Imagine Ira Glass and Bon Qui Qui on the same stage.
Well, not exactly sharing the stage at the same time but during the same season. It’s possible.
And it’s going to happen beginning in the fall, when the LSU Union Theater opens its 2012-13 Union Theater Presents series.
“We’ve expanded the series to 15 programs this year,” Terri Serio said. “And we’ve divided it into three categories, the ‘Great Performances Series,’ the ‘Comedy Tonight Series’ and the ‘Family Hour Series.’”
Add to that the year-long Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Films, and it’s clear the Union Theater is going to be busy.
This, Serio said, is a good thing.
Serio is the theater’s director, which puts her in charge of booking each season’s programs. The programs are scheduled with both the public and the LSU student body in mind.
“We want to attract students to the theater, exposing them to different entertainment and cultural experiences,” Serio said. “The majority of these programs are going to be free for them. We’ll only charge them a nominal fee to the programs that aren’t.”
And again, the public also is taken into consideration when booking these shows, which is why there’s so much variety on the schedule from Ira Glass, to a traveling production of the Broadway musical Titanic to the Russian National Ballet Theatre’s performance of Swan Lake to, yes, Bon Qui Qui.
OK, Bon Qui Qui’s real name is Anjelah Johnson, the Oakland Raiderette-turned-MADtv cast member. She performs a one-woman comedy act, which includes her popular character Bon Qui Qui, the fast-talking fast food worker who makes a habit of calling 911 when she doesn’t want to serve a customer.
Johnson’s video routines featuring Bon Qui Qui have gone viral on the internet. Now Baton Rouge area audiences will have a chance to see Bon Qui Qui live.
“She’s hilarious,” Serio said. “This show is going to be a lot of fun.”
But why apply that criteria to only one show? A quick glance at the lineup is proof that the entire season will be fun.
The Great Performances Series kicks off on Sunday, Aug. 26, with Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass.
Glass is the creator of the public radio show This American Life, and this program takes an in-depth and entertaining look at how Glass and his staff find their stories. Glass takes stories from the show and mixes them live on stage, combining his narration with pre-taped quotes.
The series continues on Wednesday, Oct. 10, with Titanic — The Musical.
“This is the full Broadway production of the musical,” Serio said. “It’s a totally different story from the movie, and it won four Tonys on Broadway. We’re excited to be able to offer it on our stage.”
A performance by the versatile Dana Leong Trio follows on Wednesday, Oct. 12, then the series skips to the spring with Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project on Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Next up is One Night of Queen, performed by Gary Mullen and The Works on Saturday, March 17, 2013. The group pays tribute to legendary rock band Queen and has toured worldwide.
And rounding out the series will be the Russian National Ballet Theatre’s performance of Swan Lake.
Meanwhile, Johnson will kick off the “Comedy Tonight Series” on Thursday, Sept. 27, with her self-titled show Anjelah Johnson. Then come the Capitol Steps just in time for the presidential election on Sunday, Oct. 14, with their show Capitol Steps — Take the Money and Run for President.
Those who remember the one-woman comedy Sister’s Christmas Catechism will be happy to know that Sister is returning to Baton Rouge on March 2, 2013, with her show Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go to Heaven?.
“It’s scripted, but there’s also a lot of improv,” Serio said. “There’s interaction with the audience, and it’s a lot of fun.”
And speaking of improvisation, there will be plenty on the Union Theater stage on Thursday, April 18, 2013, during the show Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group. The two are probably best known as cast members of ABC Television’s Whose Line is it Anyway?, which requires its actors to create skits on the spot.
And finally, there’s the “Family Hour Series,” which begins on Wednesday, Oct. 3, with MatheMagic! starring Bradley Fields.
“We have lots of adults interested in this show as well as children,” Serio said.
“Bradley Fields captures the audience’s attention with his magic tricks and teaches them the secrets behind some math tricks.”
Next up is Kraig Parker on Sunday, Dec. 9, with the World Premiere Tribute to Elvis — Christmas Edition. The show Mark Nizer 3D — Expect the Impossible follows on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Nizer is known for his seemingly impossible juggling acts. He’ll be followed by The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience on Feb. 21, 2013, featuring Jackson’s handpicked “official substitute,” Joby Rogers.
The series ends with Michael Fosberg — Incognito, who tells his heartfelt story of how the search for his father led to the discovery that he is part African-American.
Subscriber and new subscriber tickets now are on sale. Single tickets for the Ira Glass opener go on sale Monday, Aug. 6.
Subscribers can buy an entire season package or choose from a variety of packages. For a list of packages and prices, call (225) 578-6128 or visit http://uniontheater.lsu.edu.