Paula Cole, Johnny Winter, HAIR and More Set for SOPAC's 2014 Performance Lineup

The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) today announced the ambitious performance schedule for January - May 2014. From Grammy Award- winners such as Paula Cole to guitar legends including Johnny Winter to a night of comedy with Jay Mohr, SOPAC's 2014 season sates every artistic appetite. With a nod to sounds of Americana, SOPAC serves a heaping of national folk treasures in a robust singer/songwriter concert series. As always, SOPAC welcomes its ongoing Juilliard @ SOPAC classical concert series as well as the Jazz in the LOFT and the Blues in the LOFT series.


"On the heels of the highest attended season in SOPAC's history, we're proud to be entering 2014 on such a high note," explains Mark Packer, Executive Director of SOPAC. "Our new focus on programming some of the country's best singer-songwriters, along with brilliant comedians and major recording artists is attracting interesting and diverse shows to our stage, and audiences are responding. In addition, we plan to implement a number of SOPAC initiatives off-stage including newly expanded educational programming and community engagements efforts. It's going to be a thrilling, monumental season!"

2014 SOPAC Performance Schedule
(subject to change)

SAT, JAN 4 AT 8PM - LEON RUSSELL

Singer/Songwriter, Rock, Blues, Folk, Country

Tickets: $38, $48, $58

Leon Russell is a Rock n' Roll Hall of Famer who has been performing his gospel-infused southern boogie piano rock, blues, and country music for over 50 years. Leon Led the famous Joe Cocker's 'Mad Dogs & Englishmen' tour and performed with George Harrison and Friends at the Concert For Bangladesh. Leon has toured with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Edgar Winter, The New Grass Revival, Willie Nelson, and Sir Elton John. His songwriting credits include "A Song For You," "Delta Lady," "Hummingbird," "Lady Blue," "Back To The Island;" "Tight Rope" and 'This Masquerade." Leon and Sir Elton John recorded a duet album produced by T-Bone Burnett, The Union, which was released October 19, 2010. The single, "If It Wasn't For Bad" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

FRI, JAN 10 AT 8PM - Marc Cohn with SPECIAL GUEST Paula Cole

Singer/Songwriters, Pop, Soul

Tickets: $45, $55, $65

An evening with two critically acclaimed singer/songwriters. Marc Cohn won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, and penned the timeless hit "Walking in Memphis". He combines the precision of a brilliant tunesmith with the passion of a great soul man. He's a natural storyteller, balancing the exuberant with the poignant, and able to distill universal truth out of his often romantic, drawn-from-life tales. Grammy Award-winner and 7-time Grammy Award-nominee Paula Cole has released six solo albums spanning an eighteen-year career. She has sold approximately three million albums and is perhaps best known for her hit "I Don't Want to Wait" which was the theme song for the hit show Dawson's Creek.

SAT, JAN 11 AT 8PM - JOSH RITTER

Singer/Songwriter, Pop

Tickets: $35, $40, $48

Josh Ritter, in a solo performance, is an Idaho born singer-songwriter who has been called one of the "10 Most Exciting Artists Now" by Entertainment Weekly and one of the "100 Best Living Songwriters" by Paste Magazine. The New York Times praises: "Josh Ritter has a way with metaphor. It's one of the literary touches in his music that have established him among the cream of the young singer-songwriter crop." His sixth studio album The Beast In Its Tracks was released in March to critical acclaim with NPR Music calling it "gorgeous and glorious." In 2011, Ritter made his debut as a published author with his New York Times best-selling novel, Bright's Passage (Dial Press/Random House).

SUN, JAN 12 AT 7PM- BLUES IN THE LOFT- GREG BUFFORD

SAT, JAN 18 AT 8PM - Greg Brown & STEVE FORBERT

Singer/Songwriters, Folk

Tickets: $35, $40, $50

An incredible double-bill with two critically acclaimed singer/songwriters. Greg Brown is a two-time Grammy Award-nominee for Best Traditional Folk Album, and as Association for Independent Music's award winner for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Widely respected as a songwriter, An Artist's Tribute to Greg Brown was released featuring some of today's best female songwriters including Lucinda Williams, Ani DiFranco, Iris Dement, Gillian Welch, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Steve Forbert's lengthy discography has established him as an American icon. His music was pure Americana before that genre was recognized. Fourteen albums on, Forbert's stamp on American music is akin to the legendary footprints of Warren Zevon, Gene Clark, Gram Parsons and other top American songwriters, and he has often been compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen.

THU, JAN 23 AT 7:30PM - TRUE BLUES with COREY HARRIS, Guy Davis & ALVIN YOUNGBLOOD HART

Blues

Tickets: $25, $35, $38

Hosted by Corey Harris, a MacArthur Grant recipient, and featuring renowned roots musician Guy Davis and Alvin Youngblood Hart, True Blues chronicles the extraordinary living culture of the blues in an evening of music and conversation. In bringing the True Blues film to the concert stage, the True Blues concert vividly brings to life this crucial wellspring of American music.

Both Corey Harris and Alvin Youngblood Hart were featured in Martin Scorcese's The Blues: A Musical Journey, which followed Corey on a roots journey to West Africa. Alvin contributed, as well, to Wim Wenders' The Soul Of a Man and Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters. Guy has often followed in the thespian footsteps of his parents, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, most recently in the Broadway revival of Finian's Rainbow, and earlier in Mulebone and Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil.

Blues is at the center of their artistry, and the blues takes center stage in True Blues, the concert.

SAT, FEB 1 AT 2PM & 8PM - HAIR THE MUSICAL

Musical Theater

Tickets: $30, $40, $50

LET YOUR HAIR DOWN AND "LET THE SUN SHINE IN!"
The national tour of the original Broadway Rock-Musical that defined an era! A joyous celebration of youth and a poignant journey through the tumultuous 1960s America! This exuberant musical about searching for truth, peace and love in Vietnam War-era America continues to strike a resonant chord with audiences of all ages. The themes and struggles in HAIR seem as vital and relevant today. The long list of chart-topping hit songs include "Aquarius," "Let the Sun Shine in," "Good Morning, Starshine" and "Easy to be Hard", became anthems of counter-culture and the sexual revolution and continue to have a profound impact on audiences. Mature themes, brief nudity. Not recommended for children under 13.

SAT, FEB 15 AT 8PM - SUSAN WERNER & DAVID WILCOX

Singer/Songwriters, Folk, Pop

Tickets: $30, $35, $40

An wonderful evening with two critically acclaimed singer-songwriters...Susan Werner composes skillful songs that effortlessly slide between folk, jazz, and pop, all delivered with sassy wit and classic Midwestern charm. Throughout her expansive career, boundless versatility has emerged as a hallmark of her talent, and has proven to be a quintessential ingredient of her engrossing musical persona. Her latest project Hayseed is collection of songs celebrating farming and her Iowa roots. David Wilcox is a true American treasure. He has sold over 750,000 discs and has been writing songs for 30 years. He is known for his open tuning acoustic guitar, sawed-off capos, storytelling wit, and insightful metaphors. His songs are a strong elixir. Music distilled. David Wilcox believes that the right song at the right time changes people's lives.

SUN, MAR 2 AT 7:30PM - Shawn Colvin

Singer/Songwriter, Pop

Tickets: $40, $45, $55

In an era when female singer-songwriters are ever more ubiquitous, Shawn Colvin stands out as a singular and enduring talent. As a storyteller, Colvin is both keen and warm-hearted, leavening even the toughest tales with tenderness, empathy, and a searing sense of humor. In the 23 years since the release of her debut album, Colvin has won three Grammy Awards, released nine albums, maintained a non-stop national and international touring schedule, appeared on countless television and radio programs, had her songs featured in major motion pictures, and created a remarkable canon of work. A Few Small Repairs proved to be her breakthrough. The murder-ballad "Sunny Came Home" gave Colvin a Top 10 hit and two of Grammy's biggest honors: Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

SAT, MAR 8 AT 8PM - JOHNNY WINTER

Blues

Tickets: $38, $50, $60

Voted one of the top 100 guitarists of all time in Rolling Stone, Johnny Winter is a guitar hero without equal. Signing with Columbia Records in 1969, he immediately laid out the blueprint for his fresh take on classic blues with a powerful combination of authentic Texas funk and blues. Throughout the 70s and 80s he was the unofficial torch bearer for the blues, championing and aiding the careers of his idols like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Today Johnny Winter is enjoying an unparalleled resurgence performing to sold out shows worldwide even after a long life full of honors and accomplishments such as a triumphant appearance at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival with Derek Trucks, Buddy Guy and Clapton that has been immortalized on the Emmy award winning DVD.

SUN, MAR 16 AT 2PM - DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER, AND A FLY

Kids, Family

Tickets: $25/Children $24 (12 and Under)

It's not easy being a bug, especially on the first day of school! But luckily for Worrying Worm, Fearless Fly, and Sassy Spider, every creature finds its special talent. Spider waits anxiously to shed his skin; Worm feels self-conscious and embarrassed for having no legs; and Fly's 327 Brothers and Sisters drive her so crazy that she can hardly focus on schoolwork. This hysterical musical will have everyone cheering on the quirky crawlers as they face problems and milestones common to us all.

SAT, MAR 22 AT 8PM - RICHARD SHINDELL & LUCY KAPLANSKY

Singer/Songwriters, Folk, Pop

Tickets: $30, $38, $50 Tickets on sale Fri., November 22

An amazing co-bill featuring two of today's most popular touring singer-songwriters. Richard and Lucy performed together in the acclaimed folk "supergroup" Cry, Cry, Cry. Richard Shindell is a meticulous craftsman of song whose eight studio albums and 2 live recordings have been revered by critics and fans alike. Currently on tour in support of her new album Reunion, Lucy Kaplansky is a rare vocal talent, "a truly gifted performer...full of enchanting songs" (The New York Times). Blending country, folk and pop styles, she has the unique ability to make every song she sings sound fresh.

SUN, MAR 23 AT 7:30PM - MASON JENNINGS

Singer/Songwriter, Indie-Folk

Tickets: $28, $32, $38

Singer/songwriter Mason Jennings blends the personal insights of a poet, the political broadsides of a protest singer, and the broad musical eclecticism of a jazz musician with a rock & roller's passion. The result made him one of the most talked-about new artists on the acoustic music scene and earned him a loyal cult following, as he moved over 30,000 copies of his first two albums and sold out shows around the country without the benefit of a major-label publicity department. He tours in support of his new album Always Been. Recorded at Minneapolis studio The Terrarium, Always Been builds on the rugged, acoustic-guitar-driven indie-folk of Jennings's earlier work (from his 1998 self-titled debut to 2011's highly acclaimed Minnesota) with sunnier melodies and more hi-fi sonics.

THU, MAR 27 AT 7:30PM - JAY MOHR

Comedy

Tickets: $35, $45, $50

Named one of the "100 Greatest Comics of All Time" by Comedy Central, comedian, actor, radio host and best selling author, Jay Mohr has been performing stand-up comedy since he was sixteen years old. His big break came when he landed his dream job of Saturday Night Live. Later he was cast opposite Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire and that same year co-starred with Jennifer Anniston in Picture Perfect. After 25 films, he recently starred in the CBS scripted comedy Gary Unmarried, which was critically acclaimed and ran for two seasons. His stage shows are one of a kind; no notes, no two shows the same, and an act that never picks on the audience. These are the three tenets that Jay believes makes great live comedy, and the foundation is laid when Jay often tells his audiences, "Let's just jump off a cliff together and build our wings on the way down!"

FRI, MAR 28 AT 8PM - IRIS DEMENT & RED MOLLY

Folk, Country

Tickets: $30, $35, $45 Tickets on sale Fri., November 15

A wonderful evening of Americana and Roots music! Iris DeMent, the last of 14 children, born in Arkansas and raised in Southern California, grew up immersed in gospel music and traditional country. Her album, My Life, earned a Grammy nomination in the Contemporary Folk category. Her 1996 album The Way I Should addressed political as well as personal themes and earned a Grammy nomination, as well. She is best known for her timeless hit "Our Town." Since 2004, Americana trio Red Molly has been bringing audiences to their feet with gorgeous three-part harmonies, crisp musicianship, and their warm, engaging stage presence. The band consists of Laurie MacAllister (bass, banjo), Abbie Gardner (dobro, banjo) and Molly Venter (guitar). This past year, the ladies were invited to open multiple shows for music legend Willie Nelson and they performed at the venerable RockyGrass festival in CO. Their new CD Light up the Sky spent 20 weeks on the Americana Music Association's Top 40 radio chart.

SAT, MAR 29 AT 8PM - Oleta Adams

Soul, R&B, Gospel, Pop

Tickets: $38, $48, $58 Tickets on sale in January

Since the runaway success of her 1990 debut album Circle of One (which went Platinum), and the impassioned hit single "Get Here" (the Brenda Russell composition that became an unofficial anthem of the 1991 Gulf War) Oleta Adams has inspired a growing legion of fans in the U.S. and Europe with journeys of the heart via songs that draw deeply from her roots in gospel, while crossing effortlessly into the realms of soul, R&B, urban, and popular music. Her success, nurtured by worldwide tours with Tears for Fears, Phil Collins, Michael Bolton, and Luther Vandross, has been solidified by four Grammy Award nominations and a seemingly bottomless well of creative energy.

SUN, MAR 30 AT 3PM - JUILLIARD @ SOPAC: PIANO REFLECTIONS: IMAGERY, COLOR AND EMOTION

Classical

Tickets: $20

Presented by Juilliard @ SOPAC. Piano Reflections: Imagery, Color, and Emotion?Fei-Fei Dong, recent Finalist of the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, presents an exciting program of imagery, color, and emotion, featuring solo piano works by three composers spanning nearly 300 years of musical evolution. Muzio Clementi's Piano Sonata in F-sharp provides a distinct hue and character for each movement, culminating in a finale of fireworks. Frédéric Chopin's passionate Rondo in E-flat journeys through emotional themes, both lively and subdued, leading to a bright and powerful conclusion. Lowell Liebermann's contemporary work, Gargoyles, contains within it a set of four modern portraits of grotesque gargoyles singing and dancing atop the Notre Dame Cathedral. Lastly, Chopin's 24 microcosmic preludes are a collection of quintessentially Romantic miniatures, one vignette in each major and minor key. This set of preludes is a musical diary; a poetic account of the composer's emotional palette. Hearing all 24 preludes played in succession is reminiscent of the sunny and gloomy days of Chopin's life, giving us all the opportunity to reflect upon and appreciate our own.

SUN, APR 13 AT 3PM - JUILLIARD @ SOPAC: TRIO VOCE

Classical

Tickets: $20

Trio Vocé: Through Shadows and Light?Trio Vocé, composed of students of The Juilliard School, presents a program of works showcasing virtuosic solo accompanied works for violin and cello, along with a tour de force masterpiece of the piano trio repertoire. This program highlights the works of Schubert and Brahms, exploring motivic themes of melancholy and sadness alongside triumph and power. Franz Schubert's Sonata in A minor (originally scored for arpeggione) for cello and piano, as well as his Rondo in B minor for violin and piano ("Rondeau Brillant"), both written near the end of the composer's life, resonate with emotion and epitomize the Romantic era. Finally, the Piano Trio No. 1 in B major by Johannes Brahms teems with elegance and contrast combining intricate detail with fits and bursts. Trio Voce is made up Fabiola Kim (violin), JiYoung Lee (cello) and?Alan Woo (piano).

WED, MAY 7 AT 7:30PM - Suzanne Vega

Singer/Songwriter, Pop

Tickets: $39, $45, $50 Tickets on sale Fri., December 6

Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation, Grammy nominated Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs. Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album, she has given sold-out concerts in many of the world's best-known halls. In performances devoid of outward drama that nevertheless convey deep emotion, Vega sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice that has been described as "a cool, dry sandpaper- brushed near-whisper" and as "plaintive but disarmingly powerful." Best known for her hits "Tom's Diner" and "Luka."

FRI, MAY 9 AT 8PM - Tom Paxton & Holly Near

Folk

Tickets: $30, $38, $48 Tickets on sale Fri., November 22

An evening with two legendary folk musicians. Tom Paxton has become a voice of his generation, addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity, laying bare the absurdities of modern culture, and celebrating the tender bonds of family, friends, and community. Paxton has been an integral part of the songwriting and folk music community since the early 60s Greenwich Village scene, and continues to be a primary influence on today's "New Folk" performers. Holly Near is a unique combination of entertainer, teacher, and activist. An immense vocal talent, Near's career as a singer has been defined by an unwillingness to separate her passion for music from her passion for human dignity. She is a skilled performer and an outspoken ambassador for peace who brings to the stage an integration of world consciousness, spiritual discovery, and theatricality.

Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The multidisciplinary arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages. To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC-a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory. SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council's performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz N' the Hall performances and Seton Hall Theatre productions. SOPAC also presents performances by its theater company in residence, Midtown Direct Rep, and its Dance Company in residence, Lydia Johnson Dance. For more information, visit SOPACnow.org.



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