BROAD STAGE — To hear the applause, cheers and accolades from the audience the announcement of the Broad Stage’s 2014/15 season was as popular and exciting a show as any of the acts scheduled to perform.
Organizers unveiled 31 different acts scheduled for next season during an evening event on May 22. The calendar spans the performance gamut including an African interpretation of The Magic Flute, the return of the Globe Theater, Jazz performances, classical shows, a Valentine show by Brian Stokes, a spoken word performance by Anna Deavere Smith, several dance groups, world music acts, four shows from National Geographic Live and several family friendly attractions.
Carolyn Palmer Artistic Programs Manager at The Broad Stage walked the audience through several of the upcoming artists. She said the Broad would bring a diverse group of performers to town in the coming season including several interpretations of the classics.
She said the Isango Ensemble from Cape Town South Africa would bring a new twist to Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The group infuses an African sensibility into the work and draws it’s performers from outlying African villages as a means of connecting local residents to high art.
Her announcement of a Shakespeare play also drew applause. “These next artists you’re going to love,” she said. “You’ve asked us to bring them back again and again so its my delight, to share with you that we will bring back Shakespeare’s’ Globe Theater with King Lear.”
The announcements were a preview of the seventh season at The Broad Stage and officials said the venue has earned a reputation for giving Westside residents access to high quality performances to an interesting space,
Rosanne Ziering, vice president of the Broad’s board of directors, said she realized how valuable the Broad was during the inaugural year. “As someone who lives on the west side, I quickly understood that we had a gem on our hands,” she said to applause from the audience. “I no longer had to take that excruciating drive downtown to experience amazing performances, they are now here in my back yard.”
Audience members were encouraged to renew their memberships, not only to guarantee their chance to see the shows, but as a means of supporting local education.
“If we want to invest in the next generation of innovators, creators, and thought-leaders in Los Angeles, supporting early and broad participation in the arts is critical to developing young minds and opening up new ways of thinking,” said Board Chair Austin Beutner in a statement.
The Broad offers a student matinee program for K-12 students and officials said they would increase their educational offerings with professional development workshops for Carnegie Hall’s Musical Explorers, Diavolo, and King Lear. The stage will also continue it’s Family Circle initiative that helps families attend shows by providing tickets, transportation and educational activities.
“You’re really making a difference because every year our education program reaches from Santa Monica all the way down to Long Beach to East LA and back again and we provide over 10,000 students access to the arts,” said Ziering.
She said the group’s commitment to education is also reflected in the kinds of performers they choose to work with. “I can’t wait to see the Calder Quartet next season here at the Broad Stage and they will also be here for a two year artistic residency which means they will be teaching our students at the Santa Monica College.”
The Calder Quarter gave a brief performance during the event as did Anna Deavere Smith who will return later in the season to perform Letter from a Birmingham Jail, a live reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark document written from a prison cell.
“There’s a lot in the world right now that is fearful, is dangerous and is unknown and I think that quite simply, what art helps us do is be in that uncertain threshold between hope and fear and the arc of art always bends towards hope,” she said.
The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center opened in October 2008. In addition to the 499–seat main stage, the building houses The Edye, a smaller black box theater that presents new, developing and innovative work in music as part of the Under the Radar Series and upcoming jazz artists as part of the Quincy Jones Presents series. The Broad Stage is located at 1310 11th Street at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. For more information on the upcoming season, visit http://thebroadstage.com.