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Staff Picks for the 2017-18 Season

What a season we have ahead of us! We kick things off this October with the brilliant cabaret singing of actor Alan Cumming and close the season with the always exciting Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis—this time the seating in Symphony Hall will be “Pops-style.” In between these two events is one incredible artist after another, and there’s not enough time to see them all. (Although we won’t stop you from trying!) How do you choose what makes it to the top of your list?

We took this tough question to several members of the Celebrity Series staff to see what they had to say. So, whether you’re still deciding how to build your subscription package or are looking for ideas of events to add, we invite you to check out our Staff Picks for the 2017-18 Season.

Alan Cumming
October 6, 2017
Sanders Theatre

When I heard that Alan Cumming was not only coming to our season this year but kicking it off, I instantly put it on my calendar. To be able to hear a legendary actor live is every theater buff’s dream, and this is no exception. Cumming’s range of talents is captivating, and experiencing them all in a one-man show will be an unparalleled experience. Whether you know him as the Tony-winning Emcee in Cabaret, the Emmy-nominated Eli Gold in The Good Wife, or as the loveable dork-turned-millionaire in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (or my personal favorite film credit, Piers in Spice World), there is sure to be something for everyone at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. – Julie Eyer, Audience Services Associate

Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, John Scofield
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Berklee Performance Center

Like most of the staff, I found it very difficult to choose just one performance I’m most excited about, but then I remembered my husband’s desperate plea upon reading our brochure: “You HAVE to take me to this show!” I can’t agree more that Hudson, the joint-project of drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield, is truly one of my can’t-miss events this season. These four players are each at the top of their game, and few jazz artists have a resume as stellar as DeJohnette’s – he is simply amazing. But if their individual reputations aren’t enough to sell you, or the fact NPR praises the “confab of four master improvisers who never hesitate to lay down a groove,” I encourage you to give their new album a listen: With Woodstock-themed covers of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell mixed with heady originals, it’s welcoming to both casual and die-hard jazz fans. – Betsy Glickman, Digital Marketing Manager

Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
with Sir Antonio Pappano, music director & conductor
Martha Argerich, piano soloist

Sunday, October 22, 2017
Symphony Hall

I’m very excited about the Orchestra Dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia coming this season. Martha Argerich’s boundless musical energy and superb artistry will complement Prokofiev’s third piano concerto (one of my favorite piano works). I also love Respighi, so the Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome performed by a world class Italian orchestra with Sir Antonio Pappano at the helm feels like a match made in heaven, orchestrally speaking. – Robin Baker, Senior Manager of Community Engagement

Joan Osborne Sings the Songs of Bob Dylan
Friday, November 3, 2017
Sanders Theatre

When “One of Us” came out, I was seven years old. To this day, I know all the lyrics by heart. It is a phenomenal song from the ’90s – a pop-rock anthem of the highest quality. In the 22 years since first hearing her, though, I have come to recognize Joan Osborne as an engaging and inspirational artist. She embodies the diversity and traditions of American music. Her style is infused with R&B, bluegrass, gospel, country, and rock influence. She has also toured and collaborated with some of my musical heroes: The Dead, Ben Harper, Stevie Wonder, Mavis Staples, Cheap Trick and Motown’s Funk Brothers. Experiencing Joan perform the songs of Bob Dylan is going to be a particularly special concert for me this upcoming season. – Alec Bleday, Major Gifts Officer

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Sanders Theatre

It’s always a pleasure when perennial favorite Béla Fleck returns to the Series, but it’s a special treat when he performs with his wife Abigail Washburn. They are both supremely talented musicians that perform such a diverse set list – everything from original compositions to traditional Chinese folk songs – all with precision and grace. And it makes for a fun afternoon when their 4-year-old son, Juno, joins them for sound check! – Sarah Cronin, Senior Manager of Performance Operations

Wu Man and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band
Sunday, March 25, 2018
NEC’s Jordan Hall

Just the mental image of seeing the magnificent Wu Man perform elicits a kind of delirious intoxication – she is without a doubt one of the great performers in the whole of music, not just of the pipa. What excites me so much about this concert, though, is that she will be collaborating with the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band. Chinese shadow puppetry is a unique and gorgeous form of theater that rarely is performed outside of rural China (see UNESCO’s video on the art form to get a taste). It won’t just be a great performance, it will be a singular event, and with Wu Man at the helm it promises to be a breathtaking experience. – Connor Buckley, Accounts Payable and Payroll Coordinator

Eric Owens, bass-baritone
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Saturday, April 7, 2018
NEC’s Jordan Hall

Eric Owens and Lawrence Brownlee are singers’ singers. With a long resume of bel canto triumphs at La Scala and elsewhere, and fresh off recent London and Chicago performances in the title role of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, Larry Brownlee is one of the most acclaimed bel canto tenors of our time. This past season, amongst other performances, Eric Owens brought his stunning voice and powerful stage presence to Chicago Lyric Opera as Wotan in Das Rheingold and to the Metropolitan Opera in L’amour de Loin, Rusalka, and Idomeneo. Plus, the two have been friends for over two decades. Their Jordan Hall recital is bound to be one of the most musically memorable events of the season. – Sarah Long Holland, Associate Director of Institutional Giving

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
April 14, 2018
NEC’s Jordan Hall

I’ve been looking forward to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s return to Boston since they last appeared on the Celebrity Series in 2015. That performance stands out in my memory because I just felt so giddy; I was grinning from ear-to-ear through the whole performance! It’s hard not to smile at their whimsical repertoire choices (who else would put Lady Gaga and Saint-Saëns on the same program?!), their dry British wit, and their outstanding musicianship. It only takes a moment to go from thinking, “How are they going to pull this off with just those eight ukuleles?” to knowing, “They’re really going to pull this off with just those eight ukuleles! And it’s going to be delightful!”– Jonathan Carpenter, Technology Operations Manager

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

April 25, 2018
Symphony Hall

The performance I’m most looking forward to next season is the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel. I’ve yet to experience the electricity of a Dudamel performance first-hand and have never heard the L.A. Phil live. In particular, I’m extremely excited to hear the new work by Finnish composer-conductor Esa Pekka Salonen, the former music director of the L.A. Phil. Salonen, Dudamel, and the orchestra have a very close connection, which should make for an extraordinarily special moment; pair this with Shostakovich and the live sirens in the Varèse, and I’m sold. – Jesse Limbacher, Assistant Box Office Manager

Company Wayne McGregor
May 4 & 5, 2018
Boch Center Shubert Theatre

Wayne McGregor’s choreography is bold and electric – a dazzling mix of innovation and pure artistry. Drawing inspiration from science, he redefines dance and challenges the limits of the human body. “Genus” (Paris Opera Ballet) and “Chroma” (first performed by Royal Ballet and later by Boston Ballet) are both works that blew me away, and I am excited for Company Wayne McGregor’s Boston debut next season. – Melody Pao, Manager of Events and Stewardship

Yuja Wang
May 11, 2018
NEC’s Jordan Hall

Over the past several months, I’ve spent much time getting to know the 2017-18 Season, and if there is one performance that has especially caught my eye, it is Yuja Wang. Being a piano player myself, I am excited to get the opportunity to see her perform and witness her fiery energy live. I know it will be thrilling to experience such an incredible performance, especially one that inspires me to become a better and more passionate piano player myself. – Felicia Barker, Marketing Intern

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