Following the Manhattan Short Film Festival at The Paramount’s screening, Paramount patrons cast their vote for the best overall film and actor. The Paramount audience voted Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times written and directed by Marcus Marcou (UK) as Best Movie, and Felix Grenier from the film Fauve, directed by Jérémy Comte (Canada) as Best Actor.
It just so happens that The Paramount’s audience vote aligned perfectly with the international festival’s winners! Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times was this year’s Gold Medal winner, and Felix Grenier from the film Fauve was this year’s Gold Medal winner for Best Actor! Congratulations to the winners. We can’t wait for the return of the Manhattan Film Festival next year!
Looking for plans before the David Cross – Oh Come On tour tonight? Look no further! Come to CitySpace Art Gallery’s First Fridays from 5:30-7:30PM to see Roseberry’s Charlottesville. This exhibit showcases a selection of rarely seen images of Charlottesville from the collection of photographer Ed Roseberry. Come get a glimpse into the past and even see images of The Paramount Theater in its original state!
When National Geographic announced their annual award winners, we were thrilled to see that two of the National Geographic Live series presenters won! The National Geographic Society recognized Joel Sartore as the 2018 recipient of the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year Award. Ski Mountaineer, Hilaree Nelson, who will present at The Paramount Theater on November 14, was named one of National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurers of the Year. If you want to hear the stories responsible for her award first-hand, be sure to come to Paramount Presents: National Geographic Live – Hilaree Nelson, Point of No Return.
Joel Sartore is one step closer to photographing every living species currently residing in a zoo or wildlife sanctuary. He has recently captured a photo of a Pyrenean Desman, marking his 8,000th photo in the National Geographic Photo Ark; a collection of his images taken to shed light on animal conservation. This is also the collection of images he will share with us at The Paramount Theater this June!
Shop The Paramount’s online store and bring the magic home. From Paramount heat activated mugs to Tervis Tumblers, Land End Paramount Bags to your own Paramount Blade ornament, you can now shop the store online as well as in person at events. See the Online Store link for a complete listing of Paramount items.
*Photo credit: Thank you to the Monticello High School Photography Department.
This season, we have had the pleasure of presenting spectacular National Theatre Live in HD productions on our big screen, such as Angels in America parts I and II, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Follies! We are thrilled to congratulate these nominees for their recognition by the WhatsOnStage Awards, the only major theatre awards in which the audience is the judge. Each year, WhatsOnStage draws a UK-based shortlist of productions to help theatergoers recognize their favorites! Learn more about the awards here.
Share your love for the National Theatre Live in HD series by voting for the incredible nominees that made their appearance on The Paramount’s big screen!
See the full line-up of nominations here and cast your vote here. Voting closes on January 31, 2018, with the winners announced on February 25. Stay tuned!
Congratulations to the nominees!
Angels in America
Best Play Revival
Andrew Garfield, Best Actor in a Play
Nathan Lane, Best Supporting Actor in a Play
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Best Supporting Actor in a Play
Denise Gough, Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Marianne Elliot, Best Direction
Paule Constable, Best Lighting Design
Best Musical Revival
Janie Dee, Best Actress in a Musical
Tracie Bennett, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Dominic Cooke, Best Direction
Vicki Mortimer, Best Costume Design
Paule Constable, Best Lighting Design
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Play Revival
Imelda Staunton, Best Actress in a Play
Imogen Poots, Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Don’t miss the continuation of the National Theatre Live in HD series:
Young Marx Sunday, January 28 7:00PM
Rory Kinnear (The Threepenny Opera, Penny Dreadful, Othello) is Marx and Oliver Chris (Twelfth Night,Green Wing) is Engels, in this new comedy written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London, the production is directed by Nicholas Hytner and reunites the creative team behind Broadway and West End hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.
CLICK HERE to learn more and purchase your tickets today!
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Starring Sienna Miller! Sunday, February 25 7:00PM
Tennessee Williams’ twentieth century masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played a strictly limited season in London’s West End in 2017. Following his smash hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Benedict Andrews’ ‘thrilling revival’ (New York Times) stars Sienna Miller alongside Jack O’Connell and Colm Meaney.
CLICK HERE to learn more and purchase your tickets today!
A descendant of John Clay, who arrived in Jamestown in 1613, Peck is also the distant cousin of Kentucky Senator Henry Clay as well as the Abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay (for whom Muhammad Ali – A.K.A. Cassius Clay – was named). Peck’s lecture will touch on themes of The Opulence of Integrity; the greatness in all of us and the characteristics that make all of us great in our own way. She will also share family anecdotes, which include stories of Ali’s personal inspiration to become one of history’s most celebrated athletes as well as a social activist.
Leontyne Clay Peck is an educator, author, and speaker with more than 30 years of experience in presenting African American Cultural Programs and Family Histories. She received her education from American University, the American University of Rome, and West Virginia University.
She gives presentations to educational institutions, faith organizations, libraries, genealogical societies, and private businesses on her experiences in finding her roots and encouraging others to search for their ancestors. Her ancestry is also connected to Benjamin Banneker, Civil War soldier Job Gaiter, and the enslaved communities of Presidents James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
Peck is the recipient of a host of awards including Maryland Business and Professional Woman of the Year and Maryland Commissioner on African American History and Culture. She is also a Ford Foundation Scholar in African American Studies.
She is the author of “Our Mother’s Dresses: An Ancestry Tribute to my African, European and American Mothers,” “Silver Children: The African American Family of Henry Clay,” and “Paxton Street.”
In addition, Peck was involved in the “The Mere Distinction of Colour” exhibit at Montpelier, where she participated in the excavation of the slaves’ quarters along with other slave descendants. Read more about the dig in The Breeze.
She is married to Lyle Peck and they are the parents of two adult daughters, Whitney and Alexis.
Let the games begin! The stars of Piano Battle face off on The Paramount’s stage on February 6 – get to know these fierce performers with a behind-the-curtain interview! CLICK HERE to learn more about Paramount Presents: Piano Battle and purchase your tickets today.
Why do you perform your concert as a “battle”?
PAUL: Piano Battle started more or less by accident. We were both in contact with the Hong Kong City Festival and there was only one concert slot left. The festival suggested that we share…. ANDREAS: And it did not take us long to discover that we definitely did not want to perform together! The fight was on and we decided to battle it out right on stage. PAUL: To our surprise, the show was so successful that we were invited back and since then have been performing Piano Battle a lot in Asia and Europe.
Do you feel limited as an artist by this “battle” format because you have to take turns performing, for instance?
PAUL: Not at all because we have to give our very best at each moment of the show, not only in performing but also in connecting with the audience. “Trust Your Ears” is all I need to say. If you do that, the right one will win. ANDREAS: The difficulty of convincing every member of the audience and being flexible and creative in my responses to Paul is actually my favourite part. If the audience pays close attention, they will notice that the more interesting and exciting pieces are played by me, and the winner will be obvious. “Stay curious”!
What makes this unique format special?
ANDREAS: Six rounds, no rules … and the audience will decide who wins. Preferably me, of course! PAUL: We’ll see about that. Fact is that in each round we play one piece of the same musical style, trying to outperform each other. It is a serious competition and we always go out on stage to win. ANDREAS: So the audience has to listen very intensely because they are absolutely in charge of the outcome. PAUL: There is a master plan and depending on who wins a certain round, we will continue one way or another. But there is still a lot of flexibility, which makes it a lot of fun for us as well. ANDREAS: We also have a proper improvisation round where we spontaneously play suggestions called up to us by the audience. And I always like to throw a surprise or two at Paul – just to keep him on his toes!
Which famous composer of the past would you like to have met?
PAUL: Chopin. ANDREAS: Schumann.
How many days can you last without playing the piano?
PAUL: After three days I get a bit nervous, and after five-six days really restless, almost unhappy. But the strength of these feelings only become evident once I started playing again. ANDREAS: I don’t play on Sundays.
What is your mobile phone ring tone?
ANDREAS: Don’t know, most of the time it’s on silent. PAUL: A rehearsal recording of Andreas messing up the beginning of the first Chopin Etude.
What is your favorite classical piece of music?
PAUL: It’s impossible for me to define a few, let alone just one. But among my all-time favorites I would name Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Liszt’s B-minor Sonata, Schubert’s “Die Taubenpost”, and Brahms’ 1st and Mahler’s 2nd symphonies. There are also Mozart’s Dminor piano concerto, Beethoven’s 4th and 8th symphonies, Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde… Don’t get me started! ANDREAS: Michael Jackson’s “She’s Out Of My Life”.
What is your favorite classical piece of pop music?
PAUL: Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror. ANDREAS: Bach’s piano concerto in d-minor.
What was your most exciting experience on stage?
PAUL: Whenever there is one of those wonderful silent moments at the end of a piece. It’s mesmerizing with an audience of several hundred people being so actively quiet. Only a live concert can create this kind of concentration and atmosphere. ANDREAS: A true story: once when I was performing Beethoven’s Sonata op. 111 in Bangalore, India, there was a power cut. I continued to play. Then I started talking to the audience about the piece although I couldn’t see anything. In the end a little boy came on stage with a candle and I resumed playing.
We were thrilled to talk with Christal Brown, creator and choreographer of The Opulence of Integrity, coming live to The Paramount’s stage on Thursday, January 18. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the production, which is a theatrical, multimedia ensemble work influenced by the public life and inner searching of boxing’s outspoken superstar, Muhammad Ali. Inspired by Ali’s career as a boxer and life as a social activist, public martyr, and human being, Brown deploys her eclectic movement vernacular that includes elements of boxing, hip-hop, martial arts, modern dance, and theater to illuminate the turmoil of a life infused by divinity, yet misinterpreted by humanity.
What inspired you to fuse Muhammad Ali’s story with the medium of dance?
I was originally introduced to the idea of creating an artistic presentation of Ali’s life by Fred Ho, an iconic jazz musician. Ho was a huge fan of Ali and was drawing strength from Ali’s legacy to fight his own battle against cancer. Ho approached me and asked me to choreograph the last piece of music he wrote before his passing called “The Sweet Science Suite,” an homage to Ali. Ho envisioned the piece as a dance, music, and martial arts collaboration. Having seen my work in 2004, Ho remembered my background as an eclectic mover. We collaborated on the early iteration of the project that premiered at The Guggenheim’s Works & Process series in 2012. After that collaboration, Ho and I went on to pursue the work from different vantage points.
During the research phase of creating the movement language for “The Sweet Science Suite,” I became enamored with the different facets of Ali’s life: his public persona, his humble beginnings, his roles as husband and father, his commitment to his faith, his martyrdom, his masculinity, his activism, and most of all, his humanity. I began to see a complex and beautiful man who reminded me of my father, brother, uncle, and son. I began to see that Ali’s life was a life striving for freedom. He lived out his purpose and passion in front of the world. When those two things aligned, he was a hero, but when they didn’t, he was simply negro.
I am the daughter of a man who lost both his legs in Vietnam because he couldn’t say no. A man whose dreams of playing football and his identity as an athlete changed because of his lack of power. A man who thought going to war was the only way to do better by his family; subsequently his children never knew the man who made that choice, only the man who lived out the consequences.
What does the title of the show, “The Opulence of Integrity,” mean to you?
For me Ali is not one man, he is the archetype of every man and woman who dares to live out their greatness and endure the riches, ridicule, and regret that come along with being human. This is how the title of The Opulence of Integrity came to be. I was looking for a title, a statement, that gave context to the grandiose process of living a life of authenticity and truth. A life that requires one to be divinely inspired to meet every challenge with perseverance, courage, hope, and honesty.
Who can learn from The Opulence of Integrity, and why is Ali’s life and legacy so important to young people today?
Everyone can learn from The Opulence of Integrity. It is built to speak to the masses, not the elite. The work incorporates spoken text from Ali’s life, movements from various dance and martial arts, a historical sound score of the time in which Ali lived, and visual images of The Champ and his contemporaries in their prime.
What is your favorite element of The Opulence of Integrity?
My favorite element of the performance is the journey the dancers take. In each performance I marvel at their willingness to give themselves over to this work in a way that transforms them along with the audience. Watching them take on the physical and mental challenge of being present within the arc of this work for over 55 minutes is a remarkable task that leaves me grateful and humble at the end of each performance.
You use a musical score by a Zimbabwean/American composer. How did you first come across his work, and what made you decide to use it in the show?
Farai Malianga and I are long time collaborators. When Fred and I disbanded and I began to open up the parameters of the work to expose the heart of Ali, I knew I needed a composer who understood struggle, the black male experience in America, and most of all what it means to aspire to become yourself without knowing who that is. Farai is a wanderer whose creativity thrives in process; where most of us find too uncomfortable to dwell. Farai’s ability to create soundscapes out of emotional intelligence is rare. We began collaborating in 2005 and I admire his work and our ability to create meaning together.
How is The Opulence of Integrity different from other dance, theater, or musical acts we may have seen?
I believe The Opulence of Integrity is different than other dance, theater, or musical acts you may have seen in that it blends the historical with the personal. Young people may leave the theater with new found knowledge of Ali, older viewers may become nostalgic, but it is our hope that every viewer will be inspired to perform an opulent act of integrity in their own lives.
CLICK HERE to learn more about The Opulence of Integrity and purchase your tickets today!
The Paramount Theater is proud to join forces with community leaders to bring high quality performing arts to our community. We would like to humbly thank all of our sponsors for their support that has meant so much to so many.
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Support for the Arts
Thank you to The National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts for their generous support of The Paramount Theater.