Hillman Performing Arts Series opens with a winner | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

Hillman Performing Arts Series opens with a winner

Candy Williams
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Courtesy of Dom Flemons
The 2019-2020 Hillman Performing Arts Series at Shady Side Academy will open at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 with Dom Flemons, whose repertoire covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads and tunes.
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Courtesy of Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
The 2019-2020 Hillman Performing Arts Series at Shady Side Academy season will close April 18 with Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, offering a blend of classic vaudeville, circus, comedy and live music featuring aerialists, jugglers and sideshow tricksters.
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Courtesy of Six Appeal
The 2019-2020 Hillman Performing Arts Series at Shady Side Academy will feature the return of a capella group Six Appeal with their high-energy Ugly Sweater Party on Dec. 14.
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Courtesy of Tami Lee Hughes
Concert violinist Tami Lee Hughes’ The Legacy Show featuring classical music infused with spirituals, hip-hop and jazz will be part of the 2019-2020 Hillman Performing Arts Series at Shady Side Academy on Feb. 15.

The Hillman Performing Arts Series at Shady Side Academy starts its new season on a high note with a performance by a Grammy Award winner and two-time Emmy nominee as part of its Black Box Series.

The series opens at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 with Dom Flemons, whose repertoire covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads and tunes. His solo acoustic performance will include songs from his 2018 album, “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys.”

Teresa Glasgow, box office manager at The Hillman Center for Performing Arts, said she is excited about all of the performances planned this year, “but starting our season with a Grammy winner is pretty amazing. Not only that, but the show is almost sold out. I think that means Pittsburgh must be pretty excited, too.”

Old West journey

Known as “The American Songster,” Flemons’ music is meant to take listeners on a journey from the trails to the rails of the old west, following the footsteps of thousands of African-American pioneers who helped build the United States.

Originally from Phoenix, Ariz., he lives in the Washington D.C. area, where he is a music scholar, historian, record collector and a multi-instrumentalist. He is considered an expert player on the banjo, fife, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills and rhythm bones.

His album is part of the African American Legacy Recordings series, co-produced with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Hillman’s Main Stage Series will begin on Oct. 19 with a program featuring illusionist and mentalist Wayne Hoffman and his presentation, “Mind Candy.”

Variety of performances

The series continues as follows: Nov. 16, jazz pianist Ariel Pocock and her original, acoustic compositions drawn from Cuban and Brazilian folk music and modern jazz.

Dec. 14, the return of a capella group Six Appeal with their high-energy Ugly Sweater Party.

Feb. 15, concert violinist Tami Lee Hughes’ The Legacy Show, featuring classical music infused with spirituals, hip-hop and jazz in addition to a historical journey of poetry and visual media.

March 14, a celebration for St. Patrick’s Day with Blackwater, a high-energy Celtic band, and a pre-show with Irish-themed coffeehouse treats included in the ticket price.

April 18, the season closes with Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, offering a blend of classic vaudeville, circus, comedy and live music featuring aerialists, jugglers and sideshow tricksters.

Glasgow says the Hillman Performing Arts Series offers something for all ages and is a good opportunity “if you want to dip your family’s toes into theater and the arts.”

“I think our two biggest assets are our low-cost, high-quality programming and our low-key environment. You’re getting a night of fun for a family of four for around $100 (Main Stage Series shows) and that includes on-site parking.”

All Black Box Series shows are Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Peter J. Kountz Theater. Individual show tickets are $20 and a three-show subscription is $50.

All Main Stage Series shows are Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard E. Rauh Theater. Individual show tickets are $24-$30 and a three- or four-show subscription is $63-$100.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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