Performing Arts Series Unveils Exciting Schedule

Performing Arts Series Unveils Exciting Schedule

SOCORRO, N.M. – With a season that includes ballet, a singing cowboy, world-class flamenco dancing and even a monster-killing teenager, one would hard pressed to single out any one of the shows in the New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series’ 2017-18 season line-up.

The first show in September sets the tone and spirit of the entire season, a season which Director Ronna Kalish says has something for everybody, from lavish stage productions to a November concert by New Mexico’s own Michael Martin Murphey.

  PAS17-Murph-in-Red-River-2 Edited

Michael Martin Murphey highlights the 2017-2018 season of the NMT Performing Arts Series.


“As a rule we try to do some really different things each year,” Kalish said. “Kicking off the season on September 16 is ‘She Kills Monsters,’ a comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games.”

“She Kills Monsters” tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly's Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly's refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

Do you think you have an award-winning singing voice? You never know unless you try out for Socorro Sings. Auditions with be at 10 .m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at Macey Center. The event will be hosted by Emmy award-winning pop-Irish tenor, Eamonn McCrystal and the original star of Celtic Woman, Chloe Agnew. This unique fundraiser event will give about 10 vocalists from Socorro the chance to compete for a prize. This prize includes the chance to record an original song with Eamonn's record label and perform a song live in New York. Entry deadline is September 8. The entry form is downloadable, found on the website, nmtpas.org, or contact the Performing Arts Series office at 835-5688 or email pas@nmt.edu for entry details.

“Socorro Sings” will feature the finalists from the auditions earlier in the fall compete, á la NBC-TV’s “The Voice” on December 1 

On October 6, PAS presents TAIKOPROJECT with a percussive journey that blends traditional Japanese drumming with a fresh and innovative approach; that only the brightest and youngest American taiko drummers could achieve. TAIKOPROJECT has dazzled stage and screen audiences for more than 15 years with its unique contemporary blend of Taiko, music, storytelling and choreography. 


The TAIKOPROJECT will perform in Socorro on October 6. 


TAIKOPROJECT made waves by performing with some of the biggest names in music, including Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Usher, Sean Paul, and more. The group has also appeared on the Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards, "The Voice," "The X-Factor," Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and numerous commercials.

Later in the month it’s “iLuminate” on October 26 featuring an action filled journey of light and sound as we join a clique of twenty-somethings who thrive to the beat of life in a city of glowing colors and heart-pounding musical tempos. Music, art and the technological magic of iLuminate bring you a story of adventure and romance conveyed by an array of dance styles from contemporary to popping to breaking expressed through a glowing visual design. All this, perfectly choreographed to popular and classic music by artists like Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, James Brown, Janet Jackson, Chris Brown, LMFAO, The Wanted, and Sam Smith.

A must-see this season is on November 17, when Michael Martin Murphey returns to his singing cowboy roots to tell riveting human stories of love and hate, sin and redemption, loss and risk, failure and victory, revenge and forgiveness and family legacy. Murphey celebrates the Western lifestyle so well-dramatized by the passionate struggles of the grazing land cultures of the world who literally live and die by managing land and water. Over the past 40 years, Murphey has left an indelible mark on the American music landscape with hits like Geronimo's Cadillac, Cosmic Cowboy, Wildfire, Carolina In The Pines, Cherokee Fiddle, What’s Forever For, and Cowboy Logic.

Swirling dresses, lively violins, and the sights and sounds of folkloric dancing accompanies the clear peal of trumpets in our holiday tradition, Mariachi Christmas on December 9. Now in its 18th year in Albuquerque and sixth in Socorro, the show rings in the holiday season with exuberant mariachi music and dance to represent the traditions of Mexico at Christmas time. This year's featured groups are: Mariachi Aztlan and Ballet Folklorico University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. Join this colorful and entertaining show curated by the founder of the Mariachi Spectacular, Norberta Fresquez.

An ace group of rotating cellists, the Portland Cello Project, take the stage on January 26 to take on everything from Britney's "Toxic" to the Dandy Warhols and postmodern Estonian composer Arvo Pärt in their one-off performances. The Portland Cello Project is a nationally recognized performance and educational group with a revolving cast of cellists, releasing full-length albums, performing everywhere from punk rock clubs, to loading dock street parties, to exclusive private events, and symphony halls all over North America, spending more than a quarter of the year touring, and featuring a diverse repertoire of well over 1,000 pieces of music.

“Five Course Love” is a comedy musical, presented by Scaffolding Theatre Co., scheduled for February 9. This performance tells the stories of a variety of characters – like a mobster, dominatrix, and waitress – as they pine for love and fight to make their dreams come true. Three actors play 15 different characters in five different restaurants on the hunt for one true love. The evening begins at Dean's Old-Fashioned All-American Down-Home Bar-B-Que Texas Eats, where a blind date goes charbroiled wrong.

On February 23, it’s The World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater where circus performer Gregory Popovich and his entourage of furry four-legged performers star in an award-winning spec-CAT-ular. The show is a family-oriented blend of the unique comedy and juggling skills. More than 30 pets are in the show, each one rescued from animal shelters and given a new “leash” on life. Acts include the Dog Classroom, the Amazing House-Cats, the Animal Train Station, and surprise appearances from trained doves, parrots, goats, and a miniature horse named Diamond, along with acrobats, mimes, and contortionists.

Flamenco music and dance take the stage on March 23 when director Jesús Muñoz and company present an intimate evening of world-class flamenco music and dance. Jesús Muñoz Flamenco is unique in its collaborative respect for Cante Flamenco and Baile por derecho (otherwise known as dancing straight-up), which are its foundation. Jesús Muñoz Flamenco began as a small group with big dreams to pursue original work. Though modest in size, the quality of the work has reached world-class stature and reputation with collaboration from prominent artists.

Rounding out the PAS Macey schedule is State Street Ballet’s Cinderella on Friday, April 20. It’s the perfect combination of a well-loved tale brought to life with unexpected twists and turns that will please young audience members, and classical dance that will satisfy ballet aficionados.

The Cinderella ballet, completed by Sergei Prokofiev in 1945, is a variation of the original rags-to-riches story. State Street Ballet’s Cinderella features original choreography by Founder and Artistic Director Rodney Gustafson with additional choreography by Marina Fliagina, set design by Jean-Francios Revon, and costuming by Christina Giannini. Digital animation projected onto a see-through scrim is used to help a pumpkin transform into a carriage, while the lead dancer visible behind the scrim changes from her costume of rags to the princess dressed for a ball.

The Presidential Chamber Music Series includes four shows this season.

Monday, Sept. 25, String Quartets

Monday, Nov. 13, West Shore Piano Trio

Monday, Jan. 29, The History of Tango with QTango

Monday, Mar. 26, Oboe Quartets

And don’t forget the NDI-NM show “Roots Revival” on Oct. 13. Socorro County youth dance in a gala culmination performance of three weeks of intense dance instruction. This is NDI's 21st year in Socorro, one of their longest running residencies in New Mexico.

For more information:  www.nmtpas.org 

Reprinted with Permission from the El Defensor Chieftain

By John Larson