The Center for the Performing Arts announces their star-studded new season

The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State has finalized its 2018–19 performance schedule, and it’s packed with acclaimed Broadway hits, performances from dance troupes with a message, celebrations of figures in American pop culture and so much more.

Tickets are available here starting June 18, and can also be purchased by phone at 814-863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX; and in person at Eisenhower Auditorium weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Bryce Jordan Center weekdays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Check the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State's calendar for ticket prices and full details.

"The coming season offers the opportunities for people to come together and share engaging performances by world-renowned artists that both entertain and enrich our life experiences, allowing us to see ourselves and the world around us in new and illuminating ways," said center director George Trudeau.


"Beautiful — The Carole King Musical" is one of the most highly anticipated performances coming to the Center for the Performing Arts. "Beautiful" tells the story of Carole King, née Carole Klein, and her fight to make her way through the recording business, make a career writing the biggest hits in rock 'n' roll and finally find her true voice. The musical features several songs from her collection, including "I Feel the Earth Move," "One Fine Day" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Beautiful Natural Woman."

Tickets are already on sale, so make sure you buy yours today! Although the show doesn't hit the stage until February 19, these tickets will sell out quick and this is a show you don't want to miss. "Beautiful" will run seven performances, ending Feb. 24.

Vocalists and Jazz

Veronica Swift

Veronica Swift is bringing her jazzy vocals to the Center as the season opener performance, Thursday, Sept. 20. Swift is hailed as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene. She has appeared on stage with jazz legends including Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross and Esperanza Spalding. She's been compared to Anita O'Day and the "Queen of Jazz" herself, Ella Fitzgerald.


Cantus returns to the center Tuesday, Sept. 25 with their "Alone Together" program. The Minnesota-based a cappella octet's program is centered around a vocal setting of the poem "We Two" by Walt Whitman, the world premiere of a work by cotemporary composer Libby Larsen and additional songs, all culminating in the message of making meaningful connections in the modern world.

Darcy James Argue

Grammy-nominated ensemble Darcy James Argue returns Tuesday, Oct. 23, to perform a retrospective program of their 2017 hit, "Brooklyn Babylon." The program includes music spanning the ensemble’s 11 years and is a new take on the past, present and future of big bands, according to a Newsweek critic.

Regina Carter

The virtuoso violinist Regina Carter returns to the center with her performance "Simply Ella" on Thursday, Jan. 31. Her program is based on her recording of "Ella: Accentuate the Positive" and is a celebration of the jazz vocalist’s 100th birthday and the inspiration Carter drew from Ella's career.

Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 60th Anniversary Celebration

On Friday, March 22, vocalist Cécile McLorin, winner of the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition, and trumpeter-vocalist Bria Skonberg, winner of the DownBeat Rising Star award, are returning to the Center after performing there for the last two seasons. They are accompanied by tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer-vocalist Jamison Ross and pianist-music director Christian Sands, and together will perform jazz standards as well as originals created by the artists.

Nationally Touring Broadway

"Something Rotten!"

"Something Rotten!," referred to as "Broadway's big fat hit" by the New York Post, debuts Wednesday, Nov. 7. The musical has won Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy awards and features two brothers who compete with William Shakespeare for success in Elizabethan-era theater. Productions like "The Producers" and "Book of Mormon" influenced the satirical and referential comedy style.

"Finding Neverland"

"Finding Neverland" is "the kind of magical experience that transforms adults back into children and turns kids on to a lifetime of theatergoing," said a TheaterMania reporter. Join the search for Neverland in "Finding Neverland," a production based on the 2004 award-winning film of the same title that tells the story of J.M. Barrie and his inspiration he found for his play, "Peter Pan."

"The Kind and I"

"The King and I" is described as "nothing less than outstanding," by Providence Journal, and the Lincoln Center Theater production of the classic musical will take the stage Thursday, March 28. The musical is set in the 1860s in Bangkok and follows the unconventional relationship between a headstrong British schoolteacher and a modern king living in an imperialistic world.

"Kinky Boots"

Fun-filled musical "Kinky Boots" is making its Happy Valley debut Tuesday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 10. Cyndi Lauper's acclaimed score is the base for a musical celebration surrounding the true story of a cobbler who saves his family's business by creating comfortable stiletto boots for his community's colorful cabaret performers.

Contemporary Circus

Cirque Éloize

Montréal-based Cirque Éloize is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the group returns to Penn State for the sixth time Wednesday, Oct. 3, with the performance "Hotel." Fans will enjoy stunning feats of theatrics, acrobatics and dance, as well as live music influenced by the avant-garde and elegant hotels of the world.

Classical, Contemporary and Orchestral

Joshua Bell

Former child prodigy and Grammy-winning violinist and conductor Joshua Bell returns to the Center Thursday, Oct. 11. Bell currently directs London's world-famous Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and has collaborated with artists spanning multiple genres. Belle has also recorded music for six film soundtracks, including "Angels & Demons" and "The Red Violin."

Escher String Quartet

This American ensemble, named for the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, performs with Swiss-born pianist Gilles Vonsattel in a performance held Tuesday, Oct. 30. Escher String Quartet's program features music by Wolfgang Amadeus, Mozart, Johannes Brahms and Anthony Cheung.


Sybarite5 returns to the center with a performance titled "Outliers," Wednesday, Feb 13. The ensemble puts a unique spin on music by Radiohead, David Bowie, William Britelle and Kenji Bunch, as well as American folk and Argentine classic. describes them as "a group that brings classical music to lovers of rock and vice versa."

Czech National Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by John Mauceri and featuring guest soprano Isabel Leonard, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra performs "100 years of Leonard Bernstein," a celebration of the acclaimed American conductor, composer, author and pianist's legacy, Wednesday, Feb. 27. The performance highlights a number of Bernstein's compositions, including original orchestral works and musical scores.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is making its fourth Penn State appearance Thursday, Feb. 28, joined by Italian Music Director Elisa Citterio. The orchestra takes the audience on a musical walk through history and explores the splendor of 18th-century coffeehouse culture in one of the world's oldest cities with the performance "Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House."


Ballet Hispanico

Multinational dance troupe Ballet Hispanico returns to Penn State Wednesday, Oct. 17. The program features works by Latina choreographers and the dancers present a style of contemporary dance reflecting America's changing cultural landscape.

Body Traffic

Body Traffic, a California-based dance troupe who has performed sold-out shows at prestigious festivals across the county, debuts Saturday, Jan. 26. The performance is set to the music of jazz and pop greats and pays homage to multiple dance genres, and also pays tribute to the Las Angeles homeless community.

Urban Bush Women

Dance-theater troupe Urban Bush Women brings its innovative program "Hair & Other Stories" to the Center March 14 and seeks to challenge assumptions about the impact of dance. The troupe uses humor, music and dance in a high-energy, politically-adept and physically-demanding performance that explores the notions of social justice.

Family Programming

"Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly"

This Dallas Children's Theater production examines the lives of bugs and comes to Penn State for a Sunday matinee, Nov. 12. "Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly" is an adaptation of the picture book series by author Doreen Cronin and illustrator Harry Bliss and promotes tolerance to children while pitching science.

"Me … Jane: The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall"

This musical adaptation of childhood adventures is based on the book "Me Jane" by Patrick McDonnell and comes to Penn State Sunday, Feb. 10. "Me … Jane: The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall," a Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour production, follows Goodall's childhood adventures into nature alongside her stuffed-animal friend, Jubilee. Goodall herself praised the source book, saying "I love the book and I am sure the live action will inspire children of all ages to pursue their dreams."

"Night Train 57"

"Night Train 57" is a sensory-friendly folk opera that engages young audiences with a folk-musical approach to friendship and community. The performance on Sunday, April 14, will feature Grammy-winning singer-guitarist Dan Zanes. calls the production "festive, interactive and ideal for people of all ages, temperaments and abilities.

World and Cultural Music

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer have all made past appearances at Penn State and the three come together Wednesday, Nov. 14, for an evening of genre-busting music. Each plays their instrument of choice: Fleck on the banjo, Hussain playing the classical tabla and Mayer on the double base. The performance touches many geographical and stylistic corners of the musical world.

Soweto Gospel Choir

Two-time Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir, a South African ensemble, returns to the Center to perform "Songs of the Free" Tuesday, Nov. 27. "Songs of the Free" celebrates the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth and includes American pop music, freedom music and African spirituals and classics. The choir performed for the South African president many times during his life and at his memorial services.

Sounds of China

Sounds of China debuts its performance, combining Chinese music performed on traditional instruments with progressive arrangements Tuesday, Feb. 5. Composer Ma Jiuyue, employed by the Chinese National Orchestra and a founder of Chinese neo-folk music, leads the ensemble. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma described the group's sound as "Chinese music mixed skillfully with world music so that more and more people are able to deepen their understanding toward Chinese culture.

Dreamers' Circus

Dreamers' Circus, a Scandinavian folk trio, performs at Penn State Wednesday, April 3, as part of their North American debut tour. The performance features Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, a member of last season's ensemble Danish String Quartet and seeks to introduce Nordic folk music with a unique spin to the world.

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Tickets are available here starting June 18 and can also be purchased by phone at 814-863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX; and in person at Eisenhower Auditorium weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Bryce Jordan Center weekdays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Check the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State's calendar for ticket prices and full details.

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