Park City Performing Arts Foundation readies new season
Ryan Summerlin October 19, 2012
When you’re the executive director of a nonprofit performing-arts foundation, it’s a rare but deeply appreciated gift that allows you to book and schedule an entire season.
That’s what happened when Elizabeth "Beano" Solomon, a Park City-based human-rights activist, and another anonymous donor provided the capital for Park City Performing Arts Foundation Executive Director Teri Orr to do just that.
"Beano donated money for us to schedule the whole season," Orr told The Park Record. "And the anonymous resident donated money specifically so we would schedule more dance productions. So we have the most dance we’ve ever had in a single season.
"We have always brought dance since we started presenting performances, but dance, sadly, is one of the most threatened art forms in this country," Orr said. "If people don’t present it, people don’t learn to love it and support it. So there is a good reason to present it."
The dance groups will include Ailey II, Parsons Dance Company, Quixotic Fusion, Birdhouse Factory, Vox Lumiere’s "Peter Pan" and DanceBrazil.
In addition to the dancing, the season will include the stand-up comedy of Paula Poundstone; theatrical performances by Anna Deavere Smith, The Intergalactic Nemesis and Marvel’s Super Heroes; and music by Delta Rae, Bowfire, ETHEL with Todd Rundgren, Sara Watkins with Ruth Moody, and Kristin Chenoweth.
With the confirmation of Broadway and TV star Chenoweth’s performance on New Year’s Eve, the season is complete, Orr said.
"(I think) Kristin is a pistol and so much fun," Orr said with a laugh. "I’m really looking forward to it. And thank God she wants to come in early and understands how altitude affects vocals."
The Park City Performing Arts Foundation 2012-13 season is as follows:
Ailey II Nov. 2
Ailey II will present two outreach programs, one with Park City students and another with South Summit students.
"They are always beautiful, because the human body is beautiful," Orr said. "We live in a community of athletes and there is hardly anyone more athletic than a modern dancer. It takes great skill and a lifetime of devotion to your art to get to the level to be part of a touring company."
Paula Poundstone Nov. 10
"We had her back in 2006, and it’s been a while since she’s been back," Orr said. "She is so genuinely funny about the human condition. She makes fun of airline food, pets and things that are simple.
"She doesn’t need to rely on being mean-spirited, or ethnic humor," Orr said. "She’s just funny and so quick. Let me tell you, Paula knows how to freewheel with the audience."
Parsons Dance Company Dec. 15
"The company will be here for five full days and they will present one performance and a handful of workshops in Summit County and Park City," Orr said.
Quixotic Fusion Dec. 22
"I had the good fortune to see Quixotic Fusion at the TED Conference," Orr said. "TED stands for Technology and Design, but people forget the E stands for entertainment. Quixotic is a company that is very Cirque Du Soleil-like, and the members are athletic and do some aerial things that also suspend belief. When we first saw the production, we thought there was a screen in front of them that was projecting images and laser lights. But there wasn’t. This will be the most technically ambitious show at the Eccles."
Kristin Chenoweth New Year’s Eve Performance Dec. 31
"We try to do something big and a little different on New Year’s Eve," Orr explained. "Kristin’s more than a triple threat. She’s a Tony and Emmy award winner and a very funny and ridiculously talented lady. She has already appealed to the community because ticket sales have been great for her."
Sara Watkins and Ruth Moody Jan. 5, 2013
"Sara is a child prodigy who is known for her work with Nickel Creek," Orr said. "We’ve had her perform here a number of years ago and she has a voice like an angel and plays the violin. Watkins will arrive with her brother Sean, a guitarist who is another third of Nickel Creek.
"She’ll also be performing with Ruth Moody, one of the founders of the Wailin’ Jennys, a Juno Award-winning bluegrass group from Canada who has appeared frequently on ‘Prairie Home Companion,’" Orr said. "They aren’t touring together. This is a show we set up."
Anna Deavere Smith Jan. 12
The actress will bring a one-woman show to the Eccles Center stage, where she will portray 19 different people who have different views on health care in America.
"Like she did for her play ‘Twilight: Los Angeles,’ which was about the 1992 riots, Anna interviewed thousands of Americans in order to write and create another groundbreaking performance. This time she interviewed people about health care," Orr said.
Delta Rae Feb. 2
"This group is young and fun and has been on Jay Leno and David Letterman," Orr said. "They played at the Democratic Convention and have been compared mostly to Fleetwood Mac. They defy description and are definitely alternative. They are a group to watch."
The Intergalactic Nemesis: Book Two Feb. 16
"We had such a fun time with ‘Book One’ that combined a graphic novel to a radio drama, so we wanted to bring another one of their performances back," Orr said.
"Last year, we had a young man in our audience who has Aspergers syndrome and the performance really touched him."
"The Intergalactic Nemesis: Book Two" is also being performed at the Kennedy Center and New Victory Theatre in New York.
"You can go see it at those places, or walk across the street and see it here," Orr said.
Birdhouse Factory March 2
"This is another Cirque-style show that is really for families," Orr explained. "It has a great story about hard work and determination that’s easy to follow."
Bowfire March 8
"We have a huge audience that loves Celtic performances and I’ve had my eye on Bowfire for a while," she said. "There are 12 performers who do it all. In good Irish tradition, they sing, dance and play instruments, and sometimes all at once."
Marvel’s Super Heroes March 9
"With the popularity of ‘The Avengers’ film, we are very lucky to have Spider-man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor coming to town," Orr said. "This is a great show to introduce youngsters to these heroes."
Vox Lumiere’s "Peter Pan" March 23
This performance is meant for families, but parents will be thoroughly entertained, Orr promised.
"It is a silent film, and the guys in the group have written original music and created original dances that will be presented during the film," she said. "It’s a multi-media performance."
DanceBrazil March 30
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art mastered by the members of DanceBrazil.
"This is a very athletic performance, done by a male dance company, which is something many people don’t have the opportunity to see," Orr said. "They will be with us for a week to do some outreaches throughout Summit County as well."
ETHEL with Todd Rundgren April 6
"ETHEL is a string ensemble, but not your grandmother’s strings," Orr said. "They play contemporary music as often as they play classical music, and it’s fun to hear these string instruments used that way."
Last year, the musicians performed one experimental evening with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Todd Rundgren.
"The agent decided to put them on the road (together) and our stop is part of these artists’ initial tour," Orr said. "I think it is going to be fascinating to see and hear this collaborative work."
The Park City Performing Arts Foundation has not had this strong a season in its 16-year run, Orr said.
"The advantage of having the funds up front allowed us to dream a little bit and book our shows earlier," Orr said. " doing so, we were able to get a lot of good, strong and entertaining shows that we may not have before."
Tickets for the performances are available now at www.ecclescenter.org or at the box office at 1750 Kearns Blvd. The box office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased by calling (435) 655-3114.