Artists in Action: Talladega’s Ritz Theatre announces spring season
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Mar 24, 2013 | 6512 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anderson & Roe. Photo: Special to The Star
Anderson & Roe. Photo: Special to The Star
Dancing seems to be the theme of the historic Talladega Ritz Theatre’s spring season. There’s dancing on the keys by the fingers of virtuoso piano duo Anderson & Roe, and there’s dancing on stage by the 11 wildly creative artists of Rhythmic Circus, whose show is titled “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now.”

The piano duo Anderson & Roe perform April 4 and 5. The Rhythmic Circus dancers take the stage April 26 and 27. Both groups perform at 7 p.m. at The Ritz, 115 North Court Square in Talladega.

Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, who formed a partnership after they met at the Juilliard School, have been called “Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers transposed from the dance floor to the keyboard.” Their repertoire includes classical masterworks for piano as well as their own arrangements of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and British rock band Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida.”

George Culver, executive director of The Ritz, said these acts were selected for several reasons.

“An interesting attribute about an A&R concert is the fact that they are Steinway artists and will be playing, not one, but two Steinway pianos on stage, valued at about $250,000 for the pair,” Culver said. “How often in east central Alabama do we get to see two pianos on stage worth a quarter million dollars played by some of the finest pianists performing anywhere today?”

Their most recent album, “When Words Fail,” was released to critical acclaim in 2012 and remained at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts for a dozen weeks.

“Still another reason we selected them is that they are world-class classical artists,” said Culver. “They are young and energized by a personal mission to bring classical music — piano repertoire, in particular — to a wider American audience.”

The Rhythmic Circus show is a high-energy production about a group of eccentric souls on a mission to change the world with song and dance. It originated from an early 1900s chant used when New Orleans neighborhoods threw Sunday afternoon parades to celebrate life and community.

“I can say with absolute certainty that anyone from the age of 6 to 85 will be thoroughly entertained with the Rhythmic Circus. Our audience from across east central Alabama will get to experience the show before they perform in New York.”

Tickets for both Anderson & Roe and Rhythmic Circus are $23 per person. For more information, call 256-315-0000.

JSU orchestra concert April

If you’re looking for an enjoyable first experience in classical music concert-going, JSU/Community Orchestra’s spring concert on April 8 is a good one to attend. Directed by Mike Gagliardo, it will be at the Carlton Ward Theatre in the Stone Center at Jacksonville State University at 7:30 p.m.

“This is a listener-friendly series of works, light and familiar,” Gagliardo said. “You’ll find that you are more familiar with these melodies than you think.”

The hour-long program will be Baroque and early Classical in style, with works by well-known composers.

Palladio, by Welsh musician Karl Jenkins, is a contemporary piece, but “very Baroque” in sound, Gagliardo said. It should be familiar because it was used by the DeBeers diamond merchants for their TV advertising campaign several years ago. Jenkins’ inspiration was the work of Andrea Palladio, an architect who worked in Venice, Italy, designing villas and churches in the 16th century.

One of musical history’s most prolific composers was Antonio Vivaldi of Venice, who wrote 500 concertos. The orchestra will play his Concerto in D Major for Guitar and Concerto in C Major for Two Trumpets.

Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti, who wrote opera and cantatas, was a contemporary of Vivaldi. His not-often-heard Symphony No. 2 in D is on the program, followed by the first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, often called “the little G minor symphony.” Written when he was 17 years old, it will be instantly recognizable, Gagliardo said. Mozart’s famous G Minor Symphony No. 40 was written 15 years later.

Soloists for the evening will be Kathy Gregory, Zach Hill and Jason Wintermyer.

There is no admission fee.
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