What's going on at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts? Well, looking at SCPA's upcoming 2011-2012 season -- plenty.
In addition to the venue's upscale musical fare (including performances by opera legend Kathleen Battle, and Bruce Hornsby) and theatrical productions (yes, Late Night Catechism is back for the umpteenth time), SCPA's offering a variety of quirky cultural dances, indie movie sneak peeks, and social media events.
From a former cast member of Cheers doing cabaret and contortionists named after a fungus to Colombian folk dance and a surreal Canadian circus, here are ten events from SCPA's upcoming season worth checking out.
1. Season opening night: Bebe Neuwirth: Stories with Piano
Saturday, October 15 at 8 p.m.
Neuwirth is best known for her long-running role on the TV shows Cheers and Frasier, but she's also a Tony Award-winning actress in musicals (including Chicago and The Addams Family musical). She'll be kicking off the new SCPA season with an evening of cabaret-style musical performances, featuring pianist Scott Cady. Tickets cost $59 to $149.
Begins Tuesday, October 18
This eight-session film series screens indie and foreign films before their theatrical releases. Movies are chosen by film critic Harlan Jacobsen, and all screenings are followed by moderated conversations.Last year's Talk Cinema series
went over well, and previous showings have includedSlum Dog Millionaire
. Tickets cost $19 per screening, $60 for four screenings, or $104 for all eight screenings.
Friday and Saturday, October 21 and 22 at 8 p.m.
This performance troupe takes its name from a fungus that thrives in pastures. In addition to earthy body paint and costumes, Pilobolus presents a show filled with contortions, illusions, and acrobatics. Tickets costs $49 to $59.
4. Ignite Phoenix 11
Friday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m.
The Ignite Phoenix events, in which 18 people from across the Valley give fast presentations on topics they care about, have become very popular. Though presentations are now available online, there's nothing like showing up and getting in the mix. Tickets cost $10.
5. Stephen Petronio's Underland
Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m.
Choreographer Stephen Petronio has been hailed as "a superb craftsman who knows how to build and layer a dance" by The New York Times. "Underland" is his blend of music, visual art, and fashion, and features a soundtrack by gloomy Australian singer Nick Cave. Tickets cost $29 to $39.
6. Ballet Folklorico de Antioquia, Columbia
Friday, February 3 at 8 p.m.
Brightly colored costumes and crinoline will fly when this dance troupe presents traditional Columbian folk music and dances. Tickets cost $29 to $39.
7. Batsheva Dance Company
Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
This renowned Israeli dance company was founded in 1979, and has been under the direction of choreographer Ohad Naharin since 1990. Naharin's style includes explosive moves, grounded movements, and steps that require very flexible limbs. Tickets cost $39 to $45.
8. Chunky Move: Connected
Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7 at 8 p.m.
Australia's Chunky Move performs its newest work, "Connected," which features dancers attached to kinetic sculptures that float above the stage. Tickets cost $29 to $35.
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9. Marrugeko: Buru
Saturday, April 14 at 2 and 8 p.m.
This contemporary Australian dance troupe blends hip-hop, stilts, and storytelling to portray the lives of young people in the Australian community of Broome. Broome is on the traditional lands of Western Australia's native Yawauru people, and Buru is said to be influenced by the seasons there. Tickets cost $29 to $35.
10. 7 Fingers: Psy
Saturday, May 19 at 2 and 8 p.m.
Straight from Montreal, the 7 Fingers circus is like a blend of Cirque du Soleil and Sigmund Freud. According to the SCPA, "Psy" is a journey into "the surreal underworld of the human psyche in a humorous odyssey of distorted visions, fading dreams and fractured memories." Tickets cost $39 to $49.
For more information on the 2011-2012 season at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, call 480-499-8587 or visit www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.