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Cultural Arts in January
McCartney Tribute, Comedy, Dance Highlight Month

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As the old year passes and a New Year begins, the cultural season in New Orleans picks up where it left off before the holidays.

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra offers up generous helpings of McCartney and Mozart, with some Prokofiev mixed in, while the Jefferson Performing Arts Society brings back the Little Sisters of Hoboken in yet another rollicking "Nunsense" escapade. Chinese dance arts are showcased onstage, thanks to the New Orleans Ballet Association and the month closes out in colorful fashion as The Blue Man Group entertains with their uniquely bizarre theatrical antics.

And, in March, The Lion King opens a month of performances at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Read more about it below and order your tickets now.

Here is what's going on in the New Orleans cultural arena this month:

"Live and Let Die: A Symphonic Tribute to Paul McCartney
January 6, 2012

Venue: Pontchartrain Center, Kenner
Presenting Organization: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Tickets: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off the New Year with a rousing symphonic tribute to the compositions of Sir Paul McCartney.

The evening, which stars McCartney look-alike and sound-alike Tony Kishman, will feature songs made famous by The Beatles, Wings and other McCartney groups and solo acts over the past half-century. Fans of the legendary Liverpudlian can expect to hear such classics as "Hey Jude," "Hello Goodbye," "Band on the Run," "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Yesterday" and, of course, the theme song that gives the evening its name from the James Bond movie of the same name.

This special, one-time-only concert, starts at 8:00 p.m. Click here for a podcast of an interview with Tony Kishman. Click here for a sampling of songs from a previous concert.

Nunset Boulevard: The Nunsense Hollywood Bowl Show
January 6-22, 2012

Venue: Westwego Performing Arts Center
Presenting Organization: Jefferson Performing Arts Society
Tickets: Jefferson Performing Arts Society

They're back and they're funnier than ever! The Little Sisters of Hoboken "go Hollywood" when they return to the stage on the West Bank in January. The Jefferson Performing Arts Society presents Nunset Boulevard: The Nunsense Hollywood Bowl Show!

When an invitation comes in for the sisters to sing at Hollywood Bowl, they can't resist, thinking this is the "Big Time." But, to their shock and dismay, they realize on arrival that they're booked into the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama -- a bowling alley with a cabaret lounge, not the famed "Bowl" they were envisioning. All turns out well in the end, though, as it always does for the sisters in this fun-filled song and dance production that will have you laughing from beginning to end.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights and 2:00 p.m. for the Sunday matinees. Approximate run time is two hours with a 15 minute intermission between acts. Tickets are now on sale. Prices vary; check the JPAS website for more details.

Opera Returns to Bourbon Street with Bon Operatit!
January 11, 2012

Venue: Inn On Bourbon
Sponsoring Organizations: Bon Operatit!
Tickets: None (FREE and Open to the Public); $5.00 Valet Parking Rate Available for Attendees

Bon Operatit!

Although the old French Opera House is long gone, the opera tradition lives on at the same site. A local ensemble calling itself Bon Operatit! has revived the great operatic tradition in the at The Inn on Bourbon - the site of the famous old French Opera House that stood on the site from 1859 until it burned down in 1919.

Consisting of tenor Jesse Nolan, mezzo-soprano Mary Penick Akin and soprano Lauren Mouney Gisclair, Bon Operatit! performs arias from some of the classic operas in the standard repertoire, plus a sampling of Broadway show tunes and other popular musical fare. Performances are at 7 p.m. and they run for two hours.

All Mozart
January 14, 2012

Venue:Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Presenting Organization: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Tickets:Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Under the talented baton of Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto, LPO will be presenting an evening of all Mozart compositions. The evening will feature Symphony No. 38 (Prague), Violin Concerto No. 5 (Turkish) and Symphony No. 36 (Linz). Featured soloist for the Violin Concerto will be Yossif Ivanov.

Violin Concerto No. 5 is sometimes called the "Turkish" Concerto. The finale of the work is interrupted by a loud episode of Alla turca music, further emphasizing a militant march at the time attributed to the Turkish style. Symphony No. 36, known as the Linz Symphony, was written entirely in four days to accommodate the local count's announcement of a concert, upon hearing of Mozart's arrival in Linz. Mozart's next symphony No. 38, known as the Prague Symphony, was written in gratitude for the high esteem in which he was regarded by the Czech people.

The concert begins at 8:00 p.m.

Plaza Suite
January 20-February 5, 2012

Venue: Rivertown Repertory Theatre
Presenting Organization:Rivertown Repertory Theatre
Tickets:Rivertown Repertory Theatre

This Tony Award-winning comedy starring Big Easy Award-winning actors Butch Caire and Tracey Collins will be a laugh fest not to be missed. Hilarity abounds in this portrait of three couples occupying the same suite at New York City's famed Plaza Hotel.

In the first play, a suburban couple takes the suite while their home is being painted. The second play recounts the meeting of two childhood sweethearts. In the last vignette a mother and father cope with their daughter's wedding day jitters. All dealing with the realities of life and love, and all that comes with both. Directed by Butch Caire.

Show times vary; call the theatre for details.

Shen Wei Dance Arts
January 21, 2012

Venue: Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Presenting Organization: New Orleans Ballet Association
Tickets: New Orleans Ballet Association

Hailed by The New York Times as "startlingly imaginative," Shen Wei Dance Arts brings a fantastical world that vividly fuses East and West by incorporating Chinese opera, Eastern philosophy, traditional and contemporary art, and dance.

Led by visionary choreographer, designer, and artist Shen Wei, who created part of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the company is known for "gorgeous visual imagery" (London Times). The breathtaking and poetic program includes the haunting and otherworldly masterpiece "Folding," along with his newest creation.

Performance starts at 8:00 p.m.

Prokofiev Symphony No. 5
January 28, 2012

Venue:Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Presenting Organization: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Tickets:Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Once again under the direction of Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto, LPO takes the stage performing Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5, along with Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (1919) and Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme.

The Tchaikovsky piece will showcase the talents of Spanish cellist Asier Polo, the evening's featured soloist.  Performance starts at 8:00 p.m.

January 28-Feburary 5, 2012

Venue: Jefferson Performing Arts Center
Presenting Organization: Jefferson Performing Arts Society
Tickets: Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Loosely based on events related to a Baltimore TV rock and roll dance show in the late '50s and early '60s, Hairspray tells the story of a transformative era during which American teenagers come of age alongside those of other races.

Loveable, plus-size heroine, Tracy Turnblad, has a passion for dancing, and she wins a spot on the local TV dance program, "The Corny Collins Show." Overnight she finds herself transformed from outsider to teen celebrity. Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the program's reigning princess, integrate the television show and find true love (singing and dancing all the while, of course) without mussing her hair? Come to the show and see how the drama and fun play out.

Saturday performances will be at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. Approximate run time is two hours with a 15-minute intermission between acts. Tickets are now on sale.

Blue Man Group
January 31-February 5, 2012

Venue: Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Presenting Organization: Broadway Across America
Tickets: Broadway Across America, Ticketmaster or Mahalia Jackson Theater

Blue Man Group

Experience the Phenomenon. Blue Man Group is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine comedy, music and technology to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. Although it is impossible to describe, people of all ages agree that Blue Man Group is an intensely exciting and wildly outrageous show that leaves the entire audience in a blissful, euphoric state.

Blue Man Group is an incredibly entertaining spectacle that incorporates high-tech stage effects, old-fashioned comedy and even a bit of circus-style mime and clowning. As interactive as theater gets, the first few rows come equipped with ponchos and plastic coverings, so audience members can shield themselves from food, paint and whatever other substances fly off the stage. With no spoken language, Blue Man Group is perfect for people of all ages, languages, and cultures.

Show times are Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Opera on Tap
February 1, 2012

Venue: Inn On Bourbon
Sponsoring Organizations: New Orleans Opera Association
Tickets: None (FREE and Open to the Public); $5.00 Valet Parking Rate Available for Attendees

Opera on Tap

The New Orleans Opera Association reprises its highly popular "Opera on Tap" program of light operatic and live stage fare at the Inn on Bourbon in the heart of the French Quarter. The performances start at 7:00 p.m. and run until 8:30. They are free and open to the public.

Spring Serenade
February 3, 2012

Venue: First Baptist Church, Kenner
Presenting Organization: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Tickets:Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

The evening's program, under guest conductor Mary Woodmansee Green, will feature some of the best-known, most-often-performed serenades of all time. The pieces to be performed are Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik ("A Little Night Music"), Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings and Dvorák's Serenade in D Minor.

Maestra Green is celebrating her 24th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Kennett Symphony of Chester County, Pennsylvania. An accomplished orchestral, ballet, opera and choral conductor, she is also Music Director and Conductor of the the Mary Green Singers and was Music Director and Conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for 13 years.

Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Call LPO or search for directions to the venue.


The Lion King
March 14-April 15, 2012

The Addams Family

Single tickets are now on sale for the Broadway Across America production of The Lion King, which opens on March 14 and runs through April 15. Easily shaping up as the most popular and in-demand production of the 2011-2012 BAA Season, The Lion King had an estimated 500 people waiting on line at the Mahalia Jackson Theater box office on the day tickets went on sale in mid-November.

Based on the multi-award-winning Disney animated feature, you will experience the phenomenon of this heartwarming story. You will marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by a cast of more than 40 actors. Award-winning director Julie Taymor created visual images for this show that you'll remember forever. And, above all, you will thrill to the pulsating rhythms of the African Pridelands and an unforgettable score including Elton John and Tim Rice's Oscar-winning song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and the equally memorable "Circle of Life."

Tickets can also be ordered by calling 1-800-218-7469 or purchased at the theater box office in Louis Armstrong Park. For more information about individual shows go to the Broadway Across America website.

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