In the Moment: George Mason’s Center for the Arts Announces its Upcoming 2016-2017 Season

Next season’s Great Performances series at the Center for the Arts was recently announced to hearty applause at a lovely evening event on the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, Virginia.

George Mason University's Center for the Arts.
George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. Photo courtesy of GMU.

Heading toward 30 years as a premiere performing arts venue in Northern Virginia, the upcoming 2016-17 Great Performances season clearly aims to engross and enthrall area audiences and Mason students with a wide array of notable artists and entertainers from around the world and from near-by.

Rick Davis, Executive Director of Hylton Performing Arts Center, CVPA
Rick Davis, Executive Director of Hylton Performing Arts Center, CVPA

Announced by Rick Davis, Dean, George Mason University, College of Visual and Performing Arts, the new season includes performers making debut in the Great Performances series as well as returning favorites. With well over three dozen performances, the new Great Performances season runs from September 2016 through May 2017.

“I am excited about the 2016-17 season, because I believe it falls right in line with our mission to provide the best in the performing arts to the Northern Virginia community, and at the same time provide the students studying the arts with professional examples to emulate,” said Thomas Reynolds, director of Artistic Programming, Marketing and Audience Services for the Mason College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) in a recent interview.

For DCMetroTheaterArts readers, well-regarded national touring theater companies are returning to the Center for the Arts in 2016-17.  They include:


Another performance of expected interested especially for musical theater aficionados will be Off Book/Out of BoundsIt is a concert of reimagined Broadway show tune that combine well known music with elements of rock and pop music. It is a work masterminded by Peter Kieswalter, and led by Broadway’s Tony Vincent (RENT, American Idiot)

Other performance highlights for the next season include the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company, and the ever dynamic Mark Morris Dance Group, the eye-popping acrobatics of The 7 Fingers of the Hand, and the Taj Express with its luxurious Bollywood Musical Revue as well as the multiple Grammy Award nominated National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine among many others.

Martha Graham Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Martha Graham Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Returning to the Center for the Arts will be the Virginia Opera bringing a series of opera masterpieces such as Turandot to their Northern Virginia home as well as Jeffrey Siegel’s “Keyboard Conversations.” The Holiday performances will include the Vienna Boys Choir and A Canadian Brass Christmas and others. Northern Virginia’s Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra will celebrate American innovation with its To Swing through the Sky.

“We have a diverse group of professional singers, dancers, actors and instrumentalists who not only come to the Center to perform extraordinary concerts, but to spend time with Mason students as well as students in the schools in Northern Virginia to engage their minds and hearts in the creation of art.” added Reynolds.


A major fall event for Northern Virginia is Mason’s annual ARTS by George! Gala. This year’s headliners are The Midtown Men performing on September 24. The group is composed of stars from the original cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys.  This coming Arts by George! is an opportunity “to do something different while maintaining the spirit of what has become one of the arts events in Northern Virginia,” said Reynolds. The Midtown Men will perform favorites from the 1960s and not just works by The Four Seasons.

“One of the four stars of the Midtown Men has already come to campus, and spent time meeting with and performing for a group of students.” said Reynolds. “We have plans to have another group of students meet with them while they are here in September.

The Arts by George event also showcases the artistic work of George Mason University/CVPA students. The student showcases are in the areas of dance, music, theater, visual arts, film and video studies, computer game design and arts management. The showcases including performances by the students throughout the Center for the Arts many nooks and crannies. Over the years I have attended a number of Arts by George! events and always come away impressed and in awe with the caliber of the students’work.

Arts by George! also raises funds for George Mason University/CVPA student scholarships. Over the past years, over $1.3 million for scholarships have been raised over note Davis in discussing the Arts by George! annual event.

The 7 Fingers of the Hand's “Cuisines & Confessions.” Photo by Alexandre Galliez
The 7 Fingers of the Hand’s “Cuisines & Confessions.” Photo by Alexandre Galliez

In their remarks, both Davis and Reynolds thanked the Friends of the Center for the Arts for their active outreach and assistance to make the Center a vibrant, active venue and environment to enjoy the arts and entertainment.

So, take a gander. Decide what might be for you and your friends. There is plenty to select from. Amble, no hassle parking is nearby..

Great Performances at Mason is performed at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts – 4400 University Drive, in Fairfax, VA. Subscriptions for the 2016-17 are available now; single tickets go on sale on Monday, August 1, 2016. For information and subscription tickets call (703) 993-2787 or visit online.


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