ASU announces 2009 Performing Arts Series

Article Published: Oct. 19, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
ASU announces 2009 Performing Arts Series

Comedienne Lily Tomlin returns to Appalachian State University Feb. 20.

Photo submitted

Jazz, dance and pirates - a typical season for Appalachian State University's Performing Arts Series.

Appalachian State University has announced the lineup for its 2009-10 Performing Arts Series, featuring Chick Corea, the Martha Graham Dance Company, MOMIX, The Pirates of Penzance and Lily Tomlin.

Starting in October and running through February, the series showcases a broad cross-section of the arts with newcomers to campus and returning favorites.

"A cornerstone of any great university is a strong and thriving visiting artist series, featuring performers who take us on a voyage of discovery - broadening our understanding, shaping our perspective and 'opening windows' on a changing world," said Denise Ringler, director of ASU's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Leading this voyage is jazz virtuoso Chick Corea on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. in Farthing Auditorium.

The famed pianist with 50 Grammy nominations and 14 Grammy Awards to his name is considered one of the most prolific composers of the second half of the 20th century, pioneering the jazz frontier with groups like Return to Forever and the Elektric Band.

"Chick Corea ... changed the face of this American art form through his pioneering role in the emergence of jazz fusion," Ringler said.

Hailed as "creatively restless" and "indefatigably imaginative," Corea has performed and created for the past 40 years.

According to his bio, "From avant-garde to bebop, from children's songs to straight-ahead, from hard-hitting fusion to heady forays into classical, (Corea) has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his prodigious career, all the while maintaining a standard of excellence that is simply uncanny."

The Martha Graham Dance Company leaps onto the Farthing stage on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m.

Hailed by The Washington Post as "one of the seven wonders of the artistic universe," the company was founded in 1926 by dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, earning it the distinction of the oldest dance company in America.

Graham, herself, danced with the company through the late 1960s, as well as many other notable dancers, including Merce Cunningham, Pearl Lang, Elisa Monte and Paul Taylor, whose own dance company performed during the 2009 season of An Appalachian Summer Festival.

The Martha Graham Dance Company is also known for its celebrity participants throughout the years, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Liza Minelli and Betty Bloomer, later known as Betty Ford.

Dance continues on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. at Farthing Auditorium with MOMIX: The Best of MOMIX. Described as a company of dancer-illusionists, the well-traveled company is led by Moses Pendleton, considered one of America's most innovative choreographers and directors for more than 30 years.

MOMIX has performed for more than two decades, including projects in film and international television. The company's Nov. 19 performance will be a compilation of its most popular works.

On Friday, Jan. 22, the N.Y. Gilbert & Sullivan Players set sail for Farthing with The Pirates of Penzance, directed by Albert Bergeret. Featuring a comically turbulent sea of characters from swashbuckling buccaneers to bumbling bobbies to the very model of a modern Major-General, this particular production is presented in the musical's original format.

It tells the story of young and moral Frederic, mistakenly apprenticed to pirates until his 21st birthday, which, because he was born on a leap year, is not until 1940.

According to the Gilbert & Sullivan Players' description, "The rich sounds of full orchestra, chorus and legitimate vocal soloists resonate with classic elegance and power, while the company's vibrancy , energy and contemporary sense of humor keep the show alive and exciting to a modern audience."

On Saturday, Feb. 20, renowned comedienne Lily Tomlin returns to Farthing Auditorium for "An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin."

The winner of six Emmy awards, two Tony awards, a Grammy Award and myriad others, Tomlin has starred in stage, television, the silver screen and even animation, some of her more recent film credits including A Prairie Home Companion and The Pink Panther 2, while seen in television on Desperate Housewives and The West Wing.

In February, Ringler expects Tomlin to again demonstrate "why she is one of the best loved women in America."


Advance tickets for each performance cost $20 general admission, $18 for senior citizens and ASU staff and faculty, and $10 for students. Season passes are available at $90 for general admission, $81 for senior citizens, faculty and staff, and $45 for students.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (828) 262-4046 or (800) 841-ARTS, or visit on the Web.

Additional Images

Comedienne Lily Tomlin returns to Appalachian State University Feb. 20. Photo submitted

Chick Corea

The Martha Graham Dance Company leaps onto the Farthing stage on Thursday, Oct. 22. Photo submitted

"The Pirates of Penzance," as well as this modern major general, set sail for Appalachian State University on Friday, Jan. 22. Photo submitted

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