Variety, quality mark new season

Published on Thursday, 25 July 2013 22:17 - Written by By Stewart Smith ssmith@tylerpaper.com

With fairy tales, funk and C.S. Lewis, the upcoming season at LeTourneau University’s S.E. Belcher Center looks to be its most diverse yet.

Cynthia Hellen, senior director at the Belcher Center, recently announced the 2013-2014 lineup and said it was a challenge find a way to top last year’s lineup.

“We wanted variety. We always try to give a little bit of everything in our seasons, but we really raised the bar with last year, and we had to just trying to keep that quality way up there,” Ms. Hellen said.

Some of the highlights, Ms. Hellen said, include the touring Broadway production of the C.S. Lewis classic, “The Screwtape Letters.”

“‘Screwtape Letters’ is a little bit different for us, because it is Christian programming and we’re putting it on the season and I don’t think we’ve ever done anything quite (like that) before,” she said. “It’s just gotten such rave reviews … and the book is life-altering. It truly is a fascinating take on how Satan works in our lives and the production is so good. We’ve been working on getting this one for about three years.”

The upcoming season also features unique acts, such as Masters of Funk, featuring performances by The Ohio Players, The Bar-Kays and Heatwave.

“This is just going to be fun,” Ms. Hellen said. “I was looking for something different to do as our season finale. We kicked around a lot of ideas, and when I came up with this show, I thought, ‘This is it.’ … They’re going to rock it. It’s going to be just a crazy fun night.”

Here’s a look at the full lineup for the 2013-14 season.

 

“1964 The Tribute”

Since 1984, this show has travelled the world honoring one of the greatest bands of all time, The Beatles. The show recreates a live concert like what would be found as the band toured in the 1960s, complete with period instruments, era-accurate clothing, hairstyles and even on-stage banter. More than 25 years of research has been invested into the show. “1964 The Tribute” takes the stage on Saturday, Sept. 21.

 

“Beauty and the Beast”

The classic fairy tale as re-imagined by Disney and brought to life in the Broadway tradition makes its way back to East Texas as part of a national tour. The show contains many of the songs that made the original animated film so memorable, but includes two additional songs penned by the film’s team of Tim Rice and Alan Menken. “Beauty and the Beast” will be performed on Sunday, Oct. 6.

 

“The Screwtape Letters”

This two-man play is adapted from the classic novel by author C.S. Lewis. The story follows the demon Screwtape, Satan’s chief psychiatrist, who advises his young nephew, Wormwood, on how to best deceive human souls into abandoning their belief in God. This show will have two performances on Saturday, Nov. 2.

 

The Irish Tenors

Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan are the three Irish Tenors. The trio made their television debut in 1999 and went on to conduct thousands of live concerts around the world, including at Radio City Music Hall, Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. The Irish Tenors will perform on Saturday, Dec. 14.

 

“Don Quixote”

This ballet adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ classic tale will be brought to life by the Moscow Festival Ballet company. The company was formed in 1989 by Sergei Radchenko, the renowned dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet. “Don Quixote” will be performed on Thursday, Feb. 20.

 

“The Miracle Worker”

Written by William Gibson, “The Miracle Worker” is the true story of Helen Keller, a young girl born deaf and blind. However, she finds knowledge, understanding and empowerment thanks to the help of her tutor, Anne Sullivan. This production is acted and produced by the Montana Repertory Theatre and will arrive on Thursday, March 6.

 

“Masters of Funk”

Featuring numerous members of each band’s original lineup, this tour is a veritable supergroup of some of the funkiest bands from the ’70s and ’80s with performances by The Ohio Players, The Bar-Kays and Heatwave. These masters hit the stage on Saturday, April 26.

Finally, in addition to the regular performance series, the Belcher Center also offers a special School and Family Series, with a focus on educational and family-friendly material. Here’s the lineup for this season.

 

“Beakman On the Brain”

Wild-haired scientist Beakman (Paul Zaloom) offers a unique look at the human brain with a unique visual twist filled with humor and audience participation. The show is based on the original, Emmy Award-winning children’s television show, “Beakman’s World.” Beakman arrives on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

 

“Junie B. Jones, Jingle Bells Batman Smells”

This colorful, holiday-centric play centers around the titular Junie B. Jones, the main character of the New York Times best-selling book series of the same name. In it, Junie learns about the importance of generosity and kindness as she’s forced with playing the role of Secret Santa to her arch nemesis. “Junie B. Jones” arrives on Monday, Dec. 9.

 

“Riders in the Sky”

This classic western band has spent the last 30 years keeping alive the traditions started by the likes of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Sons of the pioneers. This Grammy Award-winning band has performed in films, such as “Toy Story 2,” while also striving to remain true to the spirit of western music and providing their special brand of humor and wit. Riders in the Sky will perform on Thursday, Feb. 27.

For additional performance information or ticket sales, call 903-233-3080 or visitwww.belchercenter.com .