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Season Takes Shape at CenterStage

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The Richmond Symphony, which has been without a home performance space for years, is the most prolific player in the new Richmond CenterStage, producing 11 of the 28 shows so far scheduled through May.

After the performing arts center's opening weekend Sept. 12 — which includes performances by the nine resident companies — the Richmond Symphony holds its season premiere Sept. 26 with “Carmina Burana,” conducted by Alastair Willis ($17-$72, single tickets available starting Aug. 31).
The Virginia Opera has scheduled four shows at the venue, beginning with “La BehA"me” Oct. 23 and 25. That's followed by “The Daughter of the Regiment” Nov. 27 and 29, “Don Giovanni” in March and “Porgy and Bess” in the spring.

The University of Richmond's Modlin Center programs six of the shows, kicking off with “American Bluegrass Masters” Sept. 20. And the Richmond Ballet will play two shows at the renovated Carpenter Theatre, the biggest of which is the holiday crowd-pleaser “The Nutcracker,” running Dec. 11-13 and 17-23.

Richmond Shakespeare has set one performance in the Gottwald Playhouse for Sept. 26, although the show hasn't been announced.

CenterStage's producing resident companies get first priority on scheduling. Those companies include the symphony, ballet, opera, Richmond Shakespeare, the African American Repertory Theatre, Elegba Folklore Society, Richmond Jazz Society, SPARC and Theatre IV-Barksdale.

The season will evolve, says CenterStage spokesman Jay Smith. “We are not a producing company,” he says. “We are simply the venue for everybody to come and perform. And so we will always be adding more.”

It's unclear whether CenterStage eventually will hire an artistic director to set and fulfill a programming vision — such as at the Modlin Center, The National and previously at the Landmark.

For now, CenterStage is working with SMG to book the venue with non-resident-company programming. The two shows scheduled are Musiq Soulchild with Ledisi Sept. 18 and the Oak Ridge Boys with O'Shea Sept. 19.

The “Broadway in Richmond” series, which also plays at the Landmark, brings magician David Copperfield to the Carpenter Theatre Oct. 13 and the musical “Avenue Q” Nov. 6-7.

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