CAP UCLA 2019-20 season amplifies unsung heroes, unheard voices

UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance has unveiled its 2019-20 season, a lineup that honors “We, the People” — as artists, performers, thought leaders, change-makers and spectators. UCLA’s public performing arts program continues to bring bold programming from around the world to Los Angeles to advance social justice conversations through contemporary dance, music, theater and literature.

The new season runs from September 19, 2019, through May 10, 2020, and offers eight special events and 61 performances, with one U.S. and two West Coast premieres.

“Our programs are designed to engage audiences wholeheartedly in the artists’ exploration,” said CAP UCLA Executive and Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds. “Each performance is illuminating, connecting us, and disconnecting us, from the way we see history. Each time we’re offered a new lens in which to examine our place in the culture of L.A. and in the culture of the world. Our goal is to provide experiences that allow individual reflection within a communal environment.”

Recognizing unsung heroes in history, Ain Gordon weaves the largely unknown story of a courageous gay psychiatrist whose activism made a profound and lasting impact on LGBT civil rights in “217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous.” Toronto’s Porte Parole theater presents “Seeds,” a dramatic reenactment of the seven-year legal battle between Monsanto, one of the world’s most powerful biotech corporations, and a Saskatchewan farmer.

Looking back to the past, composer Jean-Baptiste Barrière and violinist Jennifer Koh have created “38th Parallel,” a multi-media opera uncovering the impact of displacement and identity on two contrasting Korean immigrant families. Visual artist MK Guth illustrates the power of the written word and pays homage to Powell Library which, along with Royce Hall, was one of the first buildings to be constructed on the UCLA campus. Her “ Choreography for Reading Aloud” installation is a kaleidoscope of facts, theories, fiction, opinions, poetry and lists culminating in a truly visceral experience. Jazz musicians Terri Lyne Carrington and Rudresh Mahanthappa celebrate the artistry and impact of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker with “ Fly Higher: Charlie Parker at 100.”

CAP UCLA will present the world premiere of celebrated pianist Anthony de Mare’s “ Liasions 2020: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano,” featuring new arrangements by some of the world’s foremost contemporary composers in a tribute to the musical genius of Stephen Sondheim.

West Coast premieres include two major multimedia collaborations. “ The Day,” by celebrated ballerina-turned-contemporary-dancer Wendy Whelan, “rock star” cellist Maya Beiser, legendary choreographer Lucinda Childs and esteemed contemporary composer David Lang, examines memory, aging, death and the survival of the soul. “ Four Quartets,” in which American choreographer Pam Tanowitz, legendary Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, American modernist painter Brice Marden and Tony Award-nominated actress Kathleen Chalfant create a thrilling performance from T.S. Eliot’s meditations on past and present, time and space, movement and stillness.

Celebrating different social and cultural perspectives, artists from a diverse spectrum of global communities will share their distinct voices: BUIKA, the outspoken queen of flamenco fusion will serenade CAP audiences along with Grammy Award-winning South African a cappella group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Brazilian jazz legends Sergio Mendes and Babel Gilberto.

Social justice issues and politics are woven throughout many of this season’s performances. Words & Ideas programs include New York Times opinion writer Frank Bruni in conversation about the 2020 elections with Sarah Smarsh, author of the best seller “ Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth;” and Piper Kerman, creator of “ Orange is the New Black,” and Rachel Kushner, author of “ The Mars Room,” discussing prison reform.

CAP UCLA also presents a veritable Who’s Who of jazz luminaries including Chick Corea Trilogy with Christian McBride and Brian Blade; the Joshua Redman Quartet with The Bad Plus; DeJohnette/Coltrane/Garrison; Bill Frisell and Julian Lage Duo; and vocalist Gregory Porter with an homage to Nat King Cole.

Continuing a mutually beneficial relationship between CAP UCLA and The Theater at Ace Hotel for a third season, eight performances will be presented in downtown Los Angeles, including Philip Glass and Jerry Quickley’s “ Whistleblower , ” a look at what happens to life after the whistle has been blown — in this case through the lens of Edward Snowden. Returning to CAP UCLA’s 2019-20 season is filmmaker Bill Morrison with his documentary “Dawson City: Frozen Time LIVE!” compiled from lost film footage found in 1978 that paints a rare portrait of life in the Yukon in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Special events in the spring include “ Orange is the New Black”’s Lea DeLaria performing hits from her latest album “House of David: delaria+bowie=jazz and double Tony Award-winning, Golden Globe-nominated co-creator of the groundbreaking musical, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” John Cameron Mitchell, with his The Origin of Love Tour.

CAP UCLA engages in artistic development off stage through fellowships, residencies, commissions and community collaborations. CAP UCLA facilitated creative development of five of this season’s productions, commissioned in part by the Center - THE DAY, Four Quartets, 38th Parallel, The WANT and Liaisons 2020.

This season’s artists-in-residence include Toshi Reagon whose “Parable of the Sower” is a genre-defying piece of political theater based on the book by Octavia Butler that will be workshopped at the Ucross Foundation over the summer and presented at Royce Hall in the spring; as well as Eiko Otake (of the celebrated Japanese contemporary dance duo Eiko and Koma), Lynette Wallworth, Constance Hockaday and Suzanne Bocanegra, all of whom are working on projects to be presented by CAP at a future date. CAP UCLA 2019-20 fellows include visual artist Ann Hamilton, jazz percussionist and composer Antonio Sanchez and contemporary visual art curator Helen Molesworth.

With a remarkable season housing 41 different programs, 21 productions will take place on the UCLA campus and eight will be staged at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA. The Ford Theatres and CAP UCLA will co-present two programs again this season — “Loch na hEala” (Swan Lake) from one of Ireland’s foremost dance and theatre-makers, Sadler Wells’ Associate Artistic Director Michael Keegan-Dolan and visual artist Hassam Hajjaj’s “My Rock Stars Experimental LIVE!, a musical presentation of his video installation of the same name which will be presented at the Ford Theatres.

Free programs offered by CAP UCLA continuing this season are the public engagement program Art in Action and K-12 arts education program Design for Sharing, founded in 1969, that engages 15,000 students each year from more than 150 public schools in Los Angeles County.

Individual ticket on sale dates:

  • CAP members: July 10, 2019
  • CAP renewing subscribers: July 11, 2019
  • CAP Enews subscribers: July 12, 2019
  • General public: July 15, 2019
  • UCLA faculty and staff: July 15, 2019
  • UCLA students: September 23, 2019
CAP UCLA website for ticket information , and the full 2019-20 season calendar and program guide.

CAP UCLA 2019-20: Selected highlights


  • Chick Corea Trilogy with Christian McBride and Brian Blade
  • Joshua Redman Quartet with The Bad Plus
  • DeJohnette/Coltrane/Garrison
  • Fly Higher: Charlie Parker at 100

Global music

  • Hassam Hajjaj: My Rock Stars Experimental LIVE!
  • Sergio Mendes and Bebel Gilberto
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • Omar Sosa and Yilian Cañizares: Aguas Trio


  • Aaron Neville Duo
  • Bill Frisell and Julian Lage Duo
  • Toshi Reagon: Parable of the Sower
  • Perla Batalla: Discoteca Batalla


  • Bill Morrison with Wild Up; Dawson City: Frozen Time LIVE!
  • Philip Glass and Jerry Quickley: Whistleblower
  • Jennifer Koh and Jean-Baptiste Barrière: 38th Parallel
  • Anthony de Mare: Liaisons 2020: Re-Imaging Sondheim from the Piano


  • Adam Linder: The WANT
  • Sankai Juku: Meguri
  • Maya Beiser/Wendy Whelan/Lucinda Childs/David Lang: THE DAY
  • Pam Tanowitz/Brice Marden/Kaija Saariaho: Four Quartets


  • Ain Gordon: 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous
  • Michael Keegan Dolan/Teaä? Da’sa: Loch na hEala (Swan Lake)
  • Andrew Dawson: Space Panorama & Spirit of the Ring
  • Fotini Baxevani: Lady of Ro
  • Porte Parole: Seeds

Words & Ideas

  • Samin Nosrat in Conversation with Lindy West
  • Andrew Sean Greer in Conversation with Sloane Crosley
  • Frank Bruni in Conversation with Sarah Smarsh
  • Piper Kerman in Conversation with Rachel Kushner

Special events

  • Orange is the New Black’s Lea DeLaria in Concert
  • Marike Splint: Among Us - UCLA
  • Toshi Reagon: Parable of the Sower
  • MK Guth: Choreography for Reading Aloud
  • John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love Tour

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