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Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College Celebrates Community with New Season Filled with Diverse Performances Ranging from Political Satire to Rap Music

April 23, 2012
Ethel String Quartet
Ethel String Quartet

KEENE, N.H., 04/26/2012 - The Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College announces a diverse roster of performing artists who will bring spectacular music, theater and dance events to the greater Keene community during the 2012-13 season. Ranging from the political satire of Capitol Steps to the 1970s music of rocker Todd Rundgren and Ethel String Quartet to hip-hop artist Baba Brinkman's take on evolution and Chicago's Griffin Theatre's hit production Letters Home, the upcoming season promises to open new horizons through entertainment. This roster of performances includes modern dance legend Donald Byrd's moving homage to Jewish artists of the Holocaust, Alaskan-born dancer Emily Johnson's new work that explores cultural identity, and Keene State faculty dancer Candice Salyers' series of mesmerizing solos. New Hampshire's own Apple Hill String Quartet will return to the Redfern stage with MIT composer Christine Southworth and the beloved Alloy Orchestra will play their original score during the screening of the silent science fiction classic Metropolis.

"The 2012-13 season will explode with talented artists whose works will captivate audiences while celebrating themes of community and diversity," said Redfern Director Shannon Mayers. "Exciting art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views. I'm thrilled that our upcoming season involves meaningful partnerships with KSC departments as well as other cultural organizations in the Monadnock region."

These themes will be explored throughout the season with compelling outreach activities surrounding each performance including master classes, workshops, exhibits, preshow Meet and Greet receptions, and post show talk backs. All outreach activities will be free and open to the public. Tickets for performances will go on sale Wednesday, August 1 at the Redfern Box Office, and can be purchased by phone (603-358-2168) or online.

The Redfern will host a season kick-off party on Wednesday, September 19, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Following a catered reception in the Redfern lobby, the public is invited to a sneak peek of season highlights including video and live performances by Apple Hill Chamber Players and members of Keene State's Departments of Music and Theatre and Dance.

The Redfern's 2012-13 season comprises nine performances, including:

Capitol Steps (Thursday, October 4, 7:30 p.m.) The Redfern Arts Center kicks off the season with the hilarious political satire of the Washington, D.C. based comedy troupe known for putting the "mock" in democracy. Their show promises a refreshing dose of humor ripped right from the headlines as the U.S. Presidential elections heat up. The Wall Street Journal says Capitol Steps "political satire brings chuckles ...rave reviews...guffaws...and bipartisan grins all around."

Spectrum Dance in The Theater of Needless Talents (Tuesday, October 16, 7:30 p.m.) This provocative new work, directed and choreographed by Donald Byrd, melds dance, theatre, and cabaret with a live musical score by Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff, who perished during the Holocaust. This moving piece pays homage to the imprisoned Jewish artists, who managed to perform and bring hope to fellow inmates during the Holocaust. The Seattle Times calls it "Entertainment in extremis ... the serious business of the human spirit expressing itself in a tune, a tango or a subversive turn of phrase under the worst of circumstances." This performance is presented in collaboration with the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College and funded in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Ethel and Todd Rundgren play Tell Me Something Good (Tuesday, October 23, 7:30 p.m.) Rocker icon Todd Rundgren and eclectic string quartet Ethel join forces to celebrate the culture and sounds of the 1970s, the era of funk, glam rock, early minimalism, the bi-centennial, Watergate, and the Vietnam War. Boldly exploring new synergies between tradition and technology, Ethel initiates collaborations with extraordinary artists such as Rundgren. The New York Times hails them as "extraordinarily skilled, passionate musicians."

**Candice Salyers dances a history of levitation (Monday, November 5, 7:30 p.m.) **Keene State College dance faculty member and Vermont Performance Lab artist Candice Salyers performs an evening of solo works that explore notions of female sainthood. Featuring solos created by several choreographers including her, a history of levitation investigates how one body inhabits different physical perspectives in an attempt to purify the soul and elevate the consciousness. Salyers' melding of dance and conceptual art results in provocative and inviting performance works that bridge the visual and performing arts.

**Alloy Orchestra plays for silent film Metropolis (Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 7:30 p.m.) **Working with a clamorous assemblage of percussion instruments, this three man musical ensemble performs its original live score to the newly restored version of Fritz Lang's 1926 silent film masterpiece Metropolis, considered the first science fiction classic. Film critic Roger Ebert hails Alloy as "the best in the world at accompanying silent films." This performance is a collaboration with the Keene State College Film Society and the Film Studies Department.

Baba Brinkman in Rap Guide to Evolution (Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 7:30 p.m. and a 9:30 a.m. school performance) A multimedia hip-hop exploration of modern revolutionary biology which provides a grand tour of Darwin's contributions to human knowledge and his impact on today's world. The Rap Guide to Evolution is provocative, hilarious, intelligent and scientifically accurate with Brinkman performing his clever reworking of popular rap singles and his own originals to illustrate natural selection, evolutionary psychology and much more. "Both brainy and entertaining! ... genuine passion, curiosity and analytical skills," says The New York Times.

**Emily Johnson/Catalyst dances in Niicugni (Listen) (Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:30 p.m.) **Niicugni, Yup'ik for "Listen," is a new dance performance by Alaskan-born Emily Johnson housed within a sound/light installation of hand-made fish lanterns. Making things from fish skin is an Alaskan art form. This dance, the second in a trilogy of pieces related to Johnson's Eskimo heritage, explores issues around displacement of native peoples and the ways in which cultures are divided and linked. Dance Magazine calls her work "simultaneously vulnerable and commanding, mythical and wry." This performance is co-presented with the Vermont Performance Lab and is funded in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

**Griffin Theatre in Letters Home (Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7:30 p.m. and school performance, Thursday, March 21, 2013, 9:30 a.m.) **This hit production puts the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan front and center by bringing to life actual letters written by troops serving in the Middle East. The production is inspired by the New York Times Op-Ed article, "The Things They Wrote" and the subsequent HBO documentary, Last Letters Home, and additionally uses letters and correspondences from Frank Schaeffer's books, Voices From the Front, Letters Home From America's Military Family, Faith of Our Sons, and Keeping Faith. The play without politicizing gives audiences a powerful portrait of the soldier experience in the ongoing wars. The Chicago Tribune says Griffin Theatre is "remarkable enough for your mouth to keep dropping open in surprise at the depth and raw frankness of their work." Both performances are co-presented with the Colonial Theatre, Keene, N.H.

**Apple Hill String Quartet performs with Christine Southworth (Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 7:30 p.m.) **This well-known New Hampshire string quartet returns to the Redfern with a new program by Boston composer (and avid beekeeper) Christine Southworth including her bee-inspired work "Honey Flyers." The Apple Hill String Quartet has earned accolades from around the world for their interpretive mastery of traditional classical repertoire. Apple Hills' "music was exciting, engaging, and beautifully performed ...," according to The Monadnock Ledger. As 21st-century musicians, the quartet is deeply committed to the commissioning of new works, and partnered with Southworth, who is making groundbreaking music based on the interaction between science, technology, and creativity. The Boston Herald praises Southworth's music "as gently balladic (as it is) hard-driving and otherworldly. This performance is funded in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

More information about the Redfern's 2012-13 season, including outreach opportunities and other special events, can be found at www.keene.edu/racbp, where visitors can also subscribe to updates from the Redfern's e-newsletter and Facebook page.

About Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond

The Arts Center is named in honor of Dr. Leo F. Redfern, Keene State College (KSC) President from 1969 to 1979 for his vision, commitment, and eloquence on behalf of the arts that made funding and construction of the facility a reality. In 1981, KSC inaugurated this new performing arts center, with the goal of providing unforgettable artistic encounters for the campus and community. Since then, the Redfern stage has hosted hundreds of amazing shows, from internationally renowned artists to emerging young talents to KSC's own student performers. Over the years, the Redfern has expanded its outreach programs and community partnerships, becoming an indispensible resource for the Keene community and beyond

About Keene State College

Keene State College is a preeminent public liberal arts college that ensures student access to world-class academic programs. Integrating academics with real-world application and active community and civic engagement, Keene State College prepares graduates to meet society's challenges by thinking critically, acting creatively, and serving the greater good. To learn more about Keene State College, visit www.keene.edu.

Keene State College: Wisdom to make a difference.