Smuin Ballet brings spring program to Lesher center
Smuin Ballet's spring program, the West Coast premiere of "Swipe" by Val Caniparoli, plays Walnut Creek's Lesher Center for the Arts May 18-19.
A highly-technical piece for four men and three women, "Swipe" is set to a remix of String Quartet No. 2 by London composer Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of Sergei Prokofiev. A classically-trained composer known for electro club and hip-hop music, Prokofiev's music compliments the pulsing energy of Caniparoli's choreography as well as the choreographer's penchant for mixing classical and contemporary styles.
Costumes are designed by Sandra Woodall, who has costumed for companies all over the world, including the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet.
Smuin audiences will also be treated to the world premiere of "Through" by Ma Cong, an uplifting work set to music by Academy Award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. The bill will also include Michael Smuin's elegant "Symphony of Psalms," a breathtaking classical piece set to Stravinsky's score.
Single tickets, from $25 to $62, are on sale now at www.smuinballet.org
Smuin's spring program will also play at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts May 23-27.
Youth Theatre Company takes on 'Seussical Jr.'
One of the most-performed shows in America, "Seussical Jr." creates a magical world inhabited by such creatures as Horton the Elephant, Lazy Mayzie the bird, the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz -- a determined little bird with a one-feather tail -- and many more.
According to producer Rachel Pergamit, "Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community emerge triumphant in a story that makes you laugh and cry — a perfect fit for our students."
This production features 120 students, ages 5 to 18.
Tickets are $12 to $15. To order, or for more information, call 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org
Free piano jazz concert June 1
The public is invited to attend a free concert of jazz piano music Tuesday, June 1 beginning at 8 p.m. at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd. in Walnut Creek.
Members of the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society will perform standards from the Great American Songbook, plus original jazz compositions.
For more information, go to www.ccpas.org
Civic Arts, Diablo Ballet join for spring performances
"Don Quixote" will receive an interpretation by the Walnut Creek Civic Arts' Dance Academy, a joint program between CAE and Diablo Ballet, May 30 and June 1 at the Shadelands Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek.
On May 30, students under 7 years of age will perform a variety of short dances, with a sneak preview of the dances from "Don Quixote" performed by the Professional Intermediate/Advanced Program (PIP) directed by Rebecca Crowell Berke.
Set in the streets of Spain, the classical ballet -- considered one of the most technically demanding dances -- is part of the joint Spring Dance Concert.
A highlight of the June 1 performance will be a number from "Harry Potter," choreographed by Diablo Ballet instructor Erin Leedom. A former principal dancer with Oakland Ballet and Ballet West, Erin trained at the American Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey Ballet in New York as well as the San Francisco Ballet.
Both nights' performances begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10; for more information, call 925-943-5846.
'Ambrose Bierce' reading, discussion June 5
As part of its yearlong commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Walnut Creek Library Foundation presents a discussion and reading by the playwright and lead actor of a new play, "The Remarkable Return of Ambrose Bierce."
Bay Area playwright Bart Schneider and veteran actor Felix Justice collaborate in a tribute to one of America's greatest 19th century satirists and storywriters.
The June 5 event will run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Oak Room of the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway.
The free presentation is part of the Library Foundation's speaker series "Live! from the Library."
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913) was branded a misanthrope. For more than 25 years, Bierce worked as a newspaperman in San Francisco. According to Schneider, "As a satirist, Bierce was misunderstood. He claimed that satire never thrived in this country because 'the soul of it is wit, wherein we are dolefully deficient.'"
Bierce was famous for his "Devil's Dictionary," but more famous for disappearing in Mexico in 1913, after saying he was going to fight alongside Pancho Villa.
The event is free, but attendees must register to reserve a seat at www.wclibrary.org.
Children's Chorus celebrates diversity in music; tickets on sale
The Contra Costa Children's Chorus will perform "Hope for Resolution" Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m. (levels 3, 4, and honors members), and Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. (levels 1 and 2 members, plus appearances by levels 3 and 4), both at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette.
Both concerts will feature diverse music from around the world. Friday evening's program features music from Cuba, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Japan and America, and concludes with Caldwell & Ivory's "Hope for Resolution," a lyrical European chant melody combined with an uplifting Zulu anti-apartheid song.
On Saturday morning, the younger singers will deliver diverse songs from such countries as Newfoundland, Norway and Czechoslovakia.
The artistic director is Martin Benvenuto, and the conductors are Laryssa Sadoway and Julie Fischer. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $5 for those 14 and younger.
Performing Arts Society presents free classical concert May 25
The Contra Costa Performing Arts Society will perform a free concert Friday, May 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.
The concert opens with a Poulenc sonata for violin and piano, followed by six songs for the tenor voice.
The song composers include Handel, Gluck, Schubert and Schumann. Jan Koetsier's Dresdner Trio for oboe, horn and piano appears next. The program concludes with Debussy piano preludes.
The Contra Costa Performing Arts Society is a nonprofit organization that provides many benefits to performing musicians and audiences alike through free public concerts and workshops for adults and children. These free concerts are given at least twice a month most months.
'Escape' with new Lafayette Gallery exhibit
"E for Escape," a unique collection of whimsical works of art by a small group of five artists -- painters Jeanette Baird, Susan Erickson, Judy Feins, and JoAnn Lieberman and ceramicist and sculptor David Vanderjagt -- will be on display at the Lafayette Gallery through June 2 at the gallery, 50 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette.
The gallery is also hosting a free reception, Saturday May 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. with wine, hors d'oeuvres and live music.
For more information call 925-284-2788, or go to www.lafayettegallery.net
Town Hall's 'Measure for Measure' opens May 23
William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure," directed by Chris Hayes for Lafayette's Town Hall Theatre, will open May 23 and have its final performance June 15 at Town Hall's performance space at 3535 School St.
Hayes, Town Hall's technical director, brings us to Shakespeare's Vienna in "Measure," where the local government introduces new laws to the city to control what the leaders believe is a descent into moral decay by the general populace.
Tickets are $25 to $32; go to www.thtc.org to order.
Next 'Interntaional' film starts May 18
"Headhunters," a thriller from Norway starring Aksel Hennie, is the next International Film Showcase offering at the Orinda Theatre, running May 18-24.
In the 2008 film, Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is an accomplished filler of corporate positions, but also lives a double-life as an art thief to pay for his and his wife's lavish lifestyle.
There are four showings May 18 and 19, with three showings each of the next five days.
For more information, go to http://www.zvents.com/orinda_ca/events/show/255098624-international-film-showcase-at-orinda-theatre