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Leap into the unknown with the 2015-2016 Spotlight Series

by on June 10, 2015

Spotlight1516

The Fredericton Playhouse has announced its 2015-2016 Spotlight Series which includes twenty-six professional performances in music, theatre and dance from a wide range of different genres. The Spotlight Series invites some of the most exciting artists touring today to the Playhouse stage, offering East Coast favourites, internationally acclaimed musical ensembles, stunning solo performers, innovative dance shows, inspirational theatre pieces, creative family-oriented presentations and much more.

“Our Spotlight Series features a number of familiar faces this year, but we’re also excited to invite a number of artists making their first visit to our community,” said Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa. “I have had some truly inspiring conversations with patrons who had no idea what to expect when they came to a performance, and left the theatre in awe. I would encourage everyone to try out something new this season, and be prepared to be surprised. Sometimes, that’s where the magic lives.

“As always, we’re thrilled that the Spotlight Series offers something for every taste, whether you’re interested in classical, contemporary or traditional arts. We have an impressive range of large-scale productions and small, intimate concerts from some of the top artists performing today.”

Hometown hero David Myles returns to the Playhouse with a special holiday performance, showcasing a timeless sound that encompasses everything from soulful, contemporary pop to infectious hip-hop earworms. Also performing during the holiday season this year is the sensational Darlene Love, known for an impressive career spanning back to the ’60s and for her No. 1 holiday classic “Christmas Baby (Please Come Home),” performed annually on The Late Show with David Letterman. Rounding out the Spotlight Series’ Christmas entertainment is Lúnasa, one of the hottest Irish acoustic bands on the planet, performing on the Playhouse stage for the first time with a spectacular Celtic Christmas show.

A number of exciting world music artists are participating in the season, including DakhaBrakha, a Ukrainian “ethnic chaos” band known for creating unexpected and exhilarating music. Then there’s the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, a 16-member act born on the streets of Toronto as a busking band and known as Canada’s only balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk superband.

Also in the world music genre is La Otra Orilla, a flamenco dance company that features live onstage music. This is one of several dance performances in the season, which includes the much-anticipated return of Canada’s premier street dance company Bboyizm with a brand new piece; acclaimed Montreal-based contemporary dance company O Vertigo with a repertoire-spanning performance; and Playhouse favourite Canada’s Ballet Jörgen with its latest full-scale production, Sleeping Beauty.

For fans of classical music, the Spotlight Series features Collectif9, a nine-piece string ensemble that performs classical music with an edge, as well as Tom Allen’s The Judgment of Paris, combining cabaret, history and storytelling with timeless music by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Theatre offerings this season include the hilarious and insightful Wingfield Lost and Found, the latest instalment in the much beloved Wingfield series. Audiences can also look forward to the gripping, award-winning documentary play SEEDS, a dramatic re-enactment of a legal battle between a Saskatchewan farmer and the international biotech corporation Monsanto Inc.

Several performances in the series will be of particular interest to families. Robert Post’s category-defying one-man variety show will entertain the entire family, both young and old, thanks to hilarious, poignant and physically dazzling sketches. Sci-Fi Double Feature from Yukon’s Ramshackle Theatre is a magical collision of puppetry and film, inspired by action-adventure B-movies from the 1960s. And audiences will be blown away by 6 Guitars, featuring a virtuosic performance from musician and actor Chase Padgett as he transforms into six different guitar-playing characters, each with their own style of music.  

For some East Coast flavour, the Spotlight Series is pleased to present Nova Scotian Dave Gunning, an ECMA-winning singer-songwriter known for music that incorporates flavours of Irish, Scottish, folk and country styles, as well as a special PEI double bill, featuring bluegrass and roots band Gordie MacKeeman & his Rhythm Boys and award-winning Acadian folk trio Vishtèn.

Other musicians hailing from across Canada include husband and wife folk duo and Polaris Prize nominees Whitehorse; western swing-style act Woody Holler and his Orchestra; and Canadian cowboy Tim Hus, known for his impressive gift for lyrical storytelling.

Audiences with a nostalgic streak will be thrilled by the return of Classic Albums Live, featuring two performances – returning favourite Led Zeppelin II, and a performance that’s new to Fredericton, Creedence Clearwater Revival: Chronicle. Also back by popular demand following her crowd-pleasing portrayal of Dolly Parton is incredible tribute artist Leisa Way with Sweet Dreams: A Tribute to Patsy Cline. The series will feature the famous Count Basie Orchestra, celebrating its 80th anniversary and still considered one of the greatest big band orchestras in music history. Rounding out the season is the dynamic, studio-tight tribute band Brass Transit, formed by eight of Canada’s most in-demand musicians and singers with a common love for legendary jazz-rock group Chicago.

Announced simultaneously with the Spotlight Series is the 2015-2016 Kidstage Series. Designed to capture the imaginations of children, the Kidstage Series features theatre, music and dance performances intended to introduce young audiences to the magic of performing arts. This season, the series features DuffleBag Theatre’s Snow White, violin sensation Chris McKhool’s Fiddlefire!, and The Velveteen Rabbit from Canada’s Ballet Jörgen.

The Fredericton Playhouse Spotlight Series includes a special Spotlight Membership option. For only $50, Members receive early access to the best seats in the house and special pricing on all Spotlight Series and Spotlight Partner performances (Kidstage Series, Theatre New Brunswick, New Brunswick Country Showcase, Symphony New Brunswick and the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada).

“We’re thrilled that our Spotlight membership program has received such a high level of participation over the years,” Yerxa said. “With the purchase of one membership, patrons can buy up to six discounted tickets per performance, which puts money back in their pockets right away.”

Spotlight Memberships are on sale now and members can purchase discounted tickets to Spotlight Series performances immediately. Full priced tickets go on sale on July 31.

For detailed information on 2015-2016 Spotlight Series performances, a season guide is available at the Playhouse box office or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

2015-2016 series-at-a-glance 

Whitehorse, October 15 (www.whitehorsemusic.ca)
Gordie MacKeeman & his Rhythm Boys and Vishtèn, October 16 (www.gordiemackeeman.com & www.vishten.net)
Sweet Dreams: A Tribute to Patsy Cline, October 17 (www.leisaway.com)
O Vertigo, October 27 (www.overtigo.com)
Led Zeppelin II, November 5 (www.classicalbumslive.com)
The Judgment of Paris, November 19 (www.thecollectionagency.ca/tomallen)
Lemon Bucket Orkestra, November 20 (www.lemonbucketorkestra.com)
Wingfield Lost and Found, November 21 & 22 (www.wingfieldfarm.ca)
Darlene Love, November 24 (www.darleneloveworld.com)
David Myles, December 2 (www.davidmyles.com)
Lúnasa, December 4 (www.lunasa.ie)
Bboyizm, January 28 (www.bboyizm.ca)
DakhaBrakha, February 4 (www.dakhabrakha.com/ua/eng/band)
Dave Gunning, February 5 (www.davegunning.com)
Woody Holler and his Orchestra, February 18 (www.woodyholler.ca)
Tim Hus, February 25 (www.timhus.ca)
Brass Transit, March 17 (www.brasstransit.com)
SEEDS, March 19 (www.porteparole.org)
La Otra Orilla, March 24 (www.laotraorilla.net)
Robert Post, April 7 (www.robertpost.org)
Count Basie Orchestra, April 8 (www.thecountbasieorchestra.com)
Sci-Fi Double Feautre, April 9 (www.ramshackletheatre.ca)
Sleeping Beauty, April 15 (www.balletjorgen.ca)
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Chronicle, April 22 (www.classicalbumslive.com)
Collectif9, April 23 (www.collectif9.ca)
6 Guitars, April 27 (www.sixguitars.com)
 

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