Curtain Calls!

October 31, 2016
It’s Holiday Season in the Big Easy and that can only mean: 1.) the decorative lighting and seasonal spirits will be brighter, 2.) the holiday music and local traditional jazz will eventually blend into the Carnival craziness, 3.) residents and visitors alike may have some difficulty deciding on activities among the myriad of choices during this unique cavalcade of events.

As with all of New Orleans’ dining, entertainment and celebratory happenings, everyone is invited to the party! Among the multitude of dining and artful activities to select from, the challenges will be to settle on what fits each individual’s style the best, or, for the adventuresome, just go for something entirely different! Decisions, decisions!

Your live-theatre-experience choices are outlined here:

Crossover does not begin to describe Lindsay Sterling making her Saenger Theatre debut on November 3. This classically-trained violinist is making her presence felt in both the world of music masters as well as in staking a claim in the dance/electronic genre with another best-selling album on the Billboard Charts. Then there’s the new book, The Only Pirate at the Party, written in collaboration with her sister.

The world-renowned, New York-based duo, Phantogram, takes residence at the Joy Theatre the same evening, November 3. And, not coincidentally, on the same bill, James Hinton, Jr., a product of Brown University, will share the stage.

Proving to be a very special night for the arts in New Orleans, the Orpheum Theatre, home of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, is hosting a performance of modern jazz with Esperanza Spalding presenting Emily D+Evolution 2016 on November 3.

If you are in the mood for the outrageous, one of New Orleans’ premier female impersonators, Bianca Del Rio (aka Roy Haylock) is putting on a show at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts on November 4. This is the beginning of a U.S. tour for the comic the New York Times called the “Joan Rivers of the Drag World.”

That same evening, November 4, New Orleans’ live theatre community gathers to present the opening night of a long run engagement- through November 20- of Freud’s Last Session at Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre. Freud and C.S. Lewis bring humor and pathos to the most perplexing questions of life.

Bonnie Raitt returns to New Orleans and the Saenger Theatre on November 5. Her tour is built around her latest album, Dig in Deep, which is an appropriate title for a 20th album release. Raitt’s career has been something quite beautiful and her innumerable fans in New Orleans will be welcoming her back to a city Raitt admits, “I just love this place.”

There was indeed a break in their 15-year musical journey but Evanescense is back and at the Saenger, rockin’ on November 6 with songs from their latest self-titled album.

It’s been a long time coming, dating back to 1990, but the original members of YES – Jon Anderson, Trevor Flavin, and Flick Wakeman – have put the band back together. They will be at the Saenger Theatre on November 11. The core of the performance by this iconic progressive rock band will be presenting the music that made them stars as well as trotting out new material from their latest album.

On the same evening, at the Joy Theatre just across Canal Street from the Saenger, a decidedly different show will unfold. It will be Rave of Thrones, a DJ-led musical journey through the time and music from the groundbreaking HBO television series, Game of Thrones. Home-grown and internationally renowned, Kristian Nairn, will show the path to higher realization.

Again, on the same evening, November 11, with a repeat performance November 13, the New Orleans Opera Association presents William Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. This is the 400th anniversary of this centerpiece of Western theatrical culture, and the New Orleans Opera company does not ever disappoint.

Tegan and Sara return to the Joy Theatre November 12 continuing their musical evolvement with a presentation of their 8th album in 17 years, Love You to Death. The album is centered on the lives of twin sisters from Canada, born in Calgary and now residing in Vancouver.

A most difficult choice On November 12 as Bryan Batt, New Orleans native and a star of Broadway, movies and television, joins the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for an evening of “Broadway’s Best” music at the Orpheum Theatre.

Gustav Holst’s masterpiece opus, The Planets, will be the centerpiece of an evening’s program at The Orpheum Theatre, as interpreted by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and guest conductor, Fawzi Haimor November 17. A repeat performance is scheduled on the 19th. Also on the evening’s program is Mothership, music from Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., Composer in Residence, Mason Bates, and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4.

The modern Holiday classic tale penned by Dr. Seuss, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, has been set to music and will take over the stage at the Saenger Theatre November 22-27. The New York Times called this production, “100 times better than any bedtime story.” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and we can’t wait for your visit to New Orleans.

A special salute to The Band and 40th anniversary of something very special, their historic album, The Last Waltz, will be performed on November 25, at the Joy Theatre. Proceeds from the show will go to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.

Global concert producer, Live Nation, brings Lauryn Hill to the Saenger Theatre December 1. Ms. Hill is critically involved in this presentation, serving as producer, and telling the emotional story of African Diaspora.

On the same date, virtuoso guitarist, composer and producer, Steve Vai, brings his Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour to the Joy Theatre December 1. This three-time Grammy winner has sold more than 15 million albums and this show promises to add to his legacy.

John Prine comes to the Saenger Theatre December 2, proving that not only is he one of the most talented and influential songwriters of his time, he is also one amazing performer.

The Saenger Theatre moves into the realm of British classic comedy the next evening, December 3, when John Cleese and Eric Idle, two key members of the immortal Monty Python’s Flying Circus troupe will offer their hilarious brand of English sketch comedy as well as commenting freely on the current state of the world. Not to be missed.

The living legend that is Tony Bennett “In Concert” will own the Saenger Theatre stage December 7. Enough said.

The Orpheum Theatre will be the scene of a Holiday Extravaganza that could only happen in New Orleans December 9,10 and 11. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will be joined by the 610 Stompers, an all-male local dance team, nothing risqué but renowned year-round, especially at Carnival, who live up to their motto, “Ordinary Men; Extraordinary Moves.”

Comedy takes over at the Joy when Jim Jefferies drops by with his Unusual Punishment tour on December 10. His upcoming Netflix stand-up comedy special, Freedumb, promises to be just as belief-challenging and mind-blowing as was his previous hit, BARE.

The Broadway smash hit Jersey Boys sets up shop December 13-18 at the Saenger Theatre. The show was the winner of every major theatrical award and honor, then becoming a smash motion picture hit, and along the way enhancing the reputation of one of the greatest pop music quartets ever, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Le Petit Theatre stages The Musicians of Bremen, A Holiday Jazztime Adventure, December 14 – 21.

Meanwhile, at the Orpheum Theatre, A Baroque Christmas will be celebrated by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra December 15, followed by two performances daily, December 17 and 18, with the New Orleans Ballet Theatre’s presentation of the Holiday classic, The Nutcracker, in the style of Balanchine, Bejart, and Tharp.

New Orleans’ adopted son, Harry Shearer, star of movies, television and theatre, along with his wife, Judith Owen, bring Christmas Without Tears (Does this tree make me look fat?) to the historic stage of Le Petit Theatre December 22-23.

The holiday season would not be what it is without myriad performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite as presented for two performances, both on December 23 at the Saenger Theatre. The exciting news about these performances is that they will be staged and choreographed by the Moscow Ballet, the most recognized ballet company in the world.

When the time comes for sending the old year out and welcoming 2017, The Revivalists and their Strangers in the Bright Lights tour, with special guests – the Seratones, will return to the Orpheum Theatre December 31.

The New Year begins with a revisit to New Orleans but a first for the Saenger Theatre of Disney’s The Lion King, January 4 - 29. One of the greatest Broadway shows in history will reside for more than 3 weeks on historic Canal Street in a theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Quite fitting.

Virtuoso piano genius, Anne-Marie McDermott, offers her interpretation of the classical music of Mozart, with the full support of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at the Orpheum Theatre January 5.

Under the baton of Carlos Miguel Prieto, the unfolding scenario of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s season at the Orpheum Theatre will feature Edgar Meyer, January 13-14, joining the orchestra in a spirited rendition of Gershwin’s American in Paris.

Ancient Chinese culture is brought to the stage at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in the form of Shen Yun Performing Arts, an experience of divine culture, on January 20 -21.

Hollywood is given superstar treatment as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra accompanies three showings of the Steven Spielberg masterpiece film ET, the Extra-Terrestrial, January 20, 21 and 22, with Constantine Kitsopoulas, guest conductor.

Musician Aaron Lewis brings his Sinner tour to the Joy January 25. As a thank-you to everyone attending the performance, Aaron is tossing in a free electronic copy of his latest album.

Jelly Roll Morton, born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe in 1890, a New Orleans Creole, became the Toast of American music during the Jazz Age. Le Petit Theatre brings his true story back to life January 27 – February 12 in their presentation of Jelly’s Last Jam.

The “Ben Stiller of France,” the “Jerry Seinfeld of French Comedy,” Gad Elmaleh will be at the Joy Theatre on January 31. Oh My Gad is on international tour and this star of comedy recordings, television and film promises to have New Orleans’ collective cheeks hurting from the laughter.

Saenger Theatre
1111 Canal Street
504- 287-0351

Joy Theatre
1200 Canal Street

The Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts
1419 Basin Street

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre
616 St. Peter Street

The Orpheum Theatre
129 Roosevelt Way