2012-13 season at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts
What: The Naples Philharmonic Orchestra’s Masterworks season, pops series and the Broadway series. Tickets to its single-night Broadway plays are also available.
Where: Philharmonic Center for the Arts, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples
When: By phone 239-597-1900 or at the box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday; Sundays noon to 5 p.m. and until curtain on show nights; and 24 hours a day online at www.thephil.org
Two of current culture's most cheered and feared characters — Billy Elliot and Darth Vader — come to the Philharmonic Center for the Arts complex next season.
President and CEO Kathleen Van Bergen announced Thursday that "Billy Elliot," the tale of the preteen soccer player who becomes enthralled with dance, will headline its Broadway series, playing Feb. 19 to 24, 2013.
And in what may be a first for the Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art, an exhibit of moviemaking's most celebrated science fiction and fantasy costumes will be at the museum during the run of the Naples International Film Festival, Nov. 1-4, 2012.
In fact, at a newly diverse media conference for the Phil's coming season were a number of area arts organization representatives, all of them involved in joint productions with the Phil for next season:
■ Opera Naples, which will perform "Eugene Onegin," in concert version, for the ArtsNaples World Festival on the Phil stage May 16, 2012. Opera Naples returns Dec. 20 and 22, 2012 with "Tosca." Both will feature the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra with the company.
■ Gulfshore Playhouse, which will brings to the Phil "Art," (Jan. 18-Feb. 3, 2013), the Tony-winning dialectic among divided friends on whether one's expensive blank white canvas is, indeed, art. It will also stage "Master Class" (April 5-21, 2013), the brittle study of diva Maria Callas, as the second of two productions in the Daniels Pavilion.
■ Naples International Film Festival, which always opens its weekend run with a Phil red carpet screening. This year, however, the museum will have a companion exhibit, "Out of This World," featuring costumes from some of fantasy's most revered films. Among those with costumes represented are "Star Trek," "Blade Runners," "Batman," "Wizard of Oz," "Indiana Jones" films and "Star Wars." The last includes the accessories of arch-villain Vader.
■ ArtsNaples World Festival, which will work with the Phil twice, in May 2012, for its Russian theme festival, and next year, for its Latin American theme festival. The Phil will host a groundbreaking appearance by the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. This is the orchestra's first U.S.tour since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and the two countries broke off relations.
"We have a lot of partners," said Van Bergen, beaming at her audience. "It speaks an exciting growth for the arts in our community" when organizations work together, she added.
As she spoke Van Bergen pointed out a dramatic collaboration at work already. Behind her in the Daniels Pavilion was the set for "Red," which the Florida Repertory Theatre of Fort Myers is presenting tonight and Saturday in Phil space.
The coming season has kicked its offerings into high-energy mode with the presentation of "Billy Elliot." The musical is cast-rich with singing and dancing kids and adults, and it requires moving stage settings. Two other Broadway series plays continue that energy: a revival of Cole Porter's seafaring "Anything Goes" (March 5-10, 2013) and movie-turned-musical, "Sister Act" (Jan. 1-6, 2013), about a crime witness attempting to blend into convent life.
There are three one-night performances next season: dance extravaganza "Tap Dogs" Nov. 11, 2012; "A Chorus Line Dec. 2; and "Dreamgirls" May 22, 2013. The last show was originally scheduled for this season, but had to be postponed.
Announcements also included a raft of top-flight orchestra appearances: the Philadelphia Orchestra; the Cleveland Orchestra; and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, along with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.
Further, the museum is bringing in an 84-work major exhibition from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston called "Painting Women." It includes approaches to female figure painting from acknowledged masters such as Degas and Manet as well as works by female artists such as Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Still to come are many of the individual and small group performances that make up much of the Phil's schedule. But Van Bergen talked about two specials: an orchestral tribute to the Doors ("Light My Fire," "People Are Strange") and the Who ("Pinball Wizard," "Won't Get Fooled Again." "Wicked Divas," a song showcase featuring women who have starred in the musical "Wicked," also is planned.
One of the most intriguing departures from the Phil's traditional schedule however was to move its gala up to the weekend before Halloween — and to make it a costumed event.
"Our season starts in September,"she told the audience, pointing out that several soldout orchestra performances were well in advance of the usual first weekend in November gala.
Van Bergen took questions from the audience, which included some longtime supporters and board members, including one on the status of the search for a new music director and a director for the museum.
She called them both "critical" positions, and added that the search for a music director must include not only in finding a conductor who is right for the orchestra, but for the audience. What this center wants, she said, is a person who will raise "the invisible curtain" and bring the attendees into the performance with the performers. The board of directors has turned over its search initiatives to the Phillips-Oppenheim group, an internationally connected recruiting firm, to find the best of all possible candidates.