It looks like Brigham Young University’s Bravo! series will have another star-studded year.
Organizers announced the upcoming season’s lineup Thursday, which includes singer-actress Kristin Chenoweth, David Archuleta, Branford Marsalis and many others.
The annual performing arts series, which has run for more than 100 years, was renamed “Bravo!” in 2013, with a new focus on having the performers workshop with students from the school’s performing arts programs. This year’s lineup, which kicks off Sept. 2 with Chenoweth, lives up to that “Bravo!” name.
In addition to the Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling (Sept. 15), other highlights include “Tenebrae: Handel’s Messiah” (Nov. 10-11), Christmas With David Archuleta and Nathan Pacheco (Nov. 25-26), "Vivaldi: The Four Seasons" by the Venice Baroque Orchestra (March 1), Frank Wildhorn and Friends (March 17), and Lea Salonga with the BYU Chamber Orchestra (April 11).
The rest of the Bravo! schedule includes the Joyce Didonato Brentano String Quartet (Sept. 22), An Evening with Lucy Simon with special guest Anthony Warlow (Sept. 29), Matt Haimovitz (Oct. 6), the Anda Union performers from China (Oct. 27), the Utah Symphony (Nov. 3), Selected Shorts (Nov. 18), “It’s Dark Outside” as performed by The Last Great Hunt (Jan. 17-21), “The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer” as performed by The Last Great Hunt (Jan. 18-21), Noam Pikelny (Feb. 1), Limon Dance Company (Feb. 10), the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet (Feb. 17), and the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin (March 11), Cirk La Putyka: Slapstick Sonata (March 22).
Jeff Martin, producer of the series, said the series’ shift to include more performer-student interaction has gone remarkably well.
“There’s been tremendous support from both the faculty and the administration, as well as the students,” he said. “They love to be able to see professionals do their work in performance as an example to them, but then it’s also really exciting and rewarding to be able to learn in a classroom setting from those artists. Everyone has just been so supportive, it’s been really great.
“It’s really fun to see the students have those interactions,” he continued. “They love it, and they learn a lot, and I find the artists really enjoy the opportunity of working with the students, too.”
Martin said he’s particularly excited for the November performance of Handel’s “Messiah” because “we don’t ever do ‘Messiah’ here at BYU. And it’s such an epic, beautiful work.” That show has been a few years in the making. He also highlighted “The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer,” a unique show from an Australian theater team that, according to Martin, feels like a creative mix of Pixar’s “Wall-E” and various Tim Burton films.
Broadway star Lea Salonga is making a return performance to the Bravo! series, having taken part in 2011. This time, though she'll be collaborating with BYU's Chamber Orchestra.
The 2016-17 season guests are divided into five categories of performance, including “Broadway: Now,” which involves Tony Award-winning and nominated musicians; “Baroque Re/Visited” featuring the music of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi; “Classics” with a variety of performances featuring some of the greatest artists and music of all time; “Music+Motion,” which will bring a wide variety of musical, dance and circus-style performances to the stage; and “Off The Map,” a division for international theater.
“We love the international nature of the performing arts that we can do here, and I think our community and the campus environment is really interested in that,” Martin said.
Tickets to the series go on sale May 11 for those renewing their season passes and May 23 for those ordering for the first time. Individual event tickets also will be on sale four to six weeks prior to each performance through the BYU Arts website, or by calling (801) 422-2981.
For more details, head to byuarts.com.