A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

11:10 August 29, 2016
By: Dean Shapiro

In the words of renowned local actress and entertainer Becky Allen, “New Orleans had culture when the rest of the country only had agriculture.”

No truer words could be spoken, and New Orleans can justifiably claim to be “America’s First City of Culture”. From its earliest French settlers in the first part of the 18th century, the city inherited its mother country’s love for the performing arts, and live entertainment has been staged here for nearly 300 years.

No other city of comparable size in the U.S. has the number and diversity of live offerings in the cultural arts as New Orleans. Whether your preferred art form is opera, dance, classical music or live theater (or all of the above), you’ll find plenty of it here—year-round!

Here is a listing of many of the shows coming up during the 2016-17 Cultural Season in New Orleans:


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

New Orleans Opera Association

With a performance history dating back to the 1700s, opera is the crown jewel of the New Orleans performing arts scene. Some of the opera world’s greatest luminaries have sung on our stages and new generations of opera stars are honing their vocal skills here as well. 

The New Orleans Opera Association is billing its 2016-17 season as one of “Madness, Murder and Damnation!” Two performances of each opera are presented on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.

All operas are accompanied by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Robert Lyall. They are presented in their original languages with English translations projected above the stage. The operas are:


Don Giovanni (in Italian)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
October 7 & 9

Macbeth (in Italian)
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
November 11 & 13

Sweeney Todd (in English)
Composer: Stephen Sondheim
February 10 & 12

Faust (in French)
Composer: Charles Gounod
March 31 & April 2


All operas are staged at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in Louis Armstrong Park. For tickets and more detailed information, call New Orleans Opera at 529-3000 or 529-2278, or check them out online at neworleansopera.org


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Last season, the 70-member LPO returned to its pre-Katrina home in the Orpheum Theater in downtown New Orleans. Roughly half of their 60 concerts this coming season will be staged there, in addition to offering performances in various other venues in and around New Orleans. 

The 2016-17 season opens with Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantistique” and Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 5, featuring guest artist Lilya Zilberstein on piano (September 15 & 17). Other highlights of the upcoming season at the Orpheum include:


Brahms’ “Requiem” featuring Sarah Jane McMahon on vocals
October 28 & 29

“Broadway’s Best” featuring Bryan Batt
November 12

Gustav Holtz’s “The Planets” and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 featuring Stefan Jakiw
November 17 & 19

“Holiday Spectacular” with The 610 Stompers
December 9 & 10

“Baroque Christmas” featuring selections from Handel’s “Messiah”
December 15

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 featuring Anne-Marie McDermott
January 5

Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony No. 6 and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring William Wolfram
February 3

“Music of the Beatles: 50th Anniversary Salute to Sgt. Pepper” featuring tribute band Classical Mystery Tour
March 23 & 24

Handel’s “Water Music”
April 6

“The Three-Cornered Hat” featuring guitarist Pepe Romero
May 18 & 20


Most concerts are conducted by Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto, but guest conductors are also called in during the course of the season. For more detailed information including performance times, call 523-6350 or visit lpomusic.com


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

New Orleans Ballet Association

NOBA’s 2016-17 slate of five main stage performances starts off with a company representing the host nation of the Summer Olympics—Brazil. The four remaining shows will feature the return of prestigious American companies that have performed in New Orleans in recent years.

The performances for the coming season are as follows:

Grupo Corpo
Mahalia Jackson Theater 
October 15 at 8 p.m.

Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE
NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall
Janurary 27 & 28 at 8 p.m.; January 29 at 2 p.m.

Stars of American Ballet Encore! 
Mahalia Jackson Theater 
March 18 at 8 p.m

Complexions Contemporary Ballet 
Mahalia Jackson Theater 
April 22 at 8 p.m.

Jessica Lang Dance
Mahalia Jackson Theater 
May 13 at 8 p.m.


For tickets and information, call 522-0996 or visit their website nobadance.com. Single tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 1-800-745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com.


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

Broadway in New Orleans

Touring hit musicals from the Great White Way return to the Saenger Theatre this fall with seven regular season shows, plus two non-subscription “season options”, all in a wide variety of genres. The productions are:


The Sound of Music

September 20-25

The Illusionists

October 25-30

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

November 22-27

Jersey Boys

December 13-18

The Lion King*

January 4-29

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

March 7-12

The Bodyguard

April 4-9

Finding Neverland

May 9-14

Mamma Mia (Farewell Tour)*

June 6-11

* Season Option; not included in regular ticket subscription package.


The Saenger is located at 1111 Canal St. in the heart of downtown New Orleans. For more information, visit neworleans.broadway.com or call 1-800-218-SHOW (7469).


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

Le Petit Theatre

America’s oldest continually operating community theatre celebrates its centennial season in 2016. Featuring the works of some of the world’s most popular playwrights, Le Petit once again offers a varied lineup of classics and newer works, including its traditional hosting of a play during the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. 

The theater is in the heart of the French Quarter at 616 St. Peter St. opposite Jackson Square and the Cabildo. The shows announced for next season include the following:



by Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz

September 16-October 2

Freud's Last Session 

by Mark St. Germain

November 4-20

Jelly's Last Jam

by George C. Wolfe and Susan Birkenhead

January 27-February 12

Dividing the Estate

by Horton Foote

March 24-April 2 & April 13-15

It's Only a Play

By Terrence McNally (co-produced with The NOLA Project)

June 9-25

For tickets and information, call the box office at 522-2081 or visit lepetittheatre.com


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

Southern Rep Theatre

Southern Rep continues its time-honored, founding tradition of presenting original works by local playwrights and New Orleans premieres of other newly created plays. Southern Rep’s popular “Lagniappe Series”, consisting of the ongoing soap opera, Debauchery, now into its sixth season, and the 3x3 and 6x6 series of short original plays, will continue throughout the season at The Theatre at St. Claude, located at 2240 St. Claude Ave. 

The four main stage productions are:


Airline Highway

By Lisa D’Amour
October 5-23
University of New Orleans, Robert E. Nims Theatre


By George Brant
November 2–20
Loyola University, Lower Depths Theatre

Sweet Bird of Youth*

By Tennessee Williams
March 21–April 15
Loyola University, Marquette Theatre

Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3)

By Suzan-Lori Parks
May 31– June 18
Loyola University, Marquette Theatre

* In conjunction with the annual Tennessee Williams Festival


For more information and tickets visit southernrep.com.


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Going into their second season in the new Jefferson Performing Arts Center, JPAS will be hosting a mix of live theater (primarily musicals), dance and classical music. There will also be shows at Teatro Wego, JPAS’ Westbank location, at 177 Sala Ave. in Westwego. 

The JPAS lineup of major productions for the 2016-17 season includes:


Breaking Up is Hard to Do 

Music by Neil Sedaka

September 9-18; Teatro Wego


West Side Story

Music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

September 23– October 2; JPAC


Funny Girl

Music and lyrics by Bob Merrill and Jule Styne

November 4-13; JPAC


The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged)

by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor

December 2-11; Teatro Wego


Handel’s Messiah

JPAS Symphony Orchestra; Dennis Assaf, conductor

December 3 & 4; JPAC


The Nutcracker

JPAS Symphony Orchestra; conductor: Dennis Assaf; choreographer: Diane Carney

December 16-18; JPAC



Music and lyrics by Phil Collins

March 17-26; JPAC


For ticket information or other show details, call 885-2000 or visit the JPAS website at jpas.org.


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

Rivertown Theatres for the Performing Arts

Located in the Rivertown section of Kenner, the Rivertown Theatres are under the management of Theatre 13, founded in 2009 by longtime actor/director Gary Rucker and performer/choreographer Kelly Fouchi. The 2016-17 season will feature:


Let the Good Times Roll
with The Big Easy Buddies
September 9–15

November 4–20

Billy Elliot the Musical
January 13–29

Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps
March 10–26

Bye Bye Birdie
May 5–21

The Little Mermaid
July 13-23


For tickets and other information, visit Theatre 13 at their website theatre-13.tix.com or call 461-9475. 


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

Marigny Opera Ballet

A newly formed resident dance company, staging all of its performances at the Marigny Opera House, Marigny Opera Ballet enters its third season with three productions between November 2016 and April 2017. The company features all local dancers, choreographers and musicians, and specializes in original work by local artists and directors. The lineup for the coming season is as follows:


Giselle Deslondes (premiere)

Choreography: Maya Taylor; music: Tucker Fuller

November 17-20


The Art of Jazz (premiere)

Choreography: Diogo de Lima and Nikki Hefko; music: Helen Gillet and Lawrence Sieberth

February 10-12



Choreography: Maya Taylor; music: Tucker Fuller

April 14-16


All performances staged at the Marigny Opera House, 725 St. Ferdinand St. For more information, call 948-9998 or visit marignyoperahouse.org.


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

New Orleans Friends of Music

A long-established organization for staging and promoting chamber music, New Orleans Friends of Music goes into its 62nd season with a stellar roster of world-class musicians and ensembles, as well as some younger, emerging musicians. Here is their lineup for 2016-17:


Garrick Ohlsson, Piano
September 27

Calder String Quartet
October 26

Finckel-Han-Setzer Trio 
November 28

Bryan Hymel, Tenor
January 18

Elias String Quartet
February 8

Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin
March 20

Harlem Quartet
April 7


All NOFOM concerts are held in Tulane University’s Dixon Hall, starting at 8:00 p.m. For more information, go to friendsofmusic.org/index.htm. 


A Look Ahead At New Orleans' 2016 - 17 Cultural Arts Season

Musical Arts Society of New Orleans

Founded in 1980 by Melvin Alford and Julianne Nice, MASNO aims to provide students and teachers in the performing arts with master classes and workshops, as well as to expose them to performances by artists in the mainstream of professional activity. MASNO is also the umbrella organization for the biennial New Orleans International Piano Competition (NOIPC) and the annual New Orleans Piano Institute, both of which are held in the summer.

Here is MASNO’s schedule for the 2016-17 season:


Salon Concert with classical guitarist Pavel Steidl of the Czech Republic 

1133 Margaret Pl., New Orleans 

October 23


Nocturne XIII with Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan

Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans

November 20 


Salon Concert with American pianist Anne-Marie McDermott

2702 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans

January 7


Concerto Showcase IX with three top medalists from 2016 NOIPC competition

Roussel Performance Hall, Loyola University

January 8


Great Scott! - Joplin in the Quarter

Le Petit Theatre, New Orleans

March 12


For more information, go to masno.org. 

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