Tickets for Center for the Performing Arts spring events go on sale Nov. 18

– by Edward Stoddard

Season includes touring Broadway musicals, Marsalis family jazz ensembles, classical streams and more

The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State will present a hybrid spring 2022 season of ticketed on-stage and free “Up Close and Virtual” programs, including touring Broadway musicals, classical music ensembles, New Orleans and New York-style jazz, and interpretive dance.

Tickets will go on sale at noon Thursday, Nov. 18. Tickets will be available to purchase online, by phone at 814-863-0255 and in person at Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays noon to 4 p.m.). Registration for virtual programs also opens Nov. 18. Visit Center for the Performing Arts online at for information.

Fans of Broadway musicals will be on their feet with joy with the return of nationally touring Broadway on the Eisenhower Auditorium stage. “Waitress,” called “an empowering musical of the highest order” by the Chicago Tribune, will make its Center for the Performing Arts debut at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in Eisenhower. Original music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner Sara Bareilles and a buffet of homemade pies help a struggling restaurant server cook up a recipe for personal happiness.

An all-new touring production of the Tony Award-winning audience favorite “Hairspray” will make a stop at Eisenhower at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14. The musical comedy phenomenon follows Tracy Turnblad and her trademark beehive as she dances her way onto 1960s Baltimore’s most popular teen TV show.

California’s Calidore String Quartet will make its long-awaited Penn State debut after almost two years of delay due to the pandemic. In a concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, in the Penn State School of Music’s Recital Hall, the ensemble will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”; and his Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130, with Op. 133 “Grosse Fuge.” The quartet will also perform “Breathing Statues,” a composition inspired by “Grosse Fuge,” written by British composer Anna Clyne and co-commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts through its membership in the Music Accord consortium. The concert will be available to livestream for the same price as an in-person ticket.

Calidore also will perform and discuss works from their repertoire in a Classical Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, in Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall. Classical Coffeehouse is free for Penn State and high school students. A textable donation of $10 per person is suggested for non-students.

Choreographic legend Bill T. Jones interprets the rhetorical through dance in a 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, production at Eisenhower. In “What Problem?”, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company explores the tension that exists in a community experiencing isolation, class struggle and political divisiveness while drawing on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Herman Melville as inspiration. Jones, the Tony Award-winning choreographer of “FELA!” and “Spring Awakening,” will collaborate with Penn State and State College-area performers in the show.

The company’s visit is part of the center’s Fierce Urgency Festival, a three-year series of events recognizing the contributions of Black artists and art forms. The festival, with a theme this season of “Hope-Resist-Heal,” is produced in partnership with Electric Root, co-founded by multigenre artist-activist Michael Mwenso. Visit for more information about the diversity initiative.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Front Row: National” virtual series will return with two free five-day streamed events. From noon Monday, Feb. 14, until noon Friday, Feb. 18, patrons can watch a performance featuring pianist Gilbert Kalish and other chamber music society musicians. The program will include George Crumb’s “Three Early Songs” for voice and piano; Franz Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” for soprano, clarinet and piano, D. 965, Op. 129; and Johannes Brahms’ Quartet No. 3 in C minor for piano, violin, viola and cello, Op. 60.

The following “Front Row: National” episode, “Winds from Different Lands,” will be available on demand from noon Monday, March 14, until noon Friday, March 18. The program will include selections from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”; Mily Balakirev’s Octet for flute, oboe, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass and piano, Op. 3; Samuel Barber’s “Summer Music” for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn, Op. 31; and Francis Poulenc’s Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano.

Both “Front Row: National” episodes feature a recorded question-and-answer session with concert musicians and society Co-Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han.

In a return virtual performance, Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra will present a collection of southern gospel- and jazz-themed music celebrating the triumphant nature of Americans in the Deep South. The event will be available to watch from noon Monday, Feb. 21, until noon Friday, Feb. 25.

Mwenso and The Shakes, the anchor ensemble of the center’s Fierce Urgency Festival, will continue its ancestral recognition and healing-arts practice with “Hope-Resist-Heal: A Celebration of Black Joy.” The 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, concert will conclude a multiday residency at Penn State.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will perform “Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration,” with music direction by Vincent Gardner, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in Eisenhower. The program celebrates the music of Mingus with an evening of swinging hard bop, Afro-Latin grooves and blues.

Selected artists from “Small Island Big Song: An Oceanic Timeline,” a film presented online in April, will make their live, on-stage Penn State debut in a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in Eisenhower. Small Island Big Song is a collective of musicians from Pacific and Indian Ocean nations who use their music to tell tales of cultural lineage, ancestral guidance and heritage pride while warning of the ravages of climate change.

A variety of free in-person engagement events are being planned and will be listed on the center’s website when details are finalized.

The Center for the Performing Arts has the health and safety of our patrons in mind. Penn State has issued rules and precautions that follow, or might exceed, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit Covid Precautions at for more information on the center’s safety measures.

BTJAZ WP 5098 credit Maria Baranova

A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student ticket prices possible. It also helps make the “Up Close and Virtual” programs free of charge.

The Pieter and Lida Ouwehand Endowment supports the Calidore String Quartet concert. The Nina C. Brown Endowment support the Calidore String Quartet concert and Classical Coffeehouse.

Foxdale Village, Pieter W. and Lida Ouwehand, Elinor C. Lewis, and Lam and Lina Hood sponsor the Calidore String Quartet concert and Classical Coffeehouse, plus the “Front Row: National” presentations.

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Mwenso and The Shakes and “Meeting the Moment with Michael Mwenso” events are part of the center’s Fierce Urgency Festival.

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and Small Island Big Song presentations are part of “The Reflection Project,” funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Patricia Best and Thomas Ray, Charlotte Zmyslo, Nancy Gamble, and Nancy Wolf sponsor the Delfeayo Marsalis and Mwenso and The Shakes presentations.

The Eisenhower Auditorium Endowment provides support for the Delfeayo Marsalis video stream.

Geisinger, Northwest, The Village at Penn State, Designer’s Studio and Kish Bank sponsor the Jazz at Lincoln Center concert. The Robert and Sonia Hufnagel Endowment, the Meghan R. Mason Program Endowment and the William E. McTurk Endowment provide additional support.

Geisinger, Northwest and The Village at Penn State sponsor the “Waitress” and “Hairspray” performances.

The Penn State International Dance Endowment supports Small Island Big Song.

Find the Center for the Performing Arts on Facebook at, on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Center for the Performing Arts Spring 2022 Season

* Denotes an “Up Close and Virtual” event

Calidore String Quartet*

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26

Live streaming event and live at Recital Hall

Classical Coffeehouse featuring Calidore String Quartet

8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27

Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company

“What Problem?”

7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11

Eisenhower Auditorium

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Front Row: National”

Gilbert Kalish, pianist*

Noon Monday, Feb. 14–noon Friday, Feb. 18

Virtual event

Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra*

Noon Monday, Feb. 21–noon Friday, Feb. 25

Virtual event


7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3

Eisenhower Auditorium

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Front Row: National”

“Winds from Different Lands”*

Noon Monday, March 14–noon Friday, March 18

Virtual event

Mwenso and The Shakes

“Hope-Resist-Heal: A Celebration of Black Joy”

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23

Eisenhower Auditorium

“Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration”

Featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31

Eisenhower Auditorium

Small Island Big Song

7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7

Eisenhower Auditorium


7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14

Eisenhower Auditorium

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at