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Wednesday Wow: Spotlight on Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella Star Paige Faure

July 23, 2014
Don't miss Ella dancing with the prince of her dreams Nov. 4-9

Don’t miss Ella dancing with the prince of her dreams in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Nov. 4-9.

Is it impossible for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage? Or maybe even a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage? Not for one fairy godmother and a girl down on her luck! From the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music comes Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderellagracing Belk Theater starting Nov. 4.

This contemporary take on the classic tale won a 2013 Tony Award for best costume design and was nominated for best musical. It brings together family and friends with the idea that no wish or dream is too impossible to come true in front of your eyes!

The tale stars Ella, a girl down on her luck as she slaves away in a house run by her evil stepmother and two stepsisters, who one day dreams of bigger and better things! Her dreams are realized through the magic of a fairy godmother, a transformed pumpkin, and the famous glass slippers. Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover your inner child through your favorite songs and the message that anything is possible!

Paige Faure plays Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella.

Paige Faure plays Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

Creating her own magic as the star of the show is Paige Faure in the role of Ella! This feisty, inspiring performer (and mom) has been wowing theatergoers and performers since her Broadway debut as a lead understudy in the national tour of Aida. However, it wasn’t immediate stardom for this red wine and dark chocolate-loving dancer.

Growing up in the heart of Atlanta, Faure loved dance from the start; from a young age she studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and modern dance at the Alpharetta Dance Theater. Then in high school, she added choir to her performance repertoire. Graduating from high school, she went up north and attended Marymount’s Manhattan Theater program for about a year before she put on her big-girl dance leggings and auditioned in the real world.

She landed the understudy lead role in the national tour of Aida as her first step into Broadway stardom! From that moment, her career took off like a smooth rocket launch. For years, she participated in national tours such as A Chorus Line and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as various regional shows, and even landed a role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying alongside Daniel Radcliffe.

From an interview in 2011, Faure commented on how veteran Broadway performers have said she’s been “spoiled” as her rise to fame in the industry has been more positive than most! Her most recent project, before her role as Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, was a lead role in the musical Bullets Over Broadway. She was able to complete most of the tour before her son, Hank, arrived!

Faure has an alter ego aside from her Broadway identity — as a mom and a wife. She gushes how much her son and her husband, Adam Monley, inspire her in her everyday life. She also gives another meaning to triple threat: she’s friendly, fit and fun! In between challenging choreography numbers and running around onstage, offstage she loves yoga, running and playing with her son. She actually even expressed interest in an earlier interview that she wants to get a massage therapy degree if given the time. Her tips on staying in shape? “All the old adages, really — eat right, sleep well, don’t drink too much, don’t smoke, breathe deep, smile whenever you can and be realistic with yourself … and love yourself and those around you as best you can.”

She’s a Star Wars geek and loves anything that seems French. She is known for her outgoing and energetic persona around cast and crew members while on tours. As a performer but a confident woman, she knows just how much self-esteem can play into a healthy life. She had this to say about being confident on stage and in life:

“Be versatile, be devoted, be curious, be prepared, be open to new ideas, and stay hydrated.”

You won’t want to miss seeing the lovely Faure star in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella playing in Belk Theater Nov. 4-9. This show teaches people of all ages to believe in the beauty of your dreams, and that with just a pinch of faith and magic, anything is possible!

Tuesday Tune: ‘Longer Than You’ve Been Alive’ by Old 97′s

July 22, 2014
Old97s_300

Old 97′s

Hailing from Dallas, Old 97′s are considered pioneers in the world of alternative country music. Created in 1993, the band has had one critically acclaimed album after another and recently released “Most Messed Up” with ATO Records.

With over 15 albums under their belt, Old 97′s continue to write and release fresh tracks that showcase their signature Texas sound. Perhaps one of the band’s greatest accomplishments is the 2013 EP “Old 97′s and Waylon Jennings,” which features the band collaborating with the country music legend on two of the six tracks.

Co-founder Rhett Miller had this to say to the New York Times about recording with Waylon:

After lunch, he cut the vocals for “The Other Shoe.” He got to the second verse, where the cuckolded husband is under the bed and imagining the murders he’s about to commit. There’s a line, “You’ll try to find a doctor that will prescribe an elixir that’ll make everything better.” He kept saying “excelsior.” It got tense in the control room because he’d keep getting through the whole song and mess up that word. Eventually, I had an idea. I told him to just use the phrase “Annie licks her.” He started laughing. “I like you, you’re sick,” he told me. And he nailed it on the next take.

“Most Messed Up,” released April 29, received excellent reviews. Paste Magazine called it “the first in the band’s catalog to accurately capture their sweat-box live performances.” Rolling Stone said it’s “another round of airtight songs celebrating life-as-sublime-train-wreck amid music that conjures the British Invasion landing in a Texas barroom.” Music critic Bill Flanagan calls it “a rock opera, a way-off Broadway musical about a musician’s life, loves and lubrication.”

Listen to a live performance of “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” from “Most Messed Up” below. The song pays tribute to the band’s 20 years in the business.

Don’t miss Old 97′s LIVE in the intimate McGlohon Theater on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. Get tickets now!

Looking Ahead: National Dance Day This Saturday!

July 21, 2014
National Dance Day 2013. Photo by Daniel Coston.

National Dance Day 2013. Photo by Daniel Coston.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and is ready to start a brand new week! I’m getting there. Monday morning coffee is the reason my head is not face down and asleep on my desk right now. But you know what gets everyone awake and groovin’ no matter what? Dancing, of course! Carolinas HealthCare System presents National Dance Day 2014 in the Wells Fargo Plaza (301 S. Tryon St.) on Saturday, July 26, where anyone can jive in whatever way they please — free! The program is part of Blumenthal’s Whirl initiative, sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas.

National Dance Day celebrates human movement, no matter how old you are. Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of “So You Think You Can Dance”  and founder of Dizzy Feet Foundation, created this annual event  to promote health and self-esteem through the art form of dance. What better way to raise your self-confidence than through showing off your inner Dancing Queen (or King)?

Our own Education Director Ralph Beck agrees: “National Dance Day is all about having fun and getting some great exercise. No prior dance experience is necessary, and we encourage everyone to come join in all the fun. Last year, we saw people of all ages dancing their hearts out, and we look forward to that again this year!”

It doesn’t matter if you’ve danced since you could walk or if you can barely follow a Zumba class, this event is free to participate in for anyone who wants to move to the rhythm of their own beat. Besides, we’ll have on-site instructors show you all kinds of dance styles, including two National Dance Day routines. Take a sneak peek below to mentally prepare for the fun you’ll have.

Here’s one for the beginners:

 

Here’s one for the more advanced groups:

 

It’s supposed to be a beautiful day on Saturday, so why not spend it with us at The Wells Fargo Plaza in Uptown? Don’t miss your chance to bust a move and be active in a pretty groovy way. Festivities start at 1 p.m. For information, CLICK HERE.

Friday Giveaway! Win 2 Tickets to See Steve Forbert Sept. 11!

July 18, 2014
Don't miss the one and only Steve Forbert perform Sept. 11

Don’t miss the one and only Steve Forbert perform Sept. 11

It’s always nice to end the long work week with a little reward, am I right? That’s why I’m pleased to tell you our Friday Giveaway for this week is two tickets to see the one and only Steve Forbert, who graces Stage Door Theater on Thursday, Sept. 11!

This hopeless romantic-bluesy artist has wooed fans all around the nation since the 1980s. Even at a ripe age of 21, a New York Times critic raved, “What makes him remarkable is that he’s good already, when he’s still growing. And at his frequent best, he’s already a star!”

Forbert continues to leave behind a legacy and a slew of fans as he travels the country touring in some of the most prestigious venues. He has even had Keith Urban sing some of his songs! With his profound lyrics and romantic-Americana roots, Forbert continues to enchant and engage his audiences in every single stop he takes around the country; there is never a dull moment with this man! Whether it be his music that entrances you, or his funny but quirky anecdotes between songs, he is always a wonder and a joy to see live.

If you aren’t already excited about seeing this classic Americana man, here’s a video to give you a taste of what to expect. Here Forbert is performing “Goin’ Down to Laurel” at Hugh’s Room in March 2012:

 

 

Don’t want to risk missing out on the show? CLICK HERE to get tickets.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Email marketing2@ncbpac.org and tell us why you love Steve Forbert! Use the subject line: Steve Forbert Giveaway! A winner will be selected at noon Monday, July 21, and notified via email. Good luck!

You Won’t Be Able to ‘Stand’ This Much Fun; The Last Comic Standing Hits Queen City!

July 17, 2014
Don't miss out on one hilarious night October 12!

Don’t miss out on one hilarious night Oct. 12!

Have you ever wondered what it takes be to be a comedian? Here’s your chance to find out because on Oct. 12, NBC’s Emmy Award-nominated series, Last Comic Standing, will be stopping by on it’s road tour to showcase what the series’ winners and other hilarious comedians have up their sleeves. You’ll be witnessing some side-splitting comedic antics that are only to be found in the Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts!

This lively laugh riot of a competition takes the Top 100 comics in the nation through challenges and tricks to get spots in the overall Top 20. Those 20 comedians compete in a semifinal round for the Top 10 spots. Those winners will compete individually and in teams through a series of sketches, improv and stand-up bits. It will be up to them to prove who is worthy of the title, “Last Comic Standing,” who will then receive the top spot on this LIVE tour, an NBC talent deal and a half-hour scripted project to be developed by Universal Television.

Experience the cheek-hurting, gut-busting comedy that is sure to happen on stage Oct. 12. Snag your tickets now! If you feel that you want an even better experience, you have the option of VIP tickets! If you go VIP, you get to meet the comedians behind the tour with a 30-minute meet-and-greet after the show, you receive an autographed VIP laminate, and much more! CLICK HERE for more details or tickets.

In the spirit of comedy and humor, I would like to share some jokes that are found to be pretty “punny,” if I do say so myself, and even a few jokes told by some of the nation’s funniest comedians.

  • What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta.
  • “Having four kids is like you’re drowning … and then someone hands you a baby.” — Jim Gaffigan
  • “You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said ‘Parking Fine.’” — Tommy Cooper (on driving)
  • “I like a cup of black coffee after a meal; I’m amazed at how impossible this is for me to communicate. I don’t think I can say it any more clearly! ‘Would you like anything else sir?’ ‘Um, yeah I’d like a cup of black coffee, please’ ‘How’d you like that coffee?’ (pauses) ‘How would I like my black coffee?… Can you put it in a cup? Yeah, don’t just splash it on my face.’ ‘Would you like cream and sugar with that?’ ‘… is it black cream? If not, I’ll take it blackety-black black, filled with blackness, devoid of all light. Think of the blackest thing you can imagine and double that blackness and take a black magic marker and fill in the gaps and put that into a black rocket ship and shoot that into the depths of black space and close your eyes and use that as a reference’” — Brian Regan
  • How did the hipster burn his tongue? He drank his coffee before it was cool.
  • How does Moses make tea? Hebrews it.
  • Simba was walking too slow, so I told him to Mufasa (Oh, Disney humor).
  • Knock, knock. Who’s there? Britney Spears. Britney Spears who? Knock, knock. Who’s there? Oops, I Did It Again.
  • Why did Mickey Mouse go into space? To find Pluto, of course.
  • What do you call someone with no body and a nose? Nobody knows!

Disney’s Newsies Making Headline History Since 1992!

July 17, 2014
Seize the day and order your season tickets now to see Disney's Newsies on January 6!

Seize the day and order your Season Tickets now to see Disney’s Newsies on Jan. 6!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Disney’s Newsies is coming to the Queen City Jan. 6-11 at Belk Theater! The New York City boys from 1899 have not only been delivering papers, but also justice on stage since the Broadway première of their smash-hit show in 2012.

Based on a true story about the Newsboys Strike, these young runaways and orphans called themselves Newsies and delivered New York City its news from well-known publishers around the area. This story follows Jack Kelly, one of the many newsies, who is always dreaming of a better life outside the skyscrapers and tall towers of The Big Apple. However when two of the esteemed publishers, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, raise the distribution prices, these rapscallions get down on their luck. Torn between following his dream and his new-discovered duty, Jack must decide if fighting for a cause is worth the price of your dreams. Don’t miss Jack and the other newsies when they deliver a high-energy explosion of song and dance in January!

With the approach of this beloved musical coming to the Blumenthal, I thought it best to shine a little light on how this amazing show came to existence.

Don't miss the cast of Newsies come January.

Don’t miss the cast of Newsies come January.

The tale of Newsies is in fact based off of a real story about the Newsboys Strike in 1899 in New York City. These young boys delivered newspapers to the general public throughout most of the 19th century and early 20th century. When the publishers tried to increase the distribution prices thereby lowering the boys’ compensation, they fueled a strike led by a boy by the name of Kid Blink (on account of him being blind in one eye). It resulted in a win for the boys, who received more money for their work.

To this day, it left a legacy of what was to be the standard of treating young people in the workforce. Disney fictionalized the event into the 1992 movie Newsies. Fun fact: Disney included Kid Blink in the film; however, they developed a new leader of the film by the name of Jack Kelly. The film inspired a following of devoted fans over the decade, which prompted Disney in March of 2012 to produce the show we all now know and love, the musical Newsies.

Winner of the 2012 Tony Awards for best score and best choreography, this show has been nothing short of a historically heart-pounding, breathtaking masterpiece that the New York Times called “a musical worth singing about!” In Aug. 24, Newsies will close on Broadway at Nederlander Theater. Thankfully, the National Tour launches in October and travels to over 35 cities.

Here are a few fun facts about Newsies you may or may not have seen headlines about in the past:

  1. Newsies was actually supposed to be a drama titled Hard Promises, which would tell the tale of Jack Kelly having a younger brother who died at the hands of a runaway wagon.
  2. The real name of the character Jack Kelly is Francis Sullivan. He just likes being called Jack Kelly for some unknown reason.
  3. In the film version, most of the actors who had zero dancing experience went on to have careers in the dance field. Weird, right?
  4. In the film version, Christian Bale plays Jack Kelly, and Bale’s dog was actually supposed to have a role in it. Because of its lack of cooperation, they had to cast the part to another canine.
  5. Before filming, the Newsies set actually burned down, so they had to rebuild it (it actually ended up being better than the first one)!

Guarantee your tickets for Newsies TODAY with a subscription to PNC Broadway Lights! Call 704-335-1010 or click here to order online!

Looking Ahead: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Chris Smiter and Open Mic!

July 14, 2014

It’s one of the busiest weeks I’ve seen here at Blumenthal Performing Arts. This is going to call for more espresso shots in my morning soy lattes. This week reflects the Queen City’s own hustle and bustle of uptown life as we have not one, not two, but three main events happening in the course of seven days!

The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess opens this week at Belk Theater

The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess opens this week at Belk Theater.

Our first event opening this week is the much-anticipated  revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess! One of the most intoxicating love stories to hit Broadway will now be gracing the Belk Theater stage tomorrow night through Sunday.

For those of you unfamiliar with this riveting tale of love and destiny, this story tells the tale of the beautiful Bess, who struggles to break free of her backbiting past and her formidable former lover Crowne. The only one who can save her is the brave Porgy, a man filled with determination and a heart that’s as big as the city of Charleston, in which the story takes place. Overcoming one temptation after another, Porgy and Bess’ intense bond and powerful romance continues to become an icon for one of the most extraordinary love stories that theatergoers have seen. You WILL NOT want to miss one of our last shows in our amazing 2013-14 season.

If you’re feeling up for some good ol’ American blues and folk music, you need to head on down to Stage Door Theater to see the one and only Chris Smither for one night only! As a noteworthy soul musician, he entertains audiences around the world with his profound song lyrics, comical anecdotes and engagement with the members of the crowd. His guitar skills are known to be so masterful that even listening to instrumentals of his time-honored classics is a treat. Make your night unforgettable by seeing this man perform on Thursday, July 17.

Show us what you got on Friday, July 18!

Show us what you’ve got Friday, July 18!

We can’t forget about the nights during the season where we make YOU the star! Open Mic is here this Friday night to showcase your talent so you can reveal to Charlotte what hidden talent you may have. However if you aren’t feeling up for standing in the spotlight, don’t sweat it! That shouldn’t stop you from coming out and supporting those who are performing. It’s always a fun night in McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, and it’s FREE! Don’t miss it!

Friday nights don’t always have to be about going out, clubbing or dancing the night away. Unwind and relax with us here at the Blumenthal Performing Arts for SlamCharlotte Poetry Slam at the Booth Playhouse. This Friday, Charlotte’s own two time national championship team of spoken word poetry will be hosting a poetry event that brings together poets all around Charlotte to showcase their love of rhymes and verses. If you want to swing by and check it out, get more information HERE.

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