Featuring seven events, the University of Central Missouri announces the 2019-20 UCM OVATION Performance Series, a curated presentation of exceptional musicians, actors, and dancers who will bring high-impact artistry to West Central Missouri audiences.

The series commences with a play Oct. 23-26 by the winner of the UCM National Playwriting Competition for Theater for Youth, Laura Shamas. “Top Secret Deer Daycare.” To be performed at the Black Box Theatre stage in Nickerson Hall, this is a play about the relationship between two children who embark on a mission of environmental stewardship.

The theme of environmental stewardship continues Nov. 6, when Ghanaian master percussionist Tijan Dorwana joins UCM faculty member Alex Smith for a multi-media performance that includes live gyil performance, carving, film, and discussion on the impact of global consumption on indigenous communities.

On Nov. 9, UCM welcomes to Hart Recital Hall Kyle Mullins, artistic director, and the Cerca Trova Dance Company. Cerca Trova is a contemporary repertory company founded by Mullins in 2018. Based in Kansas City, Cerca Trova’s mission is to present dance works both new and historical by local, regional, and national choreographers. “Cerca trova”, meaning “seek and find,” defines Mullins’ approach to the creative process - pose questions, search for answers, and move towards them. Collaboration and dialogue are essential to their creative process. Cerca Trova is committed to bringing high quality works of art to audiences in both traditional and non-traditional venues. The performance will feature a dance piece created especially for the UCM visit.

Spring 2020 begins Feb. 8 with Scott Cox’s one-man show in the James L. Highlander Theatre, “And God Did Shake the Pear: Shakespeare for Everyday Living.” Cox, who is founder and director of Living Shakespeare, a rehabilitative theatre program at Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas, believes that “The Bard” has answers to almost any question one can pose on the subject of life. In this solo performance, he combines the one-man-show he has been performing for over 12 years with inspirational and humorous anecdotes from “inside the walls.” He suggests that “audiences should prepare to be entertained, educated, and enlightened. There may be puppets, and there will definitely be pears."

Boston Symphony violinist Catherine French and St. Louis Symphony pianist Nina Ferrigno present a concert March 9 In Hart Recital Hall celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. Lauded by Strad Magazine as “superbly lyric,” French garnered top prizes at all of Canada’s major music competitions and has been featured with the Boston Pops and musician/composer John Williams, as well as in a debut at Carnegie Hall.

Ferrigno has appeared at major concert venues and festivals throughout North America. In addition to her work with the St. Louis Symphony, she is a founding member of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

UCM School of Visual and Performing Arts returns to the Kauffman Performing Arts Center March 30 for the “President’s Gala 2020: The Arts are the Future.” Performing alongside UCM students and faculty, the featured artist will be UCM alumnus and 2006 American Idol winner, David Cook.

The season concludes on April 4 with the internationally renowned Mesner Puppet Theater in its first appearance at UCM, presenting “The Cat Came Back.” This family friendly production in Hart Recital Hall will be followed by a special “behind-the-scenes” presentation as well as a question and answer session with the puppeteer. This program is co-sponsored by the UCM Community Music Program.

Tickets for “Top Secret Deer Daycare” and CercaTrova are now available from the UCM Theatre Online Ticketing system.  No tickets are required for Tijan Dorwana, Scott Cox, and Catherine French/Nina Ferrigno. Tickets for the UCM President’s Gala and the Mesner Puppet Theater will be available in spring 2020.

For more information, including times for specific shows, go to www.ucmo.edu/ovation or contact Mia Hynes (hynes@ucmo.edu) at 660-543-8900.


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