Lied Center Kicks Off 16/17 Season with Broadway Superstar Idina Menzel
by Carrie Christiansen
“Nebraska’s Home for the Arts,” the Lied Center for Performing Arts will once again present a jam-packed season featuring the greatest artists in the world in every art form, from popular, to classical music, to dance, to musical theater, beginning with Broadway’s biggest superstar, Tony Award-winning icon Idina Menzel on September 30. Known around the world for a career that traverses stage, film, television and music, Menzel’s voice defined roles including Elsa in Disney’s global box office smash Frozen, Maureen in the Pulitzer Prize winner Rent, and Elphaba in Wicked.
“Idina Menzel is one of the biggest names in show business at the moment,” said Bill Stephan, Lied Center Executive Director. “I can’t think of a more exciting way to kick off our 2016/17 season.”
The Lied Center’s Broadway programming continues to get bigger and better every season, thanks to the generosity of University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus Glenn Korff who bestowed a $4 million gift upon the Lied Center, establishing the Glenn Korff Broadway Series. This year, the Glenn Korff Broadway Series will bring some of New York’s hottest titles to the Lied Center including Once, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Into the Woods, Mamma Mia!, and a highlight of the Lied Center’s season, the first national tour of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical which will make its Nebraska debut at the Lied.
The Lied Center will also showcase some of the greatest popular music and comedy acts touring the United States including country music star Clint Black, blues legend Buddy Guy, comedian Brian Regan, a holiday concert featuring Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis and just in time for election season, The Capitol Steps, the irreverent D.C.-based troupe known for their fresh material, pulled straight from the latest political headlines, scandals and more.
Classical music has long been an integral part of the Lied Center’s programming philosophy, and this season is no exception. The Lied Center celebrates its fourth Piano Series, a program dedicated to bringing the finest pianists in the world to Lincoln with three unforgettable concerts by Ingrid Fliter, Lucas Debargue, and Richard Goode. The Lied Center will also continue its long tradition of bringing the most celebrated orchestras on the planet to the Lied Center stage with an American classic, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra performing a program of Gershwin and legendary music from the silver screen. The reigning virtuoso of the violin, 16-time GRAMMY Award-winner Itzhak Perlman rounds out the Lied Center’s classical music program with his remarkable return to the Lied Center stage.
To please an ever-growing dance audience, the Lied Center has also secured engagements by three companies of international acclaim—Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound, made famous by their many appearances on So You Think You Can Dance, the 50th anniversary celebration of modern dance legend Twyla Tharp, and the Russian National Ballet Theatre’s performance of storybook classic Sleeping Beauty.
Beyond presenting dozens of world-class artists year after year, the Lied Center is also committed to providing local students with opportunities to engage with professional touring artists during their time in Lincoln. Because the Lied Center is a proud affiliate organization of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, UNL students are often among the first to receive these unforgettable opportunities.
“Every young cellist dreams of the opportunity to take a lesson from Yo-Yo Ma, just as every dancer in training longs for the opportunity to work one-on-one with a principal dancer from the finest modern dance company in the world, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,” said Stephan. “Moments like this happen at the Lied Center almost every week.”
The Lied Center approaches every season artist about opportunities to engage with students and community members of all ages during their time in Nebraska. This often takes the form of master classes, lectures, demonstrations and opportunities to ask questions about their careers and craft.
Just as it has for over two and half decades, the Lied Center will host dozens of artist engagement opportunities for students of all ages this season, among them, dance master classes with companies like Twyla Tharp and Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound, as well as vocal, dance and acting instruction from Broadway professionals and one-on-one lessons from internationally renowned musicians like the Boston Pops.
“When you purchase a ticket to a Lied Center performance, not only are you helping to bring the greatest artists in the world to Lincoln, you are supporting life transforming moments in the classroom that will change the lives of the individuals touched by these opportunities forever,” said Stephan.
Visit LiedCenter.org. for the Lied Center’s full 2016/17 season plus more information on each performance including videos of the artists in action.