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New Festival at the Bankhead Explores Kwanzaa to Celebrate African American Heritage

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The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will offer a free family event celebrating African American heritage in the Bankhead Theater lobby on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Attendees can expect an explanation and presentation of the Kwanzaa holiday, as well as dancing, drumming, hands-on craft tables, and an African safari booth for all ages. A historical display will celebrate the contributions of African people in America, from Sojourner Truth to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Barack Obama, and others.

The event is co-sponsored by Grandmothers Who Help, a locally based organization dedicated to passing down the history of the African American people and promoting unity in our communities. The celebration at the Bankhead falls between the official dates of Kwanzaa (December 26, 2018 through January 1, 2019) and African-American History Month, which is every February. Note the date is also a week prior to the Monday honoring Martin Luther King’s birthday, January 21, 2019.

A summary of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa, a holiday first celebrated in 1966, is derived from “matunda ya kwanza,” which translates as “first fruits” in Swahili. The family-centered celebration typically includes songs, dances, drumming, storytelling, and a large meal. On each of seven nights, candles are lit to symbolize the seven principles which contribute to building and reinforcing a sense of community and unity.

Let’s take a closer look at the principles of Kwanzaa:

  1. Umoja (unity) – To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race
  2. Kujichagulia (self-determination) – To define ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves
  3. Ujima (collective work and responsibility) – To build and maintain our community together and make our neighbors’ problems our problems and to solve them together
  4. Ujamaa (cooperative economics) – To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and businesses and to profit from them together
  5. Nia (purpose) – To make our vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness
  6. Kuumba (creativity) – To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community better off than we inherited it
  7. Imani (faith) – To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

The new African-American event at the Bankhead adds to the free family-oriented cultural events the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center already sponsors throughout the year. The Lunar New Year will be celebrated on the plaza on February 10 while Hispanic Heritage Day will be observed in May. For those who want to plan ahead, celebrations of Native American Day, Filipino Barrio Fiesta, and Diwali take place during the fall of 2019.

A Performing Arts Center Committed to the Community

At LVPAC, we pride ourselves in putting on incredible concerts and performances throughout the year. But it’s events like these that really separate the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center apart from others. Through the Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Arts Center, we offer countless events each year, from classes and workshops to concerts and performances.

We hope to see you January 12, 2019 for this festival! Contact us today with any questions.

DLUX Puppets’ Alice in Wonderland Returns For Two Performances in Livermore

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DLUX Puppets sold out the Bankhead Theater early this year with their innovative musical adaptation of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland. The group is set to return Sunday, December 30 for two more performances. A feast for the eyes and a joyful, theatrical experience for all ages, the show is filled with remarkable life-size puppets, interactive digital scenery, and clever dialogue, bringing to life the marvelous world of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts.

In addition to a matinee at 2 p.m., a new sensory-friendly performance, tailored for those on the autism spectrum or who have other special needs, will be offered earlier in the morning at 11 a.m.

About DLUX Puppets

A multi-talented performer and former star of San Francisco’s famed “Beach Blanket Babylon,” Derek Lux built all the puppets in the show by hand and provides all the voices. The seven puppets range in size from just two feet to over seven feet high and each is different in terms of style, scale, and how they are physically operated. For example, the Queen of Hearts is a hybrid puppet and costume that Lux straps himself into before performing her arms and head.

Lux and his wife Lauren, a credentialed teacher who plays the role of Alice, founded DLUX Puppets in 2016. Their goal is to provide fun family entertainment that also aligns with current education standards and supports social-emotional development. In their production, Alice learns from the characters she meets that her words, thoughts, and feelings have power and that she has the ability to change them and change her world.

DLUX Puppets focuses on making their shows welcoming for all families. The “sensory-friendly” morning performance has been designed to create a comfortable theatrical experience that meets all needs. Some of the modifications they have made include keeping the house lights on at a low level, using natural stage lighting with no abrupt changes, and avoiding startling or loud sounds throughout the performance.

Patrons can feel free to use supportive technology, talk, stand, or leave their seats during the show, so the performance space is open and judgment-free for everyone. A special DLUX Puppets sensory-friendly study guide is available to help prepare young audience members on what to expect.

“During our debut season, we had a very memorable post-performance meet and greet with a special needs child and immediately saw the magic between puppets and this population,” said Lauren Lux. “There are families who might otherwise not be able to attend the theater because of sensory sensitivities to changing lights and abrupt sounds. We hope our modifications will provide access for that community so they can attend and experience the joy of live theater.”

Both Derek and Lauren Lux will be available in the lobby after every show, so audience members can take photos with Alice and admire one of the puppets close up.

In addition to the public shows at the end of December, two performances are being offered to students from local elementary schools through an arts education outreach effort sponsored in part by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center Education Fund. The fund will also underwrite $10 student tickets for the two public shows. Adult tickets are just $20.

DLUX Puppets will return to the Bankhead Theater in early June 2019 with their new production of “Peter Pan.” Tickets for both Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan are available now through the Bankhead ticket office or online at lvpac.org.

Our Performing Arts Center

We take a lot of pride in what we do here at the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center. LVPAC offers wide-ranging programs that provide access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. The Bankhead Theater, which houses the Livermore Visitor Center and Gallery, together with the Bothwell Arts Center, is home to nine resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors.

Whether it’s DLUX Puppets or another upcoming performance, we look forward to seeing you and your loved ones at the Bankhead! You won’t find a more intimate arts venue in Livermore, Pleasanton, or Dublin, CA. Stop by the Bankhead Theater box office today to purchase your event tickets or buy online!

“Meet Me in St. Louis” to be Followed by Additional Classic Film Musicals at the Bankhead

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Screening dates for four more classic film musicals at the Bankhead Theater have been announced, extending the popular series through May 2019. The last in the current series, “Meet Me in St. Louis” starring Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien, will be shown on Wednesday, November 28 at 7 p.m. The series will then resume in February 2019 with the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers favorite “Top Hat,” followed by “Oklahoma,” “Brigadoon,” and the 1954 version of “A Star is Born” featuring Garland.

About the Classic Film Musicals

The Classic Film Musicals series, launched earlier this year, offers audiences the opportunity to enjoy some of the greatest movie musicals as they were meant to be seen, in a truly theatrical setting. Tickets cost just $5 each for the full-length feature films, which are preceded by a cartoon and newsreel of the era. Popcorn, movie treats, and beverages are available in concessions before the show.

“Meet Me in St. Louis” and other classic film musicals

The holiday-themed “Meet Me in St. Louis” revolves around Esther Smith (Garland) and her three sisters as they look forward to enjoying the 1904 World’s Fair before their family has to move to New York. In addition to “The Trolley Song,” the film includes the iconic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which was a hit for Garland and became a holiday standard.

One of the most beloved Astaire/Rogers films, “Top Hat” features the sophisticated “Cheek to Cheek” number, one of their best-known dance sequences with its sleek footwork and flying feathers. “Top Hat” will be followed by “Oklahoma” in March, starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. Filmed in 1955, the Academy Award-winning score by Rogers and Hammerstein features some of their most famous tunes including the title song, “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’,” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.” With its unusual time traveling storyline, “Brigadoon” stars the exceptional dance partners Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in a classic romance set in an enchanted Scottish village with songs such as “Almost Like Being in Love” and “Heather on the Hill.”

Last in the 2019 spring series will be the 1954 version of “A Star is Born,” one of the most expensive films of that era, which starred Garland at the height of her career, opposite James Mason. Garland’s renditions of “The Man That Got Away” and “My Melancholy Baby” went on to become lasting hits. The 1954 version was a remake of the original from 1937. It has since been remade twice more, including the current 2018 version starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

The performance

As aforementioned, Esther Smith (Garland) and her three sisters are caught up in the excitement of preparing for the 1904 World’s Fair. She is in love with the boy next door, who has yet to notice her despite her somewhat clumsy efforts. When her father tells them they will be moving to New York City, each of the girls is upset for their own reasons until twists and turns lead them to an eventual happy ending.

There’s no question that “Meet Me in St. Louis” is a must-see during the holiday season. Best of all, ticket prices are just $5 each! Just keep in mind that all attendees must have a ticket, regardless of age.

The Bankhead Theater

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit offering wide-ranging programs that provide access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. The Bankhead Theater, together with the Bothwell Arts Center, is home to eight resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors.

Now is the perfect to check out the Bankhead if you’ve never been to the venue before. Here are just some of the upcoming performances in December:

We look forward to seeing you and your loved ones at the Bankhead throughout the holiday season! Book your event tickets online or stop by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center box office.

A $200,000 Challenge Gift!

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We’re pleased to announce the largest matching gift Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center has ever received! The $200,000 challenge gift exceeds by 30 percent a similar gift offered two years ago. Thanks to the generosity of major donors, Jean King and Lynn and Joan Seppala, any new gift or pledge made between November 1 and December 31, 2018 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $200,000. All proceeds will go to support Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center and provides funds for events at the Bankhead Theater and the Bothwell Arts Center, as well as educational outreach, student ticket subsidies, and free community cultural events. Scott Kenison, Executive Director, expressed appreciation for this significant opportunity to increase fundraising power. “Jean, Lynn and Joan have been longstanding and very generous supporters of the arts in Livermore. We hope their leadership will encourage the entire community to step forward and help us not just meet, but exceed the goal.”

MEET THE CHALLENGE!

POSITIVE MOMENTUM

The past year has seen positive momentum for the organization in a number of areas. The Producer’s Circle fund has more than doubled in the past 12 months. Established last year, the Producer’s Circle was established last year to sponsor guest artists and support projects that expand and stretch the organization’s artistic efforts or reach new audiences.  In addition, we reached a funding milestone in our Green the Bankhead project, allowing us to begin implementation. Incandescent stage lights have already been replaced with LED models which are more energy efficient, generate less heat, and can be programmed more easily. Other planned improvements include installing solar panels and low-flow water fixtures, replacing worn carpet with more environmentally-friendly materials, and modifying offices and other spaces to make better use of natural light.

As Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center had a very successful 2017-2018 season and carries no long-term debt, Scott also sees this as an ideal time for this matching gift campaign. “We are working hard to secure our future and meeting this challenge goal will help us get there. We want to continue to provide the community with a vibrant arts center offering exciting entertainment, cultural celebrations and the opportunity to be touched by art,” he said. The organization has broadened its efforts in the past year, growing the Livermore Innovation Fair, adding affordable events such as the Classic Film Musical series, and taking on new challenges such as producing last month’s stage-on-stage theatrical experience, “Red” by John Logan.

COMMUNITY FOR THE ARTS

An independent 501(c)3 non-profit, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is a community-funded organization. It is not owned by the City of Livermore and relies on generous donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. As with nearly every arts center in the country, ticket sales cover only half of the total cost of presenting performances and events. “We know this community recognizes the importance of the arts. They have come forward generously in the past and we believe they will do so again,” Scott said. More are taking an active role; there are now more Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center members than there have ever been before and the organization is working to broaden its reach. A new 35MM level, estab­lished this year, gives mainstage membership to applicants under the age of 35 at a reduced rate.

Donations for the challenge can be made at any time online and gifts of securities also qualify for the one-to-one match. For more information about gifts of securities or other types of donations, including legacy gifts, the Producer’s Circle, and the Green the Bankhead project, contact Chris Carter Director of Development and Communications at 925-583-2311  or  ccarter@lvpac.org

MAKE YOUR GIFT NOW!

Danville Native Returns to Co-Star in John Logan Play “Red”

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Rehearsals are underway for an intimate new production of “Red” by John Logan at the Bankhead Theater. The two-man play features Harvey T. Jordan as the abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko and Michael McDonald as Rothko’s assistant Ken. The production is directed by Misty Megia and produced by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.

“Red” is the first show in a stage-on-stage setting at the Bankhead and opens for a five-performance run starting October 18.

About “Red”

Winner of the 2010 Tony Award, “Red” captures a pivotal period in Rothko’s tumultuous career. The play provides a compelling view into the artist’s mind as he ponders his artistic legacy, even as he works on a notable new commission. Set in the late 1950s, “Red” is based on a true event.

Rothko was asked to create a set of large murals for the new Four Seasons restaurant in New York. He hires a new assistant to help him, an aspiring artist eager to learn from a master but who also represents the emergence of a new generation in modern art. While they work side by side, the duo challenges each other over divergent styles, musical taste, attitude, and philosophies.

The play debuted in London before transferring to Broadway and has been seen in multiple productions, including an acclaimed recent revival in London’s West End with Alfred Molina (Rothko) returning to the role he created in 2009. At the Bankhead, Henry Jordan will also be stepping back into Rothko’s shoes. Jordan, who appeared in the role at Stage 3 in Sonora in 2012, has appeared in various roles at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and American Blues Theatre Company, among others.

The return of a Danville native

Michael McDonald returns to his East Bay roots to make his first appearance in the role of Ken. McDonald spent his early years in Danville and attended high school in San Francisco before heading to the University of Minnesota, where he participated in the actor training program as part of obtaining his BFA. Since then, McDonald has appeared off-Broadway in productions with The Acting Company, as well as Drury Lane Oakbrook and other regional theater companies.

McDonald is excited to star in a theater close to where he grew up, in a role he has looked for an opportunity to play ever since he first became aware of the play, not long it made its U.S. debut.

About Misty Megia

For more than two decades, Megia has worked as a director, choreographer, set designer, and performer throughout the Bay Area. Among her many directing and choreography credits are the 2015 Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre production of “The Pirates of Penzance” at the Bankhead, as well as “Evita,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Cinderella,” “Oklahoma,” and ‘Into the Woods.” Megia has appeared on stage in such roles as Val in “A Chorus Line,” Gloria Thorpe in “Damn Yankees,” Lorraine in “42nd Street,” and Virtue in “Anything Goes.”

The performance

“Red” by John Logan runs each day from October 18-21, with two performances October 20. Sets for the production will be designed by Carol Edwards with lighting by Eric Johnson. Both actors and audiences will be positioned on stage for the performance, so seating is limited.

Tickets are just $33, with $13 tickets available for students and active military personnel, plus an additional $7 facility and handling fee.

Book yours today!

Getting Ready for Red

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Almost ready!  Rehearsals are well underway for our new production of John Logan’s Tony Award winning play. It’s the first show fully produced by Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, and first on the intimate Bankhead stage-on-stage.  Placing the actors and audience in such close proximity will offer a richer experience of this play’s compelling and dramatic power.  Directed by Misty Megia, “Red” stars Harvey T. Jordan as abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko and Michael P. McDonald as Rothko’s young assistant Ken. Watch the cast interview video and hear about Michael’s long journey to the role of Ken and the insights Harvey has gained on Rothko’s art and life as he returns to the role after six years.

Then get your tickets NOW — seating is very limited — you don’t want to miss this show!

ABOUT RED:

Winner of the 2010 Tony Award, “Red” captures a pivotal period in Rothko’s tumultuous career. The play provides a compelling view into the artist’s mind as he broods over his artistic legacy, even as he works on a notable new commission. Set in the late 1950s, “Red” is based on a true event. Rothko was asked to create a set of large murals for the new Four Seasons restaurant in New York. He hires a new assistant to help him, an aspiring artist eager to learn from a master but who also represents the emergence of a new generation in modern art. While they work side-by-side, the two challenge each other over their divergent styles, musical taste, philosophies and attitudes. The play debuted in London before transferring to Broadway and has been seen in multiple productions, including an acclaimed recent revival in London’s West End with Alfred Molina (Rothko) returning to the role he originated in 2009.

HARVEY JORDAN (MARK ROTHKO):

Harvey is stepping back in to Rothko’s shoes having performed the role in 2012 at Stage 3 in Sonora. As he says, “There are always new things to discover about any character,” he says. “Rothko was a difficult man, his personality and his emotions are on full display. Getting to revisit the role has given me a greater perspective and helped me understand him in new ways.” Harvey has appeared in a variety of roles at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Blues Theatre Company, and Minnesota Repertory Theater as well as in California at PCPA Theatrefest, Capitol Stage, the Davis Shakespeare Festival, and Sacramento Theatre Company.

MICHAEL MCDONALD (KEN):

Thrilled to make his first appearance as Ken, a role he auditioned for multiple times, Michael is returning to his East Bay roots. He spent his early years in Danville where he got his start on the stage and he attended performing arts high school in San Francisco before heading to University of Minnesota. Michael participated in the actor training program as part of obtaining his BFA and since appeared off Broadway in productions with The Acting Company, as well as Drury Lane Oakbrook and other regional theater companies.  He is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.

MISTY MEGIA (DIRECTOR):

Misty has worked as a director, choreographer, set designer and performer throughout the San Francisco Bay area for over 20 years including at the Bankhead Theater. Among her many directing and choreography credits are the 2015 Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre production of “The Pirates of Penzance” at the Bankhead, as well as “Evita,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Cinderella,” “Oklahoma,” and “Into the Woods.” She has appeared on stage in such roles as Val in “A Chorus Line,” Gloria Thorpe in “Damn Yankees,” Lorraine in “42nd Street,” and Virtue in “Anything Goes.”

Sets for the production will be designed by Carol Edwards with lighting by Eric Johnson.

FIVE PERFORMANCES ONLY!

Thu Oct 18 at 7:30pm

Fri Oct 19 at 8:00pm

Sat Oct 20 at 2:00pm

Sat Oct 20 at 8:00pm

Sun Oct 21 at 3:00pm

 

Hot Shows Added!

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Jake Shimabukuro, Robert Cray, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers (top), The Choir of Man (bottom), Keb’ Mo’

The 2018-2019 Season at the Bankhead just got more exciting! Our season is largely set by the end of May, but we jump on the opportunity to add great shows like these. There’s both returning favorites and artists completely new to our audiences.  The list includes two blues greats, the return of Robert Cray on February 10 and Keb’ Mo’, making his first appearance at the venue on May 14. Country music stars Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers bring familiar hits from their long career such as “All the Gold in California” plus the stories behind the songs on November 16.

Called the “ultimate feel-good show…90 minutes of indisputable joy,” The Choir of Man arrives February 17 with their rollicking concert set in a real working pub. The nine male band members sing, dance, and foot-stomp through music, from pub tunes, folk, Broadway, classic rock. All while pulling pints and inviting the audience to get up close and personal with the show.

Back by popular demand, ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro returns on January 29 on tour for his just released album “The Greatest Day.” The new release features some of his most adventurous works, both original and imaginative covers of iconic rock hits.  He’s sold out all five times he’s been at the venue, even the Bankhead’s inaugural year when he was largely unknown beyond his viral YouTube video.

Tickets for Robert Cray, Keb’ Mo’, The Choir of Man, and Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers are on sale now.
Member presale only for Jake Shimabukuro until October 8.

 

And don’t forget an earlier addition! The Mustangs of the West brings their fresh California Country sound to the Bankhead on October 26.  Started in Southern California in the early 1980s, the Mustangs have reunited and are ready to soar again. Bonus note — Suzanna Spring of the Mustangs is a Livermore local! Often seen at her studio, Dragonfly Yoga, Suzanna has been a Mustang from the very beginning, her guitar and vocals an integral part of their sound.  Hear their latest song T-Shirt from California here and read about Paul Jefferson who will be opening for them at the Bankhead.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!*

Become a member now and you’ll hear about new shows first,
receive a 10% discount all year long, and other member benefits. 

*Tickets for all shows except Jake Shimabukuro on sale now. Member Presale for Jake Shimabukuro ends October 8.

 

Blues Greats Among Five Big Name Shows Added to Bankhead Season

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The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center announced that five shows will be added to the 2018-2019 Bankhead Presents season. Several blues greats return, including Robert Cray for the fourth time in February 2019 and Keb’ Mo’ for his first appearance in May. Country music stars Larry Gatlin and Gatlin Brothers arrive this November, while the incredibly popular Jake Shimabukuro returns to the Bankhead Theater in late January.

Let’s take a closer look at these shows.

Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers

The first of the five additions is Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers on Friday, November 16. Since their debut album in the mid-1970s, the brothers have sent their country harmonies up the charts with such songs as the Grammy Award-winning “Broken Lady” and “All the Gold in California,” which won an American Country Music Award. Larry, Steve, and Rudy will swings through Livermore with an “Unplugged Show,” their natural family harmonies and genuine stage charm filing the theater with family country and gospel hits, as well as stories of how the songs developed.

Jake Shimabukuro

Considered one of the most innovative players in the history of the ukulele, Jake was relatively unknown when he appeared as part of the Bankhead’s inaugural season in 2007. His rich and varied albums have always captured the many moods of the ukulele. Released just a few weeks ago, “The Greatest Day” features some of his most adventurous work with half the album featuring original songs and the other half featuring imaginative covers of such iconic hits as The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and “If 6 was 9” by Jimi Hendrix.

Robert Cray

Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Robert Cray has been credited with attracting a new generation of fans to the world of blues with a distinctive razor-sharp guitar sound that ably bridges the lines between blues, soul, and R&B. With more than 20 acclaimed albums over the past four decades, including his latest “Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm,” Cray has received five Grammy Awards and built a dedicated following worldwide. We look forward to his return to the Bankhead Theater on February 10.

The Choir of Man

Set in a real working pub on stage, these nine male band members sing, dance, and foot-stomp through a range of music, from pub tunes, folk, and classic rock, all while pulling pints and welcoming audience members to interact with the show. The show truly is a party and concert rolled into one, featuring the music of Paul Simon, Adele, Queen, and others. Get ready for a brand new way to experience music on stage at the Bankhead this February.

Keb’ Mo’

Four-time Grammy Award-winner and roots storyteller Keb’ Mo’ is considered a modern-day standard bearer of the Delta blues tradition. His modern take on the country blues will now close the 2018-2018 season with a single performance on May 14. In addition to eleven Blues Foundation Awards and an American Album of the Year for his music, Keb’ Mo’ has also brought his broad talents into television and film for which he has won six BMI awards.

Ticket information

The performance date for Jake Shimabukuro has not been finalized but tickets for Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, Robert Cray, The Choir of Man, and Keb’ Mo’ are available now for Member Presale. Tickets for these performances will be available to the public beginning September 26.

DLUX Puppets to Return to the Bankhead Twice in 2018-19 Season

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DLUX Puppets will return to the Bankhead Theater this season with two visually stunning and entertaining family shows. The multimedia retellings of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan” use state-of-the-art digitally projected scenery, high-quality life-sized puppetry, and actors, weaving in popular songs from past decades.

Keep reading to learn more about the group and these must-see performances.

About DLUX Puppets

Now a nationally recognized company, DLUX Puppets debuted their production of Alice in Wonderland in 2017, although the project was many years in the making. A multi-talented performer and former star in San Francisco’s long-running show “Beach Blanket Babylon,” DLUX Puppets’ founder Derek Lux has always been interested in puppets and has been actively designing and creating innovative puppets for nearly a decade.

“Alice in Wonderland” brings to life the classic tale of Alice’s journey through the marvelous world of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts. In the productions, all of the characters Alice encounters are intricately engineered life-size puppets, hand-built and voiced by Derek. The show’s seven puppets, ranging in size from just two feet in height to over seven feet tall, each took between 100 and 200 hours to construct.

Each puppet is different from the others, both in the way they are built and in terms of style and scale. Some require Lux to step into a full harness to perform the puppet’s head and arms, or to fly the Cheshire Cat’s body through the air. The digitally projected scenery, created by Steve Axtell, helps tell the story with interactive images.

Alice is played by Lux’s wife, second-grade teacher Lauren Lux, who developed a performance activity kit to connect the “Alice Wonderland” production with Common Core literature standards and provide a STEAM focus through the art and engineering elements in the puppets. The show also incorporates a social-emotional aspect as Alice learns from the characters in Wonderland that her words, thoughts, and feelings are powerful and that she can change them to change her world in a positive way. A similar activity kit for “Peter Pan” is also in development.

The performances

“Alice in Wonderland” returns Sunday, December 30 for two performances, including one adapted for audiences with sensory-friendly needs. DLUX Puppets’ new production of “Peter Pan” will be presented at the Bankhead Theater on June 2, 2019. Tickets for both shows are priced at just $10 for students and $20 for adults.

After all performances, both Derek and Lauren Lux will be available in the lobby so members of the audience can take photos and see one of the puppets close up. In addition to the three public performances, DLUX Puppets will present additional shows for students from local elementary schools through a special arts education outreach effort, sponsored in part by the LVPAC Education Fund. For more information on school performances, please contact Kiran Guleria at education@lvpac.org.

Don’t forget that we have a number of incredible performances on tap at the Bankhead Theater. Check out our events calendar and book your tickets today.

Two Firsts for the Bankhead

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We’re marking two major firsts this fall with our brand new production of the compelling Tony Award-winning play “Red” by John Logan. The two-man play captures a pivotal period in the tumultuous career of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. This will be the FIRST show fully produced by Livermore Performing Arts Center and also the FIRST production at the Bankhead in a “stage on stage” setting.  Both the set and audience will be positioned directly on the stage.

While the Bankhead Theater has welcomed theatrical productions since it opened in 2007, most have been single performances of small-scale touring plays. More complex plays and musicals are difficult to mount for a single performance. In looking to add more theatrical productions, LVPAC’s Executive Director Scott Kenison found that a small “stage-on-stage” approach could be as cost effective as a touring show. For “Red,” the set and audience will be positioned between the fire curtain and the rear wall.  As Scott said, the raw, industrial sense of the space will help create an appropriate visual backdrop for Rothko’s New York Bowery studio and the intimate, stage-on-stage setting will enhance the emotional connection between the audience and the work’s dramatic action.

He initially discussed staging the project with other local organizations, however many are busy during their fall season. Bringing the project inside also provided other benefits, as Scott believes it is the nature of people involved in the creative arts to seek and be inspired by opportunities to broaden their horizons and use their skills. We’ve established a reputation for presenting great artists and for supporting local groups through our resident company program and educational outreach. Now with ‘Red’ we can build on that, leveraging the creative energy, production skills, and administrative strengths we already have in place to produce, as well as present, great works.

The project is underwritten in part by the LVPAC Producer’s Fund, which was established to support projects or guest artists that expand and stretch the organization’s artistic efforts. The natural connection between LVPAC’s involvement in both the performing arts and the visual arts, at the Bankhead Theater and at the Bothwell Arts Center, yields exciting opportunities to experience both.  On display in the Bankhead Gallery during “Red” will be “The Art of Drama,” an exhibit of works curated by the Bothwell that express the concept of drama as seen through the eyes of a variety of local artists. Look for other related events as well.

“Red” opens Thursday, October 18, 2018 for Five Performances

Click HERE to read more about the play

Or BUY tickets now!

Upcoming Events

Fri 14

The Nutcracker

Fri, December 14 @ 7:00 pm
Organizer: Valley Dance Theatre
925.243.0925
Thu 20

The Doo Wop Project Christmas

Thu, December 20 @ 7:30 pm
Fri 21

Irish Christmas in America

Fri, December 21 @ 8:00 pm
Sat 22
Sat 22

Love Actually

Sat, December 22 @ 7:00 pm

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