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August 14, 2006

Woody Allen, world music star Angelique Kidjo, NPR's Nina Totenberg highlight Arts & Lectures lineup

By Scott Rappaport

Renowned filmmaker and Dixieland jazz clarinetist Woody Allen, African world music star Angelique Kidjo, National Public Radio’s legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and the European-influenced Aspen Santa Fe Ballet are just some of the highlights of the new 2006-07 UCSC Arts & Lectures season.

Photo: Woody Allen

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band plays December 21 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Photo: Sygma

Photo: Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo's music blends the West African music of Benin with American R&B, funk, jazz, and European and Latin American influences. She performs at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz on May 11.

The lineup will also feature a new work by the acclaimed Stephen Petronio modern dance company, set to original music by popular singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright; plus Australia’s award-winning Chunky Move company, performing a show titled “I Want to Dance Better at Parties”—an innovative, funny, and hip look at five ordinary men and their conflicted feelings about social dancing.

“Many of the artists on our new season I’ve been trying to bring here for years,” noted Arts & Lectures director Michelle Witt. “The idea is to bring to UC Santa Cruz work that you can’t easily see anywhere else.”

The season kicks off on October 27 with The Spirit of Fes 2006, Paths to Hope tour, featuring a mix of Moroccan Sufi, Spanish flamenco, South Indian classical, and Gregorian-chanting vocalists and musicians.

“It’s a tour from the annual celebration of World Sacred Music that brings music of all the major religions under one roof to promote respect and peaceful coexistence among cultures,” said Witt. “That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to have it as our season’s opening performance--what better way to address what’s happening today than to experience the world’s great cultural traditions.”

On the theater front, Arts & Lectures will present a new stylistic adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet from the Aquila Theatre Company’s acclaimed British and American ensemble. Universes’ fusion theater group will also present its latest work Live From the Edge, a blend of hip-hop theater, poetry, and gospel that has received rave reviews for the acclaimed company that has performed everywhere from L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum to Sing Sing Prison.

Classical music performances will include the Grammy-winning choral group Chanticleer; virtuoso cellist Lynn Harrell; and the Takacs Quartet, who according to Witt “perform one of the most intelligent interpretations of Beethoven on the planet.”

Other season highlights include powerhouse vocalist Lura, mixing the music of Cape Verde with a bit of Latin rhythm and pop; and celebrated mandolinist Mike Marshall, returning to Arts & Lectures for another duo mandolin extravaganza—this time teaming up with Rio de Janeiro’s 30-year-old virtuoso Hamilton de Holanda.

“It’s a very exciting season,” Witt noted. “Every one of these world-class artists—whether musically, politically, or theatrically—reflects new developments and new ways of thinking in the performing arts.”

For a complete season lineup and ticket information, go to the Arts & Lectures web site or call the UCSC Ticket Office at (831) 459-2159.

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