LEWISBURG - The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will begin its 25th season with a community open house and a free concert by Brooklyn-based fusion band Red Baraat Aug. 24.
"We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate 25 years of the performing arts at Bucknell than with a free outdoor concert showcasing one of the most boisterous and energetic fusion bands on the East Coast," Executive Director Kathryn Maguet said. "They symbolize the energy and passion that we have for bringing progressive acts to Central PA."
Red Baraat is just one of many original music acts the venue has lined up for the next year. Maguet said that when planning a season, finding unique bands is a high priority.
"I am always on the look out for new and interesting artists," she said. "We have the opportunity to bring artists from around the entire world to the Weis Center and share them with central Pa. audiences."
A group that counts as both unique and international is the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, which performs everything from Tchaikovsky to Nirvana, as well as Spaghetti Western soundtracks, according to its website.
"The Ukes are a particularly interesting ensemble - they're well-known for their unique performances as well as their highly entertaining YouTube clips," Maguet said. "We are already receiving ticket orders for this performance from as far away as the Lehigh Valley and the season announcement just went out last week."
The most singular act of the season may not be a musical one, however - The Papermoon Puppet Company from Indonesia promises not only artistic puppetry but a story that deals with serious issues.
"They are an extraordinary company whose work exhibits the highest level of artistic integrity," Maguet said. "It will be a rare treat to attend this performance."
The creator of the puppet company, Maria "Ria" Tri Sulistyani, told The Jakarta Post ("the largest English-language newspaper in Indonesia") that the idea came to her while she watched a performance during the Jakarta International Puppetry Festival in 2006.
"One of the puppeteers in the festival performed Shakespeare," she said. "That's when it dawned on me: 'Hey, puppet theater is not only for kids'."
Along with puppet theater, the Weis Center also will feature a circus act all the way from Australia.
According to the season brochure, Circa's performances "embrace improvisation, multimedia and collaboration, and are infused with an immersive use of light and sound."
One of the acts that is scheduled to make the trip to Lewisburg this season has performed at the Weis Center in the past, according to Maguet.
"I believe that the wonderful contemporary dance company Philadanco performed at the Weis Center at least 10 years ago, but the rest of the artists are new to our venue," she said.
Walter Rutledge, of Harlemworld Magazine, wrote that Philadanco has "enriched the lives of countless aspiring young dancers and choreographers."
"The company has cultivated civic pride in the under-served African American community and built a broader appreciation for the contributions by artists of color," he said in a review of one of the group's April performances at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.
And while Maguet said that she loves every act that will make an appearance this season, she admitted that she has a "strong personal love" of flamenco dance.
"Soledad Barrio (of Noche Flamenca) is my favorite flamenco dancer of all time," she said. "Her footwork, power and passion are out of this world."
One of the highlights of each season at the Weis Center is the Janet Weis Cabaret Jazz series, which will begin with a performance by Anat Cohen.
"Cohen is the perfect artist to kick off the fall 2012 Janet Weis Cabaret Jazz series," Maguet said. "She's the real deal. Her fresh, interesting and breathtaking performances reflect her boundary-stretching artistry as well as her highly developed and broad palate of musical expression."
Even though the planning aspect of the 2012-13 season is done, there's still more to be done before the shows begin.
"We have a lot of work ahead getting this series up and running," Maguet said.
For ticket information or for more information about the individual acts, visit www.bucknell.edu/weiscenter.