Tickets go on sale June 16 for just-announced summer and fall 2014 shows presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. For tickets, a copy of The Center Magazine or more information, call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Summer/fall 2014 shows presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Center:
Saturday, June 21, 2014
LOCAL, 5-10 p.m., outdoors on the Engel Plaza at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. This free, family-friendly festival will showcase the best of Birmingham music, merchants and vendors. Browse tents and enjoy produce from local farmers’ markets including Pepper Place Market and West Homewood Farmers Market. Shop local merchants such as Stone Hollow Farmstead Pantry, Leaf & Petal, West Elm, Oli. O, Green Bottle Candle Co., and many more. Grab a bite to eat from local food trucks or refreshments from Octane, Steel City Pops and others, and enjoy the cash bars including beer from Cahaba Brewery. The highlight of the event will be musical performances from the talented finalists of ASC Commissions Birmingham. This community event is sponsored by the Alys Stephens Center’s Junior Board. Through sponsorships, LOCAL will raise funds to help support ArtPlay, the ASC’s education and outreach initiative. ArtPlay reaches more than 12,000 individuals in the Birmingham community each year through its art and education programs that are either low-cost or free. VIP tickets that will include food and beverages from local Birmingham vendors may be purchased for $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event. The VIP wristband can be purchased online. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
The Baseball Project, 7:30 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. This super group, formed in 2007 by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5, R.E.M.) and Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate, Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, Gutterball), began as a way for a couple of fans to pay musical tribute to America’s national pastime. The Baseball Project has since blossomed into a full-fledged, much-loved band in its own right, with drummer Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, Zuzu’s Petals) and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Mike Mills on its official roster, although Buck will not be touring with the band. The group’s following and creativity have grown steadily with each release and tour. The ensemble’s newest CD, “3rd,” showcases the band’s musical muscle. True legends of the game (“The Babe,” “They Don’t Know Henry,” “A Boy Named Cy”) share the lineup alongside humorous and heart-felt salutes to lesser-known players like “Pascual on the Perimeter,” which recalls the time Atlanta Braves pitcher Pascual Perez got lost on the way to a game at his own team’s ballpark. Tickets are $29.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard, 8 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Join Hathaway and Studdard for an evening of classic soul coupled with R&B hits — one elegant show with a seamless blending of classic duets, fan favorites and selections from the artists’ respective catalogs. Born to music royalty, the late soul music legend Donny Hathaway, Lalah often is referred to as the “first daughter of soul.” But a Grammy Award, multiple acclaimed recordings and incredible live performances under her belt demonstrate Hathaway has created a musical legacy all her own. One of her more recent collaborations includes the “Velvet Teddy Bear” himself, Verve Recording artist and Birmingham’s own Ruben Studdard. Studdard has warmed the hearts of his huge fan base with five albums and has toured with the likes of Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester, CeCe Winans and David Foster. With his new album “Unconditional Love,” he has delivered the recording that he himself states is “the record I should have made after I won ‘American Idol.’” “Unconditional Love” brings together timeless classics and new compositions, including “Meant to Be,” the first single, which Studdard introduced on the finale of “The Biggest Loser,” and co-wrote with Foster. Tickets are $61.50, $52.50 and $43.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014
Boz Scaggs, 8 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Scaggs is both a musical seeker and a man of sizable talent. His explorations in blues, R&B, rock, and jazz have produced a body of lasting work and a career with acclaim, a loyal following and an enduring respect among musicians. The Grammy Award-winning rock legend released his 17th album, “Memphis,” in 2013. The album is a mixture of original songs and classic covers designed as a nod to family history and American roots music. “Memphis” was recorded with an all-star band (Keb’ Mo’, Willie Weeks, Steve Jordan, Ray Parker Jr. and Spooner Oldham) in the landmark Royal Studio, where countless Hi Records hits were recorded by Al Green, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy and others. The album hit No. 1 on Billboard’s blues chart in 2013. In addition to touring with his own band, Scaggs continues to work with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald as The Dukes of September, most recently playing a 47-city tour to rave reviews. Scaggs’ unique voice and trademark sound make plain his abiding respect for a wide spectrum of American roots music. Tickets are $74.50, $65.50 and $55.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Tuesday, Aug. 19-Friday, Aug. 22, 2014
EarFilms’ U.S. Premiere of “To Sleep To Dream,” 7:30 p.m. each night in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Experience the U.S. premiere of the cutting-edge, award-winning, feature-length film, “To Sleep To Dream,” in the intimate setting of the ASC’s Odess black-box Theatre. Seated within a 3-D, “ambisonic” sound system, each audience member is blindfolded to focus the senses. EarFilms creates a playground for the human imagination, a medium in which the mind’s eye fills in the blanks, paints the pictures and allows each participant to become the director. An EarFilm isn’t just the telling of a story, it’s a way for the listener to be a part of it. Live storytelling, immersive 3-D sound and a musical score draw the audience deep into their own iteration as their ears take the place of their eyes. Only 90 tickets are available nightly. Beginning at 6 p.m. prior to “To Sleep To Dream” (and running continuously each evening), enjoy free sonic experiences in the ASC Jemison Concert Hall and the Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall. In the first, “I/O,” experience a 7.1 surround sound installation, commissioned by the ASC and created by UAB Department of Music professors William Price and Scott Phillips. Upon entering the concert hall, participants will see a series of parabolic speakers hanging from the ceiling, all playing the same piece of music. Choose the path and hear a different part of the music at each stop. At one stop just the strings and at another the brass, until finally — at the conductor’s position — hear all the music combined. In the recital hall, Sidewalk Film Festival will show a series of films dealing with issues of sound and senses. During the EarFilms residency, the ASC will host a special private screening of “To Sleep To Dream” for filmmakers participating in the Sidewalk Film Festival on Aug. 22-24. ArtPlay Meet the Artist school shows will take place daily at 10 a.m. in the ASC, along with “Creating the Story” discussions at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, and Thursday, Aug. 21. Tickets to “To Sleep To Dream” are $21. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Thursday, Aug. 28-Friday, Sept. 5, 2014
“Magic Chromacity,” an installation by artist Amanda Browder, in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center and Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, 1200 block of 10th Avenue South. Free. In the first joint project for UAB’s Cultural Corridor, the Alys Stephens Center, the Department of Art and Art History, and the new Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts commissioned Browder to create “Magic Chromacity.” The vast works Browder is creating with help from community members use recycled and donated materials to make large-scale fabric art pieces to adorn the AEIVA and ASC buildings, which face each other, and enable the buildings to “speak” to each other while also serving as individual works. The works begun during her residency in April will be completed after additional community sewing days in July, then installed and presented to celebrate UAB’s new cultural corridor Aug. 26-28. Browder will give a free, public lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, and an opening reception will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. Aug. 29, in the AEIVA. The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Art and Art History, John S. Jemison Fund, and the Alys Stephens Center. The work will be available for viewing during daylight hours Friday, Aug. 29-Friday, Sept. 5. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014
Keb’ Mo’ and G. Love & Special Sauce, 7 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Keb’ Mo’ has been making critically acclaimed albums since 1994 when he released his self-titled debut. But it was his second release, “Just Like You,” in 1996 that won him the first of three Grammy awards. His genre-blending artfulness, intuitive lyrics, unique guitar style, distinctive voice and magnetic stage charisma have gained him the significant honor of being called “a musician’s musician.” G. Love & Special Sauce is a Philadelphia-based trio whose unique laid-back, sloppy blues sound encompasses the sound and production of classic R&B and recent rap artists. Twenty years after the release of their self-titled debut and eight years since their last live performance together, the original lineup of G. Love & Special Sauce (G. Love, Jeff Clemens and Jim Prescott) return with their first album in nearly a decade. Built on the trio’s signature hip-hop blues sound, they are breathing new life into their groove-heavy, Chicago-blues-infused brand of stripped-down rock ’n’ roll. Tickets are $68.50, $58.50 and $48.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Friday, Sept. 12, 2014
Duquette Johnston, with opening artist Armand Margjeka, 7:30 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. The ASC is excited to present Duquette Johnston, one of the most talented artists to emerge from Birmingham’s music scene. This performance brings together Johnston’s rock band with orchestral musicians, forming the largest band the artist has performed with to date. “I’ve been performing with a nine-piece band, which includes my string quartet; but being able to play in the ASC Sirote Theatre will allow me the space and setting to bring to life the orchestra I have envisioned in the past year,” Johnston said. His 2013 groundbreaking release, “Rabbit Runs a Destiny,” is new territory. These songs mark a new journey for Johnston, unveiling a voice that’s willing to be vulnerable and strong. Anchored by sweeping and majestic sonic landscapes, “Rabbit” shows a musician firmly in control of his craft and unafraid to grow and dig deeper. As a songwriter and producer, opening artist Armand Margjeka has developed a reputation for his fascination with the process of making great records — that intentional, incidental and accidental sounds breathe life into a recording and embody its unique character.
Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014
“Experience Hendrix,” 7 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. This star-studded tour, which includes performers Billy Cox, Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, Doyle Bramhall II and Chris Layton, finds some of the genre’s most respected artists paying homage to one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. Since 2004, with the endorsement of the Jimi Hendrix family, “Experience Hendrix” has been delighting fans at sold-out shows worldwide, and musicians love this show as much as fans. It’s a time for them to come together and celebrate one of their biggest and most important musical influences. The tour offers performers and the audience the chance to witness unique collaborations among its featured artists and will highlight these artists’ favorite Hendrix signature songs, including “Little Wing,” “Fire,” “Purple Haze” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” It’s this fusion of classic Hendrix music combined with the unique pairing of practicing musicians that makes “Experience Hendrix” such an uncommon musical treat, dishing up night after night of legendary music and an exciting stage show. Keep watch during the summer for more musicians to be announced as featured performers for the ASC performance. Tickets are $125, $110.50 and $91.50. Single tickets for “Experience Hendrix” will go on sale Friday, June 20, when the national tour will be announced. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Friday, Sept. 26, 2014
Kirk Whalum in The Essentials: Swing, 8 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Hosted by UAB Artist-in-Residence Eric Essix, The Essentials is a new, innovative series devoted to honoring music’s rich history and sound with a journey through jazz. The second installment of The Essentials will explore swing. This series combines equal parts education and entertainment in one stage show and spotlights an internationally acclaimed jazz artist alongside Birmingham’s talented local jazz musicians. The first half of the evening will be dedicated to surveying the exciting period of swing’s history, the music and artists, led by Essix with acclaimed jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum alongside the UAB Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of UAB Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies and Trumpet Steve Roberts, DMA. The ensemble, which recently won top prize at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame competition, will be joined by vocalist Ashley Roberts, who has performed with nationally renowned Birmingham band St. Paul and the Broken Bones. The second set will feature Whalum, whose soulful, passionate, rich tenor sound is forged from his Memphis gospel roots, An 11-time Grammy Award nominee, he won his first Grammy for Best Gospel Song, “It’s What I Do,” featuring Lalah Hathaway. Whalum has a passion to educate young, aspiring musicians, and he is chief creative officer of the STAX Music Academy and the STAX Museum of American Soul Music in his hometown. The ASC residency also includes a 10 a.m. Meet the Artist school show complete with curriculum guides and a master class/open rehearsal for music students. Tickets are $39.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, 8 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has talent, natural charisma and a relentless drive to bridge music’s past and future. His latest, “Say That to Say This,” comes as Andrews and his longtime band, Orleans Avenue — guitarist Pete Murano, bassist Mike Ballard and drummer Joey Peebles –— continue their natural musical evolution. Trombone Shorty began his career as a bandleader at the young age of 6, toured internationally at 12, and spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz. He also has performed alongside notable artists such as B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. In 2012, he received the President’s Medal from Tulane University in recognition of his charitable work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation, which donates quality instruments to schools across New Orleans. On a worldwide tour that’s taking fans by storm, Trombone Shorty and his ensemble explore funk, rock, jazz and hip-hop with a style that makes them some of the most exciting, high-energy artists touring today. Tickets are $55.50, $46.50 and $36.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014
Mary Mary, 7 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. The powerful creative spirit of groundbreaking duo Mary Mary is fearless. Siblings Erica and Tina Campbell broke through in 2000 with the pioneering crossover hit “Shackles (Praise You).” Ever since, the chart-topping sister act has never wavered from defying convention to fulfill its mission: sending uplifting messages through music and words that are relatable and inspiring to everyone. “It’s about making music that touches both adults and young people,” Erica Campbell said. Spreading good news for the world in the “Mary Mary way” means banging beats and moving melodies, intertwined voices, and messages of hope. An amazing 10 years later, having earned three Grammy awards, two American Music awards, an NAACP Image Award and a BET Award, the “Mary Mary way” sounds just as fresh and innovative as it did when they first dreamed of sharing their message with the world. Tickets are $68.50, $59.50 and $49.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
ArtPlay Parlor Series presents Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, 7 p.m., in UAB’s ArtPlay, 601 19th St. South. The Julian Lage/Chris Eldridge duo is a collaborative effort founded in the roots of acoustic music, exploring the worlds of improvisation and composition. Lage’s background in modern jazz and new music, and Eldridge’s relationship with bluegrass — as well as being a member of the widely acclaimed band Punch Brothers — means this duo lives at the nexus of improvisation, spontaneous composition and virtuosic refinement, all performed on their respective 1939 Martin guitars. Lage began playing guitar at an early age, and by the time he was 8 was playing with Carlos Santana. At 11, he began performing and collaborating with Gary Burton. In 2009, Lage released his debut album, “Sounding Point,” with the help of musicians such as Bela Fleck and Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile. “Sounding Point” was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Eldridge has been at the vanguard of acoustic music for much of the past decade. In 2005 he caught the attention of Nickel Creek’s Thile, who enlisted him, along with banjoist Noam Pikelny, violinist Gabe Witcher and bassist Greg Garrison to start working on an ambitious side project. Soon after they decided to focus all of their collective energies into one band, and Punch Brothers was born. That band has since released three critically acclaimed albums, received two Grammy nominations and toured the world. The performance is part of the Patty McDonald ArtPlay Parlor Music Series. Tickets are $37.50; wine and hors d’oeuvres are included. An ArtPlay Meet the Artist school show is planned for 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Wednesday, Nov. 12-Friday, Nov. 14, 2014
GlobalFest will feature three free lunchtime events and an after-work lecture, presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Events are free and open to everyone. Grab a bite to eat from food trucks on-site. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
- Wednesday, Nov. 12: “The Majesty of African Art,” noon, featuring Emily G. Hanna, curator of the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Arts of Africa. Journey to Africa with Hanna and capture the spirit of African art through the museum pieces she will bring for display and discussion. Each piece tells a unique story, and with each story comes a new discovery.
- Thursday, Nov. 13: “A Touch of Tango,” noon, featuring UAB’s Sara Alvarez and Roswell Pfister. These famed UAB dancing doctors, who have been performing since childhood and tangoed around the world, are versed in other dance forms such as vintage, ragtime, Latin and Standard International partner dancing. However, their passion is Argentine tango. Don’t miss their captivating lunchtime performance.
- Thursday, Nov. 13: “Egypt: A View From Above,” 5:45 p.m., featuring Sarah Parcak, director of the Laboratory of Global Research at UAB. Learn how and why this Egyptologist’s research has reinvigorated exploration for ancient sites throughout the Middle East. Parcak, a National Geographic fellow and 2012 TED fellow, will discuss how she uses satellite imagery to identify ancient sites around the world.
- Friday, Nov. 14: “Sounds of Ireland,” noon, featuring Russell Hopper, master Irish fiddle player. The centuries-old tradition of Irish music continues to be an important aspect of daily Irish life despite the increasing modern day cultural influences. Hopper’s program will explore the core of Irish traditional music and its role in modern Irish culture. This program features an Irish fiddle performance, along with other instruments native to Ireland, and an interactive discussion.
Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014
The Assad Brothers, 7 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. The ASC is excited to announce the return of Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad. Fusing classical, jazz and Latin stylings, the Assad Brothers have set the benchmark for all other guitarists by creating a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity and expression. The Washington Post declares they are “the best two-guitar team in existence, maybe even in history … no amount of anticipation could have prepared me for the Brazilian brothers’ daringly flexible, eerily unanimous ensemble playing.” The brothers have worked extensively with renowned artists such as Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Fernando Suarez Paz, Paquito D’Rivera, Gidon Kremer and Dawn Upshaw and have an ongoing, highly acclaimed collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In 2009, the brothers were featured on Ma’s chart topping release, “Songs of Joy & Peace.” The prolific duo is playing a major role in creating and introducing new music for two guitars. Their virtuosity has inspired a wide range of composers to write for them, and now Sérgio Assad is adding to their repertoire by composing music for the duo and for various musical partners both with symphony orchestra and in recitals. ArtPlay will present a Meet the Artist school show at 10 a.m. in the ASC. Tickets are $49.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.
Friday, Dec. 19-Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
“A Dickens Vest Pocket Christmas Carol,” with shows at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 and 11 a.m. Dec. 20, presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Back by popular demand, “A Dickens Vest Pocket Christmas Carol” is sure to bring the Christmas spirit to everyone. Join the Cratchets, Tiny Tim, all of the spirits and Ebenezer Scrooge in his journey toward redemption and enlightenment. This delightful play is adapted and directed by beloved ASC staff member and ArtPlay Teaching Artist Jerry Sims, whose popular original productions include “Yuletide in Dogtown,” “Alice’s EVEN BIGGER Tea Party” and “Down the Yellow Brick Road.” Come early to enjoy holiday treats. ArtPlay will present Meet the Artist school shows 10 a.m. Dec. 18 and 1 p.m. Dec. 19. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for children. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.