Festing on the fringes

For a taste of the diverse performance talent that bubbles under the surface in New Orleans, sometimes it’s a good idea to get off the beaten track. The New Orleans InFringe Fest offers plenty of opportunities to experience performances that developed outside the mainstream.

The annual festival will premiere daring theatre performances from Nov. 7 through 11. Every afternoon through late evening will bring more than 30 shows under the banner “Favor the Bold,” in venues in the Marigny, Bywater, St. Roch and Arabi neighborhoods,

Performances will run the gamut from musicals and post-modern takes on the classics to original multimedia shows, burlesque, comedies and dramas. You’ll find both professionals and amateurs offering up an array of creative expression aimed to stimulate and entertain.

InFringe bills itself as the only full-scale festival for performance arts in New Orleans. Check the website – infringefest.com – for complete details of dates, times and locations that include AllWays Lounge, Backyard Ballroom, Café Istanbul, Happyland Theater, Marcer Manor, The Tigermen Den and The Valiant Theatre & Lounge.

Some of the InFringe performers may be future denizens of more established stages, and the festival aims to keep the talent pool full through its children’s programs. Experienced dramatic artist Cammie West recently took over as director of children’s programming for the fest. West, who also is an enrichment teacher at Harriet Tubman Charter School, oversees shows created by and for kids. See the website for details.


Ripping good times at Rivertown

“What a year this is at Rivertown Theaters,” co-artistic/managing director, Kelly Fouchi said of the 2018-19 lineup at Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts. Now in its seventh season under the direction of Fouchi and Gary Rucker, Rivertown continues to be one of the area’s leading stages for live musical drama, including crowd-pleasing revues and Broadway hits.

Fouchi notes the recent addition of a seventh show to the lineup – a Ricky Graham-written satire-musical revue.
New Orleans’ favorite musical comedy creator and star, Graham will serve up “Gone Pecans!” in November, in
celebration of the city’s tricentennial. He will team up with his favorite partners in comedy, Varla Jean Merman, Sean Patterson and Jefferson Turner.

And Graham promises the show will reveal why “Ya gotta be nuts to live in New Orleans!”

As always, Rivertown’s diverse season is designed to appeal to theater-goers of all ages. Following Graham’s show, “Greater Tuna will take the stage in January, bringing irreverent comedy about the third-smallest town in Texas. An epic family fairytale, “Into the Woods” comes in March, followed by the grand musical comedy “Me & My Girl,” and later, the blockbuster musical “Mamma Mia!”
“It’s local theatrical entertainment at its best,” Fouchi promises. See rivertowntheaters.com for details.


On Stage: Front & Center

Broadway in New Orleans

Hungry for Broadway but not interested in a trek to Manhattan? The Saenger Theater, as always, has you covered. This season’s shows pack a big entertainment punch with October, alone, bringing Disney’s “Aladdin;” an intoxicating mix of music and dance by Michael Flatley; and Grammy-winning soul singer Maxwell, with a mix of music and video entertainment that includes a film written and directed by Jay Z.

Great live entertainment continues on dates throughout the fall, and in January, let the blockbusters begin. “Les Miserables” hits the stage Jan 8-13, followed by “The Book of Mormon” in February, and “Hamilton” in March. See saengernola.com for updated details, and get your tickets early.


Mahalia Jackson shifts gears

A beautiful space known for hosting some of the city’s best classical performances, including main-stage opera and ballet events, the Mahalia Jackson Theater for Performing Arts is jazzing things up this fall.  

The first Friday in October brings the Sweet Soul Music Tour to the stage, featuring Betty Wright and other soul favorites. And in November, a hit summer competition brings its act to New Orleans, when the best dancers from the television series “So You Think You Can Dance” take the stage. The show will feature the top 10 finalists from the 2018 competition, so be ready to see them tear up the stage, and watch the website for news of all-star guests who will join them.

A holiday spectacular featuring the 610 Stompers will get the season rolling in early December. Then, in January, the 10th anniversary tour production of “Rock of Ages,” an energetic  party of a show, will take the stage. Check mahaliajacksontheater.com for all the details.

Scrappy Theater Group Keeps It Coming


On Stage: Front & Center


During the 14 years since its founding, the NOLA Project has become one of the best-known theatre companies in New Orleans. Sometimes against the odds, the group has managed to continue mounting fresh productions and remain responsive to local audiences. One reason for its staying power is the agility it has shown in terms of content and staging.

Having launched in the shadow of Hurricane Katrina, the troupe from day one focused on giving expression to both the anguish and hope that then imbued the local population, and in the absence of better stages, they simply presented their dramas in outdoor settings.

Over time, NOLA Project embraced the idea of alternative stages in a bigger way, co-presenting with other organizations, such as Southern Rep Theatre, to put on shows that showed their dramatic chops while entertaining a recovering city.

One of NOLA Project’s most successful alignments has been with New Orleans Museum of Art, and when it comes down to it, what better place to stage creative works than amid some of the finest visual art works in the city?

NOLA Project has frequently staged productions both inside the museum and outside, amid the installations and statuary of the Sidney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. This fall, the troupe presented “The Revolutionists” in NOMA’s great hall, and in the spring they will stage “The Henchmen,” an original work by troupe member Michael Aaron Santos, in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

In between those productions, NOLA Project will in October present “The Pillowman,” a sharp look at the life of an author in a totalitarian state, at Lusher’s Lion’s Gate Theater. And in January, they will offer a new “immersive” musical comedy that takes place in a fictional eatery called Jimmy’s All-American Beefsteak Place. Entitled “Stockholm Syndrome,” the play will open at The Little Gem Saloon on Poydras Street.

“The 2018-19 slate offers our community a wildly varied collection of stories meant to inspire and ignite the human imagination,” says Artistic Director A.J. Allegra. “Each production is fiercely imaginative and utterly theatrical in its creation. These are all stories meant to be seen, heard and felt together.”

Check the group’s website, nolaproject.com, for details on all their upcoming productions.

Meanwhile, showing that local audiences are responding well to performing arts, including classical works, seen in alternative venues, the New Orleans Opera Association continues its 12-year practice of staging performances in local taverns. The association’s Opera On Tap series has proven popular with many patrons who enjoy the idea of sipping a brew in a casual setting while enjoying some of the city’s finest operatic voices.

The free, 90-minute casual concerts of opera, Broadway hits and more generally occur on Wednesdays and rotate between The Rusty Nail and the lounge of Four Points by Sheraton in the French Quarter.

“We have found that the Opera on Tap concerts have had many benefits for the New Orleans Opera,” says Carol Rausch, chorus master and music administrator. “They are a great way to demystify opera … and they are a fun, casual way to promote each of our upcoming productions, as well as to raise awareness about the art form in general.”

In a still bigger departure from the opera’s tradition of performing its full season at its home base in the Mahalia Jackson Theater for Performing Arts, the organization this season will stage two of its main-stage productions in alternative venues. Rameau’s “Pygmalion” will open on the stage of Le Petit Theatre in November. And in April, Lera Auerbach’s “The Blind” will take the stage in the historic Marigny Opera House.


Cripple Creek Runs Dry

One of New Orleans’ most intellectually vigorous theater groups delivered the sad news several months ago that its end was drawing near. Cripple Creek Theater Company announced it would soon close up shop.

“Cripple Creek sought to create a new kind of theatrical space, one where our mission informed the way we chose, organized and produced our art,” founder Ian Hoch wrote in May. He said that the troupe had “traveled the narrow road of thoughts and action” as it tried to give voice to society’s woes.

“At times this road was imperfect, at other times impenetrable, but we never strayed from it, staying firm in our belief in our ability to make our unique kind of theatre, together.”

Citing the troupe’s inability to raise enough funds to cover another season, Hoch said that Cripple Creek’s 2018 season, which it recently completed, would be its last.

Home At Last

It was a long time coming, but after several years of playing the role of a transient theater company, Southern Repertory Theatre finally has settled into a permanent home. The long vacant St. Rose de Lima Church at 2541 Bayou Road, near Gentilly Boulevard, has been reborn as a performing arts center that also encompasses the former St. Rose de Lima elementary school.

A partnership between the Rose Community Development Corp. and Alembic Community Development enabled the makeover of these vacant, historic properties in a $12 million project funded by a number of community investment organizations and local donors. The 1.5 acre site is slated to become a hub for arts, education and entrepreneurship, and fittingly, Southern Rep has become an anchor tenant, with its offices, stages and all support activity now headquartered within the former church.

Though new theater amenities have been installed, the stained glass windows and vaulted ceiling clearly hearken to the building’s past and provide a unique setting for the city’s foremost live theater organization.

Southern Rep’s artistic director, Aimée Hayes has launched the fall season with the regional premiere of “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (through Oct. 21) a new play by Lucas Hnath. When the central character, Nora, knocks on the door of the house she left 15 year ago the family is in for a surprise. Critically acclaimed in its recent Broadway run, where it garnered eight Tony Award nominations, this bold comedy stars Jessica Podewell as Nora Helmer, Trey Burvant as Torvald, Liann Pattison as Anne Marie, and Sarah Durn as Emmy.
Southern Rep’s second main-stage production continues to make the most of local talent with a holiday musical created by Leslie Castay and Ian Hoch. “Mandatory Merriment” is a festive, raucous musical that veers off the traditional holiday track for an evening of song, comedy and cocktails featuring an all-star cast of local entertainers.

In the spring, New Orleans’ own Troi Bechet stars in the world premiere of her own work, “Flowers for Halie,” a celebration of gospel icon and local native Mahalia Jackson. And in between those works, Southern Rep presents “The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe and “Azul,” a play by New Orleans native Christina Quintana.

Followers of another local stage veteran will be elated to know that New Orleans’ only live, continuing soap opera has moved right along with Southern Rep into its new location. Now in its eighth season, “Debauchery!” by Pat Bourgeois will unfold monthly on Southern Rep’s Lagniappe Stage at its Bayou Road home. Follow the ongoing story and enjoy the laughs from “Debauchery,” on Oct. 17, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12.


On Stage: Front & Center


Stars Come Out at Nocca

Producer Mark Cortale has announced a star-studded lineup for the sixth season of his Broadway @ NOCCA concert series, putting three marquee names next to one of opera’s big stars.

Internationally acclaimed soprano Marisol Montalvo presents her show “Mad Scene” in its local debut on Nov. 1. It’s the autobiographical tale of the insane challenges faced by an American opera singer as she performs on some of the world’s most prestigious stages. The show has William Hobbs at the piano and is directed by Jeffery Roberson.

On Dec. 15, Christine Ebersole, a two-time Tony Award winner for “Grey Gardens” and “42nd Street,” performs a concert with Seth Rudetsky as pianist and host.

Rudetsky will assume the same role on Jan 31 and March 29 for concerts by Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller and Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan.

All proceeds from the shows will benefit The NOCCA Institute. Check the website broadwaynola.com for complete details.



On Stage: Front & Center


Southern Repertory Theatre

2541 Bayou Road, New Orleans
Box office: 504.522.6545

Finally at home in a beautifully renovated former church, Southern Rep is  christening the new performing arts center with a rich fall season. See the lineup below, and check the website for up-to-date details about each upcoming performance.



“A Doll’s House, Part 2” (Oct. 3-21).  The regional premiere of Lucas Hnath’s bold, insightful and heartfelt comedy in which the central character, Nora, knocks on the door of the house she left 15 years ago. Directed by Aimée Hayes.

“Mandatory Merriment: An Untitled Holiday Musical” (Nov. 28-Dec. 23).  Created by Leslie Castay and Ian Hoch, this festive and raucous musical puts traditional holiday plays on notice. Musical direction by Alan Payne, featuring an all-star cast of local favorites.

“The Wolves” (Jan. 9-Feb. 3).  A regional premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s Pulitzer Prize finalist play has nine young women gearing up for battle on the soccer field in a precisely drawn portrait of adolescent fear, fury and ferociousness. Directed by Aimée Hayes.

“Azul” (March 27-April 14).  In partnership with the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival, New Orleans native Christina Quintana’s debut play has New Yorker Zelia facing the loss of her Cuban-born mother and struggling to center herself. A world premiere.

“Flowers for Halie” (May 8-26).  Written by and starring New Orleans’ own Troi Bechet, this new celebration of the Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, illuminates the struggles and triumphs of an American icon.


On Stage: Front & Center


Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

325 Minor St., Kenner

An expanded line-up of Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals, comedy classics and new local works is on tap this season, with artistic directors Gary Rucker and Kelly Fouchi masterminding the entertainment. Fresh off a great run of “The Music Man,” check out these upcoming shows.



“Gone Pecans!” (Nov. 2-18).  Directed by and starring Ricky Graham, this musical and comedic celebration of the New Orleans tricentennial shows why “ya gotta be nuts to live here.” Also staring Sean Patterson, Varla Jean Merman and Jefferson Turner.

“Let it Snow!” (Dec. 7-23).  Rich Arnold directs the Big Easy Boys and Babes in a spectacular holiday revue. Tight musical harmonies, slick dance moves and a big-band orchestra will get the family in the mood for the season with holiday standards and classics.

“Greater Tuna” (Jan. 11-27).  Welcome back to Tuna, Texas, as a hilarious, irreverent comedy unfolds about a small town where the Lion’s club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. Directed by Gary Rucker and Sean Patterson.

“Into the Woods” (March 15-31).  The Brothers Grimm hit the stage in an epic fairytale about wishes, family and the choices we make. Gary Rucker directs this visually enchanting show.

“Me & My Girl” (May 3-19).  This award-winning show whisks you back to the glittering 1930s, with rousing  song-and-dance production numbers that complement the side-splitting comedy.

“Mamma Mia!” (July 11-21).  The hugely popular show brings along ABBA’s hits to help tell the story of a young woman’s search for her birth father in a Greek island paradise.


On Stage: Front & Center


Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré

616 St. Peter St., New Orleans
Box office: 504-522-2081

Artistic Director Maxwell Williams promises “wild swings around the geographical and emotional map” this season. “All of our plays this year are either based on or inspired by works of literature,” he says.



“Satchmo at the Waldorf” (Oct. 5-21).  A one-man, three-character journey into the heart and mind of jazz legend Louis Armstrong is set in a backstage dressing room at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1971. The poignant play was born from Terry Teachout’s writing of Armstrong’s biography.

“A Christmas Carol” (Dec. 7-23).  Charles Dickens’ heartwarming Victorian classic features artists from the newly launched Young Conservatory Program and is filled with magic, ghosts, and holiday cheer.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Jan. 18-Feb. 3).  An uproarious hit tells of  low-born Monty Navarro, who finds out that he’s eighth in line for an earldom in the lofty D’Ysquith family. Figuring his chances of outliving his predecessors are slight, he sets off on a ghoulish path.

“Baby Doll” (March 15-31).  With the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, Le Petit presents a regional premiere based on one of Williams’ one-act plays. The dark comedy is set amid the desires, desperation and prejudices of two rival Mississippi cotton gin owners.

“The Pianist of Willesden Lane” (May 10-26).  Grammy-nominated piano virtuoso Mona Golabek presents a show based on the true story of her mother’s journey and life as a young musician in London during the Blitz in World War II. Golabek performs music from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.


On Stage: Front & Center


The NOLA Project

900 Camp St., New Orleans

A vigorous troupe that has carved a must-see niche for itself during 15 seasons, The NOLA Project’s mission is to present works that “inspire and ignite the human imagination.” Check the website regularly for up-to-date details of the dates and locations of their productions.



“The Pillowman” (Oct. 18-Nov. 3).  Known for his acerbic wit and frank dialogue, Martin McDonagh’s play centers around the interrogation of an author in an unnamed totalitarian state and the gruesome content of his short stories. At Lion’s Gate Theater, Lusher Charter School.

“Stockholm Syndrome” (Jan. 16-Feb. 9).  An immersive musical comedy in which the employees and patrons of Jimmy’s All-American Beefsteak Place find themselves in the midst of a hostage crisis – and a love story. At The LIttle Gem Saloon.

“The Henchman: A Shakespeare Story” (May 8-26).  Set 15 years after “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Michael Aaron Santos’ exciting sequel reveals the true story of Jacob, the little changeling boy who Oberon and Titania quarreled over many years ago. In NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Also watch for the return of NOLA Project’s “Rough Draughts,” a monthly play-reading series held at various locations where brews are consumed. Check the website for details.

The NOLA Project is an ensemble-driven theatre company that strives to challenge, entertain, and engage diverse New Orleans audiences through high-quality and innovative performances of relevant great works, the development and production of new plays, and comprehensive educational opportunities for aspiring theatre artists.

On Stage: Front & Center


Saenger Theatre

1111 Canal St., New Orleans

The home of Broadway in New Orleans, the majestic Saenger regularly hosts performances by national touring musical companies. Between the big musical shows, see big-name concerts and solo entertainers. Check the website for the full lineup.



Disney’s “Aladdin” (through Oct. 7).  The timeless story of Aladdin in a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, comedy and breathtaking spectacle.

“School of Rock” (Oct. 30-Nov. 4).  A wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, mind-blowing rock band.

“On Your Feet!” (Nov. 27-Dec. 2).  The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway musical takes you inside the real story of this groundbreaking musical couple.

“Elf, the Musical” (Dec. 18-23).  It’s the hilarious tale of an orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole.

“Les Miserables” (Jan. 8-13).  Direct from its acclaimed Broadway return, with glorious new staging and dazzling scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, “Les Miz” is born again.

“The Book of Mormon” (Feb. 5-10).  See why this outrageous comedy has been called the best musical of this century.

“Hamilton” (March 12-31).  Come see what all the excitement is about. The story of America’s Founding Father as it has never before been told.

“Come From Away” (May 28-June 2).  A new musical about the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them.


On Stage: Front & Center


The Joy Theater

1200 Canal St., New Orleans

The grand art deco theater regularly hosts hot bands and popular comedians at a location on the Canal Street streetcar line in downtown New Orleans. An entirely renovated 10,000-square-foot multipurpose venue, the Joy features live music concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions, and offers spaces to host private parties or corporate events. With fully re-purposed sound and lighting systems, the space holds up to 1,200 guests with a flexible seating plan that can be configured in a variety of ways.



Anderson East (Oct. 5).  An encore world tour, with the Black Pumas.

Dirty Heads (Oct. 6).  Presented by 92.3 and WCP Presents, with Jukebox the Ghost and Just Loud.

Chvrches (Oct. 11).  With Lo Moon.

Rupaul’s Drag Race (Oct. 12).  WERQ the World.

Iliza Shlesinger (Oct. 19).  A Winter Circle Production.

Thievery Corporation (Nov. 2).  A Winter Circle Production, with Julian Marley.

Underoath (Nov. 4).  Erase Me Tour with Dance Gavin Dance and The Plot in You.

Postmodern Jukebox (Nov. 15).  Back in Black and White.

John Butler Trio (Dec. 5).  The Home Tour.

Atmosphere (Dec. 6).  Plus deM atlaS, The Lioness and DJ Keezy.

6lack Presents (Dec. 15).  From East Atlanta with Love Tour, plus Summer Walker.

The Steeldrivers (Jan. 19).  A Winter Circle Production.


On Stage: Front & Center


Jefferson Performing Arts Society

6400 Airline Drive, Metairie
box office: 504-885-2000.

At home in the beautiful Jefferson Performing Arts Center, Artistic Director Dennis Assaf offers a line-up of shows sure to excite. Performances are also on tap at Westwego Performing Arts Theatre and Teatro Wego on the West Bank.



“Shear Madness” (through Oct. 28).  A whodunit that begins like any other at the Shear Madness salon. Join the fun as the audience matches wits with the suspects to catch the killer in this wildly popular comedy. (Westwego Performing Arts)

“Peter Pan” (Oct. 9-28).  Broadway’s timeless musical whisks you to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up. (Jefferson Performing Arts)

“The Santaland Diaries” (Nov. 30-Dec. 23).  When a wannabe actor arrives in New York City, the only job he can find is at Macy’s, working in Santaland as an elf. (Teatro Wego)

“White Christmas” (Dec. 7-16).  Irving Berlin’s classic brings a dazzling score with well-known standards, in an uplifting musical for the holiday season. (Jefferson Performing Arts)

“Dreamgirls” (Feb. 8-24).  A sweeping inspirational journey through 20th century American popular music is a hugely entertaining look at the entertainment industry. (Jefferson Performing Arts)

The Irish Tenors (March 16).  Since 1998, Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan have presented sold-out shows from New York to Sydney Australia. (Jefferson Performing Arts)

“South Pacific” (April 5-14).   The exotic Rogers and Hammerstein musical remains as entertaining today as it was decades ago. (Jefferson Performing Arts)


On Stage: Front & Center


Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

1010 Common Street and Orpheum Theatre
New Orleans
Box office: 504.523.6530

Under director and principal conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, the LPO is at home in the grand Orpheum Theater, while continuing to perform concerts at other venues. Check the website for details of all events.



Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto (Oct. 12).  LPO’s principal clarinetist Chris Pell masterfully tackles Nielsen’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, followed by a performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.

Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony (Oct. 18).  Stravinsky’s “Danses concertantes” opens the program. Violinist Jennifer Koh performs a new concerto, and the orchestra presents Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, one of the greatest in classical music.

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 (Nov. 15).  Violist Nadia Sirota performs Nico Muhly’s Viola Concerto, followed by Tchaikovsky’s symphonic metaphor for the inevitability of fate.

“Pictures at an Exhibition” (Nov. 29).  Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and the LPO performs Mussorgsky.

“Scheherazade” (Jan. 10, 12).  Cellist and BBC Young Musician of the Year Sheku Kanneh-Mason brings his superb talents to Louisiana for the first time to perform Elgar and Rimsky-Korsakov.

Mahler’s Ninth Symphony (Jan. 17).  Violinist Kikka Chooi presents Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, contrasting with Mahler’s deeply personal Ninth.

Visions of Vienna & Salzburgh (Feb. 14).  Mozart and Strauss highlight the program.

The Fantastical Imagination (March 14).  Violinist Vladim Gluzman performs “The Infant Minstrel and His Peculiar Menagerie.”

St. John Passion (March 28).  Bach is center stage, featuring tenor Frank Kelly, soprano Sarah Shafer, Mezzo-soprano Abigaile Nims and others.


On Stage: Front & Center


New Orleans Opera Association

935 Gravier St., Suite 1940
New Orleans
Box office: 504.529.3000, 800.881.4459

Artistic Director Robert Lyall leads the opera in a 75th anniversary season filled with drama, grandeur and thrilling voices, performed in the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts.



Puccini’s “Turandot” (Sept. 28, 30).  The majestic lyric opera is set in ancient China during the age of fables and features a large cast, grand choruses and fairy tale bursts of color and excitement. At Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Rameaus “Pygmalion” (Nov. 8-11).  Renowned sculptor Pygmalion carved an ivory statue of a woman so beautiful that he fell in love with it. Enjoy the richness and splendor of the court of Louis XIV. At Le Petit Theatre.

Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio” (Feb. 8, 10).  Captured by pirates and sold to the Pasha of Istanbul for his harem, Constanza, her maid Blondchen and their manservant Pedrillo have all but given up hope when Belmonte, her noble fiancé, appears with a plan to help them escape. At Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Lera Auerbach’s “The Blind” (April 4-7).  A unique 12-voice acapella opera is based on a haunting play of Flemish Symbolist writer Maurice Maeterlinck. An “immersive theater” production. At Marigny Opera House.

Verdi’s “Rigoletto” (April 26, 28).  The Duke of Mantua is the personification of the axiom that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The fast-paced drama leads us to a grimly tragic conclusion. At Mahalia Jackson Theater.


On Stage: Front & Center


New Orleans Ballet Association

Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
New Orleans
Box office: 504.522.0996

The central Gulf region’s premiere presenting organization dedicated to dance, the association offers a season of main stage and educational programs featuring world-class dance companies and artists.



Diavolo: Architecture in Motion (Sept. 22).  The troupe has wowed millions by presenting dance as extreme sport and defying gravity with awe-inspiring, daredevil movement on a playground of oversized architectural structures. It’s a spectacle led by Paris-born maverick Jacques Heim. At Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Dance Theatre of Harlem (Oct. 20).  Putting power on pointe with gorgeous works by George Balanchine, Darrell Grand Moultrie and Christopher Wheeldon, the evening concludes with a triumphant restaging of the seminal 1974 ballet, “Dougla.” At Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (March 22-23).  Returning for the first time in almost a decade, the dancers celebrate 60 years of bringing the African American experience and dance traditions to the world’s stages. Directed by the charismatic choreographer Robert Battle, the dancers set the stage on fire. At Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Bodytraffic (April 5-6).  The Los Angeles-based company has blazed onto the international dance scene with a10-member ensemble performing high-energy, humorous, jazzy and boldly theatrical performances. Co-presented with The NOCCA Institute at Freda Lupin Memorial Hall, NOCCA.
50th Anniversary Evening of Stars (Jan. 26).  NOBA kicks off its golden anniversary year with a star-studded evening, celebrating 50 years of bringing dance to life in New Orleans. At Mahalia Jackson Theater.