News Column

Season's greetings: Unveiled for the first time, the BCPA's 2014-15 lineup

May 29, 2014

By Dan Craft, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

May 29--BLOOMINGTON -- Season Nine for the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts will be Season One for its new manager, Tina Salamone.

Though she's been in the role since last December, it will be the 2014-15 season -- kicking off this week with a double-whammy in "Whose Live Anyway?" Saturday and B.B. King Tuesday -- that reflects her own sensibility for the first time.

Her predecessor, Joel Aalberts, left a year ago this summer for a similar position at Eastern Kentucky University.

In shaping the ninth season, Salamone inherited a couple of previously booked shows, but has built the season's bulk by tapping into her extensive Midwestern past in the performing arts.

She's an Eastern Illinois University grad whose resume includes stints as executive director of The Capitol Theatre in Burlington, Ia., and the Palace Theatre in Marion, Ohio; and a nine-year run in several capacities at the historic Rialto Square Theatre up the road in Joliet.

Salamone also has numerous ties to the Chicago theater and entertainment community and the new season reflects that in a number of ways.

Following is a first look at the complete lineup to date, from fall through next spring (this weekend's and the summer's offerings are covered in detail in accompanying stories).

Salamone says there are a number of additional shows in the works, so the record number of offerings (42 sponsored events so far) will continue to grow as the season progresses.

Individual ticket sales begin via the BCPA box office at 10 a.m.June 5.


10/5: Under the Streetlamp, 2 p.m. ($26.60-$45), the high-wattage vocal quartet comprised of "Jersey Boys" cast alums, one of whom, Michael Ingersoll, is a friend of Salamone from her Chicago days (and who'll be back later in the season in a different show; see January). "They're lovely people, and the show is top-notch," says Salamone.

10/18: 4 Stand Up Dads, 7:30 p.m. ($23), billed as "comedy for parents" and featuring jesting dads Kelly McDonald ("Tonight Show"), Tim Bedore (NPR's "Marketplace"), Milt Abel (San Francisco Comedy Competition finalist) and Dan St. Paul ("Bob & Tom Show"). "I saw Dan at a showcase, and I was literally on the floor laughing," adds Salamone.

10/19: Los Lobos, 7:30 p.m. ($25.80-$42), the famed Tex-Mex rockers last played the BCPA in the fall of 2008, during the venue's third season; this time through, they're celebrating their 40th anniversary as touring artists and the 25th anniversary of their album, "La Pistola y El Corazon," to be performed in its entirety, says Salamone, with traditional folk instruments in Spanish. Also offered will be a greatest hits tour.

10/24: Casey Abrams, 7:30 p.m. ($13-$19), a 21-year-old "American Idol" finalist (2011 season) "who now wants to be known as a multi-instrumentalist and arts educator," hence some outreach work he'll being doing with school kids during his visit.

10/28: Nosferatu, 7:30 p.m. ($8-$10), a Halloween-ready screening of F.W. Murnau's silent 1922 version of "Dracula," with live pipe organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott, famed for his work with Chicago'sMusic Box Theatre and Salamone's old Rialto Square Theatre stomping grounds. "He's also the official organist for the Buster Keaton Society," notes Salamone (so stayed tuned for more in the spring).


11/15: Ides of March, 7:30 p.m. ($19.40-$33), the veteran Chicago rockers of "Vehicle" fame, but also much more, courtesy lead singer Jim Peterik,who later became renowned as lead singer/songwriter for Survivor, penning its classic "Eye of the Tiger" theme for "Rocky II." As Salamone notes, his songs have also been covered by Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Sammy Hagar, 38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Beach Boys.

11/16: Neil Jacobs, 2 p.m. ($10-$15), Leo Kottke-like maestro of the 12-string guitar. "He makes a single guitar sound like an entire orchestra on stage," testifies Salamone. "I challenge anyone to go into one of his shows and come out with being transformed in some way."

1{0: The Spinners and Ray Parker Jr., 7:30 p.m. ($26.20-$43), a night of classic, old-school R&B with the famed hit-making group ("Rubberband Man" and a dozen more) and the "Ghostbusters" theme song provider. "And much more," adds Salamone of Parker, who also was lead singer of Raydio (1978's "Jack and Jill").


12/9: A Celtic Christmas: Danu 'Feile Na Nollaig', 7:30 p.m. ($20-$39), featuring acclaimed Irish ensemble Danu in a seasonal offering.

12/12: A Christmas Carol, 7:30 p.m. ($13-$19), an abridged TheatreWorks USA rendering of the Dickens classic, clocking in at a perfect hour-ish length for little holiday revelers.

12/20: The Dailey & Vincent Christmas Show, 7:30 p.m. ($23), the BCPA's first-ever holiday bluegrass offering from the top purveyors of the genre, who've worked with Ricky Skaggs, John Hartford and others.


1/9: My Baby Just Cares For Me, 7:30 p.m. ($18.60-$33), with, as promised, a return engagement from Under the Streetlamp's Michael Ingersoll, this time opposite his better half, Angela Ingersoll (a Second City alumna), in a night of pop classics. "He's a brilliant high tenor, she's an extraordinary lyric soprano," enthuses Salamone of her acquaintances.

1/15: Rhythmic Circus' Feet Don't Fail Me Now, 7:30 p.m. ($17.80-$40), a tap-dance meltdown featuring non-stop dancers backed by live musicians and singers. "They're a multi-ethnic roots band of urban performers who blew the lid off the room when I saw them," notes Salamone.

1/17: Tallan Noble Latz, 7:30 p.m. ($23), another encore, this time from the 14-year-old whiz-kid opener for B.B. King back in June.

{3: American English, 7:30 p.m. ($23), the top Beatles tribute band who always fill the venues to capacity, witness their many passes through Bloomington-Normal in the past decade or so.

{7: Joel Sartore & The Ark Project, 7 p.m. ($13-$19), an offbeat multimedia presentation from the freelance photographer for National Geographic and head of the Ark Project, a photographic record of animals in captivity, including in our own Miller Park Zoo.

1/30: Pirate School, 7 p.m. ($10), a kids'-night-out show starring professional clown David Engel.


2/5: The Un-Valentines Show, 7:30 p.m. ($13-$19), subtitled "Songs and Tales of Unforgiveness, Heartbreak, Dysfunction & Revenge," or, as Salamone puts it, "the show for people who cringe at the thought of Valentine's Day." From the good-humored folks at Bottle Rocket Cabaret.

2/7: Kalapriya, 7:30 p.m. ($13-$19), an Indian dance troupe from Chicago, presenting classical, folk and contemporary styles, plus Bharata Natyam, the ancient dance form of stylized gestures and moves.

2/8: Franc D'Ambrosio'sBroadway: Songs of the Great White Way, 2 p.m. ($13-$19), an afternoon of Broadway classics from the actor who played Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" on stage more times than any other (he also sang in "The Godfather, Part III").

2/14: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 7:30 p.m. ($24-$48), the national tour of the foot-stomping musical, adapted from the 1954 MGM movie classic.

2/19: The King's Singers, 7:30 p.m. ($21.80-$34), a return command performance by the world-famous vocal ensemble.

2/21: Ricky Nelson Remembered, 7:30 p.m. ($18.60-$33), in which Nelson's two sons, Matthew and Gunnar (of famed '80s pop group Nelson), pay homage to the old man and his many pop-rock classics, from "Travelin'" Man to "Garden Party."


3/10: One Night of Queen, 7:30 p.m. ($27.40-$44), from the King's Singers to the Queen's, with a full-blown recreation of a Queen concert, from sets to lighting and beyond, promises Salamone, right down to the three-tier stage rig that will mark a first for the BCPA.

3/22: Churchill, 7:30 p.m. ($22-$33), starring acclaimed Chicago actor Ronald Keaton in his one-man performance as the legendary British Prime Minister. "It's both funny and heartbreaking, and I've literally never seen audiences moved to standing ovations the way I have for this show," says Salamone.

3/26: Los Lonely Boys, 7 p.m. ($18.60-$33), the Tex-Mex trio whose single, "Heaven," won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance.


4/16: Broadway's Next Hit Musical, 7:30 p.m. ($13-$33), more fun for the "Whose Live Anyway?" crowd in which a band of comedy improv experts literally takes song suggestions from the audience and fashions an entire Broadway musical out of them on the spot.

4/18: Passing Zone Saves the World, 7:30 p.m. ($13-$33), in which the "America's Got Talent" finalists, Jon Wee and Owen Morse, mix laughter and dangerous stunts, among them juggling (promises big fan Salamone) live audience members and turning chainsaws into dance partners. They also hold four Guinness World Records along those lines.

4/26: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 2 p.m. ($26.60-$39), a return BCPA gig for John McEuen and the boys, last seen on the stage in Season Four (2009).

4/28: The General, 7:30 p.m. ($8-$10), in which Dennis Scott, the organist for the Buster Keaton Society who accompanied "Nosferatu" at the BCPA back in October, returns to accompany a screening of an actual Keaton classic ... and one of his very best.


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Source: Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)

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