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Monmouth University Center for the Arts Announces 2014-2015 Performing Arts Series

The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University announced today that tickets are now on sale for the 2014-2015 Performing Arts Series on the West Long Branch campus – a set of cultural explorations and interactive experiences that stands as one of the most eclectic programs in the state of New Jersey.

It’s a slate of words, music, movement, images, and ideas that offers audiences “something old” in the form of many returning favorites – and brings “something new” to the galleries, lecture halls, stages and screens of Monmouth’s beautiful and historic campus. “Something borrowed” from the classics of literature, drama and song – and something “Kind of Blue,” because at the end of the day there’s nothing more resonant in our culture than cool jazz, rhythm and blues.

According to Vaune Peck, coordinator of arts programming, “the Center for the Arts has historically represented a real crossroads of world cultures here in coastal New Jersey – and that’s a mission we continue to carry out, particularly in our expanded HD simulcast series.”

“At the same time, you’ll encounter an enhanced selection of great American music and art, as well as theater and film presentations that speak to all aspects of American life, and our most immediate social issues.”

The Performing Arts Series at Monmouth inaugurates a new season at the Pollak Theatre on Tuesday, October 7, when NYC’s Aquila Theatre company returns with a new stage adaptation of an emotionally wrenching romantic classic – Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights.” The flagship venue for the series will be welcoming back several veterans of past seasons in the fall of 2014 – keynoted with an encore appearance by the ever-eclectic Ani Di Franco (Tuesday, November 18), the resolutely indie icon whose “lifelong list of co-conspirators” has included everyone from Pete Seeger to Public Enemy’s Chuck D.

In addition to DiFranco, the new season spotlights some other returning favorites – including locally-based music legend Southside Johnny Lyon and his stripped-down side project The Poor Fools (Friday, November 14). Also back for another date on the Monmouth campus are dynastic blues specialist John Hammond (appearing with super session ace David Lindley on Friday, January 30) – and the ever-popular annual holiday concert by Father Alphonse Stephenson and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea (Friday, December 5).

Pollak Theatre is also the setting for some exciting new musical offerings in the coming year, highlighted by the area debut of LA-based pop singer-songwriter Andy Grammer (Thursday, October 23). Roots musician and actor Guy Davis (son of the late Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee) joins two veterans of Martin Scorsese’s “The Blues” – Corey Harris and Alvin Youngblood – for True Blues, an evening of song and conversation that comes to campus on Saturday, November 8.

A modern mistress of country music in all its manifestations makes her Pollak debut on Thursday, November 20, when Monmouth welcomes multiple Grammy winner and platinum plated singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter (Tickets on sale July 18.) The diverse and dynamic sonic palette extends into 2015 with the local bow of Turtle Island Quartet (Friday, February 27), Grammy winner David Balakrishnan’s ensemble that offers chamber arrangements of cool-jazz milestones by Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and more.

From the wind-swept epic romance of “Wuthering Heights,” theatergoers will be transported to the swelter of 1960s Mississippi, with the LA Theatre Works staging of “In the Heat of the Night” (Thursday, February 5), Matt Pelfrey’s adaptation of the hard-hitting novel and film of small-town murder and big-picture racial tensions. From there, the night belongs to the ladies on Saturday, March 7, as five friends from all walks of life – and then some – deliver a jukebox of crowdpleasing hits  (“Lady Marmalade,” “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive”) in the Off Broadway hit “Girls Night: The Musical.”

The Performing Arts Series welcomes back two more of last season’s favorite attractions in March of 2015, beginning with the return of Lauren Fox on Saturday, March 21. The singer who brought the songs of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen to vivid life will present her program Canyon Folkies, a tour in songs and stories of the Southern California scene that spawned Mitchell, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, The Byrds, and many others. Then on Saturday, March 28, the historic Lauren K. Woods Theatre is the setting for another in a series of Songwriters by the Sea sessions, with hosts Joe D’Urso and Joe Rapolla joined by some very special guest artists. Also returning to the Pollak Stage will be Grammy winning folk icon and activist Peter Yarrow (Saturday, April 4.)

There’s a newly expanded world of music, drama and dance on display at the Pollak this season, with the return of the series of High Def broadcasts from the National Theatre of London and New York’s Metropolitan Opera – joined by a new series of timeless classics and surprises from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Some of the best-loved books by young-reader authors are the basis for some original Children’s Theater musicals on the Pollak stage this fall – and the auditorium is also the setting for a special entry in the new season of Visiting Writers events, when “one of the greatest writers of our time” – prolific novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist Joyce Carol Oates – takes the podium on Thursday, November 14.

Look for the 2014-2015 Season Brochure appearing soon, for details on other exciting events on the Monmouth campus, including Visiting Writers lectures, gallery exhibitions, and presentations by the students of the Department of Music and Theatre. Check for updated information on upcoming events at Monmouth University – as well as several surprises still to be announced.

Tickets to all events in the 2014-2015 Performing Arts Series are on sale now, with reservations available online, or by calling the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889. For press inquiries regarding Center for the Arts events, please contact Eileen Chapman, assistant director of Performing Arts, at 732-571-3512.