Fall Arts Preview: McCarter Theatre Center’s 2019-20 Season


Special Programming Director William W. Lockwood is pleased to announce the lineup for the 2019-20 Dance, Music and Signature Series at McCarter Theatre Center. Each series will feature an exciting and eclectic mix of the world’s greatest musicians, dance companies and performing artists, including several returning favorites and McCarter debuts.

Over the past half century, McCarter Theatre Center’s Dance Series has set an extremely high standard. This year is no different, with appearances by Ailey II, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dorrance Dance and the National Ballet Theatre of Odessa on the schedule.

The Music Series again makes music with appearances by violinist Christian Tetzlaff; pianists Lars Vogt, Yuja Wang and Igor Levit; The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Peter Phillips conducting The Tallis Scholars in a special holiday program; and Harry Bicket conducting Handel’s opera masterpiece “Rodelinda” with an all-star cast of vocalists.

The Signature Series is a veritable “who’s who” of world class talent, including Yamato Drummers of Japan, Jake Shimabukuro, The Hit Men, Cirque Éloize, David Sedaris and many, many more on the schedule.

McCarter Theatre Center – Dance Series

Ailey II
Oct. 16 – 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre
Ailey II merges the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of dance masters and emerging choreographers. The program will include Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations.

Dance Theatre Of Harlem
Feb. 8, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

For 50 years, Dance Theatre of Harlem has inspired the world with a revolutionary vision of a multiethnic ballet company, performing ground-breaking works with power and grace.

“Romeo & Juliet”
National Ballet Theatre of Odessa
Feb. 16, 2020, at 3 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Ukraine’s principal ballet company brings a new production of one of classic ballet’s all-time favorites set to Prokofiev’s beautiful score.

Dorrance Dance  
April 9, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Celebrate the astounding skill and exuberance of this show-stopping group of hoofers, created by the MacArthur Award-winning tap dancer Michelle Dorrance, who can make dance as innovative as it is engaging.

McCarter Theater Center – Music Series

Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Lars Vogt, piano
Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium

A renowned artistic partnership featuring sonatas by Beethoven, Franck, and Shostakovich.

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine
Volodymyr Sirenko, conductor
Olga Kern, piano
Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre 

Ukraine’s major orchestra brings a blockbuster program of Russian masterworks: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Olga Kern.

The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips, director 
Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium

The world’s leading exponents of a cappella Renaissance sacred music in “Reflections,” a special program for the holiday season. Co-presented with The Princeton Singers.

Yuja Wang, piano 
Feb 12, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

This dazzling keyboard superstar returns with a program of Debussy, Schoenberg, and Brahms.

Handel’s “Rodelinda” with The English Concert
Harry Bicket, conductor
Featuring soloists Lucy Crowe, Iestyn Davies and Anthony Roth Costanzo
May 5, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

The English Concert brings one of George Frideric Handel’s great operas to McCarter in concert, with an all-star cast headed by Lucy Crowe in the title role and countertenors Iestyn Davies and Princeton’s own Anthony Roth Costanzo. “Rodelinda” was one of three masterpieces Handel composed in only a year. The characters’ emotions are exquisitely expressed in Handel’s alternately lyrical and virtuosic arias, sung by a stellar casts of baroque opera specialists, all conducted by the celebrated Handel expert Harry Bicket.

Igor Levit, piano  
May 13, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Music’s newest keyboard sensation in an all-Beethoven program, including sonatas No. 9, 10, 11 and 29 (the Hammerklavier).

McCarter Theatre Center – Signature Series

Lucinda WIlliams and her band, Buick 6                                                         
Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre  

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of her highly-influential masterpiece, “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road,” three-time Grammy award winner Lucinda Williams will perform the album in its entirety, followed by a second set of songs from throughout her remarkable career. The “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” set will feature visual elements to enhance the storyteller style Williams has used for the special performances.

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi – “There Is No Other”
Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Rhiannon Giddens is an American artist of folk and traditional music, played on fiddle and banjo; Francesco Turrisi is an Italian pianist and percussionist well versed in jazz, early music and Mediterranean music; at first blush, their worlds don’t overlap.

Pink Martini
Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Pink Martini’s arrangements of Latin music, jazz, cabaret and cinema scores from Hollywood’s golden age form a sound that defies categorization.

Erin McKeown                                                                                                    
Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Lobby 

Erin McKeown is a musician, writer and producer known internationally for her prolific disregard of stylistic boundaries. Over the last 20 years, she has performed around the world, released 10 full-length albums, and written for film, television, and theater, all the while refining her distinctive and challenging mix of American musical forms.

Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre

A superstar in her native Japan, Hiromi changes the musical landscape as she plays, incorporating R&B, rock and avant-garde. Her performances are filled with hairpin turns, tempo shifts, brazen virtuosity and high voltage.

“Paris! The Show” with Anne Carrere
Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre

The star of “Piaf! The Show” returns with a tribute to post-war French songs from Montmartre to the stages of the great Parisian cabaret. Chevalier, Montand, Aznavour, Brel, Baker and Piaf will be featured.

Harlem 100: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance
Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

A multimedia experience capturing the sights and sounds of Harlem when legendary artists like Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday made it the cultural center of the universe, featuring Michael Mwenso and the Shakes and vocalists Brianna Thomas and Michela Lerman.

Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin: “Together On Stage”
Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin will appear on stage together as an intimate acoustic duo, swapping songs and sharing stories. This special concert will feature the acclaimed songwriters performing material from their vast catalogues as well as some of their favorite songs.

The Moth Mainstage
Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

True stories, told live. New York’s “hottest and hippest literary ticket” makes its McCarter debut featuring five wildly-divergent raconteurs who share tales that honor both the diversity and commonality of human experience.

Salzburg Marionette Theatre presents: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” 
Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

One of the world’s great family entertainments, they have cast their spell on audiences since 1913 with their sumptuous productions of classic fairytales

Catherine Russell and John Pizzarelli
“Billie and Blue Eyes” 

Dec. 13 – 14, at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre

These two premier interpreters of jazz standards and the “great American songbook” return for two “holiday nights” with a program continuing their tribute to Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday.

Richard Thompson                                                                                             
Jan. 18, 2020 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time, Richard Thompson is also one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters.

“The Mikado” with the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and Orchestra
Jan. 25, 2020 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

The operetta masterpiece is re-imagined in a new, innovative version combining the real-life characters of D’Oyly Carte’s Victorian London with the Japanese settings of the G&S original.

Yamato Drummers of Japan: “Passion”
Feb. 5, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

After 3,500 performances in 54 different countries, Yamato truly justifies its slogan of giving energy to the world. The recipe: take a large Odaiko drum, add an assortment of Taiko drums of various sizes and the result? The “passion” that has kept this troupe of drumming athletes going for 26 years.

Claire Chase, flute                                                                                             
Feb. 14, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator and advocate for new and experimental music. Over the past decade she has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia and she has championed new music throughout the world by building organizations, forming alliances, pioneering commissioning initiatives and supporting educational programs that reach new audiences. Her Princeton debut will feature the latest installation of her Density 2036 project.

Jake Shimabukuro Trio with Dave Preston, guitar and Nolan Verner, bass
Feb. 15, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre

The native Hawaiian who has single-handedly transformed the four-stringed ukulele into a concert instrument of incredible virtuosity is back, playing everything from Bach to Hendrix to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Russian Renaissance
Feb. 16, 2020 at 3 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre

This quartet of musicians from Moscow is chamber music with a twist, re-defining the possibilities of their traditional Russian folk instruments: balalaika, domra/domra alto, button accordion, and balalaika contrabasso, playing works from Bach to Ellington and Tchaikovsky.

Mummenschanz: “The Musicians of Silence”   
Feb. 21, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

The ordinary becomes extraordinary when colorful abstract shapes and forms spring to life in their latest spectacle for audiences of all ages.

Joey Alexander Trio with special guest Edmar Castañeda Trio
Feb. 29, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Sixteen-year-old Joey Alexander continues to set the jazz world agog with his keyboard genius, as he has done ever since his US debut at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis at the age of eleven. The Colombian-born jazz harp virtuoso Edmar Castañeda has brought both an unfamiliar instrument and his own original voice to jazz with versatility and enchanting charisma.

“Voice of the Guitar”

March 13, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre 

Montenegro-born guitarist Miloš Karadaglić has re-invented the classical guitar. From Bach to the Beatles, including Spanish classics and baroque fandangos, he plays it all with panache.

The Hot Sardines
March 14, 2020, at 8 p.m. and March 15, 2020 at 3 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre

Everybody jumps on the bandwagon for the “sardine sound” when the ensemble—including their very own tap dancer—plays “le hot jazz” as it was in the era when live music was king.

The Peking Acrobats
March 31, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Plate spinning, bowl balancing, pole climbing. This troupe of elite gymnasts, cyclists, jugglers, acrobats, and tumblers continue to leave family audiences spellbound with their daring demonstrations of strength, agility, balance and artistry.

The Hit Men
Legendary Rock Supergroup
Friday, April 3, at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Take a star-studded journey back through rock n’ roll history with the legendary performers and actual musicians who sang and played with Franki Valli, Elton John, Cat Stevens, Carole King, Jim Croce, Three Dog Night and many more.

Cirque Éloize
April 4, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. and April 5, 2020 at 3 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

The newest creation from Canada’s Cirque Éloize is the story of a place and the travelers who pass through—a stopover where lives collide, intersect, and juxtapose for a time to generate tales and memories, combining acrobatics, theatre, cinematic projections, and live music.

David Sedaris
April 7, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre 

David Sedaris’ annual visit to McCarter has become a cherished spring tradition. With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, Sedaris has established himself as one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. He is the master of satire and one of today’s most observant writers addressing the human condition.

Zakir Hussain Trio with Jayanthi Kumaresh, veena and Kala Ramnath, violin
April 11, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

India’s great percussion master is a long-established “national treasure” and joins with two colleagues for an evening of classical Indian music. 

Max Raabe and Palast Orchester                                                                     
April 13, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

The Palast Orchester was founded in 1986 by Max Raabe and a group of fellow music students in order to play music from the period of Germany’s Golden Twenties. Since then, Max Raabe & Palast Orchester tour regularly to the USA and Canada where they give concerts in famous venues like Chicago Symphony Hall, Davies Hall in San Francisco and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with special guest Stefon Harris + Blackout
April 17, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

The pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill is the foremost ambassador and exponent of Latin Jazz. His Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra is the genre’s big band standard-bearer and regular winner of the “Best Latin Jazz Grammy.” Stefon Harris is the pre-eminent vibraphonist in jazz today, and his latest album “Sonic Creed” with his band Blackout explores the music of masters Abbey Lincoln, Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver. 

Roseanne Cash                    ‘                                                                              
“She Remembers Everything”
April 18, 2020, at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

One of the country’s pre-eminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned four Grammy Awards and nominations for 11 more, plus a spot in the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. She is also an author whose four books include the best-selling memoir “Composed,” which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” She will be accompanied by her band.

“Come To Your Senses”
April 22, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Pilobolus returns with their synthesis of dance, gymnastics, theatre and mime—all armed with wit, a little sensuality, and pretzel-like partnering. (Note: this performance may contain nudity.)

Underwater Bubble Show                                                                                 
May 10, 2020, at 3 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Inspired by the famous Cirque du Soleil, Underwater Bubble Show is a blend of drama, mime, dance, puppetry, juggling, contortionism, sand art and magic, plus the amazing beauty of soap bubbles.

June 6, 2020, at 3 p.m. in the Matthews Theatre

Visual, completely wordless, comedic physical theater. The Acrobuffos present sophisticated image-driven performances, playing games using poetic mime. They are not your typical clowns – they are artists and surrealists – who will not be easily categorized.

McCarter Theatre Center’s mission is to create world-class theater and present the finest performing artists for the engagement, education and entertainment to the community. Under the artistic leadership of award-winning playwright and director Emily Mann and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg, McCarter produces a vibrant six-play Theater Series each season. Through the leadership of Special Programming Director William W. Lockwood, McCarter brings the best artists from around the world to Princeton, New Jersey. Education and outreach efforts serve tens of thousands through student matinees, in-school residencies, and adult education classes. McCarter is supported by contributions from Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, corporations, foundations, and from over 2,000 individuals. More at mccarter.org.

Subscription packages for the 2019-2020 Dance, Music and Signature Series, are available now by calling McCarter Theatre Center at 609-258-2787, visiting mccarter.org, or visiting the McCarter Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place in Princeton.