UAB’s Alys Stephens Center pushes boundaries for 15th season

From aerialist shows to Cyndi Lauper with Dr. John, the Alys Stephens Center delivers a brand-new lineup of artists, as well as living art and festivals.

UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center celebrates its 15th anniversary with a season of arts performances for 2011-12 that challenges traditional ideas of art and performance in “Flirting with Boundaries,” the best in all genres.

asc_bandaloop_8_siteThis year, get a head start on great shows with the new “Summer at the Alys” series, which features Herbie Hancock June 1, Chris Isaak June 23, Steve Earle July 14, Josh Ritter July 24, Justin Townes Earle Aug. 11, Ben Folds Aug. 20 and Matisyahu Aug. 28. Tickets for these shows are on sale now.

Well-known and loved artists to perform in the Alys Stephens Center also include Patty Griffin, Ricky Skaggs, Cyndi Lauper, Al Jarreau, Medeski Martin & Wood, Robert Cray, The Chieftains, Margaret Cho and Wynton Marsalis. See the season schedule here.

Current season subscribers can purchase tickets now; new subscribers can purchase tickets beginning June 13. Single tickets go on sale to everyone Aug. 15. For a brochure or to purchase tickets, call 205-975-2787 or go to www.AlysStephens.org.

Highlights for the coming season are new, innovative artists with ideas that push the limits and don’t fit neatly into categories. Kicking off the season Sept. 19-23 is a weeklong residency by avant-garde, aerialist group Project Bandaloop. The company will rappel and climb outside on the ASC building and inside the Jemison Concert Hall to create a site-specific performance. The season will end with another extraordinary project, Cirque Alys. This ASC-commissioned, original production was created with three performance groups from Southern California.

This year the Alys Stephens Center will combine distinctive artists into one evening throughout the season. For performances that allow the audience to see art in a different way, combinations include Cyndi Lauper with Dr. John and their performance, “From Memphis to Mardi Gras” and Loudon Wainwright III and Punch Brothers.

Also featured is the October “World on Stage” festival with Noche Flamenca and Golden Dragon Acrobats of China. The ASC original residency project, “Common Threads: Quilters of West Alabama Meet Mud Cloth Makers of West Africa,” will feature a weeklong residency by the quilters of Gee’s Bend and Groupe Bogolon Kasobane. The ASC Homegrown Weekend in October will feature jazz artist Eric Essix, comedian Rickey Smiley and Alabama Ballet, and the Classics 2.0 Weekend in January 2012 will showcase the next generation of classical-form artists, including Christopher O’Riley and Ailey II.

Enjoy the annual holiday comedy show with Mo Rocca, comedian Colin Quinn in “Long Story Short,” a one-man Broadway show directed by Jerry Seinfeld, TAO Japanese Drummers, comedian Margaret Cho, Pink Floyd Experience, a Thursday night cinema series, an ArtPlay series of original shows just for children and families and more. An ASC jazz series brings Eric Essix & 5 Men on a Stool, Charlie Hunter and Lalah Hathaway to the city for intimate shows, and a young concert artist series spans the best young, classical violin, piano and vocal performers.

UAB’s Alys Stephens Center is a non-profit cultural resource dedicated to presenting, developing and advancing the best in the performing arts and arts education in Alabama. Since 1996, the ASC has presented more than 500 artists, hosted more than 5,000 resident company and community events, welcomed more than 3 million visitors and served approximately 50,000 students with free and low-cost arts-education programs. This year the Alys Stephens Center expanded its broad, appealing arts-education program with the opening of its magnificent new ArtPlay house at 1006 19th St. South.

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