The Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation (NPACF) unveiled its 2008-2009 lineup Aug. 8 during an exclusive producers’ party at Bothell’s Dragonfly Retreat.
Program diversity has been the organization’s focus since it first started opening theater curtains in 2004, and the new season promises more of the same, with acts that include musical comedy, ballet, acrobats and big-band music.
“We’re continuing to offer a wide variety of shows that appeal to a wide audience base,” said NPACF Executive Director Manny Ocampo.
The new season kicks off Oct. 5 with the Swing Fever Band, accompanied by experienced jazz artist Ernestine Anderson and dancers from the Eastside Swing Cats.
Anderson, a graduate of Seattle’s Garfield High, is a four-time Grammy Award nominee who has recorded more than 30 albums.
Among other accomplished acts this season are the James Cotton Band Jan. 25, and the artist Simone, who arrives Nov. 1.
James Cotton is a Grammy-winning blues man who made a name for himself playing the harmonica. The award-winning musician has performed with the likes of B.B. King, The Rolling Stones and Santana, and is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, as well as the Smithsonian Institute.
Simone, the daughter of legendary soul musician Nina Simone, is a jazz vocalist whose most recent album “Simone on Simone” debuted at No. 14 on Billboard’s traditional jazz chart.
The NPACF’s progeny theme continues May 17 with a performance by Justin Townes Earle, whose father, Steve Earle, is renowned, if not notorious, for his politically charged music.
Justin is a narrative storyteller who mixes elements of blues, classic country and rock.
Audience participation will be the name of the game with Cirque Voila, which comes to town Feb. 8, and the Inflatable Theater Company, appearing April 18.
The Kasumai Africa group will present a third interactive show Oct. 26, bringing a taste of culture a la West African music, dance and storytelling to the stage.
Other culture-oriented acts will include Craicmore and the Slieveloughane Irish Dance Company (Nov. 16), as well as the Scottish folk singer-musician Julie Fowles (Feb. 14), who plays bagpipes, oboe and melodian.
The perennial-favorite winter ballets will be back this season, with Ballet Bellevue presenting “The Snowman” Dec. 13-14, and the Emerald Ballet Theatre performing a holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 20-21.
The latter group will return for a summer staging of “The Mermaid Ballet” May 30.
Adding a new twist to the NPACF lineup is a musical comedy called “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” representing the foundation’s first revue.
The show revolves around dating, proposals, marriage and in-laws — all familiar topics to the Northshore area’s suburbanite audiences.
The NPACF is working to nail down four additional shows for its new lineup, and Foundation President Vicki Opsata has said that at least one of the performances will feature local talent.
Ticket prices were not yet set at the Reporter deadline, but students will be asked to pay less this season as part of an effort to attract families.
The NPACF ended its last season in the black — a first for the foundation.
“We had a very successful year, which is not something every performing arts center can say,” Opsata said. “We’re in a position to make this year even better and stronger.”
• Visit www.npacf.org or call (425) 408-7997 for tickets and additional information about the 2008-2009 NPACF schedule and sponsorship opportunities.