3 big musicals part of Concert Association's next season

Mike Dunham

The Anchorage Concert Association 2014-15 season will include three big musicals, "Les Miserables" (Oct. 17-26), the rockabilly extravaganza "Million Dollar Quartet" (March 17-22, 2015) and film-inspired "Sister Act" (May 12-17).

The upcoming season announced last week will also see the return of two performers who proved particularly popular in previous Anchorage shows, radio host Ira Glass (March 14) and jazz giant Ramsey Lewis (with John Pizzarelli in a tribute to Nat King Cole, April 3).

The musical side will include Grammy winner Paula Cole (Nov. 14); rock bands Leftover Cuties (Oct. 11), Sybarites (Oct. 17) and J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound (Jan. 16); world music from Masters of Hawaiian Music (Oct. 4), African Guitar Summit (March 6-7) and "contemporary rumba flamenco" sounds from guitarist Jesse Cook (April 17).

Classical-flavored concerts will include piano duo Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe (Jan. 30) and Metales M5 Mexican Brass (April 18).

The schedule will include five plays presented in collaboration with Juneau-based Perseverance Theatre; Christopher Durang's family farce "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" (Sept. 12-21), "An Illiad," with Bostin Christopher in the adaptation of Homer's classic (Oct. 24-Nov. 2), an adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" by Alaska playwright Arlitia Jones and Cincinnati director Michael Haney (Dec. 19-29), "The Mountaintop," a remarkable play about the final night of Martin Luther King's life (Feb. 6-15) and Neil Simon's evergreen "The Odd Couple" (April 10-26).

The annual presentation of "The Nutcracker" (Nov. 28-30) will feature the Eugene Ballet.

While ACA has generally shied away from dance acts recently, a genre-mixing group, BodyVox from Portland, Ore., will blend contemporary dance with theater and film (March 27-28). ACA Executive Director Jason Hodges said he'd been trying to get them for several years.

"Finally, all the things came into alignment," he said. "We hadn't done contemporary dance in a while, so we thought, 'Let's give 'em a shot.' "

Another performance Hodges had been hoping to get to Anchorage is "Intergalactic Nemesis" (Jan. 23-24). The show is sort of a giant comic book, with panels projected on a large screen as live actors read the script in a fusion of pop art and radio theater.

"What caught my eye was it was just different," said Hodges. He said he'd been working on fixing a date for two or three years. Anchorage will get the act as part of a statewide tour that takes it from Petersburg to Fairbanks.

Also different is the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (Nov. 1). Hodges didn't have words for the octet that will be showcased in Atwood Concert Hall. "You just gotta go look at the video on the website," he said.

Some events will include pre-show or post-show parties, including Ira Glass and Ramsey Lewis .

The complete schedule and ticket information, with video clips of some acts, is available at anchorageconcerts.org.