Personal picks: arts presenter veteran
endorses events for sentimental reasons
This is an ongoing series in which Center for the Performing Arts employees and patrons write about the presentations they’re most looking forward to experiencing in the 2012–2013 season.
By Pam Aikey
This is going to be tough because I am not your typical arts patron. I have been submerged in the best of the performing arts since 1970, when I began working for Penn State’s Artists Series (precursor to the Center for the Performing Arts).
Each season is so different from previous seasons, but each one is exciting and artistically challenging.
The easy answer is: Since I love the performing arts, I am looking forward to all of the performances.
The hard answer is: It is difficult to narrow it down to a few choice “personal picks,” but I will try. For me, there are so many sentimental connections and memories tied to the performances.
Opera Atelier in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute — it seems like ages since we’ve had a touring opera at Penn State. I can’t wait to have the entire opera company and musicians from Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra here for almost a week ending with The Magic Flute! What an opportunity. Opera lovers get ready! And, if you aren’t an opera lover, it’s great music, acting, costumes, and staging all with English supertitles, so don’t let the word opera keep you away.
HAIR was one of the first touring Broadway musicals I saw at Penn State (and in Rec. Hall of all places). I loved it then, and I love it now. I saw it at the Kennedy Center a few years back. I’ll be the person dressed in bell-bottoms and a tie-dyed T-shirt, granny glasses, and sandals singing along with the music. I advise you not to sit near me!
Actors Form The London Stage presents The Merchant of Venice — I always look forward to this group coming to Penn State. We don’t seem to get much theatre of the spoken word, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is a classic. The company’s acting, diction, and projection are always superb. The performers’ ability to transform the stage using bare bones props is incredible. The group is here for almost a week interacting with students, faculty, and staff, ending the residency with two performances of The Merchant of Venice.
Pilobolus Dance Theatre — I love, love, love Pilobolus Dance Theatre! I never get tired of seeing ‘more’ of the company. It’s a dance company and theatre all rolled into one. They use bodies, fabric, stretchy materials, vibrant colors, and really cool music to make some of the most creative and imaginative images and dance theatre pieces I have seen.
Banjo Summit 2 featuring Béla Fleck, Tony Trischka, and others — This isn’t usually my bag, but I really enjoyed the 2006 Banjo Summit. I allowed myself to experience music and instruments that I don’t normally hear. I really appreciated the music and actually recognized some of the tunes like “Dueling Banjos” from Deliverance. It was fun in 2006, and I imagine it will be even more fun in 2012.
Ron Carter Trio — I don’t know much about jazz, but I’m always willing to learn. Older jazz musicians, such as Ron Carter, have so much history evident in their music. They know all the jazz greats and have the stories through their music to tell. If you just listen to them, you’ll be surprised how much you can learn.
Pam Aikey is contract and logistics coordinator at the Center for the Performing Arts.
corner of Shortlidge and Eisenhower roads, University Park campus
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays
PENN STATE TICKETS DOWNTOWN
in the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center
146 S. Allen St., State College
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays
BRYCE JORDAN CENTER
corner of University Drive and Curtin Road, University Park campus
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays