All Posts By

Scott Kenison

2017-18 Season Brochure

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Check out the Season Brochure for 17-18 and find out what’s coming to the Bankhead Theater.  You’ll also get an overview of everything else we do … from visual arts at the Bothwell Arts Center to educational programs and cultural events.

Event Preview: Giselle

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If you enjoy Russian ballet, then you’ll want to be sure to check out the upcoming performance of Giselle at the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center. On Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m., the extraordinary dancers of the Russian National Ballet Theatre stage their acclaimed production of this beloved classic which preserves the timeless beauty of the Russian ballet tradition.

Giselle was first performed in Paris in 1841 and quickly rose to popularity. It was especially popular among audiences in Russia where it has consistently remained in repertory. The ballet tells the story of a peasant girl named Giselle, who dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover is betrothed to another. Giselle is summoned from her grave by the “Wilis” a group of ghostly women who, having been betrayed in love, dance men to death each moonlit night. The Queen of the Wilis commands Giselle to dance her former lover to death, but she instead uses her love to protect him.

Act I

The story begins with Duke Albrecht, a young nobleman, who falls in love with a beautiful peasant girl, Giselle. Albrecht disguises himself as a humble villager named Loys and, hiding his fine attire and his sword, romances Giselle as the village harvest festivities begin.  However, Albrecht is actually engaged to Bathilde, a Countess in the royal court.

A local gamekeeper named Hilarion, who is also in love with Giselle, tries to convince her that Albrecht/Loys can’t be trusted. Giselle’s mother Berthe warns her of the curse of the Wilis, girls who have been unlucky in love and died before they were married.  Giselle ignores both Hilarion and her mother and dances off to enjoy the harvest celebration.

A royal hunting party approaches the village and Albrecht hides. When the villagers come forward to welcome them, Bathilde singles out Giselle for attention. Giselle offers them drinks and dances for them, enchanting Bathilde who gives Giselle a pretty necklace. Hilarion, however, has found the finely-made sword and horn Albrecht has hidden. He reveals the items to the royal party, forcing Albrecht forward.

His identity revealed, Albrecht acknowledges Bathilde as his betrothed. Giselle is inconsolable at the news and, taking Albrecht’s sword, chooses to die rather than live without him.

Act II

The Wilis, ghostly spirits of maidens betrayed by their lovers, dance in the moonlight around Giselle’s new grave. Led by their merciless queen Myrtha, they haunt the forest at night seeking revenge on any man they encounter. They forcing their victims to dance until they die of exhaustion.

They rouse Giselle’s spirit from her grave and induct Giselle into the group. When Albrecht returns to her grave with flowers in hand, he finds Giselle’s spirit and begs for forgiveness, following her into the forest.  The remaining Wilis discover Hilarion who has also brought flowers to Giselle’s grave. They force him to dance until he’s exhausted and he falls into the lake and drowns.

When the Wilis discover Albrecht and begin to force him to dance, Giselle uses her love to protect him until the sun rises. His safety assured, Giselle bids Albrecht a tender farewell before joining the Wilis. Albrecht collapses on her grave to mourn her loss.

If you are interested in seeing this classic ballet live, visit the event page on our event calendar. Explore the performing arts in Livermore with live music, opera, plays and more.

How getting involved in performing arts can help your child

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At Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, we strive to not only provide incredible entertainment but also to enrich the minds of our audience. Part of that includes grabbing the attention of young people.

Studies have shown that involvement in the arts is associated with improvement in math, reading, critical thinking, problem-solving and more. The benefits don’t end in the classroom, however.

  1. Those that enroll in the arts, whether music, dance or drama, tend to have more advanced self-presentation skills than their peers. In turn, that leads to greater confidence and poise in stressful situations.
  2. The arts offer an ideal platform for self-expression. For example, children that play an instrument often find their music to be therapeutic. That means that while they may not be mature enough to talk yet about emotions like an adult, they can still express them in a highly effective manner.
  3. Performing arts makes great exercise. Think about how physically fit a singer must be to hold notes for an extended period of time!
  4. Problem-solving and perseverance can come from being involved in the arts. Let’s say that your child is involved in a play. From start to finish, they will have to learn collaboration and develop a number of reasoning and critical thinking skills, in addition to motivation and concentration.
  5. Being a part of the arts can promote empathy and compassion. You might be thinking to yourself that all of the previously mentioned benefits can be attained by getting your child into sports. That may be true, but performing arts can also grow your child’s interpersonal skills. As opposed to winning and losing, the arts deals primarily with working toward a performance goal, as well as the child’s individual development throughout the process.

Source: http://www.washingtonchristian.org/washington/5-great-ways-performing-arts-can-benefit-your-child

Educational Outreach

We want to provide every student in the Tri-Valley with a chance to experience the arts through educational activities. That’s why LVPAC presents performances at schools and at the Bankhead Theater and provides free monthly events, workshops, master classes with visiting artists and so many more fun opportunities.

As you’ll see on our Educational Outreach page, LVPAC funds The Easy Bay Jazz All-Stars, as well as other programs in the area. Students can enjoy tickets to the family-friendly Bankhead Theater events for just $16.

Recent Educational Outreach Events

  • Run Boy Run concert – In November, our audience enjoyed a performance by the winners of the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest. Folks of all ages loves the sound of the traditional style of the Appalachian South.
  • A master class with Scottish vocalist, Julie Fowlis, whose voice was featured in Disney’s Brave.
  • Family holiday performance – This event included performances by Livermore-Amador Symphony, Cantabella Children’s Chorus and Valley Dance Theatre. Children were also invited to get up close and personal with the musician’s instruments following the performance.
  • Christmas ornament craft workshop – LVPAC hosted this event Dec. 14 and it was a huge success as children and their parents created homemade ornaments for the holiday season.

If your child is interested in the performing arts, LVPAC has plenty of opportunities for them to get started. Feel free to contact us for more information.

And don’t forget that 2017 will be filled with unforgettable operas, ballet, theatre, concerts, holiday events and more.

Event Preview: Jesus Christ Superstar

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The Bankhead Theater is proud to host seven January performances of the popular rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. Audiences have been captivated by this work since 1970 when the musical began with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. By 1980, there had been more than 3,300 performances of Jesus Christ Superstar, making it the longest-running musical in West End history at the time.

Today, it’s been professionally produced in 42 countries around the world. With the time of Lent approaching in the coming weeks, Jesus Christ Superstar is a must-see, particularly because the work is portrayed through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. The work depicts Judas as a tragic figure dissatisfied with the direction that Jesus is pointing his followers toward. Audience members love how contemporary attitudes and sensibilities, in addition to slang, are woven into the story. Ironic allusions to modern life, plus a number of anachronisms, are featured throughout the depiction of political events.

Act I

The audience begins to see the concern that Judas has with Jesus. Overall, Judas fails to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and worries that Jesus’ following will be viewed as a threat to the Roman Empire. We are also introducing several other main characters, including Mary Magdalene, Caiaphas the high priest and Pontius Pilate.

At one point, the audience watches as Jesus arrives at the temple in Jerusalem and finds that it is being used as a marketplace for usury, weapons, prostitutes and drugs. The next scene involves an angry Jesus, as well as a Jesus who is overwhelmed with lepers, cripples, and beggars, all wanting to be healed.

The first act concludes with Judas revealing that Jesus will be at the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday night.

Musical Numbers

  • “Overture” – Orchestra
  • “Heaven on Their Minds” – Judas
  • “What’s the Buzz” / “Strange Thing Mystifying” – Apostles, Jesus, Mary, Judas, Peter, Woman
  • “Everything’s Alright” – Mary, Women, Judas, Jesus, Apostles
  • “This Jesus Must Die” – Annas, Caiaphas, Apostles, Priests
  • “Hosanna” – Apostles, Caiaphas, Jesus, Ensemble
  • “Simon Zealotes” / “Poor Jerusalem” – Apostles, Simon, Jesus, Ensemble
  • “Pilate’s Dream” – Pilate
  • “The Temple” – Ensemble, Jesus
  • “Everything’s Alright (reprise)” – Mary, Jesus
  • “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” – Mary
  • “Damned For All Time” / “Blood Money” – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Chorus

Act II

We begin with the scene of the Last Supper, where Jesus asks his apostles to remember him when they eat and drink. He also predicts that Peter will deny him three times and that one of them (Judas) will betray him.

The work proceeds to the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus admits to God his doubts, fears, and anger. The action then picks up even more when Judas arrives with Roman soldiers to arrest Jesus. Panic immediately ensues, though Jesus tells his apostles to allow the soldiers to take him to Caiaphas.

From there, Jesus is moved from the brief trial before the Sanhedrin to be sent along to Pontius Pilate. However, Pilate winds up sending Jesus to King Herod, who asks him to prove he is the Son of God by performing miracles. Jesus ignores King Herod’s request is sent back to Pilate.

The Passion of Christ is soon depicted with Pilate and the rest of the crowd. To keep the peace, Pilate reluctantly agrees to have Jesus crucified. The production comes full circle with the crucifixion.

Musical Numbers

  • “The Last Supper” – Apostles, Jesus, Judas
  • “Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)” – Jesus
  • “The Arrest” – Judas, Jesus, Peter, Apostles, Ensemble, Annas, Caiaphas
  • “Peter’s Denial” – Maid by the Fire, Peter, Soldier, Old Man, Mary
  • “Pilate and Christ” – Pilate, Annas, Jesus, Ensemble
  • “King Herod’s Song (Try it and See)” – Herod, Dancers
  • “Could We Start Again Please?” – Mary, Apostles, Peter
  • “Judas’ Death” – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Chorus
  • “Trial Before Pilate (Including the Thirty-Nine Lashes)” – Pilate, Caiaphas, Annas, Jesus, Ensemble
  • “Superstar” – Judas, Soul Sisters, Angels
  • “The Crucifixion” – Jesus, Ensemble
  • “John Nineteen: Forty-One” – Orchestra

Jesus Christ Superstar will be presented by the Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre Jan. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 (two performances) and 29. Be sure to check out our 2017 calendar for ticket information, as well as information on other upcoming shows and events.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke

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This is quite difficult for me to write for many reasons.  I enjoy life in Livermore. Since arriving two years ago, I have found the community very warm and welcoming.  However, there have been a few instances when folks have said things that were prejudiced, among them statements that were unapologetically anti-Semitic and others more coded but nonetheless, anti-Semitic. I find this extremely unsettling.

On Wednesday, someone from this community decided to make a statement on the Menorah that is located in front of the Bankhead Theater. The Menorah has been placed there annually by Chabad of the Tri-Valley to honor the holy days of Hanukkah. Vandals placed a barbed wire wreath on top and a white shroud around the center candle.  This was not a silly prank, it was a deliberate act of hatred.

Unfortunately, acts like these have become far too common nationwide. As the heart of our artistic community, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will work to shine a light on all types of prejudice– racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, xenophobia and homophobia. LVPAC is open to all and we serve the whole community. Just like the Menorah we will continue to burn brightly through the night and the days ahead. With the beauty of art, we hope to not only share the joy that can be found in the world, but change the hearts and minds of people who instead spread the darkness of hate.

Caveat emptor

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Buyer beware.

In this world of internet scams and fake news, a new phenomenon has sprung up.  The unscrupulous ticket reseller.  I know part of this world well, because in the 1990’s I worked for a reputable international theatre ticket agency.  We were a legitimate service that provided assistance with purchasing tickets to performances around the world. Times have changed. Recently, we have been seeing tickets for our shows on resale sites at ridiculously inflated prices.  Unfortunately, this is completely legal, and there is little we can do about it except inform our patrons.  Best case scenario is that a patron overpays for a ticket, but receives one purchased from our box office by the third party reseller, and they enjoy the show.  Worst case scenario is that the patron overpays for a ticket, the third party doesn’t follow through, and the patron is unable to get into the show or has to purchase another ticket.

So, I urge everyone who is looking to purchase a ticket to any events online, to make sure they are purchasing from a reputable box office, if they are not working directly with us.  Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Make sure the price is in line with what you expected to pay.
  • Check to see if there is a physical address associated with the website.  If there isn’t one, or it is difficult to find, that is a sign they may be hiding something.
  • If there is a phone number associated with the website, call it.
  • If you are looking for a hard-to-get ticket (Hamilton comes to mind!), you may need to purchase at a premium from a broker.  Make sure there are confirmed seat locations.  Most brokers who resell hard-to-get tickets have purchased those tickets from the box office and have the seat locations.
  • Check the company’s ratings on Yelp or Google business.

Finally, I ask all our regular patrons, who know how to find us at lvpac.org, to do us a favor. Tell your friends and family to always go to the source for tickets! You can avoid paying additional fees by purchasing through our box office and you can be sure you’ll have a seat when you get there!

A curious thought

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“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.”

Agatha Christie

Last night we hosted Aquila Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile. As I left the theater, I heard many opinions about the show. Some good, some not so good and some bad. As with many productions, there are hits and misses. There were some aspects of the play that I really enjoyed and others that I felt confused by. There were moments that were crystal clear and others that seemed muddled. I have to say, that one of the things I love about going to see live theater is engaging with people afterwards about what worked, what didn’t, what made them think, what made them laugh and sometimes, if it is really great, what moved them.

“All art is political in the sense that it serves someone’s politics” — August Wilson

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We have been living in a politically charged environment for what seems like years, but has really only been months. As the dust settles, one hopes that we emerge stronger and perhaps slightly wiser. Through it all, we can seek peace and beauty in art. Come to the Bankhead to enjoy soothing music, listen to a lecture or rock to an old favorite. Head to the Bothwell to take part in a pencil sketch class or hear an intimate concert. Whatever your interest, you are sure to find a place at Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.

We have two challenges I hope you will join us in meeting. First, we are raising the bar for our end-of-year fundraising campaign. A very generous donor has pledged a matching gift of $150,000, so every dollar we raise in November and December will be matched one-to-one up to $150,000. The second challenge is to reach 1,000 members in 2016. With over 925 now, we hope if you are not already a member, you will join and help us reach that goal.

As in politics, we in the arts are sustained by the participation of our citizens. I am grateful and humbled by your support throughout the year; we could not do this without you. Thank you!

Scott Kenison, Executive Director

Events Calendar

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Tue 27

Evenings on the Green

Tue, June 27 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Call 925.373.6800 or email websales@livermoreperformingarts.org for tickets and information