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Online Exclusive - Posted June 19, 2012 3:06 p.m.
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Amarillo Little Theatre performed “Chicago” as part of its 2011-2012 season.

To the Arts

Arts prove to be longtime Amarillo residents

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Visual and performing arts are not newcomers to Amarillo. The Amarillo Little Theatre celebrates its 85th season this year. The Amarillo Symphony Orchestra has been in classic cadence since 1924. The outdoor musical drama “TEXAS” stages its 47th season on June 2 in Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

ALT kicks off its 85th mainstage season with “Les Miserables,” Sept. 20 – Oct. 7. Following will be “A Tuna Christmas,” Dec. 6 – 16; “Cheaper by the Dozen,” Jan. 17 – 27; “The Sunshine Boys,” Feb. 28 – March 10; and “9 to 5: The Musical,” May 2 – 19. The Adventure Space 2012-13 season will feature “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” Aug. 16 – 26; “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” Oct. 25 – Nov. 4; “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Feb. 7 – 17; and “God of Carnage,” March 28 – April 7.

“ALT has reached a position of national prominence among community theatres and we are among the largest in terms of budget size and scope of work,” says Allen Shankles, theatre director. “We are very excited to be one of the first community theatres in the country to be allowed the performance rights to produce ‘Les Miserables.’”

A visual arts facility was envisioned in 1967 by a group of Amarillo community leaders. By 1970 the Board of Trustees joined with Amarillo College to raise funds for construction of a Fine Arts Complex, consisting of the Amarillo Museum of Art, Concert Hall Theatre and the Music Building, which opened October 1972.

AMoA exhibits for 2012-13 and the opening dates include Theodore Waddell: For Love of the Horse, May 18; George Rodrigue: Blue Dogs in Texas, Aug. 10; PPHM Eastern American and European Art, Nov. 9; AMoA Open, Jan. 3; Achievements in Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Jan. 27; Amarillo College/WTAMU Student/Faculty, April; Amarillo Biennial 600: Prints, Summer 2013.

Amarillo Opera opens its 25th anniversary season with Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” on Sept. 29 – 30.

“‘Madama Butterfly’ was the very first production Amarillo Opera mounted in 1988, and this will be the first time the company has mounted the work without company founder Mila Gibson singing the title role,” says David O’Dell, opera director. “The production, directed by Santa Fe Opera director Marc Astafan and conducted by internationally acclaimed composer Michael Ching, will be Amarillo Opera’s most ambitious production to date.”

Other Amarillo Opera performances for 2012-13 will be “She Never Lost a Passenger: The Story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad,” Feb. 8; “Candide,” directed by Loren Meeker from the Chicago Lyric Opera and Houston Grand Opera, April 6-7; and “Musica Variada,” May 10.

The Amarillo Symphony – the granddaddy of the Amarillo arts landscape – keys up for its 88th season in 2012-13. The orchestra began as a 12-piece ensemble in 1924. The volunteer organization quickly grew to 56 musicians by 1932 and now consists of 85 professional area musicians.

Guest artists for ASO’s 88th season will be Justin Bruns, violin, Sept. 14 – 15; Caroline Goulding, violin, Oct. 19 – 20; Charles Wetherbee, violin, Nov. 16 – 17; Inon Barnatan, piano, Feb. 22 – 23; Bogdan Dulu, piano, March 22 – 23; and Elena Urioste, violin, April 26 – 27.

Chamber Music Amarillo will present classical, jazz, blues, country and acoustic rock performances. Classic concerts will include the Arianna String Quartet, September; violinist Christos Galilas and flutist Nevart Galilas, January; violinist Kirsten Yon and cellist Jeffrey Lastrapes, March. Polk St. Jazz also will present evenings of music, along with other guest artists.

Founded by Neil Hess in 1975, Lone Star Ballet continues its performance and teaching missions with staged productions and classroom training. The company’s 2012-13 Season of Dance will offer “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” an LSB original, Oct. 26 – 27; “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 7 – 9; Oklahoma City Ballet, Feb. 16; and “Cleopatra,” an LSB original, April 19 – 20.

The Amarillo Civic Center’s Broadway Spotlight Series brings in even more opportunities to see live performances. The series will feature “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” Nov. 14 – 15; “West Side Story,” Jan. 24 – 25; “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” Feb.20 – 21; and “Elvis Lives,” April 17 – 18.

“I believe the Amarillo community is very supportive of the arts,” says Sherman Bass, manager of the Civic Center and Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. “Don’t forget galleries and museums, youth choirs, children’s theaters and AC and WTAMU music, theater and dance programs – all of which receive great community support.”

Article originally published in "Discover Amarillo."

by Kay Paine

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