WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s 2019-20 Page Series features a lineup chosen to inspire and entertain audiences of all ages. The 33rd annual series features world-class dance, music, and theatre September 2019 through March 2020, concluding with the inaugural Driftless Dance Festival.

Highlights include:

  • TigerLion Arts’ production of Nature, a walking play based on Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
  • Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure, a family-friendly theatrical production by Mexico Beyond Mariachi.
  • LA Theatre Works’ production of SEVEN, a riveting documentary based on international heroic women who overcame life-threatening obstacles.
  • An exploration of Hispanic culture and identity through the Latino dance company Ballet Hispánico.
  • Musical performances by the Irish ensemble Danú; Leyla McCalla, who sings in French, Haitian Creole, and English and plays cello, tenor banjo, and guitar; and Grammy-winning duo The Okee Dokee Brothers, who sold out the Page Theatre during their last visit.

The Page Series expands upon its longstanding tradition of presenting leading dance from across the nation this season with the launch of the Driftless Dance Festival March 27-29, 2020. The weekend-long festival, which has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, will encompass performances by national, regional, and local dancers as well as artist talks, master classes, workshops, and events.

Festival performances will include SPEAK, featuring kathak dancers from San Francisco’s Leela Dance Collective alongside tap dancers Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards; a mixed repertory program by the James Sewell Ballet; and a showcase celebrating dancers from across the Winona area.

And more

Both Ballet Hispánico and the artists of SPEAK will conduct residencies in Winona, thanks in part to a $75,130 Arts Tour grant awarded to the Performance Center by the Minnesota State Arts Board. Full residency schedules will be shared in the coming months.

In addition to these residencies, the Page Series will continue its slate of community programs, including gatherings at the Winona Public Library and A Page in History with the Winona County Historical Society, as well as artist talks, workshops, and master classes.

Community members will also be invited to participate in several performances: Nature will feature a local child actor and a chorus of singers from the area; the Driftless Dance Festival will conclude with a performance by dancers in the area.

Both Nature and The Okee Dokee Brothers will feature pay-what-you-can pricing in an effort to make these performances accessible to all.

Visit pagetheatre.org for artist information, video previews, and ticket information. Subscription packages are on sale now and may be ordered by calling 507-457-1715 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays) or by visiting pagetheatre.org. Subscribers receive a 10% discount on packages of three or more events (15% for returning 2018-19 subscribers) and a 20% discount when purchasing the full season of nine events.

THE 2019-20 PAGE SERIES

Nature
Presented by TigerLion Arts
Friday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field
Saturday, Sept. 7, at 2 and 6 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field
Sunday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field

TigerLion Arts presents Nature, the mythic telling of Emerson and Thoreau’s mutual love affair with the natural world. Grounded in the story of their friendship, this virtuosic production offers a perspective on their lives that is strikingly relevant, richly complex, and yet utterly simple. This original work was collaboratively created with writer/actor Tyson Forbes, a direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Nature is performed outdoors as a walking play. A professional ensemble of actors takes the audience on a journey through the natural environment as scenes unfold around them. Bagpipes, ancient flutes, drums, and rich choral arrangements are intricately woven into the script. Nature is an extraordinary, family-friendly experience that commingles story, spirit, and the outdoors.

Ballet Hispánico
Friday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Ballet Hispánico, America’s leading Latino dance organization, has been bringing individuals and communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through dance for nearly 50 years. Whether dancing on stage, in school, or in the street, Ballet Hispánico creates a space where few institutions are breaking ground. The organization’s founder, National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez, sought to give voice to the Hispanic experience and break through stereotypes. Today, Ballet Hispánico is led by Eduardo Vilaro, an acclaimed choreographer and former member of the company, whose vision of social equity, cultural identity, and quality arts education for all drives its programs.

Ballet Hispánico’s Winona program will include works by three Latina choreographers. The company will also offer residency activities Oct. 1-3.

Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure
Presented by Mexico Beyond Mariachi
Friday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Young Vita thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Why throw a party for the dead? But when a candy skeleton on her abuelita’s cemetery ofrenda suddenly springs to life, Vita finds herself on a magical, musical journey that delves into the rich, tuneful traditions of Día de los Muertos. Meet Sugar Skull, a charismatic candy skeleton who dreams of riding the exclusive train to Who-Knows-Where. Along with her skeletal new friend, Vita dances with ancient ancestors, sings with a sorrowful sorceress, escapes the trickster Chaneques, and even meets the famous Catrina Calavera. But can Vita help Sugar Skull get on the train before it’s too late? Featuring a company of gifted musicians and dancers, this colorful stage production is the perfect fall entertainment for the entire family.

Mexico Beyond Mariachi is a multi-cultural ensemble of professional musicians, actors, dancers, and teaching artists whose love of Mexican traditions and way of life shines bright in every performance. Their philosophy is rooted in the belief that art and culture are an integral part in the development of every individual’s outlook on life. Personal engagement, community experiences, and the celebration of commonality are themes Mexico Beyond Mariachi brings to their shows and their extensive arts-in-education offerings.

Leyla McCalla
Saturday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from a variety of sources, whether it’s her Haitian heritage, living in New Orleans, or dancing at Cajun Mardi Gras. Her music reflects her eclectic and diverse life experiences, including time spent in New York City and Ghana. After touring with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, McCalla began to concentrate on a solo career. Her debut album, Vari-Colored Songs, a tribute to Langston Hughes, was named album of the year by both the London Times and Songlines magazine. The title of her sophomore effort, A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey, was ultimately derived from a Haitian proverb. It features songs in English, French, and Haitian Creole, with appearances by Marc Ribot, Rhiannon Giddens, Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and New Orleans singer/songwriter Sarah Quintana. Her recently released third album, The Capitalist Blues, reflects the influence of New Orleans on her music, as well as the “pressure cooker” effects of living in today’s society.

The Okee Dokee Brothers
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at 3 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander have been exploring the outdoors together since they were kids. Now, as the Grammy-winning The Okee Dokee Brothers, they write songs to encourage kids and families to get outside and get creative. With songs written under wide-open skies and harmonies fine-tuned around the campfire, the natural world is at the heart of The Okee Dokee Brothers’ Americana folk music. Their latest project, Winterland, celebrates the season of coziness, family time, and outdoor fun. The Okee Dokee Brothers make room for kids to dance, parents to share stories, and everyone to gain respect for nature, each other, and the world we live in.

Danú
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Hailing from historic County Waterford, Danú is one of the leading traditional Irish ensembles of today. Their standing room-only concerts throughout Ireland feature high-energy performances and a glorious mix of ancient Irish music and new repertoire. For two decades, Danú’s virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, bouzouki, and vocals have performed around the globe and recorded seven critically acclaimed albums. Winners of numerous awards from the BBC and Irish Music Magazine, Danú takes audiences on a musical journey to their native Ireland, offering a moving and memorable concert experience.

SEVEN
Presented by LA Theatre Works Susan Albert Loewenberg, producing director
By Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deveare Smith, and Susan Yankowitz
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

SEVEN is a riveting documentary play based on personal interviews with seven remarkable women who faced life-threatening obstacles before bringing heroic changes to their home countries of Pakistan, Nigeria, Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, and Cambodia. Seven playwrights collaborated to create a tapestry of stories that weave together the words of these women, dramatizing their struggles and triumphs over resistance, death threats, entrenched norms, and pervasive violence. Since the premiere in 2008, the piece has been translated into 27 languages and performed in more than 30 countries, sharing these inspiring tales of bravery and perseverance. SEVEN makes the powerful and timeless statement that even in the darkest times, one person, one voice, and a single act of courage can change the lives of thousands.

Some content may not be suitable for young audience members. Parents are encouraged to explore the content to determine appropriateness for their children. Information about the women of SEVEN and their stories is available at pagetheatre.org.

SPEAK
Friday, March 27, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Indian Kathak dance and American tap dance, continents and ages apart, share parallel stories of struggle and perseverance. They come together in this sensational collaboration of rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music, and dance.

SPEAK carries forward the legacy of iconic artists like Pandit Chitresh Das, Dr. Jimmy Slyde, and James Buster Brown, while bringing voices of powerful female artists to the forefront. Serving as a bridge between tradition and innovation and history and progress, groundbreaking Kathak artists Rina Mehta and Rachna Nivas, alongside tap all-stars Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, create nothing short of magic on the stage. Joined by the world’s leading Indian classical and jazz musicians, SPEAK promises to thrill, provoke, and move your spirit.

James Sewell Ballet
Saturday, March 28, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

James Sewell Ballet was founded in New York City by James Sewell and Sally Rousse and brought to Minnesota in 1993. Combining their expertise, vision, and chutzpah, they envisioned a close-knit company of dance artists willing to both challenge their physical limits and expand their notions about ballet. Nearly three decades later, critically acclaimed James Sewell Ballet performances move and delight audiences across the country. The embodiment of the original vision is a professional company of dancers performing innovative work that explores the technical boundaries of ballet. Last seen at the Page Theatre in 2006, the company’s return performance celebrates their 30th anniversary season.

DRIFTLESS DANCE FESTIVAL

National, regional, and local dancers take the stage for the inaugural Driftless Dance Festival. The Driftless Dance Festival continues the Page Series longstanding tradition of presenting world-renowned dance artists while also celebrating the rich talents of Winona and Minnesota. In addition to three performances, festivalgoers will experience artist talks, gatherings, master classes, and more, with plenty of activities for dancers and non-dancers alike.

Festival Performances:

SPEAK
Friday, March 27, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

James Sewell Ballet
Saturday, March 28, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Winona Dance Showcase
Sunday, March 29, 2020, at 3 p.m. in the Page Theatre

2019-20 SCHOOL MATINEE PROGRAMS

Each season, the Page Series offers more than 2,500 students in the area opportunities to experience live theatre and dance through school matinee programs.

Nature
Friday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field

Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure
Friday, Oct. 11, at 10 a.m. in the Page Theatre

Rosie Revere, Engineer and Friends
A TheaterWorksUSA production
Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Ms. Greer’s classroom includes three inquisitive out-of-the-box thinkers: Rosie Revere has big dreams, Iggy Peck has a relentless passion for architecture, and Ada Twist’s curiosity can drive her teacher crazy.

This production is a fun new musical based on the books Rosie Revere, Engineer; Iggy Peck, Architect; and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, which spotlights the STEM curriculum (focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math).

SPEAK
Friday, March 27, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

Dance Repertory Company Spring Concert
Friday, April 17, 2020, at 10 a.m. in the Page Theatre

The 47th annual spring dance concert of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) Dance Repertory Company will feature works that range from classical to contemporary, ballet to hip hop, including restaged works and new choreography created by MCA faculty and regional guest artists. Students will experience a variety of dance styles and learn how dancers can tell a story through movement, music, and other production elements.

The Little Red Hen
A production of Virginia Repertory Theatre On Tour
Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre

“Who’ll help me plant the seed?” asks the plucky red hen as she begins making a loaf of her delicious bread. “Not us,” say the sheep, the cow, the horse, and the pig. They all have better things to do. But, “a hen’s gotta do what a hen’s gotta do,” and so our crimson heroine perseveres until her work is done. The tricks of the conniving fox combine with the hen’s common sense to add adventure and a sound moral lesson to this classic, feel-good, foot-stompin’ country musical.

About the Page Series

Now entering its 33rd annual season, the Page Series series offers performances, workshops, classes, and more that inspire, uplift, educate, and invite community members to discover the relevance of the arts in their daily lives. Featuring professional performing artists from around the globe, the Page Series hosts events at the Joseph Page Theatre on the Winona Campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, as well as at locations throughout the Winona community. The Page Series brings artists and community together through imaginative programming, unique collaborations, a welcoming atmosphere, and exceptional service.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This article was originally published on the Saint Mary's University Newsroom