Summer Answers MIAC Live Casting Call
Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture's live performance series set for comeback
For months, Spring 2021 had been groomed for the role of the resurrected MIAC Live. And Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture director Dr. Brett Johnson, for one, was eager to let Erie see it play out — as one.
"Livestreamed performances and other virtual offerings have played an important role in helping us navigate the complexities of the past year. At the same time, many of us have missed the communal nature of live performance, in which our heartbeats synchronize and we laugh, cheer, and cry as one."
Synchronicity and timing are everything in the performance arts, and those things are difficult to pin down when the actors are taking cues from multiple directors — local, state, and federal health authorities and a very temperamental virus. So, ultimately, Spring had to sit this one "as one" out.
Fortunately, Summer 2021 has a much clearer direction — Dr. Johnson's — and equally as much talent in store. It should readily excel in the unifying role Spring could never quite get a feel for. "We look forward to gathering once again in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center and experiencing the life-affirming artistry of these world-class performers."
Those world-class performers include some of Broadway and musical theater's best and brightest, "remarkable artists whose charisma, vitality, and joy of performing are infectious." The MIAC summer series will consist of four acts (three rescheduled from the spring) leading up to the 2021-22 MIAC season, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center.
"To commemorate this milestone, we've programmed what I think is our most exciting lineup to date – a slate of legendary entertainers, musical icons, and audience favorites. I can't wait to share the names with everyone!" Johnson enthuses.
Until then, we can share these names:
Mike Super 2.OH!
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16
Celebrated illusionist Mike Super successfully made all available tickets for his July 2019 performance disappear based on the merits of his award-winning act , which has won him a slew of honors from various outlets, including Entertainer of the Year, Best Performing Artist of the Year, Best Novelty Performer of the Year, and America's Favorite Mystifier on the NBC TV show Phenomenon. If you attended that show, expect the freshly unexpected in his all-new 2021 encore.
7:30 p.m. // Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center // miac.mercyhurst.edu/events/mike-super-2oh Adults $35, Seniors $30, Students and Youth $25
Brian Stokes Mitchell
SUNDAY, JULY 11
Blessed with a burly baritone with crossover appeal, Brian Stokes Mitchell has commanded stage and screen for a career that has spanned over 40 years. He got his start in TV before taking off on Broadway in the 1990s. He has won Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his lead performance in Kiss Me, Kate and received Tony nominations for roles in Man of La Mancha, King Hedley II, and Ragtime. Catch the New York Times' "last leading man" in one of two performances this July.
3 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. // Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center // miac.mercyhurst.edu/events/brian-stokes-mitchell-0 Adults $35, Seniors $30, Students and Youth $25
THURSDAY, JULY 22
A name that should be familiar to "Gleeks," Morrison starred as glee club director Will Schuester in the Fox hit musical comedy series Glee. You may have also spotted him in The Good Wife, Grey's Anatomy, and American Horror Story: 1984. His breakthrough role, however, was as heartthrob Link Larkin in the Broadway perennial favorite Hairspray. Since then, he has received awards buzz for roles in The Light in the Piazza, 10 Million Miles, South Pacific, and Finding Neverland. He'll find Erie for one night only, so make sure to reserve your seat.
7:30 p.m. // Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center // miac.mercyhurst.edu/events/matthew-morrison Adults $40, Seniors $35, Students and Youth $30
SATURDAY, AUG. 7
"The Voice of Broadway" will make her voice heard in Erie for two performances — to add to the thousands already logged throughout a long, illustrious career. She garnered praise for roles in 1776, Pippin, Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Carrie, and Triumph of Love and notched a Tony win for her role as Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. Her acclaimed portrayal of Norma Desmond in the London production Webber's Sunset Boulevard put her in the running for a prestigious Olivier Award across the pond — truth be told, she tends to shine wherever she goes. And that's without even mentioning her film career (most recent highlight: a Saturn Award nomination for her appearance in Split). The Buckley stops here — and we're lucky to have her.
5:30 or 8 p.m. // Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center // miac.mercyhurst.edu/events/betty-buckley Adults $40, Seniors $35, Students and Youth $30
Upon checking into the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center this summer, you may find some things changed. "We've implemented a number of COVID-19 policies — masks, socially distanced seating charts, digital tickets, intermission-less performances, and more — in an effort to keep our patrons, staff, artists, and community safe."
However, the caliber of program you've come to expect from the MIAC will be the same as ever. Consistency, too, is the hallmark of any great performer.
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org