It’s hard to believe the new season will be beginning in a matter of weeks, because you can still feel the presence of Steve Martin, Olympia Dukakis, Savion Glover and George Clinton lingering inside the Manship Theatre.
They were just a few of the headliners from last year’s season, but it doesn’t matter. A theater’s personality is made up of the past, present and future.
And the Manship Theatre’s personality is multi-faceted, made up of music, theater, comedy, dance, film and family performances.
All of these can be found in the theater’s 2012-13 season.
“One of our headliners who’s really getting a lot of attention is Henry Rollins,” John Kaufman said.
Kaufman is the theater’s director of marketing. He and theater director Renee Chatelain have gathered together on this particular day to discuss the new season.
Season tickets will go on sale beginning Thursday, July 26, and yes, Rollins is one of the headliners.
For those who aren’t familiar with Rollins, whose credentials include spoken word artist, writer, journalist, publisher, actor, radio DJ, activist and former singer-songwriter. It’s almost impossible to place him in a category, because he, like the Manship, is multi-faceted.
Many surely will recognize him from one of his seemingly infinite television and film appearances. Those who know him well are familiar with his stage appearances, where he discusses anything and everything.
“A lot of people are already asking me about this show,” Kaufman said. “They’re wanting to know when individual tickets will go on sale.”
Rollins’ show, “Henry Rollins: Spoken Word Capitalism” is set for Oct. 15.
Another show already garnering attention is the Second City, which will perform on Nov. 8 as part of the Manship’s fundraising gala.
The Second City is the improv theater in Chicago that gave birth to the careers of such performers as John Belushi, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Chris Farley and Tina Fey. It sister company in Toronto turned out such names as Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy.
“We’re going to have a red carpet,” Chatelain said. “And the show is going to involve local celebrities. The show will also focus on current events in Louisiana and Baton Rouge, and it will engage the audience. That’s one of the things we like to do at the Manship. There have been times in the shows when the performers have agreed to do something that will tie in with something local.”
This makes these shows one-of-a-kind. In other words, audiences will not be able to see some of these shows anywhere else. They’re a one-time experience.
“And Garrison Keillor will be bringing his one-man tour here on April 15,” Chatelain said. “That’s perfect timing, because it’s tax day, and he’ll be talking about that.”
Kicking off the season on Sept. 21 will be the 1980s all-girls pop group The GoGos.
The musical slate is full.
Legendary blues musician Buddy Guy will return to Baton Rouge on March 16, 2013, for a rare homecoming show. Aaron Neville also will return on Dec. 4 for what has become the Neville family holiday show.
Also in the music lineup are organist Cameron Carpenter on Oct. 18; classical music legend Pepe Romero on Jan. 5, 2013; the strong and exquisite harmonies of Sweet Honey in the Rock on Feb. 4, 2013; funk musician and longtime James Brown saxophonist Maceo Parker on March 2, 2013; and Louisiana’s Marc Broussard will team up with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for a performance on March 8, 2013.
There’s also the Theater Series, which, along with Rollins and the Second City, includes the return of London-based theatre company Aquila Theatre on Feb. 21, 2013.
Then comes the Dance Series, featuring the nonprofit Philadelphia dance company Philadanco on Jan. 31, 2013, with its innovative choreography influenced by African-American traditional dance. This company will be preceded by that of the Urban Bush Women on Oct. 9, who seek to tell the untold stories of disenfranchised people and address social issues through the power of dance.
Kicking off the Family Series on Oct. 7 will be the classic tales of the Ugly Duckling and the Tortoise and the Hare.
Additional family shows will include Doktor Kaboom, who returns this season to premier his new holiday show, The “Science of Santa,” on Dec. 7; the stage version of the classic children’s book Guess How Much I Love You will be performed on Dec. 9; American Western music and comedy group Riders in the Sky will play on April 4, 2013; and favorite Siamese cat, “Skippyion Jones,” will share his big imagination with the young Manship audience on March 10, 2013.
Finally, the Manship Theatre has entered a partnership with Emerging Cinema to bring in first-run independent films.
“So, we will be an art house cinema,” Chatelain said. “We’re excited about this, because these are films you don’t usually get to see in the theater, and we’ll be showing the first run.”
The theater also will host the annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, beginning Oct. 5. Other film series include “Reel Causes,” with proceeds from each screening benefiting worthy social, charitable or humanitarian causes; “Flicks for Chicks;” “Camp Out at Manship” screenings of cult and Hollywood classics; and “Homegrown,” featuring movie premieres and screenings of films with a Louisiana connection.
For tickets or more information, call (225) 344-0334 or visit http://www.manshiptheatre.org.