“If amethysts could sing, they would sound like Judy Collins.”
— Richard Farina.
In a career stretching more than five decades, Judy Collins has been a piano prodigy, a Greenwich Village folksinger, a social activist, a pop icon, a fearless memoirist and — of course — a chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning recording artist.
This fall, “Sweet Judy Blue-Eyes” will launch the 2013-14 Edison Ovations Series at Washington University in St. Louis. The season will feature almost a dozen events by nationally and internationally known artists, from athletic contemporary dance and incisive one-man shows to hip-hop violin and the world’s first live-action graphic novel.
Charlie Robin, executive director of Edison, notes that many of this year’s artists present fresh takes on classical traditions.
AnDa Union revives an all-but-vanished world of indigenous Mongolian music. The madcap improvisations of 500 Clown recall the techniques and sensibilities of commedia dell’arte. Che Malambo combines the primal, percussive energies of Argentine gauchos — the cowboys of South America — with the choreographic rigor of French ballet.
“Everywhere I looked, the productions that most excited me for this season were those that referenced the past, even ancient traditions,” Robin said. “And ultimately, what doesn’t reflect, redefine and build upon what came before?
“Whether from the grasslands of Mongolia, the plains of Argentina or the wide-open spaces of the American West, our stories help us share glimpses of how we interpret our world — be it through movement, word or song.”
2013-14 Ovations Series
The Ovations season opens Oct. 12 with An Evening with Judy Collins. The performance, which takes place in the 560 Music Center, will benefit the Edison Education Endowment, which subsidizes tickets, workshops and transportation for local K-12 students.
AnDa Union gallops into town Oct. 20, followed Nov. 16 by Beyond Glory. Actor and playwright Stephen Lang — perhaps best known for his role as Col. Quaritch in Avatar — performs in this unflinching portrait of military heroism. Che Malambo rounds out the fall Nov. 22 and 23.
The spring semester opens Jan. 24 and 25 with The Wonder Bread Years, a mostly fond salute to Kool-Aid, Spam and the world gone by from former Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell. On Feb. 15, Grammy-nominated gospel singer Ruthie Foster will join contemporary bluesman Eric Bibb in Thanks for the Joy.
Motionhouse Dance Theatre, one of the U.K.’s finest contemporary troupes, presents Scattered, a dazzling tribute to the majesty and savagery of water, March 21 and 22. The Intergalactic Nemesis, which combines live actors and sound effects with more than 1,250 hand-drawn comic book panels, presents two shows — Book One: Target Earth (April 4) and Book Two: Robot Planet Rising (April 5).
Ovations for young people
Meanwhile, back on
Earth, master storyteller Tim Watts will present The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer as part of the ovations for young people series Oct. 5.
Next up, on March 15, is Black Violin, a.k.a. Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester, two classically trained musicians who combine classical music with jazz, funk and hip-hop.
Concluding the series April 12 will be 500 Clown in Trapped, their bouncy yet surprisingly philosophical rumination on ensnarement and escape.
Tickets and information
Tickets to An Evening with Judy Collins are $50.
All other Ovations events are $36, or $32 for seniors; $28 for Washington University faculty and staff; and $20 for students and children. Subscriptions are available at the basic level (three, four or five events at $32 per ticket) and at the premiere level (six or more events at $28 per ticket).
Ovations for young people tickets are $12 each. Series subscriptions are $27, or $24 for WUSTL faculty and staff.
Edison Theatre is in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. The 560 Music Center is in University City at 560 Trinity Ave. For more information or to order tickets, call the Edison Box Office at (314) 935-6543; email email@example.com or visit edison.wustl.edu.
Founded in 1973, the Edison Ovations Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest-caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.
Edison programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The Ovations season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.