By Natasha Anderson
The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Asheville has announced its upcoming season schedule. From September 2021 to May 2022, a wide range of top touring artists in music, theater, dance, comedy and other performing arts are scheduled to appear at the three-venue performing arts complex comprising the 500-seat Diana Wortham Theatre, the Tina McGuire Theatre (black box seating up to 100 people) and the Henry LaBrun Studio (seating up to 80).
“For many of us, working in the arts is not simply a job but an important part of what makes us whole,” says Wortham Center managing director Rae Geoffrey. “After more than a year of closure, returning to live performance feels like regaining a part of our souls.”
The season opens Thursday, September 16, at 7 p.m. with a concert by Masters of Soul, a band of incredible vocalists and seasoned instrumentalists who channel the legends that defined Motown and soul music. Attendees are invited to sing and dance along to hits from iconic groups of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s including Gladys Knight and The Pips, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Four Tops and James Brown.
“Masters of Soul provides the perfect party to begin our season and provide some joy, which we could all use right now,” says Wortham Center board president Jan Getz.
Other season highlights include Dance Theatre of Harlem, a 17-member, multi-ethnic company founded in 1968 at the height of the Civil Rights movement; local favorite Pilobulus, celebrating its 50th anniversary with the world premiere of Big Five-Oh!; The Peking Acrobats, a stunning troupe that has redefined perceptions of Chinese acrobatics; Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders, with illusionist Vitaly Beckman blending art and illusion with captivating style; The Opera Locos, five eccentric opera singers combining physical comedy with works from the greatest composers of their genre; and God is a Scottish Drag Queen, a comedy in which God attempts to clear up misconceptions about his role as the Almighty.
“Some of our artists have been under contract for almost three years, so through the associated communication around reschedules, we’ve developed deep friendships and connections,” says Geoffrey. “I look forward to finally having these artists at the Wortham and seeing them enjoy their well-earned applause.”
Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue, in Asheville. For a full list of 2021/2022 performances, or to purchase tickets, visit WorthamArts.org.