CSI Center for the Arts Announces Its 2008-2009 Season: "CFA Presents: Close to Home"

The Center for the Arts (CFA) at the College of Staten Island (CSI) announces its 2008-2009 performing arts season, CFA Presents: Close to Home, to open on Saturday, September 13 and run through Sunday, April 26. The season will feature 12 projects and a rich mix of artists from Staten Island, the U.S., and abroad working in the disciplines of dance, classical and contemporary music, comedy, family musical theater, and special projects for children, families, and adult audiences.

All performances take place at the CFA, a state-of-the-art four-theater performing arts center located mid-island in the Willowbrook section of Staten Island. Tickets range from free to $50, and can be made in person, by phone, or by mail through the CFA Box Office, 2800 Victory Boulevard, 1P-113, Staten Island. Hours: Monday–Friday, 9am to 4pm; Saturday, noon to 3pm; 718.982.ARTS (2787), www.cfashows.com.

The season opens with the Staten Island Ballet’s seventh annual New York International Choreographers Festival, on Saturday, September 13, 8:00pm and Sunday, September 14, 3:00pm in the Williamson Theatre. Broadway’s Chet Walker, creator and co-choreographer of Tony winner Fosse, and his company, WALKERDANCE, will perform Jazz Happening, a five-part suite created by Walker, in a series of solos, duets, trios, and full-company configurations. The 2008 festival will also feature new and original works by choreographers Benjamin Briones, David Fernandez, Bafana Solomon Matea, and Ellen Tharp to be performed by the Company and guest artists of the American Ballet Theatre. The two-hour performance with intermission is offered free, but reservations are required.

On Sunday, October 4, 2008, at 3:00pm, Intramusic Theatricals, the creative team of last season’s The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, will stage its new family musical, The Ant and the Elephant , based upon Bill Peet’s children’s classic about the power of one good deed. One of Walt Disney’s greatest storypersons, Peet was responsible for illustrating, storyboarding, and producing such animation greats as Dumbo, 101 Dalmatians, and much more. This is the first of four CFA Kids Events of the season, made possible through the major support of Senator Andrew J. Lanza. Tickets: $10, 12, 15.

Thanks to the continued support of Dr. Michael Shugrue, the New York Philharmonic Ensembles return to the Springer Concert Hall on Monday, October 20, 7:30pm to perform a concert featuring Ludwig van Beethoven’s Septet in E-Flat major, Osvaldo Golijov’s Lullaby and Doina, and selected tangos by Astor Piazzolla. This performance is offered free to the general public, reservations required.

Born into a house of all things artistic, Staten Island native Ingrid Michaelson makes a hometown stop on her North American tour to play music from her new CD and single, Be OK.The concert will take place on Wednesday, October 29 at 8:00pm, in the Williamson Theatre. She’ll be playing with a full band including Allie Moss, Bess Rogers, Chris Kuffner, and Elliot Jacobson. From Grey’s Anatomy to much more, this independent artist is achieving milestones previously unheard of for an artist not signed to a major label. The lucky winner of the CSI Battle of Bands, organized by the CSI Campus Activities Board, will open for Michaelson. For information on the Battle of the Bands, contact: cab@mail.csi.cuny.edu, 718.982.3268. All applications must be received by October 10, 2008 at 4:00pm. The CFA is organizing this project with the CSI Office of Student Life, the Campus Activities Board, and WSIA Radio. Tickets: $30; discounts available only to CFA members.

On Sunday, November 16 at 3:00pm, the CFA invites back Stapleton artist Sara Valentine to stage a second Little Miss Big Mouth production, this time with the children of Staten Island. In Staten Island Kids: Citizens of the World, discover who they are, what they do, and what the future means to them. Valentine and her collaborator Kris Anton are planning live music, performance, dance, multimedia, and much more. Here’s a second chance to catch Sara Valentine (mastermind of last seasons’ talk show extravaganza) and special guests making a wonderland of magic right before your eyes. This is a CFA Kids event; supported by Senator Andrew J. Lanza. Tickets: $10, 12, 15.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ release of The White Album, Glen Burtnik and Friends perform the classic rock album in its entirety. The White Album Experience: Glen Burtnik and Friends Play The Beatles will take place on Saturday, November 22 at 8:00pm in the Springer Concert Hall. Burtnik has recorded and toured as a member of multiplatinum rock band Styx, written songs for Randy Travis and Patty Smyth/Don Henley, and portrayed Paul McCartney in Beatlemania. Marshall Crenshaw, who portrayed John Lennon in Beatlemania, joins Burtnik and Friends on stage. The CFA presents this project in association with The Alice Austen House’s exhibit: 1968 Magnum in New York, September 13-December 31, 2008, www.aliceausten.org. Tickets: $35, 45, 50.

On Saturday, December 6 at 8:00pm, the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company, hailed as the “next wave” of comedy superstars, will perform longform improv, working with ideas and material generated from the audience. Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) is home to Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Paul Scheer, and Rob Huebel, and many other notable artists. Mancrush (Kevin Devlin, Tim Duffy, and Casey Jost), stars of the Staten Island improv scene and students of the noted UCB Training Center, will play fast and loose in an opening set. John Szeluga, another prince of comedy on Staten Island, will host the show in the Recital Hall. Tickets: $20.

The new year opens on Sunday, February 8 at 3:00pm with Stellaluna, an enchanting new musical by Kids’ Entertainment (of Don’t Let the Pigeons Drive the Bus! fame) based on Janell Cannon’s runaway bestseller about a baby fruit bat and three baby birds named Pip, Flitter, and Flap. One tiny bat’s whole world is literally turned upside down. Or, right side up…all depending. The one-hour performance, featuring a North American cast, will take place in the Williamson Theatre. Tickets: $10, 12, 15.

Think the Emmy® Awards…think Staten Island. The CFA partners with the Council on the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island on the first-ever awards night, COAHSI’s Night of Staten Island Artists, on Saturday, February 21at 8:00pm in the Williamson Theatre. The evening celebrates Staten Island artists who have been selected by a panel of peers to be this year’s winners of five COAHSI granting areas: the New York City Department of Cultural Affair’s (DCA) Premier Award, the DCA Art Fund Award, the DCA Arts in Education Award, the New York State Council on the Arts’ (NYSCA) Staten Island Creative Communities Award, and the NYSCA Original Work Award. Disciplines include the visual, performing, and literary arts, as well as partnership projects in the schools and community. Also enjoy live art by established and emerging Island artists plus a lively Atrium scene. Tickets: $15.

Featuring many of Ireland’s best-known and respected musicians, Celtic Crossroads makes a stop on its international Music at the Crossroads Tour on Friday, February 27 at 8:00pm to help get the local St. Patrick’s celebrations started. One of the most exhilarating and authentic shows of music and dance to come from Ireland in decades, Celtic Crossroads is a high-energy fusion of Irish step dancing and traditional Irish, bluegrass, gypsy, and jazz music. Directed by Michael McClintock (violin, guitar, mandolin), the ensemble includes Dublin’s Lindsay Moynagh (harp, flute); Diarmaid Hurley from Ballymote just south of Sligo (bodhran, bouzouki, mandola, percussion); Marianne Knight, one of the finest exponents of Irish traditional song from County Mayo (vocals, flute, button accordion); Galway’s Richard Neylon (Uilleann pipes, whistles, drums, flute, saxophone); Johnny Berrill of Headford (guitar, classical flute); David Neylon of Galway (piano accordion, banjo); and dancers Blathnaid Folan and Emily Kennedy of Galway. Tickets: $30, 35, 40.

The hottest solo artist of the “Girl Group” era of the 1960s, Lesley Gore hits Staten Island on Saturday, March 21at 8:00pm in the Williamson Theatre to perform her string of hits including “It’s My Party” and “You Don’t Own Me,” plus music from her new CD and other contemporary hits. Luscious-voiced and intimate, she’s back better than ever. Tickets: $40.

The season closes on Sunday, April 26 at 3:00pm with David Pleasant’s Family Jam in the Williamson Theatre. Back by popular demand, David Pleasant invites members of the acclaimed Washington, DC dance company, Step Afrika! (of Lincoln Center fame) to join him and all the adventurous audience members in creating one, big community orchestra. It’s a guided fun-filled musical jam interspersed with song, stories, and stepping by Mr. RiddimAThon™ himself that requires only the will to try. A CFA Kids Event, sponsored by Senator Andrew J. Lanza. Tickets: $10, 12, 15.

Program subject to change.

The CFA is easily reached by car from I-278, campus parking lots 1 and 2 are recommended. By MTA, take the S62, 61, 93, 53, and the Staten Island Ferry with connections to the bus.

The CSI Center for the Arts 2008-2009 season is supported, in part, with funds from the Richmond County Savings Foundation; a gift by the Carnegie Corporation (made possible by an anonymous donor); the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the Office of the Borough President, Hon. James P. Molinaro; Dr. Michael Shugrue; the College of Staten Island; and by our many business and individual patrons. Senator Andrew J. Lanza is the major funder of the CFA Kids Events.

CFA 2008-2009 Season: Close to Home:

Saturday, September 13, 8:00pm
2008 New York International Choreographers Festival

Sunday, September, 14, 3:00pm
Staten Island Ballet

Sunday, October 4, 3:00pm
The Ant and the Elephant (Intramusic Theatricals)

Monday, October 20, 7:30pm
New York Philharmonic Ensembles

Wednesday, October 29, 8:00pm
Ingrid Michaelson with CSI/CAB Battle of the Bands Winner

Sunday, November 16, 3:00pm
Staten Island Kids: Citizens of the World with Sara Valentine

Saturday, November 22, 8:00pm
The White Album Experience: Glen Burtnik and Friends Play The Beatles

Saturday, December 6, 8:00pm
Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company with Mancrush

Sunday, February 8, 3:00pm
Stellaluna (Kids’ Entertainment)

Saturday, February 21, 8:00pm
COAHSI’s Night of Staten Island Artists

Friday, February 27, 8:00pm
Music at the Crossroads Tour with Celtic Crossroads

Saturday, March 21, 8:00pm
Lesley Gore

Sunday, April 26, 3:00pm
David Pleasant’s Family Jam with members of Step Afrika!

For information: 718.982.2787/ARTS, www.cfashows.com.

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