7 Broadway hits, 1 National Tour Launch, 12 live concerts, 8 children's productions, 1 latin ballet, a western-themed Cirque, and a piece of mobile outdoor performance art like you've never seen.
Photo courtesy of RiverCenter.
Last night, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts announced their 2018-19 season in what audience members called "the most successful and fun season announcement from RiverCenter to date."
Norm Easterbrook, RiverCenter's Executive Director, began the evening by thanking sponsors from previous years and introducing the new season. A 10 minute video on RiverCenter's stage made the formal announcement by showing clips from each of the productions and concerts selected. Easterbrook then welcomed Broadway star and XM radio host Seth Rudetsky to the stage for the concert. Rudetsky performed live "deconstructions" of the most famous songs from each show in the upcoming season. During one of these deconstructions, Rudetsky paid Columbus an enormous compliment. "This season has some really incredible music in store for you," said Rudetsky. "Columbus seems like a major hub for the arts. So many people think the arts are only centered in New York City, but the arts are everywhere."
What surprised audience members most was the fun (and games) Rudetsky's performance added to the evening. His performance was comedic, intellectual, and educational- and was broken up by a series of games like "Name that Tune" played live with individuals pulled from the audience.
The riotous rounds of "Name that Tune" included music either from the shows coming to RiverCenter this season or from the eras and genres they represent. Rounds were played that included highlights from Rodgers & Hammerstein, a wide array of music from the 60s, an entire round of Cyndi Lauper music, and a round of music from the entire Broadway genre.
Audience contestants raced to shout out the name of each song as Rudetsky tried to stump them, and he often called upon the audience to sing the next line of a song the contestants didn't know. The winner of each round won a prize provided by RiverCenter. Prize bags included everything from RiverCenter swag like refillable cups and ink pens to tickets to performances. The final round awarded its winner a single ticket to every production of the season.
"This season has some really incredible music in store for you," said Rudetsky. "Columbus seems like a major hub for the arts. So many people think the arts are only centered in New York City, but the arts are everywhere."
Thanks to Rudetsky and the entire RiverCenter staff, the season announcement went off without a hitch. The entire evening was full of laughter and a dose of healthy competition that felt like a cross between a community building exercise and fine art. Sponsors and subscribers mingled, and the buzz in the lobby afterward was comprised of nothing but positive feedback. Audience members hailed RiverCenter's "great selection of productions and concerts covering a wide array of genres" and noted their gratitude that "most of the shows will be great evenings for families."
Overall, the season concert announcement was received with great acclaim by those in attendance. Columbusites raved and subscriptions were still being sold thirty minutes after the show ended.
Below, is the complete list of RiverCenter's 2018-19 Season. For more information about each show visit www.rivercenter.org and stay tuned to The Columbusite for stories about each production as the season progresses.
RiverCenter's 2018-19 Season
TSYS Broadway on Broadway Series:
Something Rotten (Sept. 19)
The September 19 performance of Something Rotten marks the end of a two-week tech residency for the new national tour. This is a first for Columbus, and something no other theatre in Georgia is partaking in this year. "This is an exciting thing for Columbus," Easterbrook said. "For two weeks, Columbus will be home to cast, crew, directors, and musicians of a new national tour as they rehearse and prepare to go on the road." The tech residency is expected to have a local economic impact of over $500,000. RiverCenter is hopeful it may be the first of many productions to launch from our city.
The Wizard of Oz (Oct. 16 & 17)
Jersey Boys (Dec. 11 & 12)
Rock of Ages (Feb. 25 & 26)
The King and I (April 23 & 24)
Kinky Boots (June 4 & 5)
Finding Neverland (June 19 & 20)
SYNOVUS Center Stage Series:
Branford Marsalis Quartet (Oct. 8)
An Evening with Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen (Oct. 26)
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas (Dec. 17)
Kenny Brawner: Ray Charles on My Mind (Jan.19)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (Feb. 1)
Cirque Éloize: Saloon (Feb. 16)
EmiSunshine (April 12)
RiverCenter Connect Series:
Cantus Christmas Message of the Season- Music of the Masters (Dec. 18)
Ballet Hispanico (Feb. 2) with a residency running (Jan. 30-Feb. 2)
Cantus Columbus Say it with Music: The Songs of Irving Berlin (May 18)
Squonk Opera (April 6) see more about this outdoor performance piece here.
RiverCenter Discovery Series:
The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System (Sept. 29)