On Stage:  The George Mason University Center of the Arts will kick off its 2019-2020 Season with a special gala performance by celebrated songstress Audra McDonald.

by Patrick D. McCoy

It is only natural to look to the “main stay” performing arts venues in the area such as The Kennedy Center or the Music Center Strathmore for acclaimed performances of high caliber.  But this also rings true for a few neighboring institutions, such as  George Mason University’s Center for the Arts.  Announcing yesterday its season for Great Performances at Mason, superstar singer and actress Audra McDonald will start the 2019-2020 season off a high note with a special evening of songs from American Music Theater of September 28, 2019 at 8 p.m.  For this one night only “Arts by George” fundraising event, McDonald will be joined by pianist Andy Einhorn, Mark Vanderpoel on bass and Gene Lewin on drums .

The season continues with a variety of performances for all ages.  Whether you enjoy music, dance, opera or theater, there is something for the entire family to enjoy.  Notable musical performances during the 2019-2019 season include and evening with The Four Italian Tenors in music by Puccini, Verdi and Rossini, violinist Daniel Hope in an exciting interpretation of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Keyboard Conversations with pianist Jeffrey Siegel and three operas including Puccini’s “Tosca,” Catan’s “Il Postino,” and Rossini’s “Cinderella,” all performed by Virginia Opera.

Additionally, the marked presence of dance programming is prevalent with performances by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Alonzo King Lines Ballet and Cirque Mei.  Delighting young audiences is the return of the Family Series with performances of favorites such as “Peter Rabbit Tales,” “Hot Peas and Butter,” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Favorites.

At the recent press event, the Center also unveiled its new Mason Artists-in Residence.  Ladama, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and composer Maria Schneider comprise the inaugural cohort.  This season bring together the ideas of the previous  Director of Programming with exciting new ideas conceived and envisioned by Adrienne Bryant Godwin.  Some beloved staples are among the offerings, including the beloved Vienna Boys’ Choir, Chanticleer, Sweet Honey and the Rock and the American Festival Pops Orchestra.

For complete information on the entire season, including ticket prices, subscriptions and other details, CLICK HERE


A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory.  Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications, including Early Music America, The Afro-American Newspaper, CBS Washington and Examiner.com.  He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  He serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD. Visit http://www.patrickdmccoy.com


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