April 2017 Newsletter
L.A. Theatre Works presents
Judgment at Nuremberg
April 23 at 7 p.m.
Tickets and more information
In just two weeks, acclaimed radio theater company L.A. Theatre Works brings Judgment at Nuremberg to the Center’s stage. This powerful play by Abby Mann sheds light on the moral reckoning surrounding the Nuremberg trials and the politics involved in prosecuting Nazi war criminals.
At the end of World War II, Allied Forces called for an international military tribunal to prosecute the major war criminals of the European Axis Powers. At the time, this was unchartered territory and fraught with controversy, as there was no international precedent for prosecuting crimes against peace or crimes against humanity.
The tribunals, jointly referred to as the Nuremberg Trials, were a series of 13 court proceedings held from 1945-1949. After the major figureheads from the Nazi Party had been tried and sentenced, the court turned its attention on lower ranking officials–doctors, lawyers, and industrialists.
One of the subsequent trials—The Judges Trial of 1947—formed the basis for Abby Mann’s timeless courtroom drama, Judgment at Nuremberg. Mann became fascinated with this trial after he learned that the prosecution struggled to find American judges willing to be tasked with casting judgment on German lawyers and judges who were following orders. It is reported that Mann left his $1,000-a-week job to take a $500 advance to research and write the screenplay.
The complexities of the trial and the people involved are what make the case and Mann’s play eternally compelling. Mann’s play is a fictionalized account of the case addressing serious issues that mirror the actual trial, asking how indefensible crimes can be defended. What is a judge’s culpability in enforcing unjust but binding laws? Why, in the aftermath of WWII, did America pressure the courts to be lenient on the defendants? And, what does America do when our foreign policy interests clash with our stated beliefs in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Additionally, Mann shows complicated, deeply human and flawed characters on both sides of the debate, who are susceptible to pressure and influence.
April 14 at 8 p.m.
Tickets and more information
The 2016/17 Dynamic Dance Series concludes this month with passionate performances by New Zealand’s Black Grace on April 14 and America’s oldest modern dance company, Martha Graham Dance Company on April 28. Though their homes are a world apart, these two dance companies share a passion for expressive dance that speaks to each group’s culture and history.
As New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company makes its North American tour, it is met with standing ovations from all audiences. Black Grace will bring power and passion to the Center with a program that includes pieces set to works ranging from Bach to original compositions to native, indigenous music. Founder Neil Ieremia draws from his Samoan and New Zealand roots to create works that reach across social, cultural, and generational barriers. This fusion of Pacific Islander, Maori, and modern dance results in dramatically spiritual performances that have broad appeal.
"Black Grace is the most positive, living expression of any New Zealand art." (Sunday Star Times)
Martha Graham Dance Company
April 28 at 8 p.m.
Tickets and more information
Martha Graham Dance Company has a legacy of innovation and pioneers a uniquely American style of dance. The program for this performance should be on the bucket list of any dance lover, as it features Graham’s Clytemnestra Act 2 in her trademark, highly dramatic style. It is followed by her final work, Maple Leaf Rag, in which she pokes fun at her own ultra dramatic works. The company will also perform two Center for the Arts debuts, including Dark Meadow Suite and a new work set to beautiful Middle Eastern music.
Both companies will also lead master classes for students majoring in dance at Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. Learn more about these wonderful opportunities and the School of Dance.
One-hundred and thirty-five years after it first opened to rave reviews at the Savoy Opera House, Gilbert and Sullivan’s 19th-century comic operetta Iolanthe will frolic across the George Mason University’s Harris Theatre stage in a production by the Mason School of Music as part of our year-long celebration of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Known for their social satire and political parodies, Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated on 14 comic operas over a 25-year period, heavily influencing the course of modern musical and popular culture. The marriage of Gilbert’s witty rhyme schemes and memorable lyrics—who can forget, “I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral”—with Sullivan’s hummable music established the standard for twentieth century musical collaborators to unify book, music, and lyrics. Additionally, they showed how musicals could be both politically salient and enormously entertaining.
Ioanthe or The Peerless Peer is a fairy-tale opera that explores themes of love while poking fun at Victorian politics and the two-party system of government—something contemporary audiences can relate to. In the opera, the eponymous character, a fairy, returns after to Fairyland after a twenty-five year exile. She had been banished for marrying a mortal, but now she is back seeking the protection for her now-grown son, Stephon, a half-fairy and half-mortal. The son has a problem of his own. He is in love with the mortal ward of the Lord Chancellor, Phyllis, and wants to marry her, but it seems that everyone in the House of Lords including her guardian is also hopelessly in love with her. That, plus a case of mistaken identity, throws Fairyland and Parliament into chaos. But like all Gilbert and Sullivan operas everything is put back to order before the end.
In addition to this production, other events in the Gilbert and Sullivan celebration include:
The Gilbert and Sullivan Forum:
April 29 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Mason’s Fairfax Campus
This full-day experience includes scholars, a guided tour of the David and Annabelle Stone Gilbert and Sullivan Collection exhibition galleries in Fenwick Library, and lunch.
Friends of Music at Mason Dinner
April 29 at 5:45 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at George’s in Mason’s Johnson Center
Friends of Music is sponsoring a dinner (open to the general public) with a pre-performance discussion about Iolanthe, by the CVPA Dean, Rick Davis.
More Information and tickets
New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players: H.M.S. Pinafore
May 4 at 8 p.m. in Merchant Hall at the Hylton Performing Arts Center
More information and tickets
Gilbert and Sullivan Exhibition
March 1 to May 1 in Mason’s Fenwick Library
Exhibition of historical memorabilia, sketches, and working documents from the David and Annabelle
Stone Gilbert and Sullivan Collection
Gilbert and Sullivan Memorabilia Exhibition
April 16 to May 28 in the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts
Gallery Reception: April 27 featuring scholar Ralph MacPhail, Jr.
More information and RSVP
Just last week, we proudly released the full schedule of Great Performances at Mason for the upcoming 2017/18 Season. The acclaimed series continues to showcase leading national and international performers across genres, featuring more than 50 performances by both new and returning artists. These wide-ranging programs offer something for everyone–ballet and modern dance performances; classical, jazz, and pops concerts; opera and theater productions; holiday celebrations; and multidisciplinary presentations, among many other events.
Next season’s highlights include: a special evening with Broadway star Kelli O’Hara as part of ARTS By George!; a contemporary dance performance by the ever-popular Pilobolus; a mash-up of classical ballet and comedy by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; a new play by L.A. Theatre Works commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; a program by pianist Jeffrey Siegel honoring Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday; and four full-scale productions by Virginia Opera in their 26th season at the Center for the Arts.
Season subscriptions are currently on sale to Friends of the Center for the Arts at cfa.gmu.edu/preview or by phone at 703-993-2787. Season subscriptions go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, April 19. Tickets to individual performances go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, August 1 at cfa.gmu.edu.
From now through April 18, members of the Friends of the Center for the Arts may exclusively order subscriptions during the Friends presale period. If you are a member of the Friends of the Center for the Arts, you will receive a passcode to access the presale. After April 18, Friends maintain priority on a daily basis, and their subscription orders are processed first the day they are received.
The general public may purchase subscriptions starting on April 19. Don’t want to wait? Join the Friends of the Center for the Arts, and order your subscription during the presale period. Memberships start at $100. Call 703-993-2787 to join and gain access to the presale.
The Friends of the Center for the Arts provides volunteer and financial support to the Center for the Arts. For more information on how you can help, please call 703-993-4749 or visit cfa.gmu.edu/friends/.
Don’t miss this 2-for-1 offer to TWB’s upcoming program!
Balanchine, Ratmansky, Tharp
Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, Scarlatti and Sinatra!
Wednesday, April 26 - Sunday, April 30
An evening of gritty, exuberant and romantic dance. Three visions of dance that will leave you swinging and swirling in the night. This program includes Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante; Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas; and Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs.
*2-for-1 special offer to Balanchine, Ratmansky, Tharp at the Warner, April 26-April 30: ALL performances for price level 4 for seat locations in the rear orchestra and mid/upper balcony; based on availability; not to be combined with any previous offer and cannot be applied to previously purchased tickets. Use discount code TMN241 when purchasing online, by phone at 202.397.7328 or at the box office (Avoid additional service fees at box office.)