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The McCallum Theatre Announces A Blockbuster 2018-19 Season Including RENT, JERSEY BOYS, SPAMALOT, SOMETHING ROTTEN And More

The McCallum Theatre Announces A Blockbuster 2018-19 Season Including RENT, JERSEY BOYS, SPAMALOT, SOMETHING ROTTEN And More

The McCallum Theatre announced today its new lineup as it begins its fourth decade of presenting world-class artists and entertainers for Coachella Valley audiences. The new season includes McCallum debuts, iconic superstars, family-friendly entertainment, holiday sensations, with some mariachi, Bollywood, ballet, comedy and entertaining geography lessons all part of a very full and exciting season that also presents an outstanding roster of Broadway favorites. Tickets for ALL shows go on sale Monday, April 16 at 8am at the McCallum Theatre Box Office, 73000 Fred Waring Drive in Palm Desert, by phone at 760-340-2787 or online at

"Following an extraordinarily successful 30th Anniversary Season, the McCallum is excited to present another amazing array of artists and performances for our wonderfully loyal audiences" said McCallum President and CEO Mitch Gershenfeld. "The 2018-2019 season brings back many of the Valley's favorite entertainers along with a number of emerging artists and internationally acclaimed acts that will be sure to transport McCallum patrons to new and engaging destinations without having to leave the desert!

"As with all great things that happen at the McCallum Theatre, we extend once again our deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported the McCallum for so many years, whether by purchasing tickets, making donations, volunteering or all of those things and more," said Gershenfeld. "As a nonprofit 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, we are deeply grateful for the continuing loyalty of McCallum audiences, members and major contributors."

"As in past seasons, we expect many of the shows to sell out quickly," added Gershenfeld. "We hope people will place their orders as soon as possible to avoid disappointment."

Among the new season's highlights is the McCallum premiere of National Geographic Live, aseries of thought-provoking presentations by today's leading explorers, scientists and photographers. The three programs coming to Palm Desert are: Exploring Mars (January 21, 2019), Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice (February 18, 2019) and Capturing the Impossible (March 18, 2019).

A stellar lineup of Broadway shows will take to the McCallum stage in 2018-2019 beginning with the return of Jersey Boys, which sold out its inaugural desert run three seasons ago. The story of the iconic Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical (January 15-20, 2019). Dorothy and her friends the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man make their McCallum debut when a spectacular new, refreshed and lavish rendition of The Wizard of Oz follows the yellow brick road to the Coachella Valley from January 25 to 27, 2019.

Hard to imagine, but it's been twenty years since Rent took Broadway by storm. The rock musical re-imagining of Puccini's La Bohème is a timeless celebration of friendship and reminds us to measure our lives in love (February 8-10, 2019). Audiences will "high flying adore" the fact the Evita is returning to the McCallum (February 27-28, 2019) with its tale of the rise and fall of one of the world's most glamorous first ladies. The search for the Holy Grail has never been funnier than as portrayed in Spamalot, the wacky Tony Award-winning 2005 Best Musical which arguably was the first to feature on one Broadway stage flying cows, killer rabbits, taunting Frenchmen and show-stopping musical numbers (March 15-17, 2019).

Making its McCallum Theatre debut is another Tony Award winning musical, Something Rotten, a hilarious smash hit about Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who set out to write the world's very first musical. "Something Rotten is The Producers + Spamalot + The Book of Mormonsquared," said New York Magazine (April 5-7, 2019).

Additional stage fare featured in the 2018-2019 McCallum Theatre season includes the hysterical Steve Solomon's My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy, one of the longest running one-man shows in history (February 6-7, 2019); the L.A. Theatre Works production of the funny and poignant Steel Magnolias (February 25, 2019); and the explosive international percussion sensation, Stomp (March 1-2, 2019)

Returning for a fifth season, Mitch's Picks, showcases artists with whom Valley audiences may not yet be familiar, but come with the personal recommendation of McCallum President and CEO Mitch Gershenfeld. All five shows are first-time presentations at the McCallum. Pablo Sainz Villegas' Americanokicks off the Mitch's Picks series on March 4, 2019. A rising Spanish guitarist, Villegas combines the emotions of sensual Brazilian music, nostalgic tango, vivid Venezuelan rhythms and exciting American bluegrass; BRAVO Amici's mix of handsome tenors and stunning divas combine the essential elements of pop, Broadway and opera in an uplifting show that has won fans ranging from Sir Elton John to the British Royalty (March 11, 2019); a musical celebration of the legendary French chanteuse, Piaf! - Le Spectacale traces the rags-to-riches story of the singer's career through her unforgettable songs and previously unreleased photographs and images (March 26, 2019); and ASERE! is a high energy and joyous celebration of Cuban music and dance featuring the Havana Cuba All Stars, some of Cuba's greatest musicians, as well as three of the island nation's finest dancing couples (April 3, 2019).

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary and co-sponsored by the McCallum Theatre, CV 104.3's morning personality Jim "Fitz" Fitzgerald brings another exciting roster of exceptional performers to the Desert in 2018-19 for his wildly popular Fitz's Jazz Café at the McCallum series. The lineup includes the long awaited return of Peter Cincotti, whose debut album in 2003 hit number one on Billboard's jazz chart and had him dubbed "the rebirth of cool" (December 1, 2018); holiday favorite Dave Koz Christmas Tour comes back to the McCallum with the celebrated saxophonist and friends (December 18). World-renowned producer, composer, keyboardist and vocalist Sergio Mendes brings his signature mix of bossa nova, samba and distinctive pop instrumentation back to the desert (January 23, 2019); Japanese jazz pianist Keiko Matsui returns to the McCallum after an eight year absence, transcending geographic, generational and musical boundaries (February 23, 2019); and McCallum perennial Steve Tyrell returns with his soulful take on classic pop standards (March 9, 2019).

The indomitable Jeffrey Siegel brings his acclaimed Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel back to the McCallum for its 17th Season of making classical music accessible, enjoyable and fun. His popular and intimate evenings of piano and commentary return to the McCallum in the 2018-2019 season with four programs: Bernstein Birthday Bash (December 3, 2018) celebrating the centennial of Leonard Bernstein; Joyous Music of Beethoven (January 7, 2019) featuring the master's most joyous compositions for piano; Chopin in Paris (February 11, 2019) with stirring masterpieces written by Chopin after he moved to Paris in 1832; and Rags to Riches (March 25, 2019) featuring a program of fascinating rhythms. These performances are presented through the generosity of Donna MacMillan.

The McCallum's Annual Family Fun Day returns for its seventh successful season (October 21). Proceeds from this great family-friendly afternoon at the Theatre support the education and outreach programs of the McCallum Theatre. This season's Family Fun Day will feature Erth's Prehistoric Aquarium, an adventure to the bottom of the sea unlocking some of nature's greatest mysteries. Kids will get up close and personal with an amazing array of aquatic creatures and critters from bygone eras in this fun and educational interactive performance that connects young audiences to the science of paleontology.

A longtime initiative of the McCallum Theatre Education Division, The Choreography Festival marks its 20th anniversary of bringing some of the finest original dance from across the nation to desert audiences (November 10 & 11). The two-day celebration awards prize money to established and emerging choreographers and highlights participants from two signature education division programs, East Valley Dance Project and The Studio Project. A lifetime achievement award will be presented to a major influencer from the dance world, to be announced.

It speaks volumes about McCallum audiences and the Coachella Valley community that the world's finest artists return to the Theatre whenever an invitation is extended. Such is the case with an array of bold-face names that will take to the McCallum stage once again in the 2018-2019 season. Among them: the beautiful soprano voice and presence of Jackie Evancho (January 11, 2019); legendary producer, composer, keyboardist and vocalist Sergio Mendes (January 23, 2019); Broadway diva and current star of Hello Dolly Bernadette Peters (January 24, 2019); the inimitable Paul Anka, one of the most successful singer/songwriters in music history (January 31 & February 1, 2019); Virtuosic violinist and classical music superstar Joshua Bell (February 4, 2019); two McCallum favorites on one bill, Michael Feinstein with very special guest Storm Large (February 15 & 16) are sure to make for a delightful pair; the unmistakable harmony that has made The Lettermen sound endure through several generations (February 24, 2019); Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress/singer and vocal powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth (March 22 & 23, 2019); and innovative jazz trumpeter and McCallum stalwart Chris Botti concludes the season on April 12 & 13, 2019.

The most popular act in McCallum Theatre history (30 sold-out shows and counting!), The TEN Tenors, returns for six spectacular shows performing new songs and classics, along with holiday favorites as only the "Vocal Thunder from Down Under" can do (November 20 - 25, 2018). Their show is entitled "Wish You Were Here" and as always, they promise to dazzle with their vocal prowess and delight with their choreography and Australian humor.

There really is no place like the McCallum for the holidays. The 2018-2019 schedule is filled with an astonishing international variety of performances sure to make the season bright. Kicking off the merriment is Colors of Christmas, a holiday tradition at the McCallum starring Peabo Bryson, with a new lineup of stars, a hot 12-piece band and a spectacular choir (December 7, 2019); the Canadian Brass return to the desert with Christmas Time is Here, a salute to some of the most popular animated specials created for the holidays by the chart-topping, globetrotting "Kings of Brass" (December 12, 2018); the celestial voices of multi-platinum Irish singing sensation Celtic Woman help usher in the holidays with The Best of Christmas Tour, featuring music from the all-female ensemble in an evening filled with mesmerizing holiday cheer (December 14, 2018); multi-platinum and multi-award-winner LeAnn Rimes brings her popular Christmas show back to the McCallum sharing the magic and joy of the season with her fans (December 15, 2018); a colorful and traditional Mexican holiday celebration of seasonal songs, dance and festive merriment is on tap when Merri-Achi Christmas pays a return visit to Palm Desert headlined by one of the nation's finest ensembles, Mariachi Sol de Mexico de José Hernàndez (December 16, 2018); and Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker is taking North America by storm and the McCallum is privileged to bring these world-class Russian artists to Valley audiences. Featuring larger than life puppets, nesting dolls and gloriously hand-crafted costumes, the production has been hailed internationally as a "knock-out" (December 17, 2018).

Audiences will LOL with one of the McCallum's funniest comedy lineups in recent memory starting off on November 17, 2018 with one of the most important, influential and beloved figures in the history of American comedy, Bob Newhart who has been entertaining audiences around the world for 50 years; funny lady, humorist and motivational speaker Jeanne Robertson is back for her third appearance at the McCallum (November 30, 2019) ready to charm audiences with her hilarious observations about life around her; longtime McCallum friend Rita Rudner brings the laughs with her provoking one-liners and anecdotes that have long made her one of the Valley's favorite comediennes (December 9, 2018); An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin starts off 2019 with one of America's most cherished artists and her cast of more than a dozen timeless characters, from Ernestine to Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann (January 12, 2019); back by popular demand after a sold-out engagement in 2018, The Capitol Steps show why they're known as the only group in the nation that attempts to be funnier than Congress (January 13, 2019); longtime late night king Jay Leno will do what he does best, making audiences laugh at two McCallum shows (February 2, 2019); one of the longest running one-man shows in history (and a McCallum favorite), My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy stars Steve Solomon playing nearly 30 characters, all family members, in an evening of hysterical comedy (February 6 and 7, 2019); and "borscht belt" humor is the order of the evening when Catskills on Broadway makes its riotous return to the McCallum (February 22, 2019). This time veteran headliner Freddie Roman brings with him two outrageously funny men, Sarge and Mark Schiff.

The sounds of Nashville will be coming from the McCallum stage with four performances to hang your cowboy hat on including: the iconic Texan and creative genius Willie Nelson, who will be joined by family members when he returns to the Valley (October 15,2018); CMA and Grammy award-winning country artist Travis Tritt with his 100% Solo Acoustic Tour (November 3, 2018); renowned musician and songwriter Rodney Crowell comes to the McCallum for an intimate evening highlighting his 40-year career (November 15, 2018); and the Haggard legacy lives on as Merle's sons Ben and Noel Haggard pay tribute to their father and play some of their own songs on January 22, 2019.

Ballet slippers, tap shoes and other things that make for magical movement dance on to the McCallum stage in 2018-2019. In addition to The Choreography Festival and The Great Russian Nutcracker, the Theatre welcomes back the masterfully zany Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a troupe that proves that men can, indeed, dance en pointe without falling flat on their faces (January 29, 2019); one of the world's most beloved ballets, Swan Lake, will be performance by one of the world's most celebrated dance companies, the Russian National Ballet (February 5, 2019); explosive, inventive, provocative, witty and utterly unique is what Stomp has been called for nearly thirty years as the stage is filled with a talented team of dancer/musicians who use a bevy of unconventional percussion instruments to create a pulse-pounding electrifying show (March 1 & 2, 2019); Oregon Ballet Theatre, one of the Pacific Northwest's most popular companies, makes its McCallum debut with a program showcasing three dances including Rhapsody in Blue with live accompaniment by Pink Martini founder Thomas Lauderdale and his partner Hunter Noack and choreography by Nicolo Fonte (March 7, 2019); Tony Award-winning choreographer and tap dancer Savion Glover, last year's winner of the McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, makes his full performance Palm Desert debut with ALL FuNKD' UP in Concert, a thrilling new show highlighting the superstar's mesmerizing interplay of percussive genius, accompanied by a six-piece band and company of dancers (March 30, 2019).

It's a big year for Irish and Celtic music and dance at the McCallum. In addition to the aforementioned Celtic Woman: The Best of Christmas Tour, Valley audiences will enjoy performances by Celtic Thunder, a popular stage show known for its eclectic, theatrical style, dramatic effects, lighting, choreography and comedic acts (November 16, 2018); Murphy's Celtic Legacy, an invigorating performance of traditional Irish dance featuring dancers and musicians from Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Celtic Woman (February 13, 2019); and The Irish Rovers, the international ambassadors of Irish music whose songs have become anthems of revelry and joy among generations of fans (March 8, 2019).

If you're a fan of the ukulele, the McCallum is the place to be in the 2018-2019 season with two exceptional shows featuring the instrument commonly associated with music from Hawaii where the name roughly translates as "jumping flea." Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro returns to the McCallum on November 27, 2018. Called "the Paganini of the Ukulele," he has been declared a "musical hero" by Rolling Stone and is known for his masterful interpretations of songs by Sting, Leonard Cohen, George Harrison, Adele, Queen and many others. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain makes its own triumphant comeback to the McCallum with a repertoire ranging from Lady Gaga to "The Ride of the Valkyries" - an ambitious range of music on just four strings! (March 31, 2019).

And mariachi, a classic album, stunt dogs, magic, acrobats, cabaret/jazz, doo wop, tribute artists, men in uniform and a Postmodern Jukebox make up the balance of the 2018-2019 season with performances including: Aida Cuevas - Totalmente Juan Gabriel, featuring the "Queen of Ranchera Music" in a mariachi spectacle paying tribute to her greatest mentor (October 2, 2018); the return of Classic Albums Live, this time with a note for note, cut for cut recreation of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (October 27, 2018); Chris Perondi's Stunt Dog Experience, bringing to the McCallum a show filled with the most incredible stunts and behaviors ever performed by dogs (November 4, 2018); The United States Army Field Bands & Soldiers' Chorus, a free performance by the "Musical Ambassadors of the Army," with a variety of music from operatic arias and classical masterworks to Sousa marches, jazz standards and Broadway musicals (November 7, 2018 - limit of four free tickets per patron);

Singer/actress/comedienne Lea DeLaria makes her McCallum debut on November 8, 2018. One of the stars of Orange is the New Black, DeLaria is an accomplished jazz singer who has appeared on Broadway, at the Newport Jazz Festival and in concert halls around the world (mature content); Best of Doo Wop, Volume II, sponsored by The City of Rancho Mirage, brings some of the greatest names in Doo Wop together with Danny & The Juniors, The Platters Tribute Group, Johnny Tillotson and The Safaris on the bill (November 18, 2018); A reimagining of Top 40 hits with vintage, Gatsby-esque glam and a contagious energy is what Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox has in store for McCallum audiences on December 8, 2018 after amassing over 690 million YouTube views over the past few years; recognized throughout the United States and abroad as the premier Chinese acrobatic touring company of today, Golden Dragon Acrobats combine award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes and more in a show of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty (January 28, 2019); a magical McCallum tradition continues with the all-new 63rd Annual Edition of It's Magic! featuring headliners from Las Vegas and international magic award winners (February 17, 2019); and Legends in Concert, the #1 tribute show in Las Vegas brings to the McCallum pitch perfect live vocals, signature choreography and stunningly similar appearances to legends Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Cher and Neil Diamond (February 19, 2019).

Finally, the hit play and movie Steel Magnolias returns to the stage in a production by L.A. Theatre Works. The beloved comedy/drama comes to the McCallum on February 25, 2019; two legendary groups, The Limeliters and The Brothers Four comprise Legends of Folk, a nostalgic evening of great music presented by The City of Rancho Mirage (March 3, 2019); Fifty Years of Rock and Roll will be recreated on the McCallum stage when Neil Berg's popular show shares great singers, incredible songs and many unknown stories about the music that changed the world forever (March 5, 2019); Mystic India: The World Tour is an internationally-acclaimed Bollywood dance spectacular with colorful costumes, elaborate sets and impeccably trained dancers in an explosion of colors and energy fusing dance, theater and spectacular special effects (March 14, 2019); McCallum Theatre President & CEO Mitch Gershenfeld steps up to the bandstand once more in an all new show by the McCallum Theatre Concert Band (March 24, 2019) with a performance of "Carnival of the Animals" featuring Jeffrey Siegel on piano and a new text written and performed by David Gonzalez. The show will also feature marches, concert pieces and free ice cream for all; there will be toe-tapping to the great music of the Big Band era when the McCallum's Tribute to Glenn Miller and the Big Band Leaders Starring The Tex Beneke Orchestra takes the stage with additional guest musicians paying tribute to Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Henry Mancini, Harry James, Gene Krupa, Tex Beneke and Woody Herman (March 27, 2019); and award-winning actor/director/playwright Frank Ferrante returns to the McCallum as he recreates his PBS, New York and London-acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx in An Evening with Groucho (March 28, 2019).

Performances are subject to change. Tickets are available beginning Tuesday, April 16th at 8:00am at the Theatre's box office, by phone at 760-340-2787 or at the McCallum website at

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From This Author David Green