Stars Come Out for Cultural Season in New Orleans

00:00 September 21, 2012
By: Dean Shapiro

Placido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Martha Graham Dance Company to Headline in 2012-2013

Another fall, another cultural season in New Orleans, and the stars are definitely coming out for this one. The New Orleans Opera Association brings back, for the third time since Hurricane Katrina, one of the greatest tenors of recent years, Placido Domingo. Not to be outdone, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is bringing back, for the second time in the past three seasons, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

And, if these announcements weren't exciting enough, the New Orleans Ballet Association has announced that the world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company will be coming to town next season.

The live theatre scene in "America's First City of Culture" will also be rockin' (and rollin') with two Broadway-in-New-Orleans musicals set during the Golden Age of Rock & Roll. Jersey Boys, based on the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons story, and Million Dollar Quartet, featuring all-time classics recorded by mid-'50s Sun Records artists Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, will bring a great musical era back to life. The Jefferson Performing Arts Society kicks in its own contribution to the genre with the return of Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story, honoring one of the greatest pioneers of the West Texas/Southern rockabilly sound.

And, bringing the American music scene even closer to the present, Theatre 13 at Rivertown Repertory Theatre presents The Class of '70 Something, a tribute to the popular songs of that decade. Broadway in New Orleans' production of Flashdance, brings the rock scene up to the 1980s.

Here is a rundown of the shows being offered in the 2012-2013 Cultural Season.

New Orleans Opera Association

Highlighting the 2012-2013 Opera Season will be the return appearance of renowned Spanish tenor Placido Domingo. A gala concert celebrating 50 years of Domingo's performances with New Orleans Opera will be held on Oct. 12, 2012. He will be performing with some of the world's leading operatic talent, including Stephanie Blythe and John Relyea. They will be joined by the New Orleans Opera Chorus and accompanied by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for a glorious musical evening conducted by Robert Lyall. This special event is being hosted by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Academy Award nominee actress Patricia Clarkson, a native of New Orleans.

The Gala will be held on the Placido Domingo Stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in Louis Armstrong Park. Currently, purchasing tickets to this event are only to subscribers. To become a new subscriber, visit

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

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)

Composer: Gioachino Rossini Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 Italian with English translations

Samson et Dalila (Samson and Delilah)

Composer: Camille Saint-Saens Friday, March 15, 2013, Sunday, March 17, 2013 French with English translations

Madama Butterfly

Composer: Giacomo Puccini Friday, April 12, 2013, Sunday, April 14, 2013 Italian with English translations

All three mainstage operas are staged in the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Single tickets are now on sale. For tickets and more detailed information about the shows, call New Orleans Opera at 529-3000 or 529-2278, or log on to

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

In recent years, the LPO has attracted such world-renowned classical performers as cellist Yo-Yo Ma; violinists Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Joshua Bell (twice); flutist James Galway (twice) and many others. This year's "celebrity performer" is once again multi-Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma who made his New Orleans debut in 2010 to a sold-out house. He will be performing Elgar's Cello Concerto on Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. in the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in Louis Armstrong Park.

This season, the 60-member orchestra will once again be performing in the Mahalia Jackson Theater and at various other venues in and around New Orleans. In all, about 30 concerts will be performed throughout the New Orleans Metro Area between Sept. 22, 2012 and May 16, 2013. The LPO also accompanies the New Orleans Opera Association's three mainstage productions during the 2012-2013 season. LPO concerts are conducted by Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto and a variety of other guest conductors.

For more detailed information, including specific concert dates, locations and ticket availability, call 523-6350 or log on to

New Orleans Ballet Association

Founded in 1969, the New Orleans Ballet Association is the city's premier dance-presenting company. Each season, it traditionally offers five to six performances in the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) and occasionally other venues. In recent years, NOBA has presented such distinguished and internationally-renowned dance companies as the Bolshoi Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Parsons Dance, MOMIX and the Joffrey Ballet.

NOBA launches its 2012-2013 season of dance with five world-class companies, each led by a "mover and shaker" on the American dance frontier. In the spirit of American innovation in the field, each of the five companies represents both the iconic history and new directions of dance in America. The performances for the coming season are as follows:

Pilobolus - Oct. 20, 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts Artistic Directors Robby Barnett and Michael Tracy

Ballet Hispanico with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra - Dec. 8, 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro, Afro Jazz Orchestra Artistic Director Arturo O'Farrill

Jessica Lang Dance - Jan. 18 & 19 at 8 p.m., Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. at NOCCA's Freda Lupin Memorial Hall (Co-presented with The NOCCA Institute) Artistic Director Jessica Lang

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet - Feb. 23, 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts Artistic Directors Tom Mossbrucker and Jean-Philippe Malaty

Martha Graham Dance Company - March 23, 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, Artistic Director Janet Eilber

Founded in 1926 by legendary modern dance pioneer, the Martha Graham Dance Company, the program is highlighted by the New Orleans debut of Graham's iconic masterpiece Appalachian Spring (1944), set to the famous Aaron Copeland score, and a special performance of Panorama (1935), danced by New Orleans youth in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the NORDC/NOBA Center For Dance.

For updated details, including performance dates, tickets and information, call 522-0996 or visit

Broadway in New Orleans

[Courtesy of Junichi Takahashi]

Still known as Broadway Across America but locally dubbed "Broadway in New Orleans," this traveling showcase of hit musicals from the Great White Way returns to the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the third straight year while still awaiting the reopening of the Saenger Theatre on Canal Street.

For the 2012-2013 season, the Broadway series will feature five regularly scheduled shows and a non-subscriptions feature between October 2012 and early June 2013.

For more information, patrons can visit or call the Broadway Across America Season Ticket Hotline at 1-800-218-SHOW (7469).

The shows for the coming season are as follows:

Les Miserables Oct. 30-Nov. 4, 2012

Mary Poppins Dec. 18-23, 2012

Jersey Boys Jan. 8-27, 2013

Flashdance Feb. 26-March 3, 2013

Million Dollar Quartet April 16-21, 2013

Wicked* May 8-June 2, 2013

*Season Special; not included in regular ticket package

Le Petit Theatre

Temporarily shuttered during the 2010- 2011 season, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre is expecting to reopen in January 2013, newly renovated and with a first-class Dickie Brennan restaurant next door. As one of the nation's oldest community theatres, founded in 1919, Le Petit has always been on the cutting edge of local, live stage entertainment. In addition to Broadway classics and revivals, Le Petit has been a showcase for locallywritten and directed plays, musicals, readings and one-person shows, especially during the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. The theatre 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 (all dates TBA):

Lombardi by Eric Stevenson, a play based on the legendary football coach, scheduled to coincide with the New Orleans-hosted Super Bowl. Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Andrew Lloyd Weber's Joseph and the Amazing technicolor Dreamcoat Love, Loss and What I Wore (Louisiana premiere)

The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival will return to Le Petit in March. Specific dates to be announced later.

Full details about LePetit's season, including performance dates, will be made known once they become available. For those who want to stay informed, the box office can be reached at 522-2081 or visit their website at

Southern Repertory Theatre

During the 2011-2012 season, Southern Rep lost its lease at the Canal Place Theatre where it had been housed since its founding. The shows scheduled for the remainder of the season were performed at various venues around the city, the last of which was at the Mid-City Theatre in New Orleans' Mid-City neighborhood. The Contemporary Art Center, 900 Camp St., will host Southern Rep productions during the 2012-2013 season, but the production schedule has not yet been released.

Those wishing to find out more about Southern Rep productions for the coming season are advised to call the CAC at 528- 3800 or visit their website at

Jefferson Performing Arts Society

[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]
Celebrating its 35th season as Jefferson Parish's premiere performing arts organization, JPAS annually stages a mix of live theatre (usually musicals), dance, classical music and often a mainstage opera or operetta. It currently operates out of two theaters: one in Metairie on the East Bank of Jefferson Parish and the other in Westwego on the West Bank.

Here is the JPAS lineup of major productions for the 2012-2013 season:

The Full Monty - Sept. 29-Oct. 7, 2012 Jefferson Performing Arts Ctr. (400 Phlox St.)

Driving Miss Daisy - Oct. 5-14, 2012, Teatro Wego! Theatre (177 Sala Ave.)

Frost/Nixon - Oct. 26-Nov. 4, 2012 Westwego Performing Arts Theatre (177 Sala Ave.)

A Celtic Christmas - Dec. 15-16, 2012 Westwego Performing Arts Theatre

Avenue Q - Jan. 25-27, 2013 Westwego Performing Arts Theatre

The Color Purple - Feb. 22-March 3, 2013 Jefferson Performing Arts Center

Buddy: the Buddy Holly story - March 22-31, 2013 Jefferson Performing Arts Center

One Great Moment in time (the Music of Glyn Bailey) - April 19-21, 2013 Westwego Performing Arts Theatre

For the youngsters, JPAS offers the following productions as part of its JPAS Theatre Kids! program:

Disney's Alladin Jr. - Nov. 30-Dec. 9, 2012 Westwego Performing Arts Theatre

Disney's Camp rock: the Musical - March 29-April 7, 2013 Westwego Performing Arts Theatre

For ticket information, show times, group rates or other show details, call 885-2000 or visit the JPAS website at

Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]

Located in the Rivertown section of Kenner, Rivertown Rep recently came under the management of Theatre 13, founded in 2009 by longtime director Gary Rucker and performer/choreographer Kelly Fouchi. The 2012-2013 season at Rivertown Rep will offer the following productions:

Boeing Boeing - Nov. 2-18, 2012

The Class of '70 Something - Jan. 11-27, 2013

Noises Off - March 8-24, 2013

Gypsy - May 10-26, 2013

For tickets and other information visit Theatre 13 at their website

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