COVERWhat do politics, Chinese acrobats, Prince and Annie, the musical, have in common? The Givens Performing Arts Center’s 2016-2017 season. And, that’s just the first four shows. With 10 performances slated between the Sept. 29 opening and the final show on May 3, GPAC Director of Marketing Chad Locklear is looking forward to another stellar year. Peppered with variety, the season includes comedy, acrobats, concerts, musicals and dance. 

“GPAC has a great staff, team and board that’s truly committed to bringing some of the highest quality performances to our area. It’s a tradition that has continued for more than 40 years,” he said.

Part improv, part sketch comedy, Unelectable You, presented by Slate magazine and The Second City, includes the audience in a show that “mocks every vote, every candidate and the whole political process …” Red, blue or independent, Unelectable You gives people of every political stripe something to laugh about. It’s at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 29.

Shanghai Nights rolls into GPAC on Oct. 18. The show by The Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China weaves dramatic tales using movement, music and color to bring the excitement and elegance that is Shanghai to the Sandhils. The show features more than 100 of China’s top acrobats.

He captivated a generation with his musical prowess and majestic stage presence. On Oct. 21, UNC Pembroke celebrates homecoming with Prince tribute artist Matt Fink, a three-time Grammy Award winner and original member of Prince and the Revolution. The concert is open to the public.

November 17, Annie, the musical takes the stage. It is directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza Gennaro and features book and score by Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. With favorites like “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” and the ever-popular “Tomorrow,” this production promises to have the audience singing along.

An addition to the lineup, is a display of UNCP’s finest at the 8th Annual Holiday Extravaganza on Dec.2. Students, faculty and staff come together to perform holiday classics and new favorites. Join in singing Christmas carols as UNCP’s choirs and ensembles bring the Christmas spirit to Givens. Don’t miss the preconcert “Tuba Christmas” performance at 7:30 p.m. “This year we’ve added the UNCP Department of Music’s Annual Holiday Extravaganza to our series,” said Locklear. “It’s such a wonderful family-friendly event that showcases the talents of students and faculty of our music department from choirs to jazz ensembles. We wanted to give it more exposure. It’s also for a good cause. Proceeds will go to scholarships for students majoring in music.”

The N. C. Youth Tap Ensemble features 40 dancers ranging in age from 8 to 18. They bring passion and attitude to the stage with high-energy numbers that include some not-so-traditional musical pieces — all while honoring the tradition of tap. The performance is on Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. 

Broadway and the American dream come together on Jan 26 when 42nd Street takes the stage. Based on a novel by Bradford Ropes and Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie, the musical takes the audience on an adventure with Peggy Sawyer as she strikes out on her own to chase her dream of finding success as a New York actress.

The percussion, the dance, the rhythm — there is nothing like it. STOMP’s eight members use pretty much anything but percussion instrument, finding “beautiful noises in the strangest places,” according to USA Today. Using matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and hubcaps, STOMP fills the stage with rhythm. This well-loved favorite comes with updated and restructured routines that are sure to captivate. It is at GPAC on March 21.

The Russian National Ballet Theatre presents Swan Lake on March 27. Swan Lake originally premiered in 1877 and is now the national ballet of Russia. Follow the full-length ballet as it tells the story of princess Odette and her struggle to break free of the sorcerer’s curse that turned her into a swan.

The same composer that brought us Wicked now offers PIPPIN, a musical packed with acrobatics, magical feats and song. It claims four 2013 Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival. PIPPIN closes out the GPAC season on May 3.

“A subscription to all the shows is less than two tickets to a Broadway show in New York,” said Locklear. “We also give exclusive perks to our season subscribers: an invitation to our annual Champagne Gala at the opening show, an opportunity to choose the best seats before single tickets go on sale to the general public, and discounted ticket rates.” 

While first class entertainment is GPAC’s specialty, there is more. 

“We’re the center of cultural arts in our community and the university. Besides our Broadway and More Series, there are many diverse cultural arts events throughout the year,” said Locklear. “The Department of Theatre produces several plays a year, the Department of Music has several concerts and an annual musical, and we feature student and local artist’s artwork on GPAC’s lobby walls. Many of these events are free and open to the public.” 

For more information about the 2016/2017 season at www.uncp.edu/gpac.

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