Hammer Theatre in San Jose Announces Spring 2019 Season
The Hammer Theatre Center continues to bring thrilling cultural performances, world-class theatre, and fun-filled family acts to downtown San Jose as it announces an impressive line-up of events for spring 2019. Among the highly-anticipated presentations are Nufonia Must Fall, a revolutionary live staging of a robot love story performed through puppetry, video projection, and an ensemble of string and electronic instruments; and Cirque Éloize: Saloon, in which the wild, wild west comes alive in a musical acrobatic adventure. Flor de Toloache andVillalobos Brothers join forces in a lively performance celebrating mariachi with a contemporary twist, while NYC's Jessica Lang Dance will delight audiences with an extraordinary repertoire of contemporary works. Nature lovers and curious minds alike will be fascinated by the National Geographic Live speaker events including presentations by award-winning NASA engineer Kobie Boykins, extreme filmmaker Bryan Smith, and NFL cheerleader-turned-primatologist Mireya Mayor. Hammer also continues to bring the best of the West End's hit plays with National Theatre Livescreenings, including the critically acclaimed Antony & Cleopatra featuring award-winning actor Ralph Fiennes, Alan Bennett's sharp and hilarious new play Allelujah!, and more. For tickets and more information, the public may visit www.hammertheatre.com or call (408) 924-8501.
In chronological order, the Hammer Theatre Center's Spring 2019 season is as follows:
Flor de Toloache and Villalobos Brothers
7:30pm Thursday, January 31
Hammer proudly presents a lively musical experience with two of today's leading contemporary Mexican artists. Born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, the Villalobos Brothers create original compositions and arrangements which masterfully blend the richness of Mexican folk music with the intricate harmonies of jazz and classical music. Latin Grammy Award winners Flor de Toloache also join this brilliant celebration of traditional Mexican music with their contemporary take on mariachi. NYC's first and only all-female mariachi group, the band's members hail from a variety of countries and backgrounds including Cuba, Australia, Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Combining hip-hop influences, classic rock, and even indie rock, the group has made waves worldwide-including a tour with rock supergroup The Arcs, and a performance at Coachella Music Festival in 2016.
A.I.M Presented by SJSU School of Music & Dance
7:30pm Friday, February 1 & 7:30pm Saturday, February 2
Choreographer and dancer Kyle Abraham is a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award winner and 2013 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the "genius grant." As the founder and Artistic Director of A.I.M. (formerly known as Abraham.In.Motion), he explores the relationship between identity and personal history through a unique hybrid of traditional and vernacular dance styles which speak to a new generation of dancers and audiences. With diverse training in music, visual art, and movement, Abraham's highly physical dance vocabulary reflects the youthful energy of hip-hop and urban dance as well as a strong grounding in modern dance technique. He has established a singular choreographic style and creative vision for exploring important contemporary issues, such as race and violence, with a clarity and beauty that resonates with a wide range of audiences.
The Way Forward: Perspectives on the U.S. Economy - SJSU Insights Series
7:00pm Tuesday, February 5
Economists Robert Reich and Ben Stein present a powerful and entertaining conversation on the future of the U.S. economy. Reich, the author of 15 books and now a Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, has served under three national administrations-most recently as Secretary of Labor Under Bill Clinton. Stein's eclectic background includes being a former speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, an actor and game show host, a columnist for Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and the author/co-author of more than 30 books. He is currently a regular commentator on CBS Sunday Morning, FOX News, and CNN. Moderated by SJSU President Mary Papazian and underwritten by the Valley Foundation, this event is featured as part of a new university-wide speaker series, SJSU Insights, that exposes the San Jose State community to a variety of perspectives in the areas of economics, business, and global affairs.
EXPLORING MARS - National Geographic Live
7:30pm Wednesday, February 6
Few events in the last decade of space exploration have captured the world's imagination like NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Program. In 2004, the successful deployment of Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity launched a new era of scientific investigation of our nearest planetary neighbor. For Kobie Boykins, a mechanical engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the rovers' success was also a personal triumph: he helped design and build the solar arrays that enabled to rovers to keep going long after their planned 90-day life (Opportunity is still roaming Mars today, more than nine years later). Now, Boykins supervises the mobility and remote sensing mast teams for Curiosity, which landed on Mars in August 2012, and has already made headlines with evidence that conditions on Mars once could have supported life. Boykins, a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, will visit the Hammer for an engaging evening unraveling the mysteries of the red planet with an update on the latest chapter in the ongoing story of Mars exploration.
ALLELUJAH! - National Theatre Live Screening
7:00pm Thursday, February 7
Acclaimed playwright Alan Bennett's sharp and hilarious new play centers around The Beth, an old-fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital threatened with closure as part of an efficiency drive. A documentary crew, eager to capture its fight for survival, follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward and the triumphs of the old people's choir. Bennett's tenth collaboration with award-winning director Nicholas Hytner, Allelujah! was called "just what the doctor ordered" by Daily Telegraph and "humanity-affirming" by The Telegraph. This rollicking production was filmed live during its limited run at London's Bridge Theatre.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - LIVE!
8:00pm Friday, February 8; 4:00pm & 8:00pm Saturday, February 9
Mars and Venus collide, the adventures can be earth-shatteringly hysterical. This Off-Broadway hit comedy is a one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up, a light-hearted theatrical comedy based on The New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray. Moving swiftly through a series of vignettes, the show covers everything from dating and marriage to the bedroom. A little storytelling blended with some comedy and a dash of sage wisdom from the book, this hysterical show will have audiences laughing all evening.
Kid Koala: Nufonia Must Fall
7:30pm Wednesday, February 13 & 7:30pm Thursday, February 14
Hammer Theatre Center presents a revolutionary live staging of the graphic novel featuring a team of puppeteers manipulating a cast of 10-inch puppets interacting on more than a dozen miniature sets and projected live on an enormous screen. Nufonia Must Fall tells of the epic love between a female roboticist and a music-loving T4 robot facing obsolescence as a newer, more efficient T5 robot keeps taking away his jobs. Eugene Weeklydescribed it as "nothing short of magical," and BroadwayWorld.com praised it as "one of the most heart-warming shows I've ever seen." This multi-disciplinary performance directed by K.K. Barrett, Oscar nominee and longtime production designer for director Spike Jonze, is accompanied by music performed live by an ensemble of strings, piano, and electronic instruments.
KING LEAR - National Theatre Live Screening
2:00pm & 7:00pm Sunday, February 17
Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, X-Men), widely regarded as one of the greatest stage and screen actors both in his native Great Britain and worldwide, leads the cast of the five-star Chichester Festival Theatre production. Filmed during its limited run in the West End, this contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's tender, violent, moving and shocking play sees two aging fathers-one a King, one his courtier-reject the children who truly love them. Their blindness unleashes a tornado of pitiless ambition and treachery, as family and state are plunged into a violent power struggle with bitter ends. Critical praise was unanimous, with reviewers calling it "Extraordinarily moving" (The Independent), "Nuanced and powerful" (The Times), and "A triumph" (Evening Standard).
ANTONY & CLEOPATRA - National Theatre Live Screening
7:00pm Thursday, February 21 & 2:00pm Sunday, March 3
Caesar and his assassins are dead, and General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of a war-torn empire, the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war. Tony Award winner Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, Schindler's List, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Sophie Okonedo have won multiple five-star reviews for their "simmering chemistry" (Evening Standard) as Shakespeare's famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion, and power. Critics raved about the hotly anticipated production upon its premiere, calling it "outstanding" (Observer) and "epic...filled with passion" (The Guardian). Filmed live onstage at London's National Theatre.
Jessica Lang Dance
7:30pm Saturday, February 23
Disbanding at the end of its current season, this will be one of the final opportunities to view Jessica Lang Dance, a New York City-based dance company whose mission is to present and perform dance works that immerse global audiences in the beauty of movement and music. Created by Bessie Award-winning Artistic Director Jessica Lang, the company's works incorporate striking design elements and transform classical ballet language into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging works featuring gifted, graceful, and athletic performers. JLD's diverse repertoire demonstrates a commitment to genre-bending movement style that resists categorical definition, as well as artistic collaboration with such renowned artists as architect Steven Holl, costume designer Bradon McDonald, lighting designer Nicole Pearce, composer Jakub Ciupinski, and visual artist Shinichi Maruyama, among others. The company has performed for audiences worldwide in over 200 cities, 38 states, and 7 different countries.
Catherine Russell with SJSU Jazz Orchestra Presented by San Jose Jazz
5:00pm Sunday, February 24
With her sixth album, "Harlem On My Mind," Grammy Award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell journeys to the blue heart of the great African American songbook. Swinging forth with soulful interpretations, this vibrant daughter of jazz taps the golden age of Harlem. Vocalists Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Etta James, and Dinah Washington provide inspiration where tunesmiths like Benny Carter, Irving Berlin, Andy Razaf, and Fats Waller once ruled the roost of a renaissance which continues to reverberate. Presented by San Jose Jazz as part of Winter Fest, which showcases a diverse array of emerging talents, leading edge artists, and jazz giants in intimate settings in San Jose.
The Real Group
7:30pm Monday, February 25
The Real Group is a Swedish vocal group with five dedicated singers and musicians, whose unique musical expression blends jazz, pop, and Northern European choral music. Formed in 1984 by five students at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, the group quickly gained an international audience and became one of the cornerstones of modern a cappella. Today, The Real Group has toured for more than 30 years, continuing to excite audiences all over the world with its concerts and educational mentoring, which integrates artistic aspirations with human rights, ecological awareness, global concern, and a feminist mindset.
Cirque Éloize: Saloon
7:30pm Wednesday, March 20
The Wild Wild West comes alive in Cirque Éloize's latest adventure, an action-packed musical acrobatic adventure through the desert. Through the saloon doors is a mythical world where theatre and circus collide. A spectacular cast is featured in this fast-paced show filled with feats of strength, agility, and original choreography, in which the lover falls under the spell of the saloon's beautiful Belle and sets off on a chase worthy of the greatest Westerns. The timeless tunes of Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline set the scene for acrobatic prowess and inventive choreography, as the lovebirds on the run race through deserted plains to the depths of a mine.
THE TRAGEDY OF KING RICHARD THE SECOND - National Theatre Live Screening
7:00pm Thursday, March 28 & 2:00pm Sunday, June 2
Richard II, King of England, is irresponsible, foolish, and vain. His weak leadership sends his kingdom into disarray and his court into uproar. Seeing no other option but to seize power, the ambitious Bolingbroke challenges the throne and the king's divine right to rule. As William Shakespeare's Richard II, Simon Russell Beale returns to National Theatre Live screens in this visceral new production following broadcasts of Timon of Athens and King Lear, and his recent role in the National Theatre's critically acclaimed production of The Lehman Trilogy.
CAPTURING THE IMPOSSIBLE - National Geographic Live
7:30pm Wednesday, April 3
Award-winning extreme filmmaker Bryan Smith visits the Hammer for an edge-of-your-seat presentation about exploring the earth's most remote environments. As National Geographic's go-to filmmaker when the shot requires dangling, hanging, climbing, or soaring, Smith has faced everything from machete-wielding locals in Papua New Guinea to frostbite during the first-ever ice climb of Niagara Falls. He has explored the South Pacific's deepest canyons and scaled North America's tallest mountains to capture the impossible, so he can share with audiences what it means to adventure with purpose, and why he believes the best expeditions are the ones with a healthy chance of failure.
I'M NOT RUNNING - National Theatre Live Screening
7:00pm Thursday, April 4
Pauline Gibson has spent her life as a doctor and the inspiring leader of a local health campaign. When she crosses paths with her old boyfriend, a stalwart loyalist in Labour Party politics, she is faced with an agonizing decision. What's involved in sacrificing your private life and your piece of mind for something more than a single issue? Does she dare? An explosive new play by "the premiere political dramatist writing in English" (The Washington Post), David Hare's state-of-the-nation production filmed at London's National Theatre stars Siân Brooke (BBC's Sherlock), whose powerful performance was called "terrific" by The Guardian.
Asere! Musicians and Dancers of the Havana Cuba All-Stars
Presented by San Jose Jazz
7:30pm Thursday, April 11
A spirited spectacle of song and dance celebrating Cuba's greatest cultural traditions, the Havana Cuba All-Stars are dedicated to promoting the infectious rhythms of Cuban music through a fresh, contemporary lens. Featured artists will showcase a wide variety of Cuban beats from the cha-cha to the rumba, and from son cubano to the salsa. In their Asere!-or "Friendship"-tour, the All-Stars are accompanied by three of Cuba's finest dancing couples. Times Enterprise raved, "toes were tapping, hands were clapping and hardly an audience member could find the discipline to sit still as delightful, fun and infectious rhythms took effect!"
PINK BOOTS AND A MACHETE - National Geographic Live
7:30pm Wednesday, May 15
A former NFL cheerleader, Mireya Mayor followed her wildest dreams to become a respected primatologist, world explorer, and Emmy Award-nominated wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel. Her adventures have taken her to some of the wildest and most remote places on earth, where she has survived poisonous insect bites, been charged by gorillas, and even chased by elephants. Mayor has been hailed as a "female Indiana Jones," and an inspiration to young women interested in science and exploration. Her visit to the Hammer will include awe-inspiring stories, images, and film clips of her adventures, offering audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the hardships and danger of life in the field-along with the moments of discovery that make it all worthwhile.
The Hammer Theatre Center is a distinctive, state-of-the-art performance venue in the heart of downtown San Jose. Owned by the City of San Jose and operated by San Jose State University (SJSU) since 2016, the Hammer Theatre's mission is to serve the community through artistically and educationally excellent programming that is expressive of the unique characteristics and diverse cultures that comprise Silicon Valley. The broader vision of the Hammer includes arts, innovation, and technology programming on the Paseo de San Antonio, creating a vibrant pathway between SJSU and the Tech Museum and bridging the urban spaces from Saint James Park down to the South of First Avenue cultural district. The Hammer also aims to connect SJSU's more than 37,000 faculty, students, and staff within the downtown cultural and economic corridors.
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