WCU Live! has announced its lineup for the 2017-2018 school year, and it features a variety of touring artists guaranteed to entertain young and old alike.
With singing, storytelling, dancing, and more, the diverse roster of professional entertainers will bring music, animals, comedy, and theater to West Chester University’s campus starting in the fall. A division of WCU’s Department of Cultural and Community Affairs, WCU Live! is now in its 22nd year of presenting the best of touring international artists to the community.
“We aim for it to be a diverse and multidisciplinary series, a something-for-everyone approach to our programming,” said Madeline Bell, Program Coordinator. “We try to find acts that we know will do well, and something that the community will respond to.”
Music lovers will certainly respond to several events featuring collections of popular singer-songwriters, Irish tunes, Japanese drummers, and a cappella vocals.
Neil Berg’s Pianomen: An Intimate Tribute to Billy Joel & Elton John pays tribute to the compositions and songwriting of two of the most iconic composers of the 20th century. Neil Berg, on piano, will be accompanied by accomplished Broadway singers Michael Lanning (The Civil War) and Danny Zolli (Jesus Christ Superstar) to bring crowd-pleasing hits to the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall.
Carole King fans can sing along with Tapestry: A Tribute to Carole King, the show that honors one of America’s most prolific and revered singer-songwriters and faithfully recreates the memorable sounds of such favorites as “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Natural Woman,” “It’s Too Late,” “So Far Away,” and “I Feel the Earth Move.”
If Irish music is your passion, WCU Live! presents Goitse (pronounced go-with-cha), singing its own compositions along with traditional tunes from the countryside of Ireland and abroad. The quintet, featuring Aine McGeeney, named Best Female Vocalist of 2016 by Irish American News, has already released four critically acclaimed recordings.
Percussion and dance are featured in a return engagement of the popular Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming & Dance Troupe. Nearly 30 drummers and dancers from Tamagawa University in Japan will give an athletic and graceful performance that includes thundering Taiko drumming and Japanese folkloric dance.
And YouTube followers will likely recognize Backtrack, winner of the 2016 YouTube Next Up competition. This a cappella powerhouse from New York City proudly represents a melting pot of cultures and heritages, which is evident in the diversity of their song selections and sound.
Animal lovers of any age will enjoy two performances where the animals become the stars, according to Bell.
“WCU Live! tries to include some kind of animal show that will engage parents and their children, and they are always popular,” she said.
In Peter Gros of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, wildlife expert and environmental conservationist Peter Gros will share his travel experiences and timeless tales, accompanied by wild animals. Best known for hosting the original Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on Animal Planet, Gros enjoys sharing his passion for the natural world with young people around the planet.
Dog lovers will no doubt line up to see Johnny Peers & The Muttville Comix, an act that features more than a dozen personality-plus canines performing challenging and hilarious tricks. The circus-style show has been seen at venues all over the country, including Disneyland, the Big Apple Circus, and the White House.
Comedy is presented in the forms of an improvisational storytelling group and a well-known husband-and-wife team.
Back by popular demand are the Story Pirates with a performance that has yet to be written. Why? In their fun and unpredictable Create-A-Show, the Story Pirates will collect audience members’ ideas and suggestions before and during the show and incorporate them on the spot in a hilarious improvisational performance.
With a combination of comedy and Dixieland, piano virtuoso Fred “Mickey” Finn and his wife, American Banjo Hall of Fame inductee Cathy Reilly Finn, bring the acclaimed Mickey Finn Show to campus. To date, Fred and Cathy have brought their crowd-pleasing show to 55 countries and held residencies at Disney World, Sea World, and Princess Cruises.
For children who dream of Broadway stardom, or for those who just want to be part of an original theater adaptation, WCU Live! brings the country’s preeminent professional children’s theatre company to the university.
In Missoula Children’s Theatre presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, tour directors will audition local children and then lead daily rehearsals before the performance at the end of the week.
“We’re looking to bring the outside community to the campus,” Bell said.
These entertainers should help achieve that goal.
Click here for more information on WCU Live!