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Artists Series opens Sept. 25 with 'The Tiger Among Us'

September 3, 2013
 Mu Performing Arts actors in "The Tiger Among Us"

EAU CLAIRE — The Artists Series of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will open its 2013-14 season Sept. 25 with "The Tiger Among Us," a new play presented by Mu Performing Arts. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.

Since 1992, Mu Performing Arts has been bringing Asian American voices to the stage in the Twin Cities area. Mu commissioned this new work by Lauren Yee, an award-winning playwright born and raised in San Francisco, and staged its world premiere in January at Mixed Blood Theatre.

"The Tiger Among Us" explores the cultural disconnect felt by an isolated Hmong American family living in rural Minnesota, where two siblings seek to blend traditional Hmong family values with modern life.

It is November in Minnesota. To Lia — a bored high-schooler whose volleyball skills make her an attractive prospect for college recruiters — it's just another cold month. For her entrepreneurial older brother, Pao, each day offers the opportunity to scratch out a new way of living in the rural landscape. But for their troubled father, November means the start of the hunting season and a chance to capture what has eluded him his entire life. Just outside their door, something is about to break.

"Yee's ambitious drama about a Hmong-American family adapting to life in the cold, surface-nice town of Perham, Minnesota, moves between the physical and the supernatural realms and between cultures," wrote the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which called it "a smart and sassy play."

"The Tiger Among Us" is the first of four Artists Series presentations comprising the season. The lineup for the rest of the season is as follows:

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Edo de Waart, Music Director; Oct. 29, Zorn Arena, 7:30 p.m. Returning to the Artists Series after a six-year absence, the MSO will be led by associate conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. Ranked among the top orchestras in the country, the MSO is the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin and provides enrichment and education activities for audiences of every age, economic status and background.

James Sewell Ballet; Nov. 13, Zorn Arena, 7:30 p.m. Celebrating its 20th season, JSB is a close-knit professional company of eight dancers that performs innovative work that explores the technical boundaries of ballet. The centerpiece of the Artists Series performance is "Lover," a series of poignant dance vignettes set to the songs of Rodgers and Hart — performed live by a trio that shares the stage with the period-costumed dancers.

Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey Keezer, with UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I; March 4, Zorn Arena, 7:30 p.m. One of today's premier jazz vocalists teams with a young pianist (and Eau Claire native) who commands the attention typically reserved for the living legends of jazz. Denise Donatelli was voted one of the top 10 Female Vocalist Rising Stars in the 2013 DownBeat Critics Poll, and the Los Angeles Jazz Society named her 2012 Jazz Vocalist of the Year. Her 2012 release, "Soul Shadows," received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and her 2010 release, "When Lights are Low," received two Grammy nominations — one for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and another for pianist and collaborator Geoffrey Keezer's arrangement of "Don't Explain." Keezer's 2009 CD, "Áurea," was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album, and he recently released his first solo piano album in 13 years, "Heart of the Piano."

Ticket sales begin Sept. 3 at the Service Center in the east lobby of Davies Center, 715-836-3727. Season subscriptions are available for 25 percent off the single-ticket price.

Tickets for individual Artists Series events are $17 for the public; $15 for those age 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff; and $7 for those age 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half price, $3.50, until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student ticket price.

Patrons may charge their tickets to Discover, MasterCard or Visa when they purchase online or order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all online and telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire and administered by the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office of the University Centers. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support.



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