Lyric announces new season

Friday, June 19, 2015

Shelley Koppel
Staff writer/Your Voice News

MARTIN COUNTY — The Lyric Theatre’s 2015-2016 season has been announced and there is a mix of the new, the nostalgic, returning favorites and some surprises.

The season kicks off Nov. 7 with flutist Gary Arbuthnot, a student of James Galway, who will present favorites from popular and classical music. Award-winning country star Lee Greenwood takes the stage Nov. 8 and “The Jew, The Old Jew and the Guy from Jersey: An evening of Clean Stand-Up Comedy” comes to town Nov. 13.

December begins with comedian Kathleen Madigan, who brings her stand-up to the Lyric Dec. 2. Dec. 4 brings the National Chinese Circus and the Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China. Fans of the legendary band The Eagles will want to see “7 Bridges-The Ultimate Eagles Experience,” on Dec. 7. “A Peter White Christmas,” with Rick Braun and Mindi Abair, returns to the Lyric Dec. 9 in a show that has become a Lyric tradition.

Paul Tanner, an impressionist called “The Man of Many Voices,” presents “12 Personalities and No Waiting” Dec. 15. Tom Wopat and John Schneider, the Dukes of Hazzard, bring “Return of the Dukes Christmas” Dec. 16. Simon and Garfunkel’s 1981 reunion concert in Central Park is re-created by Lee Lessack and Johnny Rodgers on Dec. 17. “On the Radio,” on Dec. 29, recreates the sounds of the 1970s. The year ends with the Brad Ross Family Magic Show Dec. 30.

The New Year opens with “Menopause: The Musical,” Jan. 4-5. Broadway star and Tony winner Faith Prince presents “An Intimate Evening” Jan. 7. The jazz ensemble, The Hot Sardines, brings its unique sound to the Lyric Jan. 21. Arlo Guthrie returns on Jan. 22with his “Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour.” The popular political satire troupe, Capitol Steps, makes an appearance Jan. 25.
January ends with two special shows. On Jan. 28, Jessica Fellowes presents “Chronicles of Downton Abbey,” providing background and context to the popular PBS show. Superstar violinist Joshua Bell returns to the Lyric Jan. 29.

“Always … Patsy Cline,” brings the music of the country singer to life Feb. 5-6. The show, starring Carter Calvert, centers on the friendship in letters between Cline and Louise Seger. Political satirist and pianist Mark Russell comes to the Lyric Feb. 13. The Atlantic City Boys bring the sounds of the 1960s on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. “Ballroom: South Beach Style” features the art of ballroom dancing with a Latin flair Feb. 17. Tito Puente Jr. is “Keeping the Legacy Alive” Feb. 20 and Darlene Love sings some of her greatest hits in a return to the Lyric Feb. 22-23. The month ends with “Beginnings: The Music of Chicago,” Feb. 28.

Lyric favorite Steve Solomon combines elements from his popular shows, as well as new material, in a show March 1. Actor Jeffrey Tambor, known for his roles in “Arrested Development” and “Transparent,” has a conversation with the audience March 2. “The Magic of Motown” brings the harmonies and choreography of the best of the groups from that era to life March 7. On March 8, the music of Kander and Ebb is brought to life in “Kander and Ebb… and All That Jazz,” with songs from shows like “Chicago” and “Cabaret.”
Legendary entertainer Tony Orlando brings his greatest hits to the Lyric March 10. A tribute to the Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive,” comes to town March 12 and the Doo Wop Project explores the history of that musical style March 13. Country music band Savannah Jack brings vocal harmonies and Southern sass to the theater March 15. The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra brings musicians, crazy costumes and a New Zealand twist to music March 18.

Robert Navarro and his Latin Jazz Orchestra present “A Night at the Palladium” March 19, re-creating the dance hall in New York. Fiesta Mexico-Americana features the Grammy-winning group Los Lobos March 21. “Celtic Nights: Spirit of Freedom,” explores the roots of Celtic music and its effect on American music. The April 9 show features elaborate imagery and costumes.

John Loesser, who recently gave up day-to-day operations of the theater to become its artistic director, spoke about the new season.
“I have some very cool people coming,” he said, “Jeffrey Tambor is an amazing actor. My favorite show is “The Return of the Dukes of Hazzard Christmas Show.” Both are good singers. They can sing and we’re going retro. We’ll get a great show out of Wopat and Schneider.”

Loesser also mentioned Faith Prince, Darlene Love and…the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra from New Zealand.

“I had wanted to do it for years,” he said. “They’re very funny, and where else can you see an entire ukulele orchestra?”

After this past season’s success with “The Rabbi and the Italian,” Loesser put together “The Jew, the Old Jew, and the Guy from Jersey.”
“They’re very good comedians,” he said, “People love comedy shows. They do clean stand-up. It’s not that easy to find, but there’s a demand for it. It’s your basic Bob Hope-type humor.”

There are returning favorites, including a Peter White Christmas with Rick Braun and Mindi Abair.

“They’ve been here eight straight years,” he said. “They’re the best that are out there. It’s become a social event at the Lyric.

The Capitol Steps will be returning, as will Lee Greenwood, the latter for the first time in nine years.

Loesser is enjoying his new role. “This allows me to not worry so much about day-to-day operations,” he said. “I’ll add new things and do expanded educational outreach. I may even produce a show or two. It frees me up to think more creatively. I’m still doing community relations and raising money for the theater. It frees me up to look at areas we haven’t developed.”

Loesser noted that the season’s list is by no means complete. New shows will be announced throughout the summer.

The Lyric Theatre is located at 59 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart. For more information, visit the website or call(772) 286-7827.