CLEARWATER – Ruth Eckerd Hall recently announced its World Stage Series for the 2014-15 season, which will includes returning favorites such as Celtic Thunder, Nebraska Theater Caravan presents A Christmas Carol, Salute To Vienna New Year’s Eve Concert, ABBA The Concert, Puccini’s La Boheme and Neil Berg’s 107 Years of Broadway.
New this season is the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian National Ballet performance of Swan Lake. In addition, two performances will take place at the intimate Capitol Theatre this season: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and violinist Joshua Bell with pianist Sam Haywood.
Single tickets start at $35. Packages are priced at $125 for any five performances. Tickets for most shows are on sale now. Call 791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com. Ruth Eckerd Hall is at 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Capitol Theatre is at 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.
Following is a schedule of Ruth Eckerd Hall’s 2014-15 World Stage Series:
• Celtic Thunder: North American Symphony Tour – Friday, Nov. 14, 8 p.m. Celtic Thunder returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall with their first ever symphony tour featuring holiday favorites ranging from traditional carols “Away in A Manger” and “O Holy Night” to the more contemporary “Mary’s Boy Child” and “Fairytale of New York.” Celtic Thunder will also perform solo and ensemble numbers, such as signature Celtic Thunder hit songs “Ireland’s Call” and “Turning Away” and traditional Irish numbers like “Dulaman” and “My Land.”
• Direct from Beijing: The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China – Sunday, Dec. 7, 1 p.m. An Ning serves as director and Zhong Li as associate director. Founded in 1951 and one of the most acclaimed acrobatic troupes in China performing many unique acrobatic acts for several generations. More than 200 artists of the company have won gold and silver awards at international and national acrobatic competitions and circus festivals. For the 2014-15 North American tour, the company presents a brand new production that will amaze and astound audiences.
• Nebraska Theatre Caravan presents “A Christmas Carol” – Monday, Dec. 22, 2 and 7 p.m. A cherished tradition, this is the longest-running production of “A Christmas Carol” in the United States. In this beloved Dickens classic, ghosts of Christmases past, present and future guide Scrooge on a journey of redemption as he discovers the spirit of Christmas and a new life filled with joy and love.
• Salute To Vienna: New Year’s Eve Concert – Wednesday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. The concert will feature the Strauss Symphony of America with Matthias Fletzberger, conductor; Lara Ciekiewicz, soprano; Brian Cheney, tenor; and dancers from Europaballet St. Polten as well as International Champion Ballroom Dancers. This all-star cast of European singers, dancers and full orchestra will help audiences celebrate the New Year. Returning to Clearwater for an 17th season, this magnificent concert features uplifting melodies from famous operettas including Die Fledermaus and The Merry Widow, as well as polkas and Strauss waltzes.
• ABBA The Concert: A Tribute To ABBA – Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, 8 p.m. One of the greatest pop phenomena returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall. The concept, originally created in collaboration with Swedish company Viva Arts, combines the best ABBA tribute groups with members of the original ABBA band dazzling audience members with fantastic performances while playing the most iconic hits from ABBA including “Mamma Mia,” “S.O.S.” “Money, Money, Money,” “The Winner Takes All,” “Waterloo” and “Dancing Queen.”
• Puccini’s La Boheme – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, 7:30 p.m. The concert will be presented by Teatro Lirico D’Europa with Symphony Orchestra and performed in Italian with English supertitles. Can love survive the hurdles of life and complexity of relationships? Puccini’s poignant tale is one of the world’s favorite operas. A poet living in Paris with artist friends falls for a fragile seamstress in failing health. Accompany Rodolfo and Mimi as their relationship unfolds, first tender, then plagued by jealousy and the desperation of poverty. Will Mimi find comfort with Rodolfo and in the love and sacrifice of friends as life ebbs from her?
• Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m., at The Capitol Theatre. Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form and en travesty, The Trocks, as the dancers are affectionately known, quickly garnered the company artistic and popular success. The Trocks’ inspired bland of a loving knowledge of dance, impeccable comic approach and the astounding fact that men can, indeed, dance en pointe without falling flat on their faces have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon throughout the world bringing the pleasure of dance to the widest possible audience.
• Neil Berg’s 107 Years of Broadway – Thursday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. Back for its annual celebration of Broadway’s greatest songs from its finest shows the most successful touring Broadway concert in America brings an all-star Broadway cast to Ruth Eckerd Hall. This dazzling all-new show which sells out every year features five of Broadway’s finest stars performing songs from the best and most beloved Broadway musicals such as Jersey Boys, Wicked, Mamma Mia and Broadway classics from such composers as Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Kander and Ebb, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber and many more.
• Russian National Ballet Theatre: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake – Saturday, Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. The production features artistic director Elena Radchenko. A classic battle between an evil sorcerer and the power of true love is told through the silent beauty and grace of dance accompanied by the magical music of Tchaikovsky. Follow Prince Siegfried on his journey to manhood and authority to reign over his kingdom. As he leaves the carefree whims of youth behind and the time is at hand for him to choose a bride, evil is afoot and temptation lurks. Will love triumph over the sorcerer’s curse? The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the late 1980s. In 1994, the legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko was selected to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company, upholding the grand national tradition of the major Russian ballet and developing new talents throughout Russia.
• Joshua Bell, violinist, with Sam Haywood, pianist – Tuesday, March 24, 7:30 p.m., at The Capitol Theatre. Often referred to as the “poet of the violin,” Joshua Bell, one of the world’s most celebrated violinists, returns to Clearwater making his Capitol Theatre debut with his stunning virtuosity, beautiful tone and charismatic stage presence that have brought him universal acclaim. Performing with Joshua will be pianist Sam Haywood. Among numerous awards and honors, Joshua Bell is an Avery Fisher Prize recipient and Musical America’s 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year. Recently appointed Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, he is the first person to hold this title since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958.