Family Discovery series promises 'Wonder and Delight'

08/01/2007
By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online. By NANCYE TUTTLE, Sun Staff

UMass Lowell's Family Discovery Series turns Sweet 16 this year.

And in keeping with this special celebration, executive director Christine Brown has planned a series of shows based on the theme Discover Laughter, Wonder and Delight!

The popular Sunday afternoon series, geared to families with kids ages 4 and up, offers affordable family entertainment and features nationally and internationally known performing artists.

"I am excited about the theme and how appropriate it is," says Brown. "With kids and parents leading such hectic lives with too many demands and tight schedules, it is hard to take time to just relax, laugh and have an old-fashioned good time."

Discovery Series favorite Tom Chapin and his band kick off the series on Oct. 6 in a program titled Music for Children and Gentle Hearts.

"I'm opening the series with Chapin and his band because I think every child and parent deserves to experience his music," Brown said in a statement announcing the series. "With just a guitar and a smile he creates a sense of warmth and community that is genuine and lasting."

The series continues on Nov. 17 with the Shangri-La Acrobats. Direct from Taiwan, they catapult, juggle and clown in a stunning exhibition, complete with brilliant costumes, a touch of Chinese comedy and a bit of kung-fu.

Sounds of the holiday season ring out on Dec. 15 with Christmas Time is Here with Rhythm and Bass. Six young musicians give a rhythmic percussive, articulated brass rendition to Christmas music that ranges from Duke Ellington to John Coltrane. There'll

be a salsa "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and a joyful Ellington "Nutcracker Suite."

Imago Theatre takes the stage on March 2 in a new production of Frogz, a theatrical menagerie of whimsy and wackiness, complete with masks, movement and outlandish costumes.

On March 30, The Nightingale arrives from the stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Based on the Hans Christian Anderson classic, it is a powerful play filled with music, dance, humor and joy.

Hailing from Montreal, Smythe and Saucier bring down the curtain on the series on May 4 with a performance of Circo Comedia. Monsieur Saucier, formerly with Cirque du Soleil, is a master equilibrist, juggler, trick cyclist and acrobat, who risks his life when he meets Mr. Smythe, an eccentric clown. The duo have performed for TV, rock videos, films and festivals.

Performances are at the Center for the Arts, Durgin Hall, South Campus. All shows have performances at 2 and 4 p.m. except for Chapin, who performs at 2 and 4:30 p.m. and Circo Comedia with a 2 p.m. show only.

Families can create their own series based on children's ages and interests. Those who choose four or more shows of the six offered save money over the $10 cost of single tickets.

Sponsors include Nancy and Richard K. Donahue; Enterprise Bank and Trust Company; James L. Cooney Real Estate and Insurance; Community Teamwork, Inc.; UMass Lowell Athletics and the Szechuan Chef Restauraant.

For information, to request a brochure or order tickets by phone with Mastercard/Visa, call the box office at 978-934-4444 between 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday.