Ballet and tango along with bluegrass, country, classical, folk and jazz music will be found at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in this upcoming season. There will be acrobats from China and a choir from West Africa. Fiddlers, horn players and singers are also slated to show up for the center’s fifth season.
Rick Davis, the executive director of the performing arts center, said the season will open with a new kind of musical comedy that will leave cast, crew and audience equally surprised every night. “We kick off the season with ‘Broadway’s Next Hit,’ which is a funny title for a funny show,” Davis said. “Broadway performers come and they improvise a musical based on audience suggestions. The first half is about gathering the information and second half is about delivering a brand new – different-every-city, different-every-night – musical theater show. It’s going to be a really, really delightful way to kick off our season.”
Perhaps the most well-known performer who will appear in the upcoming season is country music star Clint Black. Black, a Grammy award-winning artist, will perform original Christmas songs along with the favorite standards on Dec. 8. Davis said having Clint Black at the center was a “real get” since Black usually sells out at much larger venues.
Folk singer Arlo Guthrie will appear on the center’s stage on Feb 6. Davis said Guthrie puts on a good show. “This is Arlo Guthrie’s 50th anniversary tour of ‘Alice’s Restaurant.’ He’s obviously going to sing that song, but he’s also going to do a lot of his other hits, too. He was here two seasons ago and had a great concert and people were clamoring for him to come back.”
The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China will be back for a return engagement on Sunday, Oct. 19. “It’s always one of our most popular of shows. They sell out. They’re very popular with families. They do the acrobatic feats that look impossible. It’s set to beautiful music with beautiful lighting, but the main thing is you just marvel at the skill of these performers,” Davis said.
The Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir will be in town for a show on Oct. 3. “We’re really, really thrilled about this one. It’s a full-blown gospel choir. They do Christian gospels; and because it’s a country from West Africa, they have a Muslim component, as well. It’s really all about peace and harmony and how music is a great thing that brings people together,” Davis said.
The Manassas Ballet Theater will give six performances of “The Nutcracker” with a professional corps of dancers, complemented by extras and students from the company’s academy. Davis said the ballet company has had to expand the number of performances to meet demand. “They do a spectacular ‘Nutcracker’ every year. It grows every year and sells out.” The shows will be Dec. 19-23.
The performing arts center will also have some children’s’ favorites this year. The Berenstain Bears will be at the center with shows on Nov. 22. Grammy award-winning folk singer, Peter Yarrow, most well-known for his career with the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, will perform beloved folk songs such as “If I Had a Hammer” and “Puff the Magic Dragon” on April 12. The center will also host “Alice in Wonderland” with performances on Feb 28.
Davis said this year’s roster of acts is the most diverse to ever hit the Hylton Performing Arts Center. “We’re really branching out. The quality is the highest we’ve ever had.”
Visit the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s website for more information and to purchase tickets.