The Wallis Announces 2017/18 Season

wallis annenbergThe Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (The Wallis) has announced the 2017/18 season, which features 250 performances delivering groundbreaking produced and presented works in dance, music and theater from locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists and companies. The 2017/18 season, beginning October 8, 2017, marks the second year of programming under the leadership of Artistic Director Paul Crewes, Managing Director Rachel Fine and Board Chairman David C. Bohnett, and the fifth for the institution.

Theater @ The Wallis

October 13 – 29, 2017
Turn Me Loose
A Play About Comic Genius Dick Gregory
By Gretchen Law
Directed by John Gould Rubin
A new comedic drama about the extraordinary and explosive life of Dick Gregory—starring Tony Award-winner and “Scandal” star Joe Morton—that shines a light on the first black comedian to expose white audiences to racial comedy. Gregory confronted bigotry with shockingly disarming humor, marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., and deeply influenced comics from Richard Pryor to Chris Rock. Warning: Strong Language.

October 20 – 29, 2017
Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic
Conceived, designed and directed by Hamid Rahmanian
Inspired by the 10th-century Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’), the action-packed tale follows star-crossed lovers Zaul and Rudabeh who triumph at the end against all odds. Hamid Rahmanian’s graphics, derived from the visual tradition of the region, are rendered by Larry Reed as puppets, costumes, masks, scenography and digital animation, all of which come to life in a “live animation” on a cinema-size screen. Suitable for ages 5+.

February 8 – 11, 2018
Great Expectations
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Andrew McPherson
Additional text by Simon Harvey and David Mynne
Directed by Simon Harvey
Seven-year-old orphan Pip’s encounter with an escaped convict begins a series of events that will change his life forever. Some of Charles Dickens’ most memorable characters are vividly brought to life in this anarchic and joyful one-man-adaptation of the classic tale. Suitable for ages 10+.

November 28 – December 17, 2017
The Heart of Robin Hood
Written by David Farr
Directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson and Selma Björnsdóttir
A classic tale goes rogue in Vesturport’s bold new twist on the world’s most infamous outlaw. Forget everything you ever knew about Robin Hood. In writer David Farr (“The Night Manager”) and acclaimed directors Gisli Örn Gardarsson and Selma Björnsdóttir’s reimagining, Robin and his unmerry gang of cutthroats steal from the rich, but it’s never occurred to them to give anything back to anyone. When wicked Prince John threatens all, bold Marion steps in to protect the poor and transform a thuggish Robin from hood to good. Suitable for ages 10+.

February 22 – March 11, 2018
Jackie Unveiled
A World Premiere from the creators of Wiesenthal
Written by Tom Dugan
Directed by Jenny Sullivan
Hailed as an icon of style, grace and strength, famous for her allure and piercing sensuality, much has been written and said about America’s most popular First Lady—although the one detail usually omitted is that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was human. This one-woman drama explores the life of America’s most private public figure. Locally sourced.

February 23 – March 11, 2018
The Flying lovers of  Vitebsk
A Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic production
Written by Daniel Jamieson
Directed by Emma Rice
Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall are immortalized as having one of the most romantic marriages of the 20th Century. The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk traces the young couple as they navigate the Pogroms, the Russian Revolution and each other. A production that combines the visuals of Chagall’s paintings with the music and dance of the Russian Jewish tradition.

April 27 – May 20, 2018
Blues in the Night
Conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps
The soul of the blues wails out full and strong in Blues in the Night, the scorching, Tony and Olivier Award-nominated musical. The 26 hot and torchy numbers—by icons Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, and more—tell of the sweet, sexy and sorrowful experiences that three women have with the lying, cheating, snake of a man, who represents the men who do them wrong. The Wallis is honored to have Los Angeles theater luminary Sheldon Epps return to his breakout hit. Staged in the intimate Lovelace Studio Theater, Blues in the Night will leave audiences energized, inspired and ready to wail. Locally sourced.

July 26 – August 12, 2018
Hershey Felder: Beethoven
Written and performed by Hershey Felder
Directed by Joel Zwick
Hershey Felder, a Steinway artist, returns to The Wallis, bringing Ludwig van Beethoven to life through the eyes of a Viennese doctor who spent his boyhood by the Maestro’s side. Featuring some of the composer’s most famous works including the Moonlight Sonata, Pathetique Sonata, selections from the 5th and 9th Symphonies, Beethoven is a journey through time that will bring you closer to the essence of a genius. Locally sourced.

December 7 – 22, 2017 and June 22 – July 29, 2018
The Sorting Room
The Sorting Room’s rustic elegance returns for its second multifaceted and dynamic season presenting poets, composers, jazz singers, cabaret veterans and much more! Confirmed artists include: two-time Tony-winner Christine Ebersole; Get Lit, classic and slam poets working to change literacy rates in Los Angeles; the award-winning music writing duo Kooman and Dimond; and American Idol alum and powerhouse vocalist Pia Toscano. More to be announced.

Special Events @ The Wallis

April 18, 2018
Gene Kelly: The Legacy
An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly
Legendary actor, dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly brought astonishing grace and athleticism to the big screen—yet we know little about him. Patricia Ward Kelly—his wife and biographer—returns to The Wallis to present an intimate portrait of this dynamic and innovative artist who created some of the most memorable and iconic scenes in film history. This unique one-woman performance, which enjoyed two sold-out performances in The Wallis’ 2014/2015 season, combines rare and familiar film clips, previously unreleased recordings, personal memorabilia and insights culled from Kelly’s hours of interviews and conversations with her husband. Locally sourced.

February 1 – 3, 2018
The House is Black
Created and performed by Sussan Deyhim
Co-directed by Robert Egan
Co-composed by Richard Horowitz
A multimedia examination of the work of Forough Farrokhzad, one of Iran’s most influential feminist poets and filmmakers. Travel through a visual, sonic and theatrical journey into the heart of Forough’s prophetic vision, which is as relevant today as it was half a century ago.  First seen at Royce Hall in 2015.

January 13, 2018
Story Pirates: Live Radio Show
A high-energy, musical sketch comedy show performed at standing microphones in the Lovelace Studio Theater that is equal parts Monty Python, Schoolhouse Rock and A Prairie Home Companion. Story Pirates Radio is an evolution of the education and media company’s successful podcast and long-running show on SiriusXM Radio. Locally sourced. Recommended for ages 3 – 12.

Free Programming @ The Wallis

Story Pirates on The Wallis’ Promenade Terrace
The Story Pirates celebrate the words and ideas of the kids of Los Angeles! Join first-rate actors and comedians on the Promenade Terrace for stories written by kids from all around the country and brand new stories written by kids in the audience. Locally sourced. Recommended for ages 3 – 12.

October 8, 2017 Greatest Hits Show
November 12, 2017 New Story Show
February 11, 2018 Toddler Show
March 11, 2017 New Story Show

Beginning October 8, 2017 -Every second Sunday of the Month
Dance Sundays with Debbie Allen & Fruebds
Three-time Emmy Award-winner Debbie Allen is back for the third season running with her wildly popular Dance Sundays, a series of FREE outdoor dance events—Salsa, African, Tap, Hip-Hop, and more—for the whole family. Locally sourced.


November 2 – 4, 2017 and April 5 – 7, 2018
L.A. Dance Project
The Wallis is thrilled to announce L.A. Dance Project as its first Company-In-Residence. Collaborating with the company’s Artistic Director Benjamin Millepied, The Wallis welcomes L.A. Dance Project in a series of programs in both the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018, as well as other education and outreach activities. Locally sourced.

Dance @ The Wallis

October 12 – 14, 2017
Dorrance Dance
Dorrance Dance brings a new, fully extended version of Myelination with original live music to The Wallis, along with the rarely-seen Bessie Award-winning Three to One, and a revival of the whimsical Jungle Blues, illustrating the great range for which the company is known. Dorrance Dance honors tap dance’s unique and powerful history in a new and dynamic context by upholding its tradition while simultaneously pushing it rhythmically, technically and conceptually.

January 11 – 13, 2018
Lula Washington Dance Theatre
Los Angeles-based company Lula Washington Dance Theatre celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by offering Wallis audiences three different programs of dance over the holiday weekend. Not to be missed, all programs are performed with Marcus L. Miller and his Freedom Jazz Movement. Locally sourced.

April 12 – 14, 2018
Dada Masilo’s Giselle
A young girl dies after having been betrayed by a man. She cannot rest in peace and is transformed into a wili, a ghost with a desire for dance—and revenge. Acclaimed South African choreographer Dada Masilo, takes on another classic in her distinctive style of African dance and classical ballet performed at astonishing speed. Mature content, language and nudity. Recommended for ages 14+.

May 31 – June 2, 2018
To celebrate its 10th Anniversary Season, BodyTraffic comes home for its anticipated debut at The Wallis. Locally sourced.

Music @ The Wallis
Classical KUSC Radio’s Brian Lauritzen and other guest moderators host free pre-concert conversations with the artists an hour before each classical music performance in the Bram Goldsmith Theater, along with a complimentary glass of wine.

October 8, 2017
Jonathan Biss, piano
In his Wallis debut, world-renowned pianist and intellectual giant Jonathan Biss, a Steinway Artist, tackles both Beethoven’s fiery “Tempest” and Schumann’s unparalleled Fantasie in C, arguably Schumann’s greatest work for solo piano.

October 15, 2017
Harlem Quartet: Game Changers
Harlem Quartet—comprised of violinists Ilmar Gavilan and Melissa White, violist Jaime Amador and cellist Felix Umansky—returns to the Bram Goldsmith Theater after an extraordinary debut in 2016. The Quartet’s 2017 program explores game-changing works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries—including a work by Ilmar Gavilan’s father, Guido Gavilan.

November 10 – 11, 2017
Kyle Riabko: Richard Rodgers ReImagined
Kyle Riabko turns his attention to the songs Richard Rodgers wrote with lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. Backed by his band, Riabko will bring his unique pop/rock sensibility to such classics as “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “My Favorite Things,” “Where or When,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “My Funny Valentine,” among others. Locally sourced.

January 6, 2018
Sarah Chang, violin, and Julion Elizalde, piano
Sarah Chang has long been recognized as one of the world’s premier violinists. Pianist Julio Elizalde is one of the most sought-after and multifaceted artists of his generation. Join both for a memorable evening of soul-stirring works by Bartok, Brahms and Franck.

January 20, 2018
Last Thoughts: Schubert’s Final Trilogy
Ory Shihor, piano, with text by Hershey Felder
Critically acclaimed Israeli-American pianist Ory Shihor will tell the story behind Schubert’s last three piano sonatas through music and words across a two-part evening of concerts. Locally sourced.

January 25 – 28, 2018
Sandoval Jazz Weekend
Among the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, Arturo Sandoval is a winner of six Billboard Awards, 10 GRAMMY Awards and the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom. For his Jazz Weekend at The Wallis, Sandoval curates a series of inspired programs featuring a Master Class, two extraordinary nights spotlighting up-and-coming jazz artists—whom Sandoval is proudly calling the “Young Lions”—as well as an unforgettable evening of his own. Locally sourced.

February 7 – 8, 2018
The 2018 ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Workshop in Parnership with Dreamsworks and The Wallis
The Wallis once again partners with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and DreamWorks Animation to present The ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Workshop. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Stephen Schwartz, the free workshop gives selected composers and lyricist the opportunity to present selections from original musical works in progress for professional critique. Locally sourced.

February 9, 2018
Stephen Schwartz and Friends
Stephen Schwartz, the Tony, Oscar and GRAMMY Award-winning composer/lyricist, returns to The Wallis for an evening of conversation and music with composers, lyricists and artists he has inspired and mentored.

February 10, 2018
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet with Stephen Hough, piano
Over the course of his impressive career, Stephen Hough, a Steinway artist, has distinguished himself as a true polymath, not only securing a reputation as a uniquely insightful concert pianist, but also as a writer and composer. Hough, a MacArthur “Genius,” and the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet perform a very special evening of Mozart, Barber and more—including an original work by Hough.

February 14, 2018 and March 29, 2018 | Bram Goldsmith Theater
Broadway @ The Wallis with Seth Rudetsky and Special Guests
SiriusXM Radio star Seth Rudetsky returns to the Bram Goldsmith Theater with other musical theater luminaries to host two more intoxicating concerts.

March 15, 2018
Nathan & Julie Gunn
An evening of cabaret by iconic composers ranging from Leonard Bernstein and Cole Porter to Billy Joel and Tom Waits. The concert joins Leonard Bernstein at 100, the worldwide celebration of the 100th birthday of one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history.

March 17, 2018
wild Up: Future Folk
Under the direction of conductor Christopher Rountree, this adventurous Los Angeles-based chamber orchestra will explore the music from Ancient India, modern California, post-war New York, as well as American works that reflect on a future form of music rooted in folk ethos. Locally sourced.

March 22, 2018
Zurich Chamber Orchestra with Daniel Hope, violin
British violinist Daniel Hope is the first instrumentalist to be named Music Director of the acclaimed Zurich Chamber Orchestra, one of the leading ensembles of its kind. Hope and the Orchestra will take the audience through Vivaldi’s classic The Four Seasons, followed by Max Richter’s minimalist re-composition of the Baroque masterpiece.

April 25, 2018
Jeremy Denk, piano
Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists, the winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award. The scintillating evening program features classics from Beethoven, Mozart and more.

May 26, 2018
Crossing In Concert
A co-production of LA Opera Off Grand and The Wallis
Inspired by poet Walt Whitman’s experiences tending to wounded soldiers during the Civil War, this haunting and compassionate work by Matthew Aucoin, LA Opera’s Artist in Residence, explores the connections that come between us and pull us apart. Intricately scored for chamber orchestra, with beautifully detailed choruses.  A special concert performance, featuring Rod Gilfry as Whitman and conducted by Aucoin himself. Locally sourced.

About Tracey Paleo

Tracey Paleo is Associate Editor at FootLights Magazine. She's also the Founder and Chief Editor of the arts and culture site, Gia On The Move, where she often reviews live performance events.

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