Hop previews acts and artists for upcoming Year of the Arts
By Diana Ming, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 27, 2012
From political sketch comedy to classical baroque chamber music, the upcoming 2012-2013 season at the Hopkins Center will host an impressive collection of musical acts, theater groups and performance artists, with the intention of making the Hop’s 50th anniversary an unforgettable year-long celebration as part of the Year of the Arts initiative announced in June.
At Wednesday’s visiting artist season preview, Hop programming director Margaret Lawrence presented next year’s featured acts to a packed audience of students and community members in Moore Theater.
“This summer already has been a sign of great things to come,” Lawrence said. “We’re excited to show off our big season brochure because it really is going to be a big year.”
Lawrence said that the upcoming season will continue recent efforts to make events “community-driven,” citing the success of events such as HOPFest and the Hands on Piano project.
The Hop will continue to focus on major initiatives, including educational outreach and mentorship, Lawrence said.
The Hop invites over 3,000 children to the College from up to 60 miles away as part of its “school matinee” series and reaches over 12,000 additional students when performers interact with children off-stage as part of residencies, according to Lawrence.
Lawrence also discussed new programs and resources that will coincide with the scheduled September opening of the Black Family Visual Arts Center. Lawrence said that the Loew Theater will be moved to the VAC, offering a larger audience space for films and other multimedia shows.
Lawrence also unveiled the “best in show” program for the Hop’s 50th anniversary, which will bring films from a variety of international festivals to campus on weekends throughout the year.
Kicking off the Year of the Arts is a highly anticipated performance by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Sept. 13. Tickets for the concert have already sold out, but a set number of tickets have been reserved for College students and will be sold in the fall, according to Lawrence.
“[Ma] is a stunning example of someone who has reached out to a younger generation of artists in a way that no one else really matched,” Lawrence said, emphasizing the Hop’s dedication to artist mentorship. Through his Silk Road project, Ma has mentored the contemporary string quartet Brooklyn Rider, according to Lawrence. The quartet will perform as part of next year’s line-up on Jan. 18.
Lawrence also presented another fall highlight on Wednesday — the Vancouver-based dance-theater act Kidd Pivot. Their new work “The Tempest Replica” will make its U.S. premiere in Hanover on Sept. 14 and 15.
With a nod to the November presidential election, Lawrence also presented a trailer of “The Capitol Steps,” a live sketch comedy show from a National Public Radio group of the same name founded by Senate staffers over 30 years ago. The group, which has been praised by The Wall Street Journal for bringing “bipartisan grins all around,” will bring their comic relief to campus on Oct. 2.
“They’ll be sure to find the humor of wherever we are in our political times come October,” Lawrence said.
Actor and comedian John Lithgow will be the main feature of the Hop’s anniversary weekend on Oct. 13, when he will bring his one-man theatrical memoir “Stories by Heart” to Dartmouth, Lawrence said.
“I bring stories to life, I play all the parts, punch up the funny bits and ramp up the suspense all before the big comedy blow,” Lithgow said in the video preview.
The anniversary weekend celebration will also include the world premiere of an outdoor projection installation by award-winning British artist Ross Ashton, among other offerings.
In the winter, Back to Back Theater, and internationally acclaimed theater troupe from Australia, will present “Ganesh Versus the Third Reich,” a play-within-a-play that tells the story of an acting group with an overbearing director who creates a show about the Hindu god Ganesh and his attempt to reclaim the Swastika — originally a Hindu symbol of well-being — in Nazi Germany.
The troupe — which includes actors who have intellectual disabilities — will bring “something completely unique,” to the Hop audience, Lawrence said.
“The play is not taking Ganesh or the incredibly profound seriousness of the Holocaust lightly,” she said. “There are many layers of emotion going on, and it’s a challenging and profound work. It was one of the most memorable things I have ever seen and left me in tears. Try this out it is complicated but amazing.”
The Hop will also welcome “Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra” with celebrity trumpeter Wynton Marsalis on Jan. 24. Continuing the Hop’s focus on mentorship, the orchestra showcases a collection of rhythmic and lively pieces with young tap dancer Jared Grimes.
On Feb. 5, the Venice Baroque Orchestra returns to Hanover to play “utterly fresh, delightful and sparkling” chamber music, according to Lawrence. In Lawrence’s presentation, the clip of the group’s performance featured Vivaldi’s symphony in G minor, a provoking and passionate piece.
Jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriquez — a youthful musician who blends beats from his Cuban heritage with pop and classical elements — will also bring his talents to Hanover next spring. Rodriquez is scheduled to perform on April 25.
“[He] is a rare talent and a musically-fast thinker,” Lawrence said. “The buzz has traveled quickly about him, so this is a concert you should not miss.”
After Lawrence’s presentation, preview attendees were treated to a reception at the Top of the Hop and tours of the Hopkins Center facility.