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VIDEO: Sneak peek at upcoming shows at E.J. Thomas offered

by April Helms | Special Products Editor Published: September 9, 2016 12:00 AM
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Area residents were able to get a peek at what was coming up at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron during the 2016-17 season.

Representatives from Tuesday Musical, the Akron Symphony Orchestra and Broadway in Akron gave the highlights for their respective group's seasons at a Sept. 1 event.

"I'm really excited about several of the programs," said Jarrod Hartzler, executive director of Tuesday Musical.

The Emerson String Quartet, which will open the Tuesday Musical Season, "is just a coup," Hartzler said. The concert will feature the world premiere performance of "Shroud" by English composer Mark Anthony Turnage; the piece was commissioned to celebrate Emerson's 40th anniversary.

"New York will perform this a few weeks later," Hartzler said. "We scooped New York."

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Tuesday Musical also will welcome back the Escher String Quartet, which will close the organization's season with its April 28 show. In addition to the April performance, the quartet also will host workshops with string students from The University of Akron and other area schools in October and February.

For details on Tuesday Musical's season, visit www.tuesdaymusical.org or call the Tuesday Musical office at 330-761-3460.

The Akron Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with many other entities such as Tuesday Musical, the Cuyahoga Valley National Parks, Summit Choral Society and NEOS Dance Theatre, said Paul Jarrett, executive director.

"It's a season of really incredibly popular, classical music, combined with meaningful community partnerships," Jarrett said. "We will have a collaboration for almost every concert. This is an unprecedented season of collaborations. Everything we do will barely fit on the stage. Everything will be big."

Highlights include Holst's The Planets, Beethoven's Ninth, Stravinsky's The Firebird, and Mendelssohn's Elijah, as well as the 24th annual Gospel Meets Symphony.

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For details about the Akron Symphony Orchestra's season, call 330-535-8131 or visit www.akronsymphony.org online.

The annual Broadway In Akron series at E.J. Thomas will start in November with a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.

"We start it off with this lovely, funny tail with a beautiful theme, that beauty is only skin deep," said Gina Vernaci, the executive producer at Playhouse Square, of "Cinderella." "The book has been updated, there's more humor but the heart of the production is there. After election night we will be ready for some positive experiences."

In December, E.J. Thomas will feature "Once," which is based on an indie rock film set in Dublin, Vernaci said.

"Before the show, the audience can come up on stage," she said. "There will be a bar on stage."

The 20th anniversary tour of "Rent" will stop at E.J. Thomas in April, Vernaci said, who called the musical "Jonathan Larson's masterpiece." The Broadway in Akron season will wrap up the next month with "the sexiest musical to come out of Broadway," "Chicago," she added.

David Gruccio of Cuyahoga Falls said he was a regular attendee of cultural events in the area, particularly classical music events.

"I like the Tuesday Musical Association," he said. "I like almost everything in the program with some level of high interest. I learned about new artists and music not heard before, and about composers and their background," he added about the Sept. 1 conference. "We should be proud of these organizations for giving us musical education."

E.J. Thomas Hall is at 198 Hill St. in Akron, on The University of Akron campus. For details, call 330-253-2488 or visit http://www.uakron.edu/ej online.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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