Richard Rodgers Comes To The Soraya With SOUTH PACIFIC and Billy Porter
From Oklahoma! to The Sound of Music, American composer Richard Rodgers forever changed the face of Broadway musicals, giving them stories and making them oh, so hum-able. Now, The Soraya will present two special events that celebrate this legendary artist, South Pacific (April 13-15) and Tony Award winner Billy Porter's The Soul of Richard Rodgers (June 2)."Richard Rodgers music is as beautiful, powerful and memorable today as it was when he composed it," said Thor Steingraber, The Soraya's Executive Director. "We are delighted to present not one, but two enchanted evenings of his music-South Pacific produced by our colleagues, McCoy Rigby Entertainment and La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, and the brilliant Billy Porter who brings his soulful interpretation to several of Richard Rodgers American classics."
Adapted from Tales of the South Pacific, James Michener's 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning work, the musical version of South Pacific centers on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II, who falls in love with an older French plantation owner and struggles to accept his mixed-race children.One of the most popular and beloved shows from the Golden Age of the American Musical Theatre, South Pacific, with book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan, music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, will have four performances at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) April 13 to 15, followed by an engagement from April 20 to May 13 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (Press Opening Saturday, April 21 at 8pm).
Tony and Grammy Award winner Billy Porter does not hold back. This powerhouse artist earned his Tony Award for his performance as the drag queen Lola in Kinky Boots. The busy actor composer, and director has also put out four solo albums. The most recent, Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers, features Porter's new, soulful takes on classic Richard Rodgers songs, from "My Funny Valentine" to "Edelweiss.""I like to think of this as the Richard Rodgers version of the Hamilton Mixtapes," Porter said. "These are classic songs that everybody knows and loves, and I'm so excited for people to hear them in a brand-new way." Billy Porter's The Soul of Richard Rodgers performs Saturday, June 2 at 8pm.
The Soraya opened its 2017-2018 season on September 16 with a performance of AMADEUS Live (Milos Foreman's 1984 Academy Award-winning Best Picture with live orchestra) with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and members of the LA Opera Chorus. The evening honored the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Foundation in recognition of the family's recent $17 million gift that will rename VPAC as the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center, known as The Soraya. The gift is one of the largest in the history of the California State University and the system's largest single gift to support the arts; gift to support the programming and operations of the award-winning Valley Performing Arts Center - which has become one of the cultural jewels of the region in the six years since it opened.The 2017-18 Soraya season signals a new era for the premier event venue. Under the leadership of Executive Director Thor Steingraber, the renamed Younes and Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center expands its programming and outstanding multidisciplinary performances. The mission of The Soraya is to present a wide variety of performances that not only includes new and original work from the Los Angeles region but also work from around the world that appeal to all of LA's rich and diverse communities.
Located on the campus of California State University, Northridge, The Soraya's season offers a vibrant performance program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theater, family and international events that will serve to establish The Soraya as the intellectual and cultural heart of the San Fernando Valley, and further establish itself as one of the top arts companies in Southern California. The award-winning, 1,700-seat theatre was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers and was recently cited by the Los Angeles Times as "a growing hub for live music, dance, drama and other cultural events."
Photo Credit: Ron Cadiz for Sony Music Entertainment