At the top of the show, before the curtain even rose, an orchestra featuring nine local musicians played an overture of songs from Aladdin, bringing to life the notes familiar to so many in Wharton Center’s audience.

Classical Christmas music and flying acrobatics might not be the most obvious duo, but it turns out whimsical circus acts and our favorite holiday songs really are the perfect pair.

Barney Cashman: middle-aged, happily married, sure; but to the only woman he’s ever been with, staring down mortality, gray and endlessly anchored — is it so wrong that he should get into trouble? For once, or maybe more, depending on his luck?

Over 75 years, The Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition and showcase of talent for ballet companies and families across the nation. Yet while nearly every dance company performs a production for the holidays, it’s no easy feat.

Wish Granted: How Aladdin’s Genie found himself making musical magic

Written by Dana Casadei | Monday, 25 November 2019 12:00 |

Korie Lee Blossey is coming home. Well, close to home. Blossey, who lived in Bay City, will be in East Lansing at the Wharton Center when the national touring production of Aladdin arrives in December. Blossey will be easy to spot, as he’s playing the famous Genie.

2019's Best of Theater

Written by Marin Heinritz | Monday, 25 November 2019 11:27 |

In any given year, West Michigan has more arts and entertainment offerings than any one person could take in. From national tours to local professional theater, dance and community theater, excellent performances abound all year long. A look back on 2019 reminds us how truly fortunate we are to have access to such world-class artistry right here. We were absolutely wowed by the Best of 2019 that includes locally produced, life-affirming theater and dance.

Wearables and wall hangings with intricate patterns and detailed faces and figures push the bounds of the fiber and craft movement.

Going from 20 displays in 1995 to more than 45 international tree spectacles today, the Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions exhibition is back at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with more than 300,000 bright lights.

As Christmas traditions go, watching Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a pretty beautiful one. The story of George Bailey, the small-town kid who longed to escape his humble beginnings only to remain in Bedford Falls and face the near-loss of everything, including his life — until a desperate prayer is dramatically answered by a modest angel, is a pleasing one to the religious and non-religious alike, and tugs at the heartstrings in a most universal way.

Cori Terry, Founder and Artistic Director of Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, described her philosophy on choreographic intent by quoting celebrated modern dance innovator Mark Morris: “I make it up and you watch it.”

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