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Center for the Arts to mark 20th anniversary season

Richmond Ballet perform "Rite of Spring"

The Richmond Ballet will join the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s masterwork "Rite of Spring" on Nov. 21.

By DAVID WEDEKINDT

Published August 28, 2014

The Center for the Arts will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a 2014-15 performance schedule offering a variety of programming ranging from musical performances, dance, comedy and unique cultural programming.

Tickets for all events are on sale now unless noted.

The season will feature a number of concerts representing diverse genres. Pop singer/songwriter Christina Perri will open the schedule with a performance on Sept. 4. Other fall concerts include prog-rock pioneer and flautist Ian Anderson performing the “Best of Jethro Tull” on Nov. 4, renowned jazz bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding on Oct. 9 and the “WYRK Acoustic Show” featuring Scotty McCreery on Oct. 22.

“The Australian Pink Floyd Show” will make its local debut at the CFA on Oct. 15, performing Pink Floyd’s hits accompanied by a laser light show and more. Returning to the CFA on Nov. 23 is guitar virtuoso Brian Setzer, along with his 18-piece band, for his popular annual holiday tour.

In support of the CFA’s ongoing Arts in Healthcare Initiative, musician Stuart Fuchs will work in Women & Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute for 10 days and premiere new music/sound collages at the CFA on Nov. 13. Country a cappella group Home Free and the legendary R&B group Boyz II Men will perform Nov. 12 and Nov. 22, respectively; the Boyz II Men appearance is a benefit concert for the Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo.

Spring concerts include the Croatian instrumental duo and YouTube sensations 2CELLOS on April 21, blues legend Buddy Guy on April 22 (tickets on sale Oct. 10) and Zap Mama with afro-pop group Antibalas on Feb. 5.

The CFA also will offer a new concert series, the “New Voices Series,” featuring up-and-coming national artists in the 388-seat Drama Theatre. Among the artists are Marissa Mulder in “Tom Waits … In His Words” on Sept. 20, Cyrille Aimée on Dec. 5 and Becca Stevens Band on March 28.

This season also will have its share of laughs. Returning by popular demand are Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, stars of the Emmy-nominated “Whose Line Is It Anyway?, who will perform extraordinary improvisational comedy driven completely by audience participation on Sept. 26. And Alton Brown, host of “Iron Chef America,” “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Good Eats,” brings his new tour to the CFA on Nov. 16 featuring cooking, science, music and comedy.

As Western New York’s premier presenter of dance, the CFA offers quality programming throughout the year.  This season’s M&T Bank Dance Series features the Western New York premiere of the Richmond Ballet on Nov. 21. The dance company will join with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, to presentThe Rite of Spring,” Igor Stravinsky’s enduring and influential masterwork.

Returning to the CFA stage Oct. 4 is Buffalo’s own LehrerDance, which will offer two world premieres, as well as audience favorites from its diverse body of work. Tango Buenos Aires, one of Argentina’s greatest cultural exports, visits the CFA on March 2 with a special authentic and poignant program that celebrates the life of Eva Perón (“Evita”). Contemporary dance company RIOULT Dance NY will make its first visit to the CFA on April 11 and also perform outreach activities as part of the annual professional dance residency. The Russian National Ballet Theatre will round out the dance series on April 15 with a performance of the timeless classic Sleeping Beauty. And the holiday season would not be complete without the American Academy of Ballet’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 6-7 (tickets on sale in September).

World-renowned magician Greg Ferwin will wow the audience during a night of illusion and mystery on Sept. 19. And off-Broadway hit “Girls Night: The Musical” visits on Feb. 20. In this hilarious, feel-good comedy, five girlfriends re-live their past, celebrate their present and look to the future on a wild night out.

Each season, the CFA offers a number of unique cultural / international performances.  Fall attractions include the diverse repertoire of the Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir (Oct. 14) and a new production by the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China (Nov. 10).  The spring season will include a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico under the direction of Maestro Enrique Bátiz on Feb. 18.

The School-Time Adventure Series continues with a series of age-appropriate programs open to school groups only. The season includes “The Berenstain Bears”; “Stella, Queen of the Snow”; “Four Score and Seven Years Ago”; The Acting Company in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”; and Greater Buffalo Youth Ballet in “Cinderella.”

For more information on all events, call (716) 645-2787 or visit the CFA’s website.

Tickets are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays at the Center for the Arts box office and online at tickets.com. Tickets may be charged by phone at 1-888-223-6000.