Moving Acadiana Forward: Performing Arts Serving Acadiana

Moving Acadiana Forward

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY)– Entertainment is slowly making a come back in the Hub City. Music venues are opening up, and a popular nonprofit is making a come back to the stage.

Music, theater, and performances can take us to far away places even while sitting close to home. One local group is making a come back to bring high quality entertainment to Lafayette.

PASA stands for Performing Arts Serving Acadiana.

Jackie Lyle, of PASA, spoke with News 10 about what it is PASA does.

“We are what in our industry is called a presenter, and we book touring arts nationally and internationally recognized dance and music ensembles to put on stage here at the Heymann Center,” Lyle said.

Shows run from September to January. This year‘s performances include the modern dance company Moxie, with a production of Alice, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Postmodern Jukebox, and the theatrical hit “Black Angels over Tuskegee.”

“Local access to these great performing artists that you would otherwise have to travel to see is a huge feather in the cap for our community,” Lyle said. “It also spurs economic development. We spent a ton of money on housing, marketing, stage hands here at the Heymann Center, and putting money back into our city coffers by renting the Heymann Center.”

The Heymann Center and the performances it brings here are an important part of the economy. When you’re buying a ticket to come to the theater, you might go eat out at a local restaurant before, or maybe even buy a new outfit from a local store. The entertainment industry drives our economy in the Hub City.

Tim Basden of PASA is hopeful that the organization can help get Lafayette back on its feet after the pandemic.

“Lafayette is the kind of town that comes back from a shut-down, and this is a very important part of our recovery as a community to get the stage back open and to get the theater back open,” Basden said.

“When we all come together in a venue like the Heymann Center, we come together as one,” Lyle continued. “It helps build community, it helps build tolerance, it helps build understanding of other cultures and it makes us all better to have been here.”

PASA will ask for Proof of vaccination or a mask to be must be worn properly. Failure to comply may result in no entry and loss of ticket value, according to the organization.

Perfomaces include the following..

Momix, celebrating its 40th anniversary, brings its fantastical production of Alice to Lafayette on September 20. This Alice takes the audience on a fun adventure with Lewis Carroll’s most beloved lead character from the classic novel Alice in Wonderland, as well as the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the Caterpillar. Famed artistic director Moses Pendleton leads this wildly creative company, which is recognized worldwide as a maverick of creativity and invention.

“Every ride is an incredible, unforgettable journey,” said the New York Times of Momix performances.

Alice was to make its first U.S. Tour in the fall of 2020, then came the lockdown. The production is now set for a performance in Dallas, TX, and then here at the Heymann before it heads to Paris, France for a three-week run at the Folies Bergere.

“Momix’s Alice is a chance for everyone of all ages to see some of the best dance in the world. We are thrilled to present this extraordinary work and talented dance company as we stage our comeback,” says PASA executive director Jacqueline Lyle, “It’s exciting to think that our presentation will be only the second time that Alice will have been seen in the United States.” 

Past PASA audiences have seen Momix here at the Heymann Center in its beautiful Botanica.

The Grammy Award-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) hits the stage October 21. Under new leadership from its artistic director and drummer Adonis Rose, the NOJO takes the sonic power and stylistic versatility of a big band, adds a New Orleans emphasis on groove, and swings with great ballads and jazz hits. NOJO’s Lafayette show will feature the music of the acclaimed musical genius Allen Toussaint. Toussaint’s songbook includes the 60’s hit Mother-In-Law; tunes recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and Southern Nights.

“October 21 will be a real celebration of the music of Louisiana, performed by some of our state’s finest jazz musicians.” observes Lyle.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ), the time-twisting musical collective known for putting “pop music in a time machine,” is set for December 1. Audiences around the globe are set to see Postmodern Jukebox on The Grand Reopening Tour, which will bring PMJ back to thrill music-starved audiences in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Europe, performing some of modern music’s biggest hits in the classic styles of bygone eras.

“We were so lucky to have gotten an alert about this tour,” says Lyle. “We acted quickly and were able to secure this Postmodern Jukebox date, which will be so much fun for our ticket buyers!”

As always with PMJ’s dazzling live shows, The Grand Reopening Tour will feature an ensemble of multi-talented singers and musicians, who will perform Bradlee’s generation-spanning arrangements. The core ensemble is often joined by surprise guests that make each concert unique and unpredictable.

The acclaimed drama Black Angels Over Tuskegee by Layon Gray arrives in Lafayette for one performance on January 20, 2022. One of the longest-running Off-Broadway productions, this award-winning, historical docudrama is a narrative of six men embarking on a journey to become the first Black aviators in the United States Army Air Forces, during a tumultuous era of racial segregation and Jim Crow idealism. Inspired by true events, Black Angels Over Tuskegee movingly illustrates how the men unite in brotherhood to achieve a communal vision.

“Some plays teach, others celebrate, and a few simply entertain. Black Angels Over Tuskegee manages to do all three and one thing more: It inspires,” says NYTheatre.com about this important drama.

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