Diana Wortham Theatre announces 2013-14 Mainstage season

August 20, 2013

The Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville, North Carolina announces the schedule of performances for the 2013/2014 Mainstage Series. The Mainstage Series presents a wide range of top touring artists in music, theater, dance, comedy, and other performing arts in an intimate, 500-seat hall. Tickets for all performances are on sale at 10am on August 22nd and are available  at www.dwtheatre.com as well as from the box office at (828) 257-4530. The theatre offers flexible multi-show discount packages starting with as few as three performances. Savings range from 10% to 20% off Regular prices depending on the number of performances; multi-show packages are available through the Diana Wortham Theatre box only at 828-257-4530.

The 2013/2014 Mainstage Series season opens September 20, 2013 with an opening night party sponsored by Pack’s Tavern at 7pm and an 8pm performance by Grammy-nominated blues artist Ruthie Foster, with opening act, blues and roots artist Seth Walker. The 2011, 2012 and 2013 winner of the Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female Artist, Ruthie Foster smolders, sizzles and ignites with an intensity born from her vibrant voice and indelible presence.

The 2013/2014 Mainstage Special Attractions Series showcases five performances that cross multiple genres. In her one-of-a-kind live performance “SandyLand” comedian Sandra Bernhard (October 12, 2013) sharply blends theatre, rock-n-roll and stand-up comedy with a little burlesque and cabaret, backed by her band, The Flawless Zircons. The highly skilled men and women of Yamato: The Drummers of Japan (November 9, 2013 – two shows) put their souls into performing on a mind-altering array of traditional percussion instruments, and celebrate Yamato’s two decades of rhythm in the new show Royjoh – The Beat on the Road. The warm merrymaking of the season shines in A Swannanoa Solstice(December 22, 2013 – two shows), a beloved holiday tradition featuring world award-winning recording artists Al Petteway, Amy White and Robin Bullock who are joined by a wealth of storytellers, dancers and special guest musicians, along with host, Doug Orr. In Imago Theatre’s FROGZ(February 13 & 14, 2014), comedic amphibians, acrobatic larvae, circus boulders, and metamorphosing humans take the stage in works sophisticated, universally appealing and highly entertaining for all ages. Stereotype-shattering magicians blend the theatrical elements of a Broadway production with the driving energy of a rock concert in The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion (May 9 & 10, 2014), the award-winning, record-breaking show that redefines magic for a new generation of spectators.

Special Event with Norm Lewis on February 9, 2014:  Tony-nominated leading man and smooth baritone Norm Lewis is one of today’s foremost actor-vocalists. Lewis has performed in Broadway’s recent The Gershins’ Porgy and Bess opposite Audra McDonald, as well as in other leading roles on Broadway including Billy Flynn (Chicago), King Triton (The Little Mermaid), and Javert (Les Misérables) on Broadway and in the London concert production seen on public television. This performance is a special benefit evening for Diana Wortham Theatre and will include a celebratory post-performance sparkling wine reception and meet-and-greet with Norm Lewis for VIP ticket buyers.

The 2013/2014 Mainstage Music Series at Diana Wortham Theatre features some of the nation’s top touring acts. Hot new Canadian band Chic Gamine (October 18, 2013) comes to Diana Wortham Theatre as part of its inaugural North Carolina tour. Cited as one of the top new artists to discover at the 2013 South by Southwest in Austin by National Public Radio, this band is giving a new spin to the classic 1960’s girl group sound. Susan Wernerreturns to Diana Wortham Theatre withThe Hayseed Project (November 21, 2013). Paying tribute to American agriculture and her Iowa farm roots, Werner revisits the language and people she knows best lending humor and passion to subjects such as farming, rural America, and the comic potential of herbicides. WNC favorites Sutton, Holt & Coleman (February 8, 2014) plumb the depths of the rich musical culture of North Carolina using a variety of traditional instruments, three part harmonies, and a mixture of traditional and newly written songs. The Pedrito Martinez Group (April 11, 2014) features world-renowned Cuban conga player Pedrito Martinez and his Peruvian, Venezuelan and Cuban bandmates in a one-of-a-kind Afro-Cuban ensemble. Mandolin player Sierra Hull (May 3, 2014) has emerged as one of bluegrass’s full-fledged virtuosic instrumentalist/singer-songwriters, and a leading light in a new generation of bluegrass musicians.

The 2013/2014 Mainstage Dance Series, recognized for offering some of the nation’s foremost dance companies right here in Asheville, opens with Diavolo Dance Theater (October 8 & 9, 2013) under Artistic Director Jacques Heim—back by popular demand. Diavolo’s dancers, gymnasts, athletes and actors brilliantly explore the space where reality ends and imagination begins. Experience a mesmerizing evening with one of the finest contemporary dance companies in the nation as Eisenhower Dance (January 17 & 18, 2014) performs its exciting repertoire of innovative choreography with stunning technique. A highlight of the Dance Series this season is one of the region’s most notable cultural prodigies, Hendersonville native Chase Brock, with his namesake troupe The Chase Brock Experience (March 21 & 22, 2014). Brock has appeared on Broadway, choreographed Broadway’s Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, and formed The Chase Brock Experience all before hitting 30 – and now he brings some of his hottest, hippest works to Asheville. 

The 2013/2014 Mainstage Theatre Series features four compelling performances. Asheville audiences can experience the performance that brought down the house on its last visit to Diana Wortham Theatre: Shakespeare on Trial (November 23, 2013) by Jeremy Webb presents writer Bill Shakespeare as he encounters four of his most famous characters – up-close, personal and ticked-off. Aquila Theatre Company brings two nights of unforgettable entertainment: first with Ray Bradbury’s visionary parable Fahrenheit 451 (January 31, 2014), one of the most revered novels of the twentieth century; and then on the following night the company presents an irresistibly charming new take on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (February 1, 2014) with a remarkable original musical score. Aquila Theatre’s “two plays in one weekend” afford audiences the chance to see the same remarkable cast in very different roles, often dissimilar in nature, in the same weekend. And rounding out the theatre series LEO: The Anti-Gravity Show (March 28 & 29, 2014) is an enchanting and mind-bending one-man show. Leo lives at a ninety-degree angle to the rest of the world, and with fluid, real-world handstands, tumbles, and falls projected by an ingenious video stage concept, the simple act of standing up is transformed into a stupendous feat.

The 2013/2014 Mainstage Celtic Series presents four unforgettable bands in the Scots-Irish tradition. With a vigorous, intense performance style and a thorough understanding of both the musical and social elements of traditional music, Dervish (February 21, 2014) is one of the all-time great Irish bands. The Paul McKenna Band (March 14, 2014) is one of the brightest young bands on the scene and “a band with the potential to dominate the Scottish/Irish traditional scene for the next twenty years” (Fatea Magazine). Marvel at the sound of three world-class Grammy nominated performers with The Teetotallers(April 18, 2014), each an amazing artist in his own right – together for a triple threat evening of their combined talents. Asheville’s own John Doyle is joined by BBC Radio’s Folk Instrumentalist of the Year Martin Hayes and Lúnasa’s Kevin Crawford in this outstanding trio. Wrapping up the Celtic Series is one of the finest vocalists in Irish/American music, Cathie Ryan(May 2, 2014) who brings her luminous voice and award-winning band to Asheville for a charming evening of traditional tunes.

2013/2014 Intersections Series Performances: The Intersections Series features two dedicated performances in the 2013/2014 season. The ultimate troubadour Jim Malcolm (November 20, 2013) performs “Just Flown In From Scotland.”Malcolm warms the soul with masterful guitar and harmonica peppered with funny stories and engaging wit. And Dirty Barbie (January 23-25, 2014) written, directed and performed by Denise Stewart is a fun and poignant one-woman show that speaks to the secret lives of girls, the way we play, and the unsupervised side of childhood. Intersections Series performances are held in The Forum, a large multi-purpose space adjacent to the theatre and accessible from the theatre’s main lobby.

The 2013/2014 Mainstage Matinee Series for Students and Families is a full schedule of shows to complement the classroom curriculum of area students and teachers and is open to school groups, homeschoolers, community groups, and families. Serving more than 9,000 students, educators, and families every year, the series features first-rate performances and detailed study guides designed by educators. This year’s Mainstage Matinee Series includes: Diavolo Dance Theater (October 8, 2013), The Very Hungry Caterpillar (October 18, 2013), Kid Power’s Operation Lunch Line 3-D (November 15, 2013), Shakespeare on Trial (November 22, 2013), Eisenhower Dance – Kids in Motion (January 15, 2014), Eisenhower Dance – Motown in Motion (January 17, 2014), Twelfth Night (February 3, 2014), The Chase Brock Experience (March 21, 2014),  LEO: The Anti-Gravity Show(March 28, 2014), and Junie B. Jones (April 14 & 15, 2014).

The Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place is located in the same complex as the Asheville Art Museum and the Colburn Earth Science Museum and is within walking distance of many shops and restaurants. The intimate theatre seats just over 500 and boasts exceptional acoustics and sightlines, making it the premier performance space in all of Western North Carolina. The Mainstage Series is supported by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency. The Mainstage Series 2013/2014 Season Sponsors are the Asheville Scene, Blue Moon Water Creative Energy, Laurey’s Catering and Gourmet-to-go, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Renaissance Asheville Hotel. To obtain more information on the Mainstage Series or to purchase tickets, call the theatre’s box office at (828) 257-4530 or visit www.dwtheatre.com