By Natasha Anderson
The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Asheville presents a full lineup of world-class companies and performers for its upcoming season, which runs from September 2023 through May 2024.
“As recovery from the pandemic proceeds, audiences have a new energy,” says Wortham Center’s managing director Rae Geoffrey. “The 23/24 season reflects this sense of optimism and adventure.”
The season kicks off Saturday, September 23, at 7 p.m., in Diana Wortham Theatre, with Artrageous. This immersive, one-of-a-kind experience combines all modes of artistic expression on one stage, creating a world where brushstrokes and musical notes come to life in a burst of vibrant colors and infectious energy.
Described as “Picasso meets Blue Man Group” by the Chicago Tribune, Artrageous is a New Mexico-based troupe of multi-talented live performance artists, world-class musicians and dancers with a passion for all things art and community. Since 1990, the troupe has amazed audiences both nationally and internationally in person and on television.
In each Artrageous show, high-energy entertainment blends with raw talent, humor and audience interaction in a frenzy of movement and color, leaving viewers of all ages singing, dancing and clapping along. Artists create visual artworks in real time, their audiences guessing what each painting will ultimately become. Lines and brushstrokes become portraits of famous icons in a matter of moments, while musicians drive the rhythm and melody for the entire show, belting out everything from pop to country in harmony. In addition to visual artistry, the troupe also incorporates life-size puppetry, guiding the audience through a glowing blacklight dreamscape, where masterpiece paintings seem to appear out of thin air.
“Many of my colleagues have presented Artrageous and highly recommended their work,” says Geoffrey. “In planning this season, I looked for interactive performances that would energize audiences and expand the reach of Wortham’s programming to new demographics.”
Throughout the nine-month season, the Wortham Center will present a total of 61 shows from 27 artists, as well as ancillary classes, workshops and events.
Upcoming concerts include multi-Grammy-winning country music icon Kathy Mattea on Saturday, October 7, at 8 p.m., and Black Violin, a Grammy-nominated duo merging classical music and hip-hop on Thursday, October 12, at 7 p.m.
An additional 17 performances from nine artists make up this season’s Student Series, which provides school groups and families with the opportunity to see world-class works of art.
Tickets are available at WorthamArts.org, as well as in person at the box office or by calling 828.257.4530. The theater offers flexible, multi-show discount packages starting with as few as three performances.