Dim the lights: A look ahead at the 2014-15 arts season

The North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Steven Byess has a diverse program for the orchestra’s “forte-third” season, including an Elvis celebration and a semi-staged performance of “My Fair Lady.” (J.A. Huddleston)

The North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Steven Byess has a diverse program for the orchestra’s “forte-third” season, including an Elvis celebration and a semi-staged performance of “My Fair Lady.” (J.A. Huddleston)

By Sheena Barnett

Daily Journal

TUPELO – North Mississippi’s arts organizations will present dazzling, show-stopping productions this upcoming season.

From light-hearted comedies to moving musicals, from a tribute to the King to folk music, the 2014-2015 arts season has a diverse schedule of performances that will surely entertain.

Fall 2014

Tupelo Community Theatre kicks off the season with a musical, “The Spitfire Grill.” Based on the film of the same name, the country musical tells the story of a grill that’s raffled off and a young paroled woman looking for a new life.

Tupelo Concert Association’s season kicks off with folky trio The Once, who will perform at the Tupelo Civic Auditorium on Sept. 23.

New York-based pianist Jeffrey Biegel joins the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra for its season opener, “French Classics,” which will include Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2, at the Link Centre on Oct. 25.

Also during October, TCT will produce its annual Haunted Theatre.

Rob Verdi will bring his “SAXsational” show to the Tupelo Civic Auditorium Stage on Nov. 3.

Pied Pipers Playhouse begins its season with the comedy musical “Robin and the Sherwood Hoodies” in November.

The Civic Ballet will present its fourth annual Tupelo Arts Showcase at the Link Centre on Nov. 15.

TCT’s holiday production, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” is a comedy, said TCT’s executive director, Tom Booth.

“It’s very fun, very funny,” he said. “It’ll be a pleasant surprise.”

Tupelo Ballet’s 32nd production of “The Nutcracker” is set for 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center.

The orchestra’s annual holiday show is Dec. 13.

Pied Piper Players will have a traveling school show, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” during December, and production dates will be announced later.

Spring 2015

Early January in North Mississippi means celebrating Elvis Presley’s birthday, and the orchestra will join in.

NMSO will present an 80th birthday celebration performance on Jan. 10.

Amber Claire Huddleston, center, stars as Dew Drop in Tupelo Ballet’s 2013 production of “The Nutcracker.” (Nathan Duncan)

Amber Claire Huddleston, center, stars as Dew Drop in Tupelo Ballet’s 2013 production of “The Nutcracker.” (Nathan Duncan)

Pied Piper Players will again tackle a Shakespeare play, “Richard the Third,” at the end of January.

“Father of the Bride” was a play before it was a movie, Booth said, and TCT will produce the play in early February.

“It’s family fare, and fun,” he said.

Pianist Jason Coleman returns to Tupelo for his Tupelo Concert Association show on Feb. 19.

Another Tupelo favorite, violinist Alexander Markov, joins NMSO for “Musical Majesty.”

Both the Civic Ballet and Tupelo Ballet will present “Coppelia,” with the Civic’s performance on Feb. 28 and Tupelo Ballet’s performance on March 21.

The story of a toymaker and his toys is one of the few comedies in ballet, said Tupelo Ballet director Sharon Long.

“It’s cute,” she said.

Tupelo Ballet’s performance of “Coppelia” will be a part of the Art Rocks Tupelo weekend, which is set for March 19-21.

Also taking place during Art Rocks is TCT’s production of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” the story of an elderly woman who hopes to see her hometown one last time.

NMSO will present a semi-staged production of “My Fair Lady” for Art Rocks weekend.

The week after Art Rocks, the TCA presents vocalist Brian Roman, who’ll perform classic songs.

Pied Piper Players wraps up the busy month with the feline favorite, “Aristocats.”

NMSO’s season closes in April with “Northern Lights,” with Italian pianist Roberto Plano.

The production that’s got everyone talking is TCT’s closing show, the musical “Les Miserables.”

Community theaters rarely take on the huge production, but Booth said he isn’t nervous.

“You don’t reach a new level unless you reach for it, unless we step up and do it,” he said. “We’ve got the talent.”

Extra, extra

TCT’s off-shoot, Off Broadway, will present “A Southern Belle Primer” in August. The rest of its season will be announced soon.

The Baldwyn Main Street Players is finalizing details on its 14-15 season, but it will include four major productions, Improv Apocalypse sessions and a variety show, said Kim Hayes, who works with the theater.

The Improv Apocalypse shows will be the second Saturday of each month. The next performance is 7 p.m. Aug. 9.

sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

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TUPELO COMMUNITY THEATRE

Sept. 18-20: “The Spitfire Grill, A Musical”

Dec. 4-6: “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”

Feb. 5-7: “Father of the Bride”

March 19-21: “The Trip to Bountiful”

April 30, May 1-2: “Les Miserables”

• Season tickets are $60, and wild card season tickets are $55. Deadline to purchase tickets is Aug. 4.

Info: tct.ms, (662) 844-1935

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TUPELO BALLET

Dec. 6: “The Nutcracker”

March 21: “Coppelia”

• Season tickets are $55.

Info: tupeloballet.com, (662) 844-1928

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NORTH MISSISSIPPI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Oct. 25: French Classics with pianist Jeffrey Biegel

Dec. 13: Christmas with the NMSO

Jan. 10: Elvis Presley 80th Birthday Anniversary Celebration

Feb. 21: Musical Majesty with violinist Alexander Markov

March 21: “My Fair Lady” In Concert

April 25: Northern Lights featuring pianist Roberto Plano

• Single season tickets start at $125.

Info: nmsymphony.com, (662) 842-8433

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CIVIC BALLET

Nov. 15: 4th annual Tupelo Arts Showcase

Feb. 28: “Coppelia”

Info: civicballet.org, (662) 680-9041

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PIED PIPER PLAYERS

Nov. 7-9: “Robin and the Sherwood Hoodies” (auditions Sept. 14-15)

Jan. 29-31: “Richard the Third”

March 26-28: “Aristocats” (auditions Jan. 18-19)

• “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be Pied Pipers’ traveling school show. Production dates and auditions will be announced soon.

Info: piedpiperplayers.com, piedpipertheatretupelo@gmail.com

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TUPELO CONCERT ASSOCIATION

Sept. 23: The Once

Nov. 3: SAXsational

Feb. 19: Jason Coleman

March 24: Brian Roman

• Season tickets are $50.

Info: (662) 841-1083, (662) 840-7505, (662) 842-3173

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STARKVILLE COMMUNITY THEATRE

Sept. 18-27: “Rumors”

Nov. 13-22: “A Party to Murder”

Feb. 19-28: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

April 16-25: “Social Security”

May 26-30: “Almost, Maine” (season extra)

• Season tickets are $50.

Info: sct-online.org, (662) 323-6855

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THEATRE OXFORD

Aug. 20-24: “Harvey”

Oct. 16-19: Ten Minute Play Festival

Dec. 19-22: “A Christmas Carol”

Feb. 20-22: “Love, Sex & the IRS”

April 16-19: “No Exit”

May 4-5: Ten Minute Play readings

Info: theatreoxford.com

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• Art Rocks Tupelo will be March 19-21.