Tupelo Arts season promises ballet, opera, laughs and more

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The 2012-2013 arts season in Tupelo includes double the musicals, a 30th anniversary and an opera.
Tupelo Ballet, the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra and Tupelo Community Theatre have all prepared busy and noteworthy seasons for the upcoming year.

Tupelo Ballet
This December’s “The Nutcracker” is Tupelo Ballet’s thirtieth.
“Not many companies our size can say that,” said Tupelo Ballet director Sharon Long.
The accomplishment has been highlighted in a three-page spread in the latest issue of Dance Studio Life, which can be found in stores or online at dancestudiolife.com.
Lots of surprises will be in store for the special anniversary, Long said. Costumes and sets will also be upgraded, thanks to grants, she said.
Tupelo Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 1, followed by its spring show, “Cinderella,” on March 23.
“We’re going to have a Cinderella tea at that show,” she said.
Tickets are on sale for both shows. “The Nutcracker” auditions are coming up – registration is Aug. 16 and auditions are Sept. 23.

Double the musicals, double the fun – that’s how TCT sees this season.
“We’ve got a really good mix. In the last few years we’ve only done one musical, but we’re going back to a two-musical season,” said TCT’s Tom Booth.
The season begins with the comedy “Moonlight & Magnolias,” which tells the story of legendary Hollywood producer David O. Selznick as he shuts down production on “Gone With the Wind” to rewrite the script.
The Christmas production is the classic “Miracle on 34th Street.”
The first musical of the season is in early 2013 with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
“It’s great because it includes adults playing middle schoolers, and there’s audience interaction,” Booth said. “It’s scripted, but with that interaction, it’s like improv.”
Scout Finch comes to life on the Lyric stage next spring with “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
The musical “Bye Bye Birdie” closes the season. Booth recently saw the 1963 film, starring Janet Leigh and Dick Van Dyke.
“I think our version will be much different, and in some ways, much better (than the film)” he said.
Booth said he hopes this season tops last year’s.
“We had a huge season patron support, with one of our best seasons ever in terms of that and artistically,” he said. “We’re looking forward to more of that this year.”

The TSO’s dramatic season includes Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and an opera.
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring pianist Roberto Plano, kicks off the season on Oct. 20.
The Christmas show closes out 2012 on Dec. 8, and cellist Alison Eldredge performs with the TSO on Jan. 26 to perform Concerto No. 1 by Saint-Saëns.
Renowned pianist Cecile Licad will join the symphony for a Liszt Spectacular in February.
The season then includes a semi-staged performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s beloved operetta, “Mikado.”
“We did ‘El Capitan’ the year before last, and that was very successful,” said TSO’s Margaret Anne Murphey.
Gershwin’s music is celebrated in the TSO’s season closer next April, with pianist Yoonjung Han.
“She is an amazing pianist,” Murphey said.
The talents of these young musicians, and the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra and its conductor, Steven Byess, should make for an incredible season, Murphey said.
“(Byess’) programming is brilliant. He plans things the symphony can play, but that are a challenge,” she said. “We’re very fortunate with the musicians that enjoy playing with us.”

• Tupelo Ballet 2012-2013 season
“Nutcracker” – Dec. 1
“Cinderella” – March 23
For tickets and more information, visit tupeloballet.com or call (662) 844-1928.

• Tupelo Community Theatre 2012-2013 season:
“Moonlight & Magnolias” – Sept. 27-29
“Miracle on 34th Street” – Dec. 6-8
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” – Jan. 31-Feb. 2
“To Kill a Mockingbird” – March 21-23
“Bye Bye Birdie” – May 2-4
Season tickets start at $55. For more info and to buy tickets, visit tctwebstage.com or call (662) 844-1935.

• Tupelo Symphony Orchestra 2012-2013 Season:
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring pianist Roberto Plano – Oct. 20
Christmas with the TSO, featuring the ICC Chorus and TSO Children’s Chorus – Dec. 8
Concerto No. 1 by Saint-Saëns, featuring cellist Alison Eldredge – Jan. 26
Liszt Spectacular, featuring pianist Cecile Licad – Feb. 23
Mikado – March 23
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, featuring pianist Yoonjung Han – April 27
Season tickets start at $100. For more info and to buy tickets, visit tupelosymphony.com or call (662) 842-8433.

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