California Center for the Arts, Escondido (the Center) this week announced its 2016/2017 season featuring a line-up of performers that includes Kathy Griffin, Keith Sweat, Big Head Todd And The Monsters, Montgomery Gentry, Garrison Keillor, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Pink Martini, Shaping Sound, The Midtown Men, Black Violin, The TEN Tenors, Villalobos Brothers, Portland Cello Project, Flip Fabrique, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Mexrrissey, International Guitar Night, Masters of Hawaiian Music, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Pablo Villegas, Marta Lledo, The Quebe Sisters, The Mariachi Divas, Ching-Ming Cheng, and more.
Four exhibitions will also be featured in the Center’s contemporary art museum, as well as many annual community events taking place onsite at the Center throughout the year. The season debuts on August 11, 2016 and continues until June 21, 2017.
Events will take place in both the 1,523-seat Concert Hall and 404-seat Center Theater.
The Center’s Executive Director Jerry VanLeeuwen told the Times-Advocate, “The 2016-17 season promises to be the most engaging of any of our season offerings to date. We have new artists appearing on our stages such as Kathy Griffin, The Midtown Men, and Black Violin who represent tremendous diversity, creativity and styles. We also have returning artists such as Shaping Sound, Pink Martini and Garrison Keillor who thrilled our sold out audiences in the past. We have a performance for every entertainment interest.”
“We are proud to support California Center for the Arts, Escondido in what is sure to be a successful season,” said Bill Ostrem, San Diego Division President for CalAtlantic Homes. “By bringing a wide range of cultural, educational and entertaining events to the area, the Center enriches the lives of our residents at Harmony Grove Village and the greater Southern California area.”
Performing Arts 2016/2017 Season Lineup
Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show
*Thursday, August 11 – Sunday August 14, 2016 Center Theater
This roof-raising musical tribute is a sassy, sultry celebration of legendary jazz great, Fats Waller. Audiences will be transported to the glory days of the Harlem Renaissance with a versatile cast that struts, strums and sings the songs that Waller made famous during his storied career.
*Saturday, September 10, 2016 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Two-time Emmy and Grammy Award- winning comedian Kathy Griffin’s rapid- fire wit, outrageous musings on popular culture, and hilarious celebrity anecdotes will have audiences doubled over in laughter. A towering figure on television, on tour, and in publishing, Griffin breaks through the entertainment clutter with her universally recognized brand of pull-no- punches comedy. Sponsored by Stone Brewing Co.
Big Head Blues Club Presents The Songs of Willie Dixon featuring BIG HEAD TODD AND THE MONSTERS
with Special Guests Mud Morganfield, Billy Branch, and Ronnie Baker Brooks *Thursday, September 29, 2016 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Platinum-selling stars Big Head Todd and the Monsters join forces with three second-generation blues stars – Mud Morganfield, Billy Branch and Ronnie Baker Brooks – to pay tribute to one of the pillars of modern blues and most influential songwriters of early rock and roll. Willie Dixon’s street-tough lyrics and ribald riffs have permeated the works of artists such as Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and even Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Sponsored by Harmony Grove Village.
*Friday, September 30, 2016 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
R&B legend Keith Sweat has sold over 25 million records and received the 2013 Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award. Sweat shot to stardom in the golden era of R&B music in the ‘90s and continues to reign supreme with a scintillating repertoire that includes popular hits such as “Gonna Make You Sweat,” “Twisted,” and “Nobody.”
The Quebe Sisters
*Sunday, October 2, 2016 Center Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Prepare to be blown away when triple threat fiddle champions Grace, Sophia, and Hulda Quebe raisetheir fiddles and blend their voices in an intricately layered three-part harmony reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters. The Quebe’s unique brand of music has taken the Americana scene by storm with a refreshing blend of swing, vintage country, bluegrass, jazz and swing standards, and Texas-style fiddling.
*Thursday, October 20, 2016 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Come one, come all to the spellbinding cirque sensation that will entertain adults and children alike! Flip Fabrique is a Quebec-based troupe of six acrobats whose fast-paced circus show, Attrape-Moi (Catch Me!), features swirling hula hoops, masterful juggling, gravity-defying aerialist techniques, and more.
*Tuesday, November 1, 2016 Center Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Delving into Mexico’s unlikely obsession for all things Morrissey, Mexrrissey has translated Morrissey’s most venerable songs into Spanish and laced them with Latin beats. Led by Camilo Lara, the DJ Behind the respected electronica outfit, the Mexican Institute of Sound, the band uses brass accordion, and other Mexican elements to bring its seriously remixed Morrissey to our Center Theater.
The Midtown Men
*Friday, November 4, 2016 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
After sharing the Broadway stage for over one thousand performances as the original cast of the mega-successful Jersey Boys, Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer decided to take their signature sound and chemistry to audiences everywhere. This high-octane musical tour de force celebrates the best music of the ‘60s and will leave audiences singing, “Oh, what a night!” Sponsored by Harmony Grove Village.
*Sunday, November 6, 2016 Center Theater at 3 p.m.
Internationally renowned Argentinian piano sensation Marta Lledo is known for her passionate tango interpretations as well as her classical repertoire. Hailed as the world’s #1 Latina pianist, Lledo has received global recognition for her unstoppable talent including the Wagner Association Award for most talented young person in Argentina.
*Sunday, November 6, 2016 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
From “Hillbilly Shoes” to “Headlights,” the ACM and CMA award-winning Montgomery Gentry has become one of the most identifiable duos in the history of country music. Their outlaw- meets-gentleman sensibilities, yin and yang personalities, and intensely energetic live performances have drawn door- busting crowds for the past 15 years.
*Saturday, December 3, 2016 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Pink Martini, the American band with an international flair, returns to the Center for a holiday spectacular! Join over a dozen musicians and lead vocalist China Forbes as they perform unique seasonal selections of traditional holiday classics as well as their globally-inspired repertoire, which crosses genres of classical, Latin, jazz, and old-fashioned pop. Sponsored by Newland Communities.
Portland Cello Project
*Sunday, January 22, 2017 Center Theater at 7:30 p.m.
The Portland Cello Project has captivated audiences all over the country with extravagant performances in venues ranging from symphony halls to punk rock clubs. The genre-bending group infuses the classical cello with an unforgettable modern twist, covering Radiohead, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, and more.
*Wednesday, January 25, 2017 Center Hall at 7:30 p.m.
True to his award-winning radio form, legendary humorist and author Garrison Keillor delivers hilarious anecdotes with his signature “down comforter voice,” dry sense of humor, charisma, and wisdom.
Don’t miss the chance to see him on his final tour! Sponsored by Stone Brewing Co.
*Thursday, February 2, 2017 Center Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Virtuoso violinists Wil B. and Kev Marcus meld highbrow and pop culture through a fusion of classical, jazz, hip- hop, blues, and R&B. Joining the classically trained violinists is turntable wiz DJ TK; together the trio smashes musical stereotypes and enthrall fans of Bach and Beyoncé alike. Sponsored by Stone Brewing Co.
*Saturday, February 4, 2017 Center Theater at 7:30 p.m.
The soulof the Spanish guitar runs in Pablo Villegas’ blood. A native of La Roja, Spain, Villegas is distinguished by his passionate performances, charismatic stage presence, and stunning technical abilities that embody the playfulness and drama of his homeland’s rich musical heritage.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet
*Thursday, February 9, 2017 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Combining technical precision, power, and passion, Complexions Contemporary Ballet delivers an exciting performance that transcends tradition in a groundbreaking mix of styles ranging from ballet to hip hop. The group, who has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance, will perform Innervisions, an upbeat, contemporary dance tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder, along with other selections from their esteemed repertoire.
International Guitar Night
*Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Center Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Master performer Brain Gore returns to the Center for another critically acclaimed performance celebrating the world’s finest guitarists! This brilliant acoustic extravaganza features Gore along with a new cast of celebrated guitar luminaries including Luca Stricagnoli, Chrystian Dozza, and Debashis Bhattacharya.
*Thursday, February 23, 2017 Center Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Hailing from Veracruz, Mexico, the Villalobos Brothers are acclaimed as one of today’s leading contemporary Mexican ensembles. The violin trio draws on many genres including San Jarocho, jazz, rock, and blues. These classically trained virtuosos deliver a signature style known as “Fast-Chatting Violin,” for a mesmerizing brew of brilliance, cadence and virtuosity.
The TEN Tenors
*Sunday, February 26, 2017 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Center favorites The TEN Tenors are back, celebrating their 20th Anniversary with an all-new rock-opera show, The Power of TEN! Taking on the most dynamic songs in the world, the “Vocal Wonders from Down Under” will soar through classical arias and give rock anthems an exhilarating and unique sound for an electrifying night of world-class entertainment.
Masters of Hawaiian Music
*Friday, March 3, 2017 Concert Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Four-time Grammy Award winner and slack key guitar virtuoso George Kahumoko Jr. is known as Hawaii’s Renaissance Man. Kahumoko will take the stage with slack key guitarist Kawika Kahiapo and instrumentalist Nathan Aweau to perform a distinctly Hawaiian style of open tunings, along with stories and light- hearted entertainment.
Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
*Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Center Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Grammy Award winning husband and wife duo Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn take the stage together to perform music from their debut album. The celebrated banjo players demonstrate seemingly unlimited rhythmic, tonal, and melodic capabilities showcasing the banjo’s versatility for a one-of-a-kind pairing with one-of-a-kind possibilities.
*Sunday, April 9, 2017 Center Theater at 3 p.m.
A classically trained, award-winning piano virtuoso, CSUSM music professor Ching-Ming Cheng has an enthusiastic heart for sharing her profession with others. Dr. Cheng has been featured in solo and collaborative performances around the world. Don’t miss this inspirational celebration of the classical piano!
The Mariachi Divas
*Sunday, May 14, 2017 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
A two-time Grammy Award winner with a total of six Grammy nominations and two Latin Grammy nominations, The Mariachi Divas are a multicultural, all-female ensemble imbued with the unique musical flavor of Los Angeles. Since 2003, the Mariachi Divas have performed at Disneyland Resort, melding styles from Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Germany, Spain, and other parts of the world.
*Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m.
Shaping Sound returns to the Center for another electrifying mash-up of dance styles and musical genres. The contemporary dancers who rose to fame on So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars will thrill audiences of all ages with their exhilarating collaboration of explosive choreography, dynamic rhythm, speed, and physical strength, all coming together to give shape and form to sound.
[/caption] style=”font-weight: bold”>Museum Exhibitions 2016/2017 Season Lineup
My Hero & Unlocking Wonderland
*May 21 – August 14, 2016
Superheroes come to life this summer! These parallel exhibitions examine heroic comic book icons and celebrate 150 years of Alice. Go down the rabbit hole into the whimsical world of Wonderland, then summon your powers and soar through the exhibits. Over 60 world- renowned artists look at our beloved heroes in the thought-provoking new ways.
Heated Exchange: Contemporary Encaustics
*September 24 – November 13, 2016
No longer entombed with the mummies, the ancient art of encaustic (hot wax) resonates in contemporary culture. The multi-dimensional surface, luminous color, and ethereal image layering unique to this once obsolete medium is now recognized both for it’s exquisite beauty and incredible versatility.
Cowboys & Vaqueros: Legends of the American West
*January 14 – February 26, 2017
Take a trip to the Wild West in this collection of grand paintings of nostalgic vistas of the American West and ornately decorated equestrian bits, spurs, and bridles. This journey through our region’s history explores the culture of the West and honors Cowboy, Native American, and Mexican traditions.
Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art
*April 8 – May 28, 2017
With a powerful message of environmental awareness, this exhibition highlights a creative alternative to mindless consumption and focuses on the importance of repurposing. Artists from around the world transform discarded hubcaps into fine art in a unique collaboration with Landfillart, Inc., a Pennsylvania- based nonprofit.
Annual Community Events
53rd Annual Independence Day Festival & Fireworks Join 20,000 patriotic festival-goers for a day of rockin’ live music, tasty treats, and Fourth of July fun and games for all. After dark, turn your gaze to the sky for a dazzling fireworks display!
*July 4, 2016 First Wednesdays featuring A Penny A Kiss (September 7, 2016 at 4pm & 7pm), Todo Mundo (October 5, 2016 at 4pm & 7pm), G Burns Jug Band (November 2, 2016 at 4pm & 7pm), The Cherries Jubilee (December 7, 2016 at 7pm), and more!
*Every First Wednesday of the Month, September 2016 through June 2017 Jazz Jam Sessions Jazz up your summer with live music in the moonlight! Whether you sit back and enjoy a glass of wine or pick up your sax and play with the band, the musical talent at our jam sessions will blow you away.
*Fridays in August 2016 Música en la Plaza New this year, bring your dancing shoes to our Lyric Court and enjoy live music, tacos, tequila, and more. From Cumbia and Bachata, to Salsa and Norteña, these rhythms will move you to get up and dance under the stars!
*Fridays in September 2016 21st Annual Día de los Muertos Festival Create altars and sugar skulls to celebrate and honor deceased loved ones on this traditional Mexican holiday. Afterward, explore the country’s rich cultural heritage through art, music, and dance.
*November 1, 2016 Holiday Tree Lighting & Winter Wonderland Festival Celebrate the holidays at the Center! Every December we bring the North Pole to the heart of Escondido with a visit from Santa, real snow, and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
*December 3, 2016 First Marine Division Band Annual Concert Don’t miss Camp Pendleton’s finest musicians as they return to the Center for their popular annual performance. Each spring, the band presents a new and engaging concert that keeps audiences coming back year after year!
*Spring 2017 smART Festival Enjoy a vibrant showcase of artwork and performances by Escondido’s students. This celebration of aspiring artists is held in our museum, theaters, and Great Green.
*March 25, 2017 The Center is located at 340 N. Escondido Blvd. in Escondido. The Ticket Office can be reached at (800) 988-4253. Tickets can also be purchased online. To learn more, including performance dates, times and ticket information, visit artcenter.org.