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Audra McDonald to Headline 2014-2015 KU Presents! Season

June 2, 2014

Audra McDonald (photo courtesy Autumn de Wilde)KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Audra McDonald, Broadway, movie and television star who is up for a record-breaking 6th TONY award at this week's TONY award ceremony, will headline the 2014-2015 KU Presents! Performing Artists Series "See You at Schaeffer!" McDonald, seen most recently as Mother Abbess on NBC's live version of The Sound of Music and currently on Broadway playing Billie Holiday in Lady Day, will close the season with a rare intimate performance at Schaeffer Auditorium on April 16, 2015. 

The Performing Artist Series opens with a big band bang on Sept. 17, 2014 with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the beloved 9 piece swing revival ensemble.  In celebration of the Opening, KU Presents! will host a big band jazz swing party on Schaeffer's outdoor deck before the show.  Grab your dancing shoes and see you at Schaeffer!

Tickets for KU Presents! are available by mail and phone, at 610-683-4092, starting Friday, August 1, 2014.  Online sales will start Friday, August 15, 2014 and are available at Renewing and new subscriptions are available starting Monday, July 21, 2014.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014
7:30 p.m.

Celebrate the opening of the season with the swinging big band jazz sound of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  This high energy nine piece swing revival ensemble will take the audience back to the days of the 30s, 40s and 50s, with their zoot suits, hot jazz, and Rat Pack lingo. Seen during the Superbowl Halftime show, on Dancing with the Stars, and The Tonight Show and featured in the comedy hit movie Swingers, BBVD's hepcat style and "jump jive" music will have you saying "Go Daddy-O!"  Pre-concert Swing dance party on Schaeffer deck.

90 Years of Rhapsody - A Gershwin Tribute
Monday, Oct. 6, 2014
7:30 p.m.

The Reading POPS Orchestra featuring Clipper Erikson, piano soloist, will pay a tribute to one of America's most noted composers, George Gershwin, and some of the most memorable piano pieces of the 20th century. Conductor, Willis M. Rapp will lead the POPS in powerful renditions of Gershwin's timeless melodies, including Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, An American in Paris, and the Suite from Porgy and Bess, as well as other Gershwin classics.

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014
7:30 p.m.

Fifteen-time GRAMMY winner, Béla Fleck, considered the premier banjo player of his time, with wife Abigail Washburn employ their rare 3-finger and clawhammer banjo styles to create an explosion of musical white heat.  Described by The New York Times as "Appalachia and folk-pop, with tinges of Asia with Bruce Springsteen," this musical partnership has mastered the deceptively intricate art of the duet with an array of banjos and one beautiful voice.  Washburn's beguiling composing, playing and singing blend effortlessly with Fleck's riveting and virtuosic musicianship.

Canadian Brass: a Very Brass Christmas
Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014
7:30 p.m.

The legendary Canadian Brass, comprised of five extraordinary musicians -  visionary founder and tuba legend, Chuck Daellenback, Caleb Hudson and Christopher Coletti (trumpets), Achilles Liarmakopoulos (trombone) and Bernhard Scully (horn) - each a virtuoso in his own right,  has earned their distinction as "the world's most famous brass group."

In this, their famous holiday concert, the Brass will perform festive standards and unique arrangements of Christmas favorites, including "My Little Drum," "Frosty the Snowman," "Greensleeves," and "Christmas is Coming."  This special performance will feature selections with the Berks Youth Chorus and the youth brass ensemble, The Governor's Horns. 

There will be a holiday dinner and music before the show, at 5:45 p.m.  Check for the menu.  Dinner is $25. RSVP by November 25.

Te Amo, Argentina
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015
7:30 p.m.

Be immersed in the sights and sounds of South America's most fascinating and colorful country as Te Amo, Argentina journeys into the passionate heart of Argentina's musical and dance heritage.  Showcased in this one-of-a-kind performance are Latin GRAMMY award-winning cellist, Antonio Lysy, the impressive musicianship of the Aeolus String Quartet and internationally acclaimed tango sensations Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo, stars of Broadway's ForeverTango, the popular TV show So You Think You Can Dance and The Superstars of Dance

Say "Te Amo, Valentín" with a romantic dinner before the show - A Taste of Argentina Dinner and an exclusive tango demonstration by Miriam & Leonardo! Check for the menu. Dinner is $25. RSVP by February 5.

San Jose Taiko:  Rhythm Journey
Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015
7:30 p.m.

For over 40 years, San Jose Taiko has mesmerized audiences with powerful, spellbinding and propulsive sounds of the taiko drums.  Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, SJT company performers express the beauty and harmony of the human spirit through the voice of the taiko as they create new dimensions in movement and music, and attain ki - the unity of the mind and body.  

With fully choreographed, theatrical performances, SJT combines the traditional rhythms of Japan with other world rhythms, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin and jazz percussion, while resonating with the Asian soul in America. Come join the San Jose Taiko performers on their rhythm journey to become one with Taiko, with each other and with the universe.

An Evening with Audra McDonald
Thursday, April 16, 2015
7:30 p.m.

Winner of five TONY Awards for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, and Porgy and Bess, Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and actress.  A luminous soprano with an incomparable gift for dramatic truth telling, she is equally at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is in roles for film and television.  

A two-time GRAMMY Award winner, she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading, international orchestras.  This enchanting, intimate evening with McDonald will include favorite Broadway show tunes along with songs from her latest album Go Back Home-her most personal recording to date.    "Absolutely thrilling... a defining voice of our time." (The New York Times)

Subscribers Only - Start your evening with a very special VIP Dinner.  Check for the menu. Dinner is $30. RSVP by April 2.