That’s The Whole Pointe

That’s The Whole Pointe

WAC season reaches every corner of community


When it comes time to build each new season at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, staff and organizers have to factor in so much more than artist availability, explains programming director Jennifer Ross. Are the performers artistically relevant? Are they wonderfully talented? Do they tell the right story? And, most importantly, do they speak to and are they inclusive of the Northwest Arkansas audience?

The resulting eight series — in addition to the Broadway season — bring entertainment from all over the world to Fayetteville to captivate guests of all ages. Here, Ross and some of her coworkers look excitedly toward the coming year as they break down the full 2019-20 season. Several ticket packages for individual series are available for purchase already at 443-5600 or Create-your-own subscriptions begin Aug. 6, and individual tickets for most performances go on sale Aug. 9. But keep an eye out, as Ross promises a few more shows are likely to land on the season lineup before the autumn leaves fall.

Arkansas BlueCross Blue Shield

Family Fun Series

Sept. 10-19 — Blue Man Group: “Speechless”

Dec. 22 — SoNA: “The Snowman: A Family Concert”

Feb. 25 — The Peking Acrobats

March 7, 14, 21 — Trike Theatre: “Sideways Stories From Wayside School”

“One thing that’s great about working with Trike Theatre is, not only are we able to offer those performances as part of our public offering, we also offer those for our classroom series,” Laura Goodwin, WAC vice president of learning and engagement, says of the venue’s artistic affiliate. “So, kids will be coming with their schoolmates and talking about those big life questions, or coming with their families.”

10×10 Arts Series

“This year, 10×10 as a whole, it’s a tour of the world,” Ross begins proudly. “Tiempo Libre is Cuban-based; Nobuntu is African; Theatre Re is a theater company from England; Piano Battle [comes from Germany]; Ballet Memphis is not from Arkansas; Apollo’s Fire are from Cleveland, Ohio; Socks in the Frying Pan is an Irish company; The Real Group is Swedish; and then ‘Äbhä’ is from an Indian company that’s coming. And then we have the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, which is a mishmash of [artists] from all over the world!”

Oct. 3 — Tiempo Libre

Oct. 11 — Nobuntu

Nov. 5 — Theatre Re’s “The Nature of Forgetting”

Jan. 30 — “Piano Battle”

Feb. 6 — Ballet Memphis “Contemporaryx3”

Feb. 29 — Apollo’s Fire – Baroque Orchestra “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Rediscovered”

March 5 — Socks in the Frying Pan

April 3 — The Real Group

April 21 — “Äbhä” by Parshwanath Upadhye and Punyah Dance Company

May 6 — Artosphere Festival Orchestra 10×10 Concert

West Street Live Series

“I’m curating to people who really love music and songwriting for the songwriting and for the interpretation of the music,” Ross muses on the series that’s particularly close to her heart. “What I hear a lot from the people who come to West Street Live is, ‘I’ve never heard of this person before, but now that I’ve come and heard them, I’m going to listen to them more.’ And so that crowd is there because they love music, and they’re being introduced to more and different music than they’ve heard before.”

“It’s less dependent on the genre,” adds Scott Galbraith, executive producer and vice president of programming. “Folk is certainly a significant part of it, but both the writers and the listeners of West Street Live are so keyed into the lyric. They’re really interested in the storytelling, in the personal expression. And more than a lot of contemporary music, which may be more rhythmically oriented or [about] instrumentation, this is about a human voice and the storytelling.”

Oct. 10 — Nace Brothers Acoustic

Nov. 16 — Martha Redbone

Jan. 16 — An Acoustic Set with Amy Ray, featuring Jeff Fielder & Kerry Brooks

Feb. 6 — Tab Benoit

March 21 — Bonnie Bishop

May 14 — Jayme Stone’s “Folklife”

Unilever Starrlight Jazz Club

“A big story this year, which kind of relates to the fact that jazz is coming of age — it’s not that much older than 100 years that this music has been around — is there are now these centennial celebrations of great artists,” reveals jazz curator Robert Ginsburg. “We decided to celebrate that this year because there are two iconic groups and/or individuals that would be celebrating a centennial. The first would be Nat ‘King’ Cole, who passed away some time ago, but lesser known to Nat is his younger brother. Freddy Cole is a consummate jazz pianist and vocalist, and he’s going to be doing a tribute to Nat with his quartet, which will be very cool.

“The next one is an iconic bandleader and drummer named Art Blakey,” Ginsburg goes on. “His group was sort of a finishing school for a ‘Who’s Who’ list of jazz greats. The list of people that came through his band that went on to be jazz stars is remarkable. Art Blakey would have been 100 years old this year. So there’s a group of musicians who are all alumni of his band that have put together this group to celebrate his legacy, and a lot of these people have been here before. So it’s a quintet of all-stars who all came out of the Blakey band.”

Oct. 12 — Freddy Cole Quartet “Tribute to Nat ‘King’ Cole Centennial”

Nov. 15 — Jason Marsalis Quartet

Dec. 6 — Catherine Russell

Jan. 31 — Fred Hersch Trio

March 20 — The Messenger Legacy Band “Art Blakey Centennial”

April 24 — Arun Luthra’s “Konnakol Jazz Project” with Selvaganesh

LOL @ WAC Series

“I love the way that comedy is responded to in Northwest Arkansas,” Ross says. “I think it’s a need that was there for a long time, but we weren’t getting a lot of touring acts in. I’m looking forward to [the lineup] because it’s a broad range of humor that we have in LOL this year”

Oct. 17 — Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]”

Oct. 31 — “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” Halloween Party

Nov. 3 — David Sedaris

Dec. 6 — Randy Rainbow Live

Dec. 7 — Tim Hawkins, with special guest Dustin Nickerson

“One on here that I really love is Tim Hawkins,” offers Jennifer Wilson, public relations director. “Just the opportunity to get to see a Christian comedian and singer/songwriter really would be a family night out for comedy, which is something that you just don’t always get. So, that’s a great opportunity to serve another section of our community.”

Coca-Cola Night Out Series

Oct. 29 — Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour

“A lot of our team are really excited about it,” Ross enthuses of the first show in the Night Out Series. “It’s the show live on stage; the robots will be on stage with them, the film they’re watching and commenting on is ‘No Retreat, No Surrender,’ and the creator and original host, Joel Hodgson, will be here. So it’s going to be a fun night of cheesy movie and cheesy commentary about the cheesy movie.”

Dec. 5 — The Swingles “Winter Tales”

Dec. 8 — Boston Brass “Christmas Bells are Swingin’”

Feb. 27 — Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

“‘The Trocks’ are an all-male dance company of classically trained ballet dancers who will be dancing all the parts,” Ross explains. “The male roles, the female roles, in the tutus and everything. And toe shoes.”

“It’s amazing dance and often hysterically funny. But more than that, it is brilliant execution,” Galbraith adds.

“The juxtaposition of the heavier male body dancing on toe shoes I think is something that’s just really fascinating to watch — because they can,” Ross continues. “It’s just going to be a really fun night.”

April 23 — Bollywood Boulevard

Land O’Lakes Concert Series

Dec. 17 — Robert Earl Keen “Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee,” with special guest Shinyribs

Oct. 4 — Lyle Lovett and His Acoustic Group

“Lyle keeps coming back with different groups — it’s either his big band or with John Hyatt, just the two of them — and this time it’s with his acoustic group,” Ross shares.

Jan. 10 — Jesse Cook

March 20 — Arlo Guthrie: Alice’s Restaurant Back By Popular Demand

“Arlo’s humor is such that he’s making fun of himself by still being on tour with the ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ anniversary, so the name of the tour is ‘Alice’s Restaurant: Back by Popular Demand,’” Ross says with a laugh. “It’s what made Arlo a household name, and we’re looking forward to having him back.”

Mattel Kids Series

“I think it’s so important for families to attend live performance together,” Goodwin begins of the Kids Series. “When you come to the theater and you see a drama, it gives you the opportunity to grapple with life’s biggest questions. So whether you’re 80 or 8, it’s an important way for families to communicate with one another and have those good conversations. I think it’s important to make time in our lives to do that.”

Dec. 23 — “The Polar Express”

Jan. 25, & Feb 1, 8 — Trike Theatre’s “A Year with Frog and Toad”

Feb. 8 — Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE!

April 28 — “Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure: The Mystery of the Dinosaurs of the Deep”

“They have these amazing puppets that are huge, in some cases. They really span the scale from very intimate puppets to huge whale-like puppets,” Goodwin shares. “The particular show that we’re going to see is based on underwater creatures, so it will give children and families an up-close and personal view of what these creatures looked like back in the day.”

May 1-2 — Windmill Theatre Company’s “Beep”

Non-Series Offerings

Oct. 12 — “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban” in Concert, at the Walmart AMP

Jan. 18 — Arkansas Filmmakers Showcase

“We’re really excited to work with the Fayetteville Film Festival to curate evenings of film,” Ross says of the WAC’s new artistic affiliate partnership with the festival. “With the Arkansas filmmakers evening in January, that’s where we kick off our relationship, and I’m really looking forward to exposing our patrons to more Arkansas filmmaking.”

March 6-7 — Opera Fayetteville “Glory Denied”

“A resident company essentially is one that does the bulk of their work in our buildings, on our property, in our venues,” Galbraith explains of some of the industry vernacular. New partnerships with the Fayetteville Film Festival and Opera Fayetteville, similar to WAC’s relationship with Trike Theatre, are providing opportunities for artistic growth in the coming year.

“An artistic affiliate may do work in many different places, but what they do here with us is exclusive to us.”


VoiceJam — April 3-4

Competitors from all over the country travel to Fayetteville in April for the Walton Arts Center’s original a cappella festival where the champion group wins the opportunity to attend and perform at Vocal Asia Festival, VoiceJam’s sister event, in Japan.

Mosaix — April 20-25

A new festival will debut in April that seeks to elevate the intersection of arts and the rich cultures (hence the “x”) that make up the mosaic of Northwest Arkansas. Born out of the desire to ensure every part of the community sees themselves reflected in WAC’s content, organizers consulted and collaborated with community organizations to incorporate more culturally specific programming. The inaugural Mosaix festival will celebrate the vibrant cultures of India.

Artosphere — April 28-May 15

Next year marks the beginning of the second decade of WAC’s art, music and nature festival. In celebration, the festival will see the return of a few fan favorites that organizers have heard through the years the community couldn’t get enough of.

Art of Wine — June 11-12

The premier wine tasting event in the South, and WAC’s largest annual fundraiser, celebrates its 20th year in 2020.



WAC 2019-20

Broadway Season

• Escape to Margaritaville* — Oct. 22-27

• The Play That Goes Wrong* — Nov. 12-17

• A Christmas Story: The Musical* — Dec. 10-15

• Once on This Island — Feb. 11-16, 2020

• Anastasia* — March 10-15, 2020

• Fiddler on the Roof — April 14-19, 2020

• The Band’s Visit* — May 19-23, 2020


• Blue Man Group “Speechless” — Sept. 10-19

• The Book of Mormon — July 21-26

COST — Seven-show subscription packages range from $316 to $515; Broadway subscriptions are on sale now, with single tickets coming soon.

*Arkansas premiere

Categories: 'Tis the Season