The McCallum Theatre announced today its new lineup for the 2019-2020 season, continuing to present the finest world-class artists and entertainers for Coachella Valley audiences. The new season includes McCallum debuts, returning favorites, iconic superstars, family-friendly entertainment and holiday cheer, among so much more. A CHRISTMAS STORY, Waitress and THE PLAY THAT GOES WORING are among the many Broadway offerings in what looks to be the most stellar season in McCallum history.
Plus, some not-to-be-missed tribute shows, a second season of National Geographic Livepresentations, Jeffrey Siegel’s acclaimed Keyboard Conversations® series, Family Fun Day, Mitch’s Picks, The Palm Desert Choreography Festival and a host of star-studded shows, all part of a very full and exciting season that also includes an outstanding roster of Broadway favorites, several of which are brand new to the McCallum. Tickets for ALL shows go on sale online only at www.mccallumtheatre.com on Thursday, April 11 at 6pm. Purchases at the McCallum Theatre Box Office, 73000 Fred Waring Drive in Palm Desert or by phone at 760-340-2787 begin on Friday, April 12 at 9am.
“We have such an exciting new season planned for our wonderful and very loyal audiences here in the Valley” said McCallum President and CEO Mitch Gershenfeld. “We really do listen and try to program the widest variety of performances to suit every cultural taste. From classical music to offbeat cabaret; majesty and spectacle to intimate performances; laugh-out-loud comedy to educational presentations, the 2019-2020 season really does offer something for everyone. We even have a great big sing-a-long of the Great American Songbook this coming January!”
“As with all great things that happen at the McCallum Theatre, we extend once again our deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported the McCallum for so many years, whether by purchasing tickets, making donations, volunteering or all of those things and more,” said Gershenfeld. “As a nonprofit 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, we are deeply grateful for the continuing loyalty of McCallum audiences, members and major contributors.”
“As in past seasons, we expect many of the shows to sell out quickly,” added Gershenfeld. “We hope people will place their orders as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”
Among the new season’s highlights is a red-hot roster of Broadway shows including five productions coming to the McCallum stage for the very first time. All artists, shows, dates, performance times and ticket prices are subject to change.
The Broadway season gets underway November 26 and 27 with the McCallum debut of A Christmas Story, based on the classic 1983 film, with music and lyrics by the songwriting team behind the smash musical Dear Evan Hansen and the Academy Award-winning film La La Land. An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between young Ralphie Parker and the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine Action 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
Another film-inspired musical takes centerstage when makes its first visit to the McCallum on December 6-8. With music and lyrics by pop sensation Sara Bareilles, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town. “The Play That Goes Wrong is the funniest play Broadway has ever seen,” according to Huffington Post. The gut-busting hit asks and answers the question, “What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate baby?” (January 21-22, 2020).
Jimmy Buffett‘s Escape to Margaritaville promises to knock your flip-flops off with an original musical comedy featuring new songs and many of the most beloved Jimmy Buffet classics including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and more. (January 30 – February 1, 2020). Another icon with a lifetime of accolades, added to her legacy when Beautiful: The Carole King Musical garnered Tony and Grammy Awards for a show that has joyfully played more than 2,100 performances since its January 2014 Broadway debut. The show, making its first trip to the Coachella Valley on February 7-9, 2020, shares the inspiring story of King’s remarkable rise to becoming one of the most successful singer-songwriters in popular music history.
Two popular shows return to the McCallum in 2019-2020 by audience demand. Chicago, The Musical is the razzle-dazzle story of fame, fortune and all that jazz that has wowed audiences from Mexico City to Moscow and Sao Paolo to South Africa. The winner of six Tony Awards and thousands of standing ovations is now the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history (March 13-15, 2020). And the McCallum is delighted to bring The Illusionists™ Live from Broadway back to the desert with a non-stop new show packed with mind-blowing magic of unprecedented proportions performed by some of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on stage. (April 7-8, 2020).
Two of Broadway’s most indelible performers will each bring their individual shows to the McCallum next season, much to the anticipated delight of thousands of their Coachella Valley fans. First up is Mandy Patinkin in Concert: DIARIES (November 16) which presents the acclaimed actor/singer/storyteller in his most electrifying role: concert performer. With a repertoire that includes everyone from Stephen Sondheim to Harry Chapin and Rufus Wainwright, Patinkin goes on an unforgettably dazzling musical journey. His legendary Evita co-star Patti LuPone will bring Don’t Monkey with Broadway to the McCallum on March 26, 2020. The two-time Tony Award winner’s show traces how her life-long love affair with Broadway began and her concern for what the Great White Way is becoming today.
Another theatrical offering in 2019-2020 is the McCallum Theatre debut of funny lady Renée Taylor who brings her off-Broadway hit, My Life on a Diet to Palm Desert for two performances on January 26, 2020. The octogenarian actress, known to millions for her role as Fran’s mother on The Nanny, shares tales about her memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway, among other highs and lows, on and off the scale.
Following great audience response in its debut season, the McCallum is pleased to offer a second year of National Geographic Live, aseries of thought-provoking and eye-catching presentations by today’s leading explorers, scientists and photographers. The three programs coming to Palm Desert in 2019-2020 are: On the Trail of Big Cats (January 6, 2020), Photography Without Borders (March 2, 2020), and View from Above, presented through the generosity of The City of Rancho Mirage(April 5, 2020).
Returning for a sixth season, Mitch’s Picks, showcases artists with whom Valley audiences may not yet be familiar, but come with the personal recommendation of McCallum President and CEO Mitch Gershenfeld. Once again this season, all five shows are first-time presentations at the McCallum. A great evening of mariachi and Mexican folk music will showcase Mariachi Flor de Toloache and The Villalobos Brothers on November 22. The two groups present their distinctive artistic visions that have earned them highly respected reputations from fans of the genre worldwide. The Spirit of the Season will be celebrated like never before when Voctavemake their McCallum debut with an a cappella holiday show that will make it clear why they have received more than 100 million views of their videos on Facebook and YouTube in just under two years (December 16). Celtic rockers Derina Harvey Band with their fearless front woman have earned their following as a high-energy live band with a fresh take on traditional folk songs and original material layered with guitars, fiddles and Derina’s powerful voice (January 14, 2020). Best known for her stints on Broadway in Hairspray and as the first replacement for Elphaba in Wicked, Shoshana Bean has sold out concerts around the globe and will mark her first McCallum appearance along with a 9-piece big band showcasing hits from her #1 Billboard and iTunes jazz hit album, SPECTRUM: Soulful Standards inspired by Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand(February 4, 2020). The closing Mitch’s Picks performance will finally bring Mnozil Brass to the McCallum in their long-awaited debut (March 24, 2020). The brass septet has become an international sensation with shows that seamlessly blend original compositions with classical favorites, jazz standards, popular hits and their hilariously iconic humor and wit.
The inimitable Jeffrey Siegel brings his acclaimed Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel back to the McCallum for its 18th season of making classical music accessible, enjoyable and fun. His popular and intimate evenings of piano and commentary return to the McCallum in the 2019-2020 season with four programs: Warm Hearted Music from the Cold Far North(December 9) celebrating music by Grieg, Sibelius, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Nielsen and Stenhammar; Commemorating Rachmaninoff and Debussy (January 13, 2020); Mistresses and Masterpieces (February 3, 2020) featuring music inspired by “significant others” in the lives of Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Bartok; and The Romantic Connection – Chopin, Schumann and Liszt (March 16, 2020) featuring music of three great composers born within months of one another. These performances are presented through the generosity of Donna MacMillan.
The McCallum’s Annual Family Fun Day returns for its eighth successful season(October 12). Proceeds from this great family-friendly afternoon at the Theatre support the programs and activities of McCallum Theatre Education. This season’s Family Fun Day will featureRumpelstiltskin presented by The Panto Company USA, performed in the 200 year-old British tradition of participatory theater that promises fun for all ages. The 3pm performance will be followed by food and fun on the McCallum Theatre grounds including arts-related games, face painting, photo booths and more. Family Fun Day is presented through the generosity of the City of Palm Desert and The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
A longtime initiative of the McCallum Theatre Education Division, The Palm Desert Choreography Festival marks its 22nd year of bringing some of the finest original dance from across the nation to desert audiences (November 9 & 10). The two-day celebration awards prize money to established and emerging choreographers and highlights participants from two signature education division programs, East Valley Dance Project and The Studio Project. A lifetime achievement award will be presented to a major influencer from the dance world, to be announced. The Palm Desert Choreography Festival is presented through the generosity of The City of Palm Desert.
The McCallum Theatre’s international reputation for being one of the West Coast’s top venues with state-of-the-art acoustics and savvy, enthusiastic audiences continues to attract the world’s finest artists back to the desert time and again. The 2019-2020 season is no exception. Among the mega-watt names returning to the McCallum stage in the new season will be: one of rock music’s great female icons, Melissa Etheridge (November 14); those ever-ageless chroniclers of endless summer, The Beach Boys (December 1); the desert’s most famous octogenarian and one of the greatest singers of all time, (January 10, 2020); the original stars and lead singers of The Fifth Dimension and hitmakers in their own right, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. (January 11, 2020); and violin legend Itzhak Perlman brings an evening of career highlights captured through narrative and multi-media elements, intertwined with performance (January 20, 2020).
Also, husband and wife jazz and pop sensations, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall (January 27, 2020); the luminous four-time Grammy Award-winning opera singer Renée Fleming (February 12, 2020); one of the world’s most enchanting interpreters of folk music, Judy Collins (February 25, 2020); McCallum favorite Michael Feinstein will celebrate the legends of the American Songbook on February 28, 2020; one of the world’s most innovative vocal groups, The Manhattan Transfer will stop at the McCallum on their 48th anniversary tour (March 21, 2020); Grammy Award-winning vocalist Steve Tyrell, a McCallum regular for more than 15 years, will return on March 27, 2020; and the uniquely talented jazz trumpeter Chris Botti closes the season, as he has for many years, on April 10 & 11, 2020.
Two of the most popular acts in McCallum Theatre history bring their latest shows to the Valley for six performance runs apiece. The TEN Tenors showcase the greatest love songs of all time as only they can in “Love Is In The Air” (February 19-23, 2020). And Pink Martini is back with an all new show, as usual, drawing inspiration from music from all over the world. The group’s leader Thomas Lauderdale is bringing back with him both of his favorite muses, China Forbes and Storm Large (March 4-8, 2020). And one of the world’s most popular and beloved dance companies, Alvin Ailey™ American Dance Theater makes its long-awaited return to the McCallum on March 25, 2020 with a mixed repertory program of recent premieres and classics including the masterpiece Revelations.
For so many years, the McCallum and two superstar performers were nearly synonymous – the beloved Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé. Next April 4, 2020, the McCallum is beyond delighted to present A Toast to Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé featuring their son David Lawrence and Tony Award-winning singer Debbie Gravitte. Using orchestrations created for Steve and Eydie, along with a 32-piece orchestra and classic, exclusive video, it will be a night to remember honoring two exceptional show business giants.
Among the other notable tributes scheduled for the McCallum Theatre 2019-2020 season include a new edition of Classic Albums Live, a note-by-note, cut for cut recreation of Tom Petty’s “Damn the Torpedoes” on November 23; The Highwaymen, A Musical Tribute featuring Waylon, Willie and Johnny (November 24), saluting what was perhaps the greatest super group in country music history; a fifth version of Palm Springs Legends returns by popular demand, with an all new show honoring the likes of Jack Benny, George Burns, the Valley’s own Carol Channing and Bob Hope, Bobby Darin, Mary Martin, Elvis Presley and Andy Williams. Presented through the generosity of The City of Rancho Mirage, the show also features a swingin’ 13-piece big band (January 15, 2020).
FRANK – The Man…The Music starring Bob Anderson honors the musical legacy of “Ol’ Blue Eyes” himself with a masterful performer who is the number one singing impressionist in the world. He not only sounds like Sinatra, he looks like him too, thanks to prosthetic makeup that is spot on. Anderson will be accompanied by a 32-piece orchestra playing all of Sinatra’s original arrangements (February 14 & 15, 2020); Australian cabaret sensation Michael Griffiths who wowed McCallum audiences in the 2016-17 season returns to the Valley with two separate and very distinct shows (February 16, 2020). At the matinee, he reprises his COLE show, exploring the colorful life and timeless songs of Cole Porter, following by IN VOGUE in the evening where he strikes a pose, gets into the groove and expresses himself as Madonna! A new edition of Legends in Concerts – The Divas will pay loving tribute to three of the world’s most iconic ladies, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand (February 27, 2020). The longest running show in Las Vegas history, Legends in Concert is known as the pioneer of live tribute shows.
Direct from the Apollo Theatre, A Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald will be one of the season’s highlights. The star-studded show will take a look at the life and legacy of one of the most revered vocalists of all time and features Patti Austin, David Alan Grier, Monica Mancini, WéMcDonald and Brianna Thomas, along with the “Ella All-Star Band” (February 29, 2020).
Once again, the McCallum is the best place to celebrate the holiday season. The 2019-2020 schedule is filled with magic and merriment aplenty for the whole family to enjoy. In addition to the Broadway musical, A Christmas Story, the McCallum will welcome back one of America’s favorite holiday traditions, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas (November 29), followed the next day by the long-awaited return of international entertainer John Tesh who will bring his Acoustic Christmas show to the Valley on November 30. A favorite of McCallum Theatre Education audiences, Rhythmic Circus presents Holiday Shuffle which showcases the percussive dance phenomenon in a rapid-fire, sidesplitting show for all ages (December 2); Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker and its larger-than-life puppets, nesting dolls and gloriously hand-crafted costumes bring the Christmas spirit to life on December 3.
Peabo Bryson continues a long McCallum tradition when he brings some of his friends and a hot 12-piece band to celebrate The Colors of Christmas (December 13); our sassy and sublime friend of Pink Martini fame celebrates the season in an all new show, The Storm Large Holiday Ordeal (December 14) with her signature wicked charm and stunning vocals; and celebrated saxophonist and his friends continue their McCallum tradition of celebrating the holidays with a high-energy show for the entire family (December 18).
McCallum Theatre has consistently been voted “Best Venue for Live Music” in various Valley-wide polls. The 2019-2020 season will demonstrate again why audiences so thoroughly enjoy the live McCallum experience. Among the great musical artists scheduled in the new season for the McCallum stage include legendary folk icons The Kingston Trio (November 17), celebrating 60 years of audience-pleasing music-making; internet sensations The Piano Guys who sold out quickly for their 2018 McCallum appearance, bring their innovative, multi-handed artistry back to the desert on January 17 & 18, 2020; An Intimate Evening with David Foster was another hugely popular McCallum performance, so much so that the successful producer will be coming back to the Theatre for two shows on January 24 & 25, 2020, joined by some special guest artists performing songs from his unparalleled musical catalog; and if you have been hankering for a good old fashioned sing-along, look no further than Hershey Felder‘s Great American Songbook Sing-Along (January 28-29, 2020). With his signature style, Felder will lead audiences through 100 years of American music – from Irving Berlin to The Gershwins to Sondheim and more.
Following their 2017-18 McCallum hit debut, MozART Group will return with their impossibly entertaining combination of classical music and comedy. A string quartet that makes you laugh? Why not? (February 11, 2020); Canadian singer-songwriter Burton Cummings returns to the McCallum on February 24, 2020. The former lead singer of The Guess Who has an extensive catalog of hits including “American Woman,” “Stand Tall” and “These Eyes”; making its McCallum debut is The Doo Wop Project,featuring stars from Broadway hits including Jersey Boys, Motown: The Musical and A Bronx Tale. Presented through the generosity of the City of Rancho Mirage, the show traces the evolution from street corner harmonies to the biggest hits on the radio today (February 26, 2020); The Finest Hour pairs two uber-hip bands in “an evening of music that ended World War II.” Davina and the Vagabonds (who had McCallum audiences dancing in the aisles in 2018), join forces with Hot Club of Cowtown in a celebration of a never-to-be-repeated time in American popular music (March 3, 2020).
From bluegrass and mandolin to tenors with a Celtic lilt to one of the world’s most famous string quartets to another great session with the West Coast’s best musicians, the McCallum has it all covered in 2019-2020. Grammy Award-winner Ricky Skaggs makes his McCallum debut on March 12, 2020, along with Kentucky Thunder, his band of virtuoso pickers. The performance by the man who “singlehandedly saved country music,” according to Chet Atkins is presented through the generosity of Anne and Marshall Silverstein; The Celtic Tenors make their McCallum debut on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2020). One of the most successful classical crossover acts to emerge from Ireland, happily sing songs they love and deliver shows that are all about the music, the harmonies and the fun; another first-timer at the McCallum is the renowned New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprised of four Principal musicians from the Orchestra who came together during the Philharmonic’s 175th season (March 18, 2020); some of the finest musicians from the left coast join forces for the eighth annual performance by the McCallum Theatre Concert Band, conducted by McCallum President & CEO Mitch Gershenfeld. For their eighth go-round on March 29, 2020, they plan to take audiences “Around the World in 90 Minutes,” with concert works and stirring marches from Canada to Argentina and from Norway to New Zealand (plus free ice cream for all!)
Comedy, variety, dance and spectacle round out the 2019-2020 McCallum Theatre season beginning with the triumphant return of Capitol Steps, the only group in America that attempts to be funnier than Congress! A sell-out in the past two seasons, one can only imagine the material they will have during a Presidential election year! (January 12, 2020); a fixture of the McCallum Theatre Education program, Backhausdance is known for its ensemble aesthetic and lush movement vocabulary which they have brought into dozens of Coachella Valley schools over the years. This season they will be featured as part of the mainstage McCallum program on January 16, 2020 showcasing their deeply human theatricality to everyone who loves great dance in the Valley; ready to dazzle McCallum audiences once again, The Peking Acrobats return with their timeless agility and grace on January 19, 2020; back for the first time since 2005, the amazing Cirque Eloize will perform “a musical acrobatic adventure” entitled “Hotel” on February 13, 2020. Set in a timeless art deco hotel, audiences are welcomed into a world filled with intricately woven stories of improbable travelers and colorful individuals; in its 44th season, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players continue to win accolades for critically-acclaimed productions including which comes to the McCallum on March 9, 2020. This all-new production introduces audiences to real-life characters from Victorian London’s D’Oyly Carte Opera Company including Messrs. Gilbert, Sullivan and D’Oyly Carte themselves, as well as the three little maids from school, a wandering minstrel, a corrupt public official and the Lord High Executioner.
Following this past season’s sell-out performance of Piaf! The Show, the McCallum proudly presents Paris! The Show, a brand new production performed entirely in French, highlighting the best repertoire of French music in the world by the likes of Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker, Yves Montand, Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel and more (March 20, 2020); it’s always a treat when takes its place on the McCallum stage featuring headliners, illusionists and expert manipulators from Las Vegas, America’s Got Talent and more.The All-New 63rd Annual Edition of It’s Magic! comes to the desert on March 22, 2020; and finally who captivated and confounded McCallum audiences two seasons back returns with her show, Pandemonium on April 1, 2020. The international siren and comedienne extraordinaire is known for her glorious brand of subversive and sublime performance. Don’t even ask. Just go see her!
Performances are subject to change. Tickets are available online only at www.mccallumtheatre.com beginning Thursday, April 11 at 6:00pm. Purchases at the Theatre’s box office or by phone at 760-340-2787 begin on Friday April 12 at 9am.
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