Theater | Music | Exhibits | Lectures | Dance


Elroyce D. Jones’ A Thimble of Smoke
In 1950s Mississippi, an African-American mother struggles to preserve the dream she has for her 13-year-old daughter. The 24th Street Theatre is co-producing this play’s world premiere with the Echo Theatre Company. Gregg Daniel directs. (213-745-6516)
Nov. 11-Dec. 19, 24th Street Theatre, $15 general, $9 seniors.

Beaumarchais’ Marriage of Figaro
No, not the opera, rather the 1785 play by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais that inspired Mozart’s 1786 opera. A sex farce – as well as The Barber of Seville’s sequel – this Marriage contains 92 scenes, many of them scathing satire. Directed by Paul Backer. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 11-14, Scene Dock Theatre, $7.

Arthur Miller’s The American Clock

Born in 1915, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller was shaped by the Great Depression, which financially ruined his father, a small manufacturer. Ironically, The American Clock (1980), a series of Depression-era vignettes based on Studs Terkel’s Hard Times, failed in New York as well. Pressured by directors and producers who were not, as he wrote in his memoir Timebends, “sufficiently at ease with psychopolitical themes,” Miller had tinkered with the script. When a London production restored his original concept, the play was a hit. Louis Fantasia directs the USC production. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 18-21, Bing Theater, $7.

Molière’s The Learned Ladies
Will Henriette marry her true love Clitan-dre? Or, will her bluestocking mother Philaminte, leader of “the learned ladies,” succeed in forcing a marriage with the pedantic poet Trissotin? Written in 1672, Molière’s next-to-last play satirizes 17th-century social climbing and affected intellectualism, but has contemporary applications as well. This production, from a translation by poet Richard Wilbur, is directed by Alicia Grosso. (213-740-7111)
Dec. 2-5, Scene Dock Theatre, $7.

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Love’s vagaries (“the course of true love never did run smooth”) are front and center in this beloved comedy by the Bard. Allan Hendrick directs. (213-740-7111)
Jan. 27-30, Bing Theater, $7.


USC Thornton Jazz
The Vocal Jazz, Studio Vocal Jazz and Concert Vocal Jazz groups, directed by Glenn Carlos, pay homage to Billy Strayhorn. (213-740-3233)
Nov. 11, 8 p.m., Ground Zero Coffee House, free.

The 11-piece Elf Ensemble, directed by Shelly Berg, explores the relationships between acoustic and electric jazz, ethnic idioms and the art of improvisation. (213-740-3233)
Nov. 18, 8 p.m., Ground Zero Coffee House, free.

The Thornton Studio Jazz Band, directed by John Thomas, and the Thornton Con-cert Jazz Band, directed by Bruce Esko-vitz, pay tribute to the early big bands of Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. (213-740-3233)
Dec. 2, 8 p.m., Ground Zero Coffee House, free.

Members of the African Latin and Jazz Ensemble, directed by Aaron Serfaty, play their distinctive rhythms, textures and improvisations. (213-740-3233)
Dec. 9, 8 p.m., Ground Zero Coffee House, free.

Music Masters Series:
USC Faculty and Friends in Recital
Ronald Leonard – the Piatigorsky Professor of Violoncello at USC and former principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic – presents an evening of works by Cassado, Poulenc and Schnittke. (213-740-3229)
Nov. 14, 3 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $7.

The fall series finishes up with a Studio/ Jazz Guitar faculty concert: Richard Smith, Frank Potenza, Joe Diorio, Pat Kelly, Steve Trovato and David Oakes in jazz, funk and other musical stylings. (213-740-3229)
Nov. 21, 4 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $7.

USC Thornton Wind Symphony
Guest conductor Howard Yermish leads the premiere of his Dimension for horn,
percussion and winds, featuring horn soloist Andrew Pelletier; and director Douglas Lowry conducts works by Gustav Holst, Modest Mussorgsky, Norman Dello Joio, Dmitri Shostakovich and Richard Bennett. (213-740-3233)
Nov. 17, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, free.

USC Thornton Symphony
Yehuda Gilad conducts Bloch’s Shelomo, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and John Corig-liano’s Elegy for Orchestra. Featuring cellist Marek Szpakiewcz. (213-740-3233)
Nov. 19, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $10.

Hoagy Carmichael Tribute
The USC Thornton Concert Jazz Band celebrates the 100th birthday of Hoagy Carmichael – a self-taught pianist, composer, singer and actor, who wrote many of the popular songs of the big-band era, including “Georgia on My Mind” and “Stardust.” (213-740-3233)
Nov. 22, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, call for ticket price.

Oriana Choir and Men’s Chorus
The Oriana Choir, directed by David Wilson, and the Men’s Chorus, directed by Ethan Sperry, present Concierto de Navidad by Paul Csonka, O Frondens Virga by Hildegard von Bingen, How Excellent Thy Name by Howard Hanson and Holiday Motets by Ernest Krenek as well as works by Bach, Thompson, Richie and Laurid-sen. (213-740-3233)
Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $7.

USC Thornton String Chamber Ensemble
Four concerts featuring the best of the chamber music repertoire played by the best of Thornton School students. (213-740-3233)
Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, 5:30 and 8 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, free.

USC Thornton Early Music Ensemble
“Masters of the Baroque”: Opera scenes and concerti as well as vocal and instrumental chamber works by Bach, Handel and Heinrich Biber performed on the instruments and in the styles of the period. James Tyler directs. (213-740-3233)
Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $7.

USC Thornton Opera
Johann Strauss the Younger’s Die Fleder-maus (The Bat) premiered in 1874 to wide acclaim and has since rarely left the stage. A classic Viennese operetta, Die Fledermaus is set at a masked ball given by a prince. What ensues – what else at a masked ball? – is a story of mistaken identity and infidelity. (213-740-3233)
Dec. 3-5, Bing Theater, $10.
USC University Chorus
“Seasons Past and Present” – directed by Rodger Guerrero – comprises sacred and secular Christmas music from the Renais-sance to the present. (213-740-3233)
Dec. 5, 4 p.m., United University Church, free.

USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble
Frank Ticheli, director, and James Mob-berley, featured guest composer, in a concert presented in memory of William Albright. The program: Rustles of Spring and Sonata for Saxophone and Piano by Albright, Sept Couleurs by Linda Bouchard, Silhouette by Howard Yermish, and toccatas and interludes by James Mobberley. (213-740-3233)
Dec. 7, 8 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $7.

USC Thornton Classical Guitar Ensemble
Solo and ensemble music for guitar performed by outstanding majors in the Classical Guitar Department, under the direction of James Smith, William Kanen-giser, Scott Tennant and Brian Head. (213-740-3233)
Dec. 9, 8 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $7.

USC Thornton Chamber Choir and Concert Choir
Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Featuring soprano Donna Brown, tenor Rolf Romei and bass Eric Owens. (213-622-7001, ext. 215)
Dec. 10, 8 p.m., UCLA’s Royce Hall, $13-$50.

The same program as above on the other side of town. (213-622-7001, ext. 215)
Dec. 11, 8 p.m., Alex Theater, Glendale, $13-$50.

Shanghai Quartet
Formed in 1983, the Shanghai Quartet has been hailed as a chamber music leader of its generation. The concert is part of USC’s Spectrum Performing Arts and Lecture Series. (213-740-7111)
Jan. 19, 7 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $15 general, $7 seniors.

President’s Distinguished Artist Series
Pepe Romero and the USC Thornton Symphony
Classical guitartist Pepe Romero is celebrated worldwide for his interpretations and technique. The second son of “The Royal Family of Guitar,” Pepe Romero learned to play from his father, the legendary Celedonio Romero. Now a master in his own right, Pepe Romero’s contributions to classical guitar performance have inspired many composers to write pieces for him. (213-740-2167)
Feb. 11, 7 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, call for ticket price.

San Jose Taiko
Founded in 1973 by young Sansei (third-generation Japanese Americans), the company creates a contemporary repertoire of traditional Japanese, Latin, Brazilian and African rhythms, combining them with innovative lighting and staging. The concert is part of USC’s Spectrum Performing Arts and Lecture Series. (213-740-7111)
Feb. 15, 7 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $15 general, $7 seniors.


Grand Dame of USC
Take a close look at USC’s “Grand Dame” (a.k.a. Doheny Memorial Library) before she closes her bronze doors at the end of 1999 for preservation and earthquake retrofitting. The exhibit chronicles the library’s nearly 70-year history – through blueprints, photos, letters and objects. It also takes a peek at her future, with regular updates on the preservation project. Stephanie Davis is curator. Group tours can be arranged. (213-740-3183)
Through Dec., Doheny Memorial Library Treasure Room, free.

Crossing Boundaries
Four American sculptors who translate traditional genres into new hybrid forms are the focus of this exhibit. Einar and James de la Torre work independently and collaboratively to create mixed media sculptures of hot glass and found materials. Ex-aerospace engineer Steve La Ponsie evokes the pop street scene of Tijuana and downtown Los Angeles with his Wonder Boxes. And Ronald Gonzalez fashions sculptural rag and bone installations. Max F. Schulz is curator. (213-740-4561)
Nov. 17 through Feb. 12, USC Fisher Gallery, free.

Art in Motion
An international festival of time-based media, sponsored by the USC School of Fine Arts, with submissions ranging from 30-second CGI, animated shorts and Web sites to feature-length movies and – according to organizers Jim Keller and Janet Owen – “hybrids that slip between these definitions.” Fine arts dean Ruth Weisberg describes the festival as “catering to the new breed of garage film and video makers, Web jockeys and cross-over media artists.” (213-740-ARTS)
Jan. 28. For details, call or visit the School of Fine Arts Web site (


Evelyn Fox Keller
Author of Refiguring Life: Metaphors of Twentieth-Century Biology and A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock (1983 recipient of the Nobel prize for medicine), Evelyn Fox Keller is a feminist historian and a philosopher of science. She comes to USC for a talk on her recent work. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 9, 7 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $15 general, $7 seniors.

Robert Bellah
UC Berkeley sociologist Robert Bellah has long studied Middle Eastern, Japanese, Korean and American cultures. His books include Beyond Belief: Essays on Religion in a Post-Traditional World; Tokugawa Religion: The Values of Pre-Industrial Japan; and Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. His lecture is co-sponsored by USC Spectrum and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. (213-740-7111)
Jan. 25, 7 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $15 general, $7 seniors.


The Anthology of Dance From 1900-1999
Directed by Margo Apostolos, this semiannual showcase of student and faculty choreography explores dance in this century. (213-740-7111)
Dec. 10, 7 p.m., Bing Theater, $7.

November -
February 2000


President’s Distinguished Artist Series Presents
Poet Robert Pinsky

Is poetry a rarified art, antithetical to technology and destined to die in this age of computers? The answer is “no” on all counts, according to Robert Pinsky, 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, now serving an unprecedented third term.
Pinsky’s experience as poetry editor of the online journal Slate suggests that poems are alive and well in cyberspace. Neither is poetry locked up in the ivory tower. His new verse translation of Dante’s Inferno is a bestseller, and his Favorite Poem Project has demonstrated just how widely beloved the art form is. Begun in 1997 with the modest goal of recording a hundred Ameri-cans (specifically non-poets) reading and commenting on their favorite poems, the project has grown to include more than a thousand voices from all walks of life. Once archived in the Library of Congress, the Favorite Poem Project will give future generations an intimate glimpse of our society at the turn of the millennium.
Pinsky’s own verse combines the prosaic with the mythic. Literary critic Hugh Kenner has described Pinksy’s poetic goal as “nothing less than the recovery for language of a whole domain of mute and familiar experience.” (213-740-2167)
Jan. 20, 7 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, call for admission..

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