Category: performance

Spring Awakening


Spring-Awakening-Ware-Brockmeier.jpgUniversity Theatre winds up its season with the Broadway musical "Spring Awakening':

[T]he sexually charged rock musical "Spring Awakening," composed by Duncan Sheik with book and lyrics by Steven Sater, on April 10-12 and 15-18 at 8 p.m. with matinees April 13 and 19 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

The production is directed by Richard Garner, co-founder and artistic director of Georgia Shakespeare.

A recent hit on Broadway, "Spring Awakening" adapts German playwright Frank Wedekind's "1891 Spring Awakening: A Children's Tragedy," which was a commentary on the era's climate of sexual repression.

Garner calls Wedekind's work "a landmark play in the history of modern drama that gave us a pained look into the confused youth who had to make their way through a claustrophobic world that denied them a satisfactory understanding of the storm that was raging within their own adolescent bodies."

University Theatre and the department of theatre and film studies announced that the Grammy and Tony award-winning composer Duncan Sheik will be present for the performances and host a Q & A on Friday April 11 after the 8 pm show. A great opportunity to interact with and hear directly from one of the artistic forces behind the musical - a strong way to end up the season, and one that sums up University Theatre's commitment to audience, our students and the community.

Image: Senior theatre major Ashley Ware of Dacula plays the part of Wendla in the University Theatre performance of "Spring Awakening" along with senior theatre and English major Connor Brockmeier of Woodstock as Melchior. (Credit: Kristyn Nucci/UGA)

University Theatre: The Bakkhai


Bakkhai with studentsUniversity Theatre is in session throughout this weekend with a contemporary take on the ancient Greek classic tragedy "The Bakkhai" by Euripides, translated by Robert Bagg:

Performances will be in the Cellar Theatre March 25-30 at 8 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. matinee March 30.

Tickets are $12, or $7 for students, and can be purchased at, by phone at 706-542-4400, in-person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Center box office, or at the door before the show.

The original production of "The Bakkhai" in the fifth century B.C. combined drama, dance and music to honor the god Dionysos. The UGA production is directed by Marla Carlson, associate professor in the department of theatre and film studies.

New Orleans-born percussionist and composer Louis Romanos has created an original score for this production, and Carlson has taken on the role of choreographer in addition to that of director.

"Movement structures are developed through rehearsal, with considerable room left for improvisation even within the performance," Carlson said. "Like Dionysos, their rhythms move us as embodied individuals and draw us into a collective response regardless of our rational thought processes."

The ancient is modern this weekend in the Fine Arts Building. Make your plans to attend a performance.

UGA Ballet 20th anniversary performance


UGABalletMark your calendar for a special night of ballet March 22:

The special concert, featuring both classical and contemporary ballet works performed by current company members with special appearances by ensemble alumni, will be in the New Dance Theatre in the Dance Building located on Sanford Drive.

Four pas de deux (dance for two) will be performed during the event: the classic "Aurora's Wedding" pas de deux from Act III of "Sleeping Beauty;" the famous pas de deux from Don Quixote performed by alumna Kristin Grubbs and her partner Samuel Chester, both with the Carolina Ballet Theatre; the virtuosic Russian pas de deux "Spring Waters;" and an original work "Awakened," created by alumnus John Streit.

A ballet program that began in 1994 seems quite young by any standard; its persistence over that time period, however, seems like a great feat. Congratulations to the UGA Ballet program and the department of dance, and best wishes on your continued success providing these refined artistic opportunities for our students (and audiences).

Image: UGA students Amanda Rostin of Cumming and Kalela Massey of Atlanta and alumna Kristin Grubbs of Greenville, S.C., rehearse a scene from the UGA Ballet Ensemble's 20th anniversary performance.

2nd Thursday to feature UGA Symphony Orchestra


UGASO on stageBecause of spring break, the March 2nd Thursday Concert in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music will be performed on March 6 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center. The concert, featuring the UGA Symphony Orchestra performing Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major, is not to be missed:

Trained as an organist, Bruckner’s works are noted for their powerful and grand style, using the full scope of the orchestra to evoke the sound of his primary instrument. Thursday’s performance marks the first time the UGASO and conductor Mark Cedel have performed one of Bruckner’s symphonies at UGA. To commemorate the occasion, musicology Professor David Haas will present a special pre-concert lecture on the composer and his seventh symphony at 7:15 in the Performing Arts Center.

The concert will also feature Joseph Haydn’s Oboe Concerto in C major with UGA oboe professor Reid Messich.

Reid Messich joined the Hodgson School faculty in 2010, and holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Florida State University. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and Japan, often under the direction of such conductors Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Otto-Werner Mueller, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle, and Mstislav Rostropovich. He is a current member of the Georgia Woodwind Quintet.

Proceeds from these concert support scholarships in the Hodgson School. Get your tickets here and come out and enjoy some great music.

Image: The UGA Symphony Orchestra from 2011 - old photo but with some of our very favorite student musicians.

Jordan is So Chilly


To mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of "Strange Fruit," Lillian Smith's best-selling novel about interracial love, the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries presents "Jordan is So Chilly: An Encounter with Lillian Smith," a solo performance drawn largely from unpublished autobiographical writings by the author.

The performance title "Jordan is So Chilly," comes from the name of an African-American spiritual and was Smith's original title for "Strange Fruit."

"The title calls up for me the image of the difficult times faced by anyone in crossing over to the ‘promised land'," [Atlanta actress Brenda] Bynum said. "Lillian Smith faced so many trials and tribulations in her life and her work it seemed quite appropriate to me."

Nancy Smith Fichter, the author's niece, approached Bynum about doing a reading, perhaps from Smith's published letters, as an event at the Lillian E. Smith Center for Creative Arts in connection with the 2013 Southern Literary Trail.


"No Southerner was more outspoken in expressing moral indignation about the region's injustices and inequities during the pre-civil rights era than Lillian Smith," said UGA history professor John Inscoe, an expert on the 19th century South and winner of the 2012 Lillian Smith Book Award, presented by the UGA Libraries and the Southern Regional Council.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is on Saturday Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

Dancing about the Universe


Interdiciplinarity has long been a buzzword in higher education - and all the while it's been much more than that. Bringing expertise from different disciplines together allows to researchers, scientists and artists to reach far deeper into wide-ranging questions and phenomena than they might alone. Just because a term gains currency doesn't disallow its essential truth.

Similarly, the departments of dance, physics and astronomy, and theatre and film studies have developed a collaboration that represents so much more than the sum of its extraordinary parts:



DAAP Stellar and the Dream Chasers! 2014 featuring performances by CORE Concert Dance Company, Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 26-March 1, at 8 p.m. in the New Dance Theatre.

A large-scale collaboration by Franklin College units, the show will feature aerial, dance, film animation and spoken passages delivered by "morphed alien scientist" DAAP Stellar, a fictional composite based on UGA expertise. Ten UGA physics and astronomy professors will expound ideas reflecting leading-edge scientific research including astrophysics and black holes (Loris Magnani); elementary particles (Kanzo Nakayama); spin waves (Uwe Happek); galactic clouds (Robin Shelton); quantum levitation and superconductivity (Heinz-Bernd Schüttler); nanotechnology (Yiping Zhao); molecular dynamics (David Landau); electromagnetic spectrum (William Dennis); extra solar planets (Inseok Song); and "the search for truth in the universe" (Richard Meltzer).

Film, dance and science... a great example of working together by our very creative and motivated faculty. See you there. Tickets.

Bray's Plays shorts - University Theatre


Brays cartoonBeginning tonight in the lovely Seney-Stoval Chapel on Milledge Avenue, University Theatre presents an evening of short works by theatre and film studies lecturer and award-winning playwright John Patrick Bray:

Fairy godmothers, the bluegrass bar that birthed punk, the government's secret Department of Extraterrestrial Findings and other oddities come to life in a series of original short plays by Bray.

"Bray's short, quirky works are sure to delight," said David Saltz, head of the department of theatre and film studies at UGA.

Seven faculty and graduate students direct the series of selections designed to make spectators laugh a lot, cry a little and perhaps scratch their heads once or twice.

The production runs all week with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 9. Get your tickets here.


Luis Piedra: Perspectives on contemporary dance in Costa Rica


danza Abierta group with barUGA already has many unique relationships in Costa Rica and on Thursday, January 16, yet another one is set to take hold.

Luis Piedra, a professional dancer and choreographer of the Danza Universitaria in Costa Rica, will present a lecture-demonstration at the department of dance at 11 a.m. In his lecture-demonstration "Perspectives on creative process and contemporary dance in Costa Rica", Piedra will talk about his life in dance as a performer, choreographer, director and teacher. Mr. Piedra will talk about contemporary dance in Costa Rica and offer insight into his creative process in developing his new work for UGA dance students, who will perform a section of Piedra's new work.

Piedra began his artistic training at the University of Costa Rica and later studied at George Washington University in the United States and at the Goethe Institute in Germany. Recently, Piedra completed a master's degree in choreography at the National University of Costa Rica and was one of the first graduates of that program. Piedra has been a professional dancer and choreographer of the Danza Universitaria, and for four years was the artistic director of the company. The Danza Universitaria is the most famous, inventive and progressive professional contemporary dance company in Costa Rica and has done several European tours. During his 25 years with the company, Piedra won wide acclaim as a dancer and choreographer. In 2009, the company was engaged in a collaboration with the Spanish Cultural Center to do a collaborative work with Spanish choreographer, Fernando Hurtado. This piece was performed in the National Theatre in Costa Rica and toured throughout Spain. Piedra now directs the training and artistic program of the Open Dance Company, where he has nurtured award-winning Costa Rican dancers and choreographers. Open Dance (Danza Abierta) is the training program for dancers in the College at the University of Costa Rica. The company has won national awards and Piedra has won several national choreography awards.

Piedra's visit to campus and lecture are sponsored by the department of dance and the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts.

Image: (caution: author's translation) Shall We Dance? by the ensemble Danza Abierta, choreograhy by Luis Piedra. photo by Eyleen Vargas.

Piano recitals on Wednesday the 8th


anatoly flyerAnd just like that... 2014. Welcome to this year to us all and starting things off just right is the Hugh Hodgson School of Music with two piano recitals on one day, January the 8th, featuring some of the very best:

At 5 pm, the Richard Zimdars studio recital will take place in Edge Hall. As much as we wish this was a recital by the great performer and teacher (and Despy Karlas Professor of Piano), this free recital will give Zimdars' students a chance to shine. 

And at 8 pm, enjoy the music of Strauss and others as performed by the wonderfully talented Anatoly Sheludyakov. Staff accompanyist in the Hodgson School, Sheludyakov has performed much of the greatest music ever written, at venues across the world. We're lucky to have him at UGA. Come out and enjoy some extraordinarily high-quality live music. ($10/$5 students).

The Nutcracker



detail_nutcracker.jpegFrom Russia to Athens: A Holiday Tradition

By Jessica Luton

The semester is over on the UGA campus. But as we enter the holiday season, the Performing Arts Center continues its important work sharing culture with campus and the community. 

The holiday ballet classic, “The Nutcracker,” comes to the Classic Center Dec. 21-22 thanks to the State Ballet Theatre of Russia.  With choreography still used today by Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Ballet, the company will present this holiday favorite for the Athens-area community.

The production, which includes the familiar holiday music of Tchaikovsky, beautiful sets and costumes and the tale of a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers and an army of mice, is a production for children and the young at heart alike. The production is the perfect activity to share with visiting family or friends, or just to get into the holiday spirit.

You can purchase tickets online for one of the three upcoming shows.  And be sure to view the video preview of this outstanding ballet presentation of the holiday favorite.