Thursday, March 24, 2011

 For Immediate Release

Contact: Jill Graziano Laiacona

Phone: (703) 993-8794

E-mail: jgrazia1@gmu.edu




·   Hylton Presents series filled with nationally and internationally renowned performers from around the globe from comedy to Celtic, bluegrass to Broadway, global dance to ballet, classical theater and music, and more


·   The inaugural Hylton Family Series, featuring four performances designed for families to enjoy and experience the arts together


·   Performances by the Hylton Center’s Resident Arts Partners: NOVA Manassas Symphony Orchestra, Manassas Ballet Theatre, Prince William Little Theatre, Manassas Chorale, Youth Orchestras of Prince William and Vpstart Crow Productions, Inc.


·   The Hylton Performing Arts Center’s 2nd Anniversary Gala featuring Broadway’s “last leading man,” Brian Stokes Mitchell


·   The Castleton Festival at the Hylton, featuring three evening performances conducted by world-renowned Maestro Lorin Maazel in July 2011



    MANASSAS, Va., March 24, 2011 Weeks before the conclusion of a stellar grand opening season, the Hylton Performing Arts Center announced its 2011-12 season at a press conference at its elegant, state-of-the-art performing arts venue on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus on Thursday, March 24. A partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the private sector, the Hylton Center opened to the public in May 2010, providing both a permanent home for local and regional performers and ensembles and a world-class venue where the Northern Virginia community can gather to experience outstanding performing artists of national and international renown. Novant Health also announced the renewal of its Hylton Presents season sponsorship for 2011-12.

   The Hylton Center’s Executive Director Jean Kellogg greeted the members of the media, donors, sponsors, Mason faculty and staff, and members of the Hylton Center’s Executive Board and Marketing Committee, who gathered together in Merchant Hall, the grand 1,121-seat multipurpose proscenium theater to hear about the 2011-12 season. Kellogg then introduced Alan Merten, the president of George Mason University, who spoke about the unique partnership that saw the Hylton Center to fruition, and discussed some of the extraordinary successes the venue experienced in its first year. 

   “George Mason University is thrilled with yet another university/community partnership – a success that is only made possible by the contributions of each of the partners in this exceptional endeavor,” Merten said. “Mason is pleased to have partnered with Prince William County, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and other individuals and businesses in our region from the inception of this great idea to the thriving, magnificent facility in which we've gathered today.”

   Kellogg then introduced Melissa Robson, the president of Prince William Hospital, who said, “Novant Health is thrilled to renew its partnership with the Hylton Center. The arts are vital to any healthy community and we’re honored to help an organization that plays such an important role in our region. We are grateful to continue to be involved as the Season Sponsor of the Hylton Presents series, which will bring world-renowned artists to our area.”





   Kellogg spoke about the Resident Arts Partners, a group of performing arts ensembles that make their home at the Hylton Center. “Central to Hylton Center's mission is providing affordable rental rates and technical support to local performing arts groups,” Kellogg said. “We are thrilled that our Resident Arts Partners are not only thriving at the Hylton Center, but exceeding all expectations by doubling and even tripling their audience sizes! The financial windfall that comes with increased sales has provided them with the opportunity to increase production values and bring them closer to their artistic goals. In return, these Partners are true ambassadors and give back in many ways to make the Hylton Center a great success.”

   Kellogg briefly summarized the season of performances by the Resident Arts Partners, which includes the Manassas Ballet Theatre’s productions of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “The Nutcracker,” “Peter and the Wolf” and “Swan Lake”; Prince William Little Theatre’s productions of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the musical “Baby” and “Red Scare at Sunset”; Vpstart Crow’s productions of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” Barbara Robinson’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”; NOVA Manassas Symphony Orchestra’s concerts, including “A Symphonic Spooktacular,” NMSO’s Annual Family Concert, “Musical Kaleidoscope” and “May-toberfest”; Manassas Chorale’s concerts, including “Civil War Voices,” two holiday concerts, Voices United Concert and “Mozart and More”; and fall and spring concerts by the Youth Orchestras of Prince William, celebrating its 30th anniversary season.





   “We’re particularly excited to introduce in 2011-12 the Hylton Family Series, which is designed to create an opportunity for families to enjoy and experience the arts together,” said Tom Reynolds, the Hylton Center’s director of artistic programming, marketing and audience services. “This group of four events provides a delightful variety of performances that are very modestly priced.”

   The Hylton Family Series begins on Saturday, Oct. 1 with “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical,” based on the Caldecott Honor-winning book by six-time Emmy Award winner Mo Willems. This delightful and hilarious tale about a child, her father and her beloved Knuffle Bunny on their first trip to the Laundromat is presented by the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour.

   The wacky Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Co. takes the stage on Saturday, Nov. 5 for a fun, interactive program that includes physical comedy, dance, juggling, and creative and inflatable inventions.

   On Sunday, Feb. 26, folk legend Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary fame, performs heartwarming renditions of some of the most iconic and beloved music of the 20th century, including “Puff The Magic Dragon,” “If I Had Hammer,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

    Imago Theatre takes the stage on Sunday, April 22, combining comedy, illusion, physical finesse and original music in its acclaimed production of “ZooZoo.” This wild and witty production features a menagerie of creatures – a giant dinosaur, hungry anteaters, hitchhiking rabbits, introverted frogs, cantankerous polar bears, insomniac hippos and tricky penguins – that will mesmerize and delight families of all ages.








   Next, Reynolds presented the Hylton Presents series. “We have discovered in our first year that audiences are eager to experience a variety of diverse performances – everything from comedy to Celtic, from bluegrass to Broadway, from classical theater to baroque opera,” Reynolds said. “We are extraordinarily humbled by the support and enthusiasm the Hylton Center has received by the community in response to the Hylton Presents series. That support has given us the confidence to enhance the series by increasing the number of events by 50 percent.”

   Hylton Presents kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 17 with The Flying Karamazov Brothers in an unforgettable spectacle of music, comedy, dance, theater and juggling with objects as unusual and diverse as bowling balls and chain saws – with a bit of philosophy thrown in for good measure. This zany foursome started on the streets of San Francisco in the 1970s and have since appeared on Broadway, “Seinfeld” and late-night television.

   On Sunday, Oct. 2, Kings of Salsa brings an electrifying mix of high voltage Latin music and sizzling choreography straight from the streets of Havana. The renowned young Cuban choreographer Roclan Gonzalez Chavez has gathered some of Cuba’s hottest talented to perform a spicy blend of cool street salsa, Afro-Caribbean hip-hop, contemporary dance and the Cuban classics – mambo, rumba and cha-cha-cha – to music by the spectacular nine-piece band, Cuba Ashire.

   Compañia Flamenca José Porcel appears on Sunday, Oct. 30, performing a new show called “Gypsy Fire,” which presents the purest, oldest and most fiery forms of flamenco. One of the most celebrated flamenco dancers and choreographers in Spain, Porcel began dancing Andalusian folkloric dances at age 13 and spent years studying in Madrid with the masters of the craft before assembling his spectacular company of gifted dancers and musicians.

   On Friday, Nov. 11, L.A. Theatre Works, America’s premier radio theater company, presents Norman Corwin’s riveting depiction of the historic debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in their battle for the U.S. Senate. Using dialogue from the original debate, “The Rivalry” explores this epic clash of ideas that rocked a divided nation as these two legendary politicians tackled the most controversial issues of their day while still managing to put aside their differences for the good of the country.

   On its inaugural North American tour, the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China appears on Wednesday, Nov. 16 to perform daring feats accompanied by traditional Chinese music. Centuries ago, performers in China combined dramatic folk arts with their cultural roots, using common household objects as props to create an acrobatic art wholly unique to their own culture. In 1950, the government established this renowned company to preserve and carry on this ancient art form, and it has since thrived at home and abroad.

   Northern Virginia’s own American Festival Pops Orchestra returns on Saturday, Nov. 19 to celebrate the immense talent of such American composers as John Williams, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and John Philip Sousa by performing a delightful program of favorites from Broadway, cinema and television, as well as patriotic music honoring our nation. Founder and Artistic Director Anthony Maiello brought together this fantastic orchestra of 60 talented musicians from the D.C. area to present the most memorable and cherished music of the 20th century.

   Chanticleer kicks off the holiday season on Sunday, Nov. 27 with a traditional elegant Christmas concert. Celebrated for their flawless technique, rapturous melodies and original interpretations, these 12 a cappella voices have mastered a vocal literature that spans 10 centuries and includes everything from Gregorian chant and Renaissance music to jazz, gospel and contemporary music.

   After a sold-out performance during the Hylton Center’s grand opening weekend, Celtic family band Leahy returns on Wednesday, Nov. 30 for a heartwarming holiday concert that gives audiences a glimpse into the family’s Christmas celebrations. The eight Canadian siblings perform a joyous blend of traditional Celtic melodies, their own signature hits and cherished Christmas carols from North America and the British Isles, while demonstrating their formidable musical prowess and electrifying step dancing.

   Grammy Award winner Sweet Honey in the Rock graces the Merchant Hall stage on Saturday, Dec. 3 to perform holiday songs from around the world, spreading a message of hope, love, peace, social justice and goodwill to all people. Since forming more than four decades ago, this ensemble made up of six remarkable African-American women has been a vital presence in the Washington, D.C. area, and has enchanted audiences across the globe with glorious harmonies and amazing vocal prowess.

   On Thursday, Dec. 15, the angelic voices of the Vienna Boys Choir bring the joy of the holidays, performing everything from Gregorian chant to Christmas favorites. This outstanding ensemble has been synonymous with choral music for five centuries and has worked with some of the greatest European composers, including Mozart and Bruckner, and has even included Franz Schubert as a member.

   Acclaimed British-American touring company Aquila Theatre appears on Sunday, Jan. 29 with a deliciously witty production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” This hilarious tale details the escapades of Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, two wealthy and bored Englishmen who invent wild tales to escape their dull country lives, resulting in a series of amusing discoveries that threaten to spoil their romantic pursuits.

   On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the “Tchaikowski,” St. Petersburg State Orchestra, under music director and chief conductor Roman Leontiev, performs an exciting program featuring Wagner’s Selections from “Siegfried” and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131. The grand ensemble also accompanies internationally celebrated pianist Alexandre Pirojenko on Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21.

   For the past 60 years, Dr. Ralph Stanley has endeavored to preserve traditional bluegrass, old-time and mountain music with his celebrated band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. Not content to rest on his laurels, at age 84, Stanley still continues to tour with the élan and vigor of a rock star, performing more than 150 concerts each year. On Saturday, Feb. 11, Stanley and his band appear at the Hylton Center, bringing an incredible night of music that will enchant bluegrass fans across generations.

   In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Celtic Nights performs “Journey of Hope” on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17. From the creators of “Gaelforce Dance,” this spectacular new show showcases some of the finest singers, musicians and dancers from the Celtic world to tell the epic story of the proud and passionate Irish people who dared to leave their homeland for a better life in America.

   For more than 40 years virtuoso pianist Jeffrey Siegel has charmed audiences around the globe with Keyboard Conversations®, in which he shares fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about some of the greatest composers of all time before performing their works. On Saturday, March 31, he takes the Merchant Hall stage to perform “Gershwin and Broadway,” featuring Gershwin’s rarely heard solo piano arrangement of “Rhapsody in Blue,” Aaron Copland’s humorous “The Cat and the Mouse,” Scott Joplin’s “Wall Street Rag,” and Leonard Bernstein’s touching “Anniversary” and unpublished “Meditation on a Wedding.”

   Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra is known for bringing audiences to their feet for enthusiastic ovations and for performing jazz classics by Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and more. Under the direction of Artistic Director Jim Carroll, this remarkable ensemble of musicians from the greater Washington, D.C. area takes the stage on Saturday, April 7 with renowned trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling for an evening of stunning interpretations of beloved jazz standards, Broadway classics and popular Hollywood music that defines the Great American Songbook. 

   In the great tradition of grand Russian ballet, the Moscow Festival Ballet appears on Thursday, April 12, performing “Giselle,” the heartrending tale of a young peasant girl who falls deeply in love with a count in disguise. When Giselle discovers her beloved’s true identity, she goes mad and joins the ghosts of girls who avenge the evil deeds of the men who have jilted them. This tragic masterpiece is filled with vengeance, betrayal and death, but love and forgiveness prevail overall.

   On Sunday, April 29, Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), George Mason University’s professional theater in residence, brings an innovative performance piece wrestling with the issue of impermanence and all the ways we long for things, people and life to simply “stay.” Conceived by choreographer Susan Shields and TFA’s co-artistic director Heather McDonald, “Stay” tells the tale of generations of family living on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, and merges theater, dance, SLAM multimedia film, music and performance.







   Dubbed Broadway’s “Last Leading Man” by The New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell closes the 2011-12 season with a bang at the Hylton Center’s 2nd Anniversary Gala on Saturday, May 5. His matinee idol good looks and thrilling voice have landed him leading roles in Broadway’s “Man of La Mancha,” “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Ragtime,” as well as television appearances on “Trapper John, MD,” “Frasier” and “Crossing Jordan.” Now “Stokes” comes to the Hylton Center, bringing his dynamic repertoire of timeless show tunes, ballads, jazz standards and classic love songs like “Embraceable You,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “The Impossible Dream.” 





   Kellogg concluded the presentation with the Castleton Festival at the Hylton Center. This summer, the Hylton Performing Arts Center partners with the Castleton Festival to present three performances in Merchant Hall on July 7, 14 and 21. Each performance features world-renowned conductor and Castleton Festival founder Lorin Maazel conducting the Castleton Festival Orchestra. The Castleton Festival, which is held at Maazel’s bucolic farm estate in Rappahannock County, Va., has received exceptional acclaim from its enormously successful residency program, fostering young artists, advanced students and emerging professionals. The three Castleton Festival at the Hylton performances are unique to the Hylton Center and complement the 2011 Castleton Festival performances that take place at the Castleton Farms estate from June 25 through July 24.

   On Thursday, July 7 at 8 p.m., the young artists of the Castleton Festival perform a concert version of Gershwin’s beloved opera, “Porgy and Bess.” This performance features some of the most memorable music of all time from this quintessential American opera, including “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Bess, You is my Woman Now,” “I Loves You, Porgy,” “A Woman is a Sometime Thing,”  “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’” and “Summertime.”

    The festival continues on Thursday, July 14 at 8 p.m. with “Il Tabarro” and “Gianni Schicchi,” the first and third parts of Giacomo Puccini’s “Il Trittico” (The Triptych), a series of three one-act operas featuring contrasting themes.

   The Castleton Festival at the Hylton Center culminates on Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m. with a concert of American music commemorating the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) featuring acclaimed opera luminary and mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, a Washington, D.C. native renowned for her stunning interpretations of Carmen and Delilah. This sesquicentennial concert features an evening of great American music, including Ferde Grofé’s “On the Trail” (from the “Grand Canyon Suite”), Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story.” The latter will be conducted by Joshua Weilerstein, the 2009 winner of the prestigious Malko Competition for Young Conductors, making his Castleton Festival debut. The evening will also feature Graves performing songs by Stephen Foster with the Castleton Festival Orchestra in accompaniment.


   Subscriptions to Hylton Presents are available on Thursday, March 24 and single tickets go on sale on Thursday, Sept. 1. Please visit hyltoncenter.org for a complete list of events or a season brochure. Tickets to the Castleton Festival at the Hylton Center are currently available on hyltoncenter.org.


Novant Health is the 2011-12 Season Sponsor

of the Hylton Presents series at the Hylton Performing Arts Center




    About the Hylton Performing Arts Center
Dedicated to bringing a world-class performing arts venue to the Prince William region, the Hylton Performing Arts Center was born out of a partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and individuals and businesses in the private sector. Soaring more than nine stories and boasting a stunning mix of copper, glass and masonry, the 85,000-square foot center is home to two unparalleled performance venues for local arts groups and performers from around the world, as well as university-related activities. Modeled after the intimate European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,121 seat multipurpose proscenium theater, which is encircled by 27 private boxes that rise three levels. The Gregory Family Theater is a flexible, 4,400-square foot space that can be configured for many different types of performances and events. In addition, the Didlake Grand Foyer, with its sweeping staircase, provides an ideal setting for community, corporate and social events. The Hylton Performing Arts Center, the only building of its kind in the area, is sure to quickly become the cultural hub of Prince William County and the surrounding communities and is a shining example of collaboration and commitment to the arts.



    About George Mason University

    Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.