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Tuesday Tune: ‘Stay With Me’ by Black Violin

September 30, 2014

Black Violin

“Stay With Me” from Sam Smith is currently one of the most popular songs in the world. It also happens to be one of my personal favorites. So when I found this awesome cover by Black Violin I knew I had to share it!

Black Violin is an up and coming duo out of Florida that takes very different genres and melds them together to create an amazing, unique sound featuring the voice and the violin. Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester have the ability to meld highbrow and pop culture, “Brandenburg” and “breakdown,” into a single genre-busting act fusing classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and even bluegrass music.

Black Violin was named one of the hottest bands at the 2013 SXSW, and the group is bringing its live performance to McGlohon Theater on Jan. 22! Tickets are on sale now, and with our Beat the Sellouts promotion, you can get FREE parking with your purchase. Click HERE for details and tickets.

Get a taste of Black Violin’s groundbreaking sound in the video below with its cover of “Stay With Me.”

Try something new and innovative in the new year and join us on Jan. 22, 2015, when Black Violin makes its Charlotte debut at McGlohon Theater! Get tickets here.

Looking Ahead: ONCE, Open Mic, Ian Anderson, Find Your Jazz Day and Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer!

September 29, 2014

The options are vast this week! From FREE family-fun to a big Broadway musical, and everything in between, we’ve got it all for you this week at Blumenthal Performing Arts. Let’s just lay it all out so you can decide what you just can’t miss! CLICK HERE for a full list of upcoming shows, or read below for this week’s breakdown.

Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company. © Joan Marcus

Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company. Photo by Joan Marcus


ONCE comes to Belk Theater, playing for one week only! Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical, ONCE is a truly original Broadway experience. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights … but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance.

Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, ONCE draws you in from the very first note and never lets go. It’s an unforgettable story about going for your dreams … not living in fear … and the power of music to connect all of us.


In McGlohon Theater

Come out and support local talent!

Come out and support local talent!

Blumenthal Performing Arts invites you to participate in this OPEN MIC event on Friday, Oct. 3. This FREE event is open to performers and spectators of all ages. Instrumentalists, singers, dancers, storytellers, poets, jugglers, magicians and others are all welcome. Audience seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

In Knight Theater

The Best of Jethro Tull performed by Ian Anderson is here for one night only! Legendary prog pioneer Ian Anderson and his band (guitarst Florian Opahle, bassist David Goodier, keyboardist John O’Hara and drummer Scott Hammond) are touring the United States. Don’t miss them when they come to the Queen City!



Find Your Jazz Day - Part of the 2014 Charlotte Classic Jazz Festival

It’s a cultural jazz feast for the whole family! Find Your Jazz Day is a FREE all-day event, beginning at 11 a.m. and including live performances, kids’ crafts, educational activities and more! Join us in a New Orleans-style second line jazz parade to the Knight Theater at 6:15 p.m. CLICK HERE to see the full schedule.


Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer come to Knight Theater Oct. 5.

Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer come to Knight Theater Oct. 5.


Bassist/composer Edgar Meyer and mandolinist/composer Chris Thile, of Punch Brothers, will team up Sunday in Knight Theater. These two MacArthur Fellows will cross traditional boundaries in a diverse program of largely original music.


See, there’s something for everyone. Visit to purchase tickets or read more information. We hope to see you this week!







Get to Know the Old 97’s

September 26, 2014
Old 97's

Old 97’s

Old 97’s revel in their more than 20 years together as a band and show no sign of going quietly into the night.

“Most Messed Up,”  the latest and 11th studio release, opens with the rowdy, six-minute “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” to clear the air in no uncertain terms. Frontman Rhett Miller sings: “Rock and roll’s been very, very good to me/ The open road’s the only place I wanna be.”

The Texas-born alt-rockers return to Charlotte Oct. 11 for a show at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Click here for more info and tickets.

Old 97’s fans, such as actor Rainn Wilson, rejoiced when “Most Messed Up” dropped in April. Wilson tweeted this gem after hearing an early cut: “Listening to the Old 97’s unreleased, ‘Most Messed Up.’ It is sublime rock and roll. 20 yrs of y’all-ternative mayhem w/Rhett Miller & gang.”

Rolling Stone put the recording on its “Best 45 Albums of the Year So Far” list with this description:
“On this most Old 97’s-ish of Old 97’s LPs, the hard-partying twang-punk quartet throw a 20th-birthday bash for themselves. It’s yet another round of airtight songs celebrating life-as-sublime-train-wreck amid music that conjures the British Invasion landing in a Texas barroom.”

Old 97′s made their Elektra debut in 1997 with “Too Far to Care,” a muscular album that balanced the band’s Texas traditionalism and pop leanings. Many publications placed the band among the leaders of the alt-country movement, and Old 97′s toured extensively in support, joining the Lollapalooza tour that summer and playing alongside Whiskeytown for a series of shows sponsored by No Depression magazine.

Their memorable appearance on the “Tonight Show” put them on the mainstream radar with a tune inspired by a runaway cat.

The touring continued through 2001, and then the band went on hiatus and separated to cities to start families. Miller, a prolific songwriter, put out a solo album in 2002. And then the gang got back together in 2004. They’ve been steadily releasing new work and touring ever since. One project in 2013 was an EP of tunes they recorded with Waylon Jennings.

All of that brings us back to now and “Most Messed Up,” the revealing, 12-track meditation on 20 years in music. It’s “a rock opera, a way-off Broadway musical about a musician’s life, loves and lubrication,” says music critic Bill Flanagan. Recorded in Austin and produced by Salim Nourallah, “Most Messed Up” also features guest appearances by Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Guns N’ Roses) and Jon Rauhouse (Neko Case) on lap-steel.

Stinson plays rhythm guitar on about half the album, “and does a lot of singing and yelling,” Miller says. “You can hear his vocals the most on ‘Intervention’ and ‘Let’s Get Drunk and Get It On,’ he’s yelling a lot on that on that one. We tracked those live with him, and there are a few others that we let him overdub some stuff on, and sprinkle his Tommy Stinson magic dust on. He’s rock ‘n’ roll royalty. He’s been a rock star since he was 12. He’s just such a sweet dude, and we’re all big Replacements fans.”

Don’t miss Old 97’s on Oct. 11 at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Charlotte’s own The Loudermilks will open the show. Tickets start at $20. Click here to get yours!

ONCE Opens in Charlotte Next Week!

September 24, 2014

Once_550x315It’s true, people. The wait is finally over! ONCE, the winner of eight Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL, comes to Belk Theater Tuesday, Sept. 30 and plays through Sunday, Oct. 5. There are very few tickets left, but if you act fast you can still nab a seat! CLICK HERE to see what is available.

Featuring an impressive ensemble of actors/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights … but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, ONCE draws you in from the very first note and never lets go. It’s an unforgettable story about going for your dreams … not living in fear … and the power of music to connect all of us.

Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company. © Joan Marcus

Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Want to know more? Read on to learn how this Academy Award-winning indie film sensation was transformed into a Broadway musical.

From the Big Screen to the Broadway Stage

 In 2007, the charming, off-beat Irish film ONCE opened to glowing reviews and quickly developed a fervent following. The touching, lyrical musical tells the story of two down-on-their-luck musicians, an angst-ridden Dublin street singer/songwriter who works as a vacuum repairman, and a Czech immigrant who sells flowers in order to support herself and her family. Girl (as she is known) initiates a friendship with Guy (as he is known), and in the course of a week, they make music together, fall in love and part, but not before changing each other’s lives. The movie’s stars, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, also wrote much of the score, and received an Oscar for their beautiful ballad, “Falling Slowly.”

ONCE is simultaneously graceful and gritty, and has a naturalism and intimacy that are generally best achieved in film. Which explains why the noted Irish playwright Enda Walsh was less than enthusiastic when he was asked to write a Broadway musical based on the movie. “I guffawed when my agent called and asked me to speak to the producers,” says Walsh. “I said, ‘What a stupid idea.’ It’s a two-hander with very little plot. It’s delicate. So I called the producers and told them it wasn’t for me. There’s no tradition of musical theater in Ireland, so I rubbished the idea. Then they told me John Tiffany was attached to it as director.”

The two men are longtime friends, and although Tiffany also had doubts as to the viability of the material as a Broadway musical, he convinced Walsh not to reject the idea outright. “John said, ‘Let’s just take two days, and we can read the screenplay and listen to the songs and talk about it.’ So I said, ‘Okay, we’ll do two days. And that’s all we’ll do.’”

Not quite. “Those two days convinced us that we wanted to do this show,” said Tiffany. That was the beginning of a journey that led to Broadway and eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Walsh), and Best Direction of a Musical (Tiffany). The show became such a critical and commercial success that it spawned a London production and a U.S. national tour, which opened at the Providence Performing Arts Center.

“I never think about adapting films for the stage,” said Tiffany. “That’s not the way I work. And when I was approached about ONCE, I hadn’t even seen the film. But one of my best friends said, ‘You will love the music.’ So I downloaded the soundtrack, and absolutely loved it. I’d never heard music like that, and the music is the reason why I wanted to do the show. Not just the music itself, but the fact that it’s a story about creating music, a story about the healing power of music. Immediately I thought, ‘We’re going to be able to see actors create that music in front of us.’ That’s really exciting. Actors have played instruments onstage for years, but not always in a show about making music.”

The 12 adult members of the cast play at least one instrument, and are onstage virtually throughout the show. “I didn’t want anyone onstage who we didn’t get to know intimately,” said Tiffany. By individualizing each character, Walsh said, “we built a community, and that became the heart of the piece. They’re an ensemble of misshapen people who sing and tell the story. Watching them play the music and sing and find their voice is very beautiful and very strong. But in addition to making it about community, we also wanted the show to be hugely communal. So how do we do that? We allow the audience onstage.”

Prior to the start of the show, the audience is welcome to come onstage and mingle with the cast, who are having a jam session. This bonding ritual doesn’t merely break the fourth wall; it obliterates it. “We wanted the audience to own the experience,” said Walsh. As the show unfolds, the focus is, of course, on the relationship between Guy and Girl, but the audience also catches glimpses of the lives of the other characters. “We needed to be sure that there are all these other love stories in the air. Each person is riffing off a love that’s been lost, that got away. That was the key: for the audience to feel part of the experience, and also to look at the people on the stage and go, ‘They’re us.’”

The material has proved to be as powerful onstage as it is on film. “I think what’s very moving about the piece is how sometimes we meet people who we don’t necessarily stay with forever, but they give us the resources to move on to the next part of our life,” said Tiffany. “There’s something very truthful in that. People have said to me, ‘When I was sitting in the theater watching ONCE, I felt like I was watching it with everyone I’ve ever loved, whether or not they’re still in my life.’”

Looking Ahead: Keb’ Mo’, Under the Streetlamp, Mountainfilm on Tour and The Wood Brothers!

September 22, 2014

It is going to be one busy week here at Blumenthal Performing Arts, but that means we are more likely to have something for everyone! From a three-time Grammy winner, to a modern day Rat Pack, to an outstanding eye-opening film, we have a great variety of entertainment with four amazing shows! That’s pretty exciting stuff. Come to one or come to them all! Read on for full details on each show coming up this week.

Keb' Mo' Blumenthal Performing Arts Knight TheaterTonight in Knight Theater 

Three-time Grammy winner and visionary roots-music storyteller Keb’ Mo’ embarks on a new chapter in his career with the April 22 release of “BLUES Americana” on Kind of Blue Music. His 12th full-length album marks the 20th anniversary of his debut “Keb’ Mo’,” but, more importantly, the disc is a signpost of artistic and personal growth.

Over the past two decades Keb’ has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through the understated excellence of his live and studio performances. His songs have been recorded by B.B. King, Buddy Guy, the Dixie Chicks, Joe Cocker and Robert Palmer, and his playing inspired leading instrument maker Gibson Brands to issue the Keb’ Mo’ Signature Bluesmaster acoustic guitar. He has collaborated with a host of other artists including Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, jazz diva Cassandra Wilson, Buddy Guy, Amy Grant, Solomon Burke and Little Milton. Keb’ also performs the theme song for the smash sitcom “Mike & Molly” and was music director for TV’s “Memphis Beat.”


Under the Streetlamp  plays September 23 at Belk Theater.

Under the Streetlamp plays Sept. 23 at Belk Theater.

Tuesday, Sept. 23, in Belk Theater

Under the Streetlamp, America’s hottest new vocal group with a top PBS special, performs an electrifying evening of classic hits from the American radio songbook. Exuding the irresistible rapport of a modern day Rat Pack, the quartet — recent leading cast members of the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys — deliver an evening of unforgettable entertainment. You’ll hear Doo-Wop, Motown, old time rock ‘n’ roll and all of your favorite songs from The Drifters, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and many others. And thanks to the permission of Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio, the guys perform a medley from the “Seasons” catalog of outstanding hits.

Critics have called Under the Streetlamp “a sure-fire sellout!” All the songs are delivered in the inimitable Under the Streetlamp style, with tight harmonies and slick dance moves that will take you back to an era of sharkskin suits, flashy cars and martini shakers.

Their special guest is the a cappella group Gentleman’s Rule!


MF13-FILM-Nord_of_the_Sun3Friday, Sept. 26, in McGlohon Theater

Mountainfilm on Tour is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about issues that matter. The films selected for the show will cover themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of exploring cultures, preserving environments and promoting adventure.

The Mountainfilm Festival is a four-day event held each Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colo., that is part film festival, part ideas summit and part jamboree. For 35 years, Mountainfilm has attracted leading independent documentary filmmakers, artists and photographers, conservationists, mountaineers, scientists, journalists and explorers from around the world to engage in the festival’s motto of “Celebrating Indomitable Spirit.”

Each year, Mountainfilm on Tour takes a selection of outstanding films from the Telluride festival on the road to engage audiences who otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience them. Year-round and worldwide, the tour reaches about 30,000 people on five continents.

The films will begin promptly at 8 p.m. A Mountainfilm presenter will introduce the films as well as host an engaging dialogue with the audience following the films.


Southern Reel 2Saturday, Sept. 27, in McGlohon Theater 

The Wood Brothers come to McGlohon Theater for one night only.

The group reached a new level when Chris Wood had a scrap of a song that “seemed like a chorus” scribbled in a notebook and he played it for his older brother, Oliver, who’d had a verse lying around that he didn’t know what to do with. The two pieces, composed months apart — one in urban Atlanta and the other deep in the Catskills — dovetailed musically and lyrically: the verse about a man regretting chasing unattainable women, and the high-lonesome, harmony-driven refrain of “When I die, I wanna be sent back to try, try again.”

“Neon Tombstone” wasn’t the first song that Chris and Oliver had written. Since 2006, they had released three studio albums of Americana as The Wood Brothers. But it was the first one they’d written like this.

“This is how a song is supposed to come together,” Oliver remembers thinking. “There was some chance, some randomness, to it.” The experience marked a deeper level of collaboration for The Wood Brothers, a new found fraternal synchronicity that’s captured on their latest album, “The Muse.”


CLICK HERE to see a full list of upcoming shows, and to nab tickets to any of the shows this week. It’s not too late, but hurry!


Friday Giveaway! Enter to Win a Pair of Tickets to See Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer

September 19, 2014

Who wouldn’t want to see bassist/composer Edgar Meyer and mandolinist/composer Chris Thile, of Punch Brothers, when they team up on Sunday, Oct. 5, in Knight Theater? These two MacArthur Fellows will cross traditional boundaries in a diverse program of largely original music. The duo has collaborated on several critically acclaimed projects including the Grammy-winning “Goat Rodeo Sessions,” a 2008 recording of original compositions (Nonesuch Records) and, most recently, Chris Thile’s 2013 solo recording, “Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1,” produced by Meyer. CLICK HERE for show details.

Check out the video below to hear their magic!



Email and tell us why you’re excited to see Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer! Use the subject line: Thile-Meyer Giveaway! A winner will be selected at noon Tuesday, Sept. 23, and notified via email.

Kinky Boots National Tour Off to a Great Start in Las Vegas!

September 18, 2014
KINKY BOOTS NATIONAL TOUR. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Kinky Boots National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Kinky Boots has officially hit the road, and not to anyone’s surprise, it’s a huge hit! The show opened in Las Vegas just over a week ago garnering rave reviews and wowing audiences. We hear they are leaping to their feet night after night! We can’t wait to share the magic of this six-time Tony Award-winning show with you when it comes to Belk Theater in March! CLICK HERE for ticket information.

So what is it about Kinky Boots that leaves show lovers feeling so joyful? This show is simply exhilarating and promises to lift your spirits to new high-heeled heights! This inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible … proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.

KINKY BOOTS NATIONAL TOUR. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Kinky Boots National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Inspired by a true story, Kinky Boots features a joyous, Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, direction and Tony-winning choreography by Jerry Mitchell and a hilarious, uplifting book by four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein. Come join the sold-out audiences who have discovered why – sometimes – the best way to fit in is to stand out!

Kinky Boots comes to Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center March 17-22, 2015. You do not want to miss this amazing show! CLICK HERE for more information.




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