Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, performing arts organizations are still struggling to make a comeback and with surging numbers, several events are once again being canceled or protocols are changing.
The Michigan State University College of Music has canceled and postponed its first two events, originally scheduled for this Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The Jack Rudin Jazz Championship has been moved to April 19-20. Still on the docket as of January’s first full week is the annual MLK event, a popular free event that always fills up.
The Wharton Center is now requiring proof of full vaccination and an ID for all its events—as are the other major entertainment and athletic venues on campus. When you go to a Wharton Center event, be sure to go early.
However, if you are willing to go out, here are some dates to put on your calendar.
Wharton Center and the LSO want to entertain you
Once “Cats” wraps up its appearance this weekend, the stages will be cleared for several musical performances. First, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra will be staging a Masterworks offering featuring Lansing’s Suren Bagratuni on cello in a concert entitled “Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1: “For the People.” Additional pieces will be “River of Doubt” by the LSO’s Composer-in-Residence Patrick Harlin and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6.
That concert is at Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 14.
The next Wharton Center sponsored main stage concert is the following Tuesday, Jan. 18: “Our Song, Our Story: A New Generation of Black Voices.” It begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Cobb Great Hall and highlights some of the world’s most well-known arias, art songs and spirituals. It features opera singers Brandie Sutton and Raehann Bryce-Davis in an evening created and directed by composer, conductor and multi-genre musician Damien Sneed in a performance that honors Martin Luther King Jr. and MLK Day. Tickets start at $24.
On Saturday, Jan. 15, the Pasant Stage will welcome families for two productions of “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.” Based on the children’s book, the show tosses together fairy tales and mixes them up until they are almost unrecognizable. The annoying Stinky Cheese Man keeps getting in the way of Jack as he tries to save himself from the giant, Cinderella fights with Rumpelstiltskin and Goldilocks encounters the Three Elephants. The shows are at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. and tickets are $15.
The following week, on Jan. 18-19, the Reduced Shakespeare Company will take over the same stage to perform their very own “prequel”— “Hamlet’s Big Adventure.” Tickets are $53 to see the zany trio of actors tell a tale about a young Hamlet and Ophelia who are navigating their parents and their own feelings while putting on a show. And they’ll mix in ghosts, wee Scots, singing nuns and a mysterious vassal in the castle.
College of Music brings warmth to cold Michigan month
MSU College of Music’s first public event in 2022 will be one of the favorites that they produce each year—“Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest Concert.” It is a free concert, but tickets are required and they’re a hot item. Get them early to experience this MLK tradition celebrating the birth of the great civil rights leader.
The concert features the MSU jazz ensembles and the MSU Jazz Orchestra. There are also speakers each year and special guest artists. It is the showcase event for the campus-wide MLK celebration. Concerts are at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16 at the Fairchild Theatre in the MSU Auditorium.
Days later, on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m., WKAR will sponsor an artist-faculty and guest recital titled “Tuba and Friends.” Faculty tubist Philip Sinder will perform music by Jan Koetsier, James Stephenson and PDQ Bach. He’ll be joined by several of his colleagues, including Chen-Yu Huang on harp, Gwendolyn Dease and Jon Weber playing percussion, Michael Kroth on bassoon, Derek Polichuk on piano, Nathan Wood on euphonium and guest tubist David Zerkel.
● Starlight Dinner Theatre is holding auditions for narrator, secondary roles and ensemble parts for the concert version of “Guys and Dolls.” They will be held at First Christian Church of Lansing, 1001 Chester Road, Lansing, on Friday, Jan. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. Sign up for auditions at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c084eaca728a5f49-guys