The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Lenfest Center for the Arts is ready for the new season

Highlights of the diverse lineup for 2023-24 academic year
Veronika Kolosova
The upcoming season at Lenfest will feature many exciting new shows.

The Lenfest Center for the Arts is excited to welcome students back for the 2023-24 academic year. A diverse mix of music, theater, dance and magic shows is at the heart of the new season.

Susan Wager, Assistant Director of the Lenfest Center, said that the season’s selections were inspired by “the classical, the entertaining, the magical” and encompass experiences originating from American boogie woogie to South African gumboot.

“Lenfest really focused on providing a wide array of entertainment for every kind of person,” said Da’zhona Clark, ‘24, Lenfest’s lead event director. Students contributed to the lineup too by voting in last year’s Lenfest Selection Committee all-campus poll.

“This season promises to be unique and captivating,” said Wager. “The highlight of the Season is a direct result of the Washington and Lee student body’s top vote selection—The Illusionist of the World, Rick Thomas.”

Thomas makes his way to Lenfest Center after making it to the top three of the students’ poll. He went on five world tours and performed in over 50 countries. Now he brings the magic to W&L on May 1, 2024.

“Step Africa!” returns to campus on Jan. 24, 2024 to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Another leader of the students’ poll, the newest step show brings an immersive show that promotes cross-cultural understanding through different dance and art forms.

The Department of Music brings Romanian pianist Dr. ILonka Rus through the Concert Guild series. The program will feature works by Mozart, Brian Field, George Enescu, Tudor Dumitrescu and Carl Filtch. Rus will perform at Wilson Concert Hall on Oct. 21 at 8 p.m.

For the first time, the “Our Roots of Influence”’ concert will bring four internationally acclaimed artists together on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Lenfest Center, hosted by Broadway actor and music director Chapman Roberts. Artists Scarlet Rivera, Chris Van Cleave, Ray Shell and Daryl Davis will showcase the diversity of genres and styles and address what influenced them on their musical journey. There will be a Q&A session and reception at the Lykes Atrium after the performance.

An enduring classic “The Odyssey” makes its way to W&L on Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. The Acting Company, a professional theater of young classical actors, will present a fresh take on a familiar story based on a new translation by Emily Wilson.

W&L’s own talent will shine at Lenfest Center in 2023-24 season in a variety of theater, dance and music performances.

The Department of Theater, Dance, and Film Studies will present “Empowering Human Rights Through the Lens: A Spectacle of Ghana,” and include two Spring Term films made by W&L students on Oct. 6, at 5 p.m. in Keller Theatre.

Professor Stephanie Sandberg’s FILM 253 class traveled to Ghana in the spring to learn about Non-Governmental Organizations that support human rights. Students made films highlighting NGO’s work. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with backstage materials and stories.

“Speech & Debate,” directed by Rob Mish, will take over the stage at Johnson Theatre on Nov. 1 through Nov. 4. The play raises the evergreen questions of belonging, generational conflict and finding yourself through the lens of Generation Z.

“W&L Dancers Create…” returns with shows on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2. under the artistic direction of Jenefer Davies, Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies chair. The concert represents a modern undergraduate take on dance with a variety of styles, music and forms. All performances are designed, created and executed by W&L students.

The 2023-24 choral season starts with the Parents and Family Weekend Choral Concert on Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. The show features the University Singers, Glee Club and Cantatrici. The reception will follow the concert.

“My recommendation is to go to shows that aren’t your usual thing and find new passions and interests,” said Clark. “Explore your identity while also treating yourself to world-class performances!”

This year, W&L students and the Lexington community have many options in the lineup. The full list can be found on the Lenfest Center for the Arts website.

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Veronika Kolosova, A&L Editor

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