CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University is shining the spotlight on the inaugural season of theatre, music and dance in its new Fine and Performing Arts Center, with eight shows on tap as part of the 2005-06 Subscription Series.

The mixed bag of presentations includes dance featuring the internationally acclaimed Atlanta Ballet, the vocal traditions of the singing Von Trapp family from “The Sound of Music” and the performance art of Luma, a troupe that fuses the visual spectacle of a light show with the dynamism of live human performers.

“With the eight shows that make up our first Subscription Series, we believe we have assembled a fabulous, fantastic, family, fun-filled festival of performing arts events,” said Paul Lormand, founding director of the performance facilities for the Fine and Performing Arts Center.

A $30 million, 122,000-square-foot showcase for the arts, the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western includes a 1,000-seat auditorium capable of hosting Broadway-quality productions. Workers are putting finishing touches on the performance space, expected to be ready for occupancy by fall semester.

In addition to the performance areas, the center features four separate art galleries comprising more than 4,470 square feet to house Western's permanent collection, and rotating displays of contemporary art and student work. A full season of exhibitions will begin in October. The art wing of the building also includes classrooms and office space for Western's art department.

The center's opening night gala, set for 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, will feature Jay Leno, comedian and host of NBC's “The Tonight Show.” Also performing at the formal, black-tie event will be Asheville blues singer Kat Williams. The gala is sponsored in part by Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel.

The Subscription Series will get under way the very next day (Sunday, Oct. 23), with a 3 p.m. matinee performance of “In the Mood,” a big band theatrical revue featuring the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, the Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra and others.

The Subscription Series also includes:

Friday, Nov. 11 – “The Nutcracker” and other works, performed by the Atlanta Ballet, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 1 – “Riders in the Sky: A Holiday Spectacular,” Grammy Award-winning music of the American West, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 2 – “An Evening with Groucho,” with Frank Ferrante as Groucho Marx, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 12 – The Von Trapp Children, featuring descendants of the famous singing family from “The Sound of Music,” 3 p.m.

Thursday, March 2 – Illusionist/Extraordinist Craig Karges, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 31 – “The Piano Men,” the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, by Jim Witter, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 30 – Luma, a techno-circus that uses the dark as a canvas and light as the brush to paint a story of how light occurs to humanity, 3 p.m.

Series subscriptions are now available. Patrons may subscribe to the entire eight-show series for $100.

The opening year of the center also will include a separate “preview series,” consisting of the Leno gala opening on Oct. 22, a multi-media performance featuring film clips from director Alfred Hitchcock set to the music of composer Bernard Herrmann as performed live by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, and a concert by the President's Own United States Marine Band, America's oldest professional music organization, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18.

For season subscriptions or more information on the inaugural season at Western's Fine and Performing Arts Center, contact Paul Lormand, director of the performance facilities for the Fine and Performing Arts Center, at (828) 227-2479.

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Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Western Carolina University