogle.  So, come to the opera – at worst, you’ll probably hear something you recognize from Bugs Bunny.

April 26, 7:30PM.  Minsky Recital Hall: Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
OK, so…  I know I just got done saying that Professor Lud Hallman is retiring.  But what’s that?  Could it be???  NO!  IT IS!  GOOD GOD, THAT’S PROFESSOR HALLMAN’S MUSIC!!!!  (Copyright, Jim Ross, WWE Announcer.)  Even retirees have a hard time staying away from the SPA.  Professor Hallman guest conducts the comedic one-act opera directed by Professor Anatole Wieck.  One of the highlights of the opera is the famous O Mio Babbino Caro, which, for anyone who is up to date on Downton Abbey, probably now has pretty traumatic connotations.  But go see this one!  I guarantee it’s better than [DOWNTON ABBEY SPOILER REDEACTED.]

May 1-3, 7:30PM.  Hauck Auditorium: Spring Dance Showcase.
Like I told you back in the fall, I have a secret thing for dance.  Not that I’m terribly good at it, but I love to watch it.  And it’s not just the ballerinas (take it easy ballerinas – you’re great, too) – there are football players, sassy hip hop ladies, maybe there’s even some crumping or popping and locking these days, who knows?  I told you then, and I’m telling you now: go see this show.  I’d say “you’ll like it or your money back,” but I have a feeling the SPA box office might have a hand in that pot.

See?  No excuses for not having anything to do for your Arts Appreciation 101 class or on a date night.  (Protip: date night does NOT equal slinging beer pong in an Old Town barn attic.  Take it from me.  Learn from me.  Please.)  Because, you know…  We’re always looking out for you here at Fill The Steins.  


2 Responses to “ School of Performing Arts: Spring Semester Preview ”

  1. KTAADN sounds very interesting……

  2. I agree. (It's funny, I just saw an exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History that referenced the original poem the day before I posted this, as well.) Set to music? Incorporating mathematics? Interesting, is right! Thanks for reading!

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