O.C. hosts Hamburg Ballet, musicals

Times Staff Writer

The West Coast debut of the Hamburg Ballet, the Orange County debut of Ballet Frankfurt, the return of the Kirov Ballet and a theater lineup highlighted by touring productions of the Broadway hits “The Producers,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Urinetown” are among the offerings announced for the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s 2003-2004 season.

The International Dance Series, a major claim to prestige for the Costa Mesa center, will feature the Hamburg Ballet Feb. 11 to 15, 2004, and Ballet Frankfurt June 11 and 12, 2004. The Kirov, returning for the first time since 1992, arrives Oct. 21 to 26, following an Oct. 14-19 engagement at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood that features a different program. American Ballet Theatre (Dec. 17 to 21), Nederlands Dans Theater I (March 30 to April 4, 2004) and the Royal Ballet (July 13 to 18, 2004) round out the dance series.

The seven-show Broadway series includes five titles already announced for Los Angeles engagements. The tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar” that opened at the La Mirada Theatre last November will play Costa Mesa Sept. 2 to 7 before moving to the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills. “Starlight Express” (Dec. 23 to Jan. 4) and “Urinetown” (April 27 to May 2) also will reach Orange County before their L.A. engagements at the Wilshire and Pantages theaters, respectively. “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (July 27 to Aug. 1, 2004) stops first at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, while “The Producers,” which opens at the Pantages on May 6, will have a three-week engagement at OCPAC more than a year later (Aug. 3 to 22, 2004). Also coming are David Henry Hwang’s adaptation of “Flower Drum Song” (Sept. 30 to Oct. 5), which premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in 2001, and “Oklahoma!” (June 15 to 20, 2004), which, like “Flower Drum Song,” recently closed on Broadway.

Classical music one-nighters at the center will include pianist Leon Fleisher (Aug. 11), the Emerson String Quartet (Oct. 5), the Moscow Chamber Orchestra with pianist Carole Rosenberger (Jan. 22), and recitals by soprano Deborah Voigt (Feb. 1) and tenor Ben Heppner (March 14). Also coming are jazz singer Steve Tyrell (Nov. 1), Tony Bennett (Nov. 23) and Johnny Mathis (Dec. 6).


The center’s smaller venue, Founders Hall, will host a jazz series with nine headliners, including trumpeter Arturo Sandoval (Nov. 28 and 29); First Family of Cool, featuring the John Pizzarelli Trio (Dec. 12 and 13); and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Stars (May 7 and 8, 2004). The Founders Hall cabaret series offers seven attractions, including Susan Egan (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1), the Cy Coleman Trio (Jan. 13 to 17) and songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman (March 9 to 13).