The Hylton Performing Arts Center announces a superb collection of performances coming to Northern Virginia in 2015-2016. Now entering its sixth season, this outstanding community arts center on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus provides a permanent residence for local and regional ensembles and a world-class performance space where people from around the region gather to enjoy and experience nationally and internationally renowned performing artists and ensembles.
“What a Fifth Anniversary this young Center is having! From a record number of sell-out or near-sell-out performances for Hylton Presents and our Resident Arts Partners and Affiliates, to the nationwide debut of our PBS special featuring Dailey & Vincent, and the ever-increasing thousands of young people who either perform or attend a show, the Hylton Center is really coming of age as an indispensable community asset. The vision of the founding partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas and the Commonwealth of Virginia is paying off in visible community transformation,” says Rick Davis, the Hylton Center’s executive director. “By the end of our current year in June, well over 100,000 people will have taken advantage of the Center’s amazing capabilities, whether as an audience member for a great concert, a performer in a play, a guest at an art gallery reception, a business person or civic leader at a meeting, or a happy bride and groom. We are thrilled to be able to play all of these multiple roles – and more – as we seek to make our vision of being this region’s ‘creative commons’ an ever-more-vibrant reality, and increase the quality of life for all.”
The Hylton Center also announces that Novant Health is returning as the 2015-2016 Hylton Presents Season Sponsor. “Novant Health is a rapidly growing force in the region and a good community citizen, and the Hylton Center is grateful for and proud of our partnership with this excellent institution,” Davis says. “We are both working hard, each in our own ways, to make this region an even better place to live, and live well.”
“The Resident Arts Partners make the performing arts a joyful presence in the lives of their participants, as well as for their audiences,” Davis says about the five performing arts ensembles from Prince William County and the City of Manassas that have found extraordinary success in making their home at the Hylton Center. “Each one reached some new height this year, whether artistically or institutionally. From national and international press recognition to significant grant funding to offering world premiere performances, the Resident Arts Partners continue to represent one of the greatest things about living in this region – namely, locally-produced performances of top quality at affordable, accessible prices, showcased in one of the country’s best venues, the Hylton Center.”
The 2015-2016 performances by the Resident Arts Partners include Manassas Ballet Theatre’s “Jazz in Motion,” “The Nutcracker,” “Dances and Divertissements: A Spring Sampler” and “Cinderella.” Manassas Chorale presents “Princesses and Pirates,” “The Spirit of Christmas,” “Voices United – With Hearts and Hands and Voices” and “Postcards from America.” Manassas Symphony Orchestra presents “The Americans,” “Child’s Play,” “From the British Isles” and “Musical Titans.” Prince William Little Theatre presents The Who’s “Tommy,” Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” “Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror” and a spring production to be announced at a later date. Youth Orchestras of Prince William presents its “Season Premiere” concert in the fall.
“The Hylton Family Series continues to be popular with families of all ages, and we’ve received praise from many parents and grandparents eager to introduce their youngsters to the arts,” says Thomas Reynolds, the Hylton Center’s director of artistic programming. The Hylton Family Series creates an opportunity for families to enjoy and experience the arts together, and tickets for both children and adults are modestly priced.
The Hylton Family Series begins with one of America’s top ventriloquists, Kevin Johnson, who has been seen on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “America’s Got Talent.” Johnson brings to life his hilarious puppets Clyde, Matilda and Harley through only the magic of his own voice, charming audiences of all ages with his extraordinary talent and family-appropriate comedy.
The magical and marvelous world of Beatrix Potter comes alive when Peter Rabbit and friends celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of this beloved British children’s author. In “Peter Rabbit™ Tales,” Enchantment Theatre Company brings to our stage the precocious rabbit and all his friends for one final escapade in Mr. McGregor’s garden.
From a New York Times bestselling children’s series to the Merchant Hall stage, “Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy: The Musical” “buzzes” with the inventive energy of childhood! When Lulu is told that she’s too young to play baseball with her brother, she and her friends morph into the Bug Squad – Ladybug Girl, Bumblebee Boy, Dragonfly Girl and Butterfly Girl – and let their imaginations run – or “fly” – wild!
“Clifford The Big Red Dog™ – LIVE!” bounds onto the Merchant Hall stage this season in a new musical for the whole family to enjoy. This enormous and playful red pooch, his young owner and all their friends join together for an afternoon of singing, dancing and lots of interactive fun, while they share a few BIG ideas for children about being kind and respectful toward others, sharing and believing in oneself.
“I’m thrilled to introduce so many exciting new artists and ensembles to our audiences and stage, as well as welcome back familiar favorites that our patrons are always pleased to see,” Reynolds says. Beginning in September and running through April, the Hylton Presents season comprises 17 different performances from comedy to country to Celtic, as well as jazz, popular music, ballet, classical music, theater, and global music and dance.
The season begins when The Midtown Men bring the sounds of the Sixties to the Hylton Center. From the bright lights of Broadway, these four debonair and supremely talented showmen from the original cast of the hit musical “Jersey Boys” share their musical magic performing classic pop favorites from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Motown and, of course, The Four Seasons.
Two of America’s greatest inventions – jazz and aviation – come together in “To Swing Through the Sky,” a captivating multimedia performance with the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra. This exciting event features a stunning visual experience, exuberant dance, an insightful narrative and the swinging sounds of big band music performed by this local jazz powerhouse led by Artistic Director and alto sax virtuoso Jim Carroll.
A legendary literary sleuth comes to the Hylton Center in Aquila Theatre’s witty and wild whodunit, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” In this exhilarating tale of mystery, suspense and intrigue, the famous detective skillfully maneuvers through the twisted web of London’s most fascinating cases, which only he can solve.
Direct from Beijing, The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China present a jaw-dropping spectacle of Chinese circus, acrobatics and Peking Opera. The entire family will marvel at the unparalleled grace, agility, flexibility and athleticism displayed by these highly trained artists in their various acts of juggling, contortion and balancing.
Art of Time Ensemble reimagines The Beatles’ psychedelic music masterpiece “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – with a little help from their friends. Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page and other pop vocalists join the acclaimed Canadian ensemble to perform new jazz, pop and classical arrangements of beloved Beatles hits such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “A Day in the Life.”
Spain’s premier flamenco dancer and choreographer brings his dazzling collection of dancers, instrumentalists and vocalists to Merchant Hall in an explosion of vibrant color, passionate rhythms and enchanting movement. Compañia Flamenca José Porcel offers up a breathtaking extravaganza representing the golden age of flamenco in their new show, “Flamenco Fire.”
From Mumbai to Manassas comes Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India, filling Merchant Hall with the vivid colors, spellbinding movement and hypnotic rhythms of their homeland. “The Spirit of India” features these talented musicians, singers and dancers performing traditional and contemporary Indian music and songs from Bollywood’s most popular films, while demonstrating astounding acts of daredevilry such as standing on swords, fire-breathing and the spellbinding Snake Charming Dance.
The 12 merry gentlemen known as Chanticleer present a glorious concert of Christmas music from across the ages in “A Chanticleer Christmas.” The Grammy Award-winning male a cappella group performs ancient hymns, sacred music, popular songs and American and European carols and spirituals in this magnificent concert, which has become a cherished tradition at the Hylton Center.
Lee Greenwood is perhaps best known for his patriotic music, but the country music star also has a collection of holiday albums featuring Christmas carols, seasonal songs and original music. He makes his Hylton Center debut this season, performing a heartwarming concert the entire family can enjoy, filled with the sounds of Christmas and his most popular hits, including his patriotic anthem, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
American Festival Pops Orchestra, led by Artistic Director and conductor Anthony Maiello, performs its beloved Christmas concert, “Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season,” an annual tradition at the Hylton Center. Composed of gifted musicians from the D.C. metro area, this talented pops orchestra spreads holiday cheer with treasured Christmas carols, seasonal favorites, a few festive surprises and special guest soloists.
Centuries of British military tradition come alive when The Band of the Royal Marines and the Pipes, Drums and Highland Dancers of the Scots Guards fill Merchant Hall with the distinctive sounds of bagpipes and brass, combined with the visual spectacle of regimental marches and authentic Scottish Highland dancing.
American Festival Pops Orchestra returns with an enchanting concert of romantic music in “Valentine’s Day Pops.” Sweethearts will enjoy romantic standards and treasured love songs from the Great American Songbook performed by some of the finest musicians in the region under the baton of founder and Artistic Director Anthony Maiello.
Hailed as “the greatest living interpreter of Groucho Marx’s material” by The New York Times, Frank Ferrante presents “An Evening with Groucho,” a delightful portrait of the legendary comedian who changed the face of vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood. Ferrante shares all of Groucho’s best one-liners, anecdotes and songs, and completes the act with Groucho’s signature look, style and walk.
Straight from the Emerald Isle, Danú brings a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, in which everyone is a little bit Irish! These virtuosic players of traditional Celtic instruments such as flute, tin whistle, button accordion, bodhran (Irish drum) and bouzouki, combine with marvelous vocals in Irish and English to take audiences on a musical journey through the ensemble’s native Ireland.
Perennial Hylton Center favorite Jeffrey Siegel returns with his popular “concerts with commentary” series, Keyboard Conversations® to present “The Golden Age of the Piano.” This charming program includes the iconic American sounds of Gershwin, as well as music by Chopin, Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Brahms, interspersed with fascinating and witty insight into the lives and works of these great composers.
Moscow Festival Ballet presents the charming fairy tale of a beautiful princess waiting in slumber, a vengeful sorceress and a wicked curse that can only be broken by true love’s kiss. Considered the greatest achievement in classical ballet, “The Sleeping Beauty” features a majestic score by Tchaikovsky, resplendent costumes and sets, and above all, exquisite choreography by Marius Petipa.
Concluding this year’s Hylton Presents season is The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, which will fill Merchant Hall with classical elegance and the sumptuous sonorities of six string instruments. Co-Artistic Director and cellist David Finckel performs within this exalted ensemble in a program that includes a trio of sextets by three revered composers: Strauss, Dvořák and Brahms.
Matinee Idylls, Hylton Extras and much more
The Hylton Center’s delightful Matinee Idylls series, which includes lunch from a local restaurant followed by a matinee recital, continues with four performances featuring an area favorite, pianist Thomas Pandolfi, Virginia Opera, Echos Chamber Choir (from the award-winning group Choralis) and the Beau Soir Ensemble. After the success of The Charlie Daniels Band concert last fall, the Hylton Center will continue presenting Hylton Extras. For more information about these and other events at the Hylton Center, please visit HyltonCenter.org.
Subscriptions to Hylton Presents and the Hylton Family Series are available on Thursday, March 19, and single tickets go on sale on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Please visit HyltonCenter.org for a complete list of events or to request a season brochure.
Novant Health is the 2015-2016 Hylton Presents Season Sponsor
Steinway Piano Gallery of Washington, D.C. is the 2015-2016. Keyboard Conversations ® with Jeffrey Siegel Series Sponsor
About the Hylton Performing Arts Center
Dedicated to bringing a world-class performing arts venue to the Prince William region, the Hylton Performing Arts Center was born out of a partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and individuals and businesses in the private sector. Soaring more than nine stories and boasting a stunning mix of copper, glass and masonry, the 85,000-square foot center is home to two unparalleled performance venues for local arts groups and performers from around the world, as well as university-related activities. Modeled after the intimate European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,123-seat multipurpose proscenium theater, which is encircled by 27 private boxes that rise three levels. The Gregory Family Theater is a flexible, 4,400-square foot space that can be configured for many different types of performances and events. In addition, the Didlake Grand Foyer, with its sweeping staircase, provides an ideal setting for community, corporate and social events. The Hylton Performing Arts Center, the only building of its kind in the area, has quickly become the cultural hub of Prince William County and the surrounding communities and is a shining example of civic collaboration and commitment to the arts.
About George Mason University
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia schools with the highest annual salaries.