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Guide to the Performing Arts in New Orleans this Fall

Pilobolus in "Shadowland" (Photo by Beowulf Sheeha)

Fall is a magical time in New Orleans filled with food, festivals, and plenty of seasonal fun. Add a song, a dance, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and chances are, you’ll find yourself at one of these shows. From musicals straight off of Broadway to local premieres, New Orleans is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the performing arts this fall. Wicked returns, new, local musicals premiere, and fantastic dance performances are popping up all around town. Here’s a look at the great theater coming our way this season.

Allison Bailey & Talia Suskauer in the North American Tour of WICKED. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Theater

Wicked 

Saenger Theater, October 2-20

The Wicked Witch of the West returns to New Orleans with flying monkeys and Glinda in tow. This beloved musical is celebrating 15 years on Broadway, making it one of the longest running shows on the Great White Way. Audiences here can experience the magic without ever having to leave home at the Saenger Theater from October 2-20. Be sure to bring a new or gently used children’s Halloween costume to donate to ‘WEEN DREAM before the show. Tickets start at $49 *Editor’s Note: All performances from October 12-20 have been cancelled

Noises Off

Le Petit Theatre, October 4-20

A play within a play, Noises Off presents a group of actors rehearsing for a flop called Nothing’s On… and let’s just say, hilarity ensues. Catch it at Le Petit Theatre this October. Tickets start at $25

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Besthoff Sculpture Garden, October 16-November 10

The NOLA Project kicks off its 2019/2020 season with an outdoor, immersive production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans City Park. Come hear the spooky tale of Ichabod Crane and the infamous Headless Horseman just after dusk. To complete the experience, food trucks and a fully-stocked bar will have food and drink available for purchase. Tickets are $30

The Color Purple

Mahalia Jackson Theater, October 25-27

The Color Purple returns to New Orleans this October at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts for one weekend only. This musical re-imagines Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story of a young African-American woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South. Tickets start at $49 

Saints and Sinners

Dillard University, October 25-27

The Dillard University Theater Program presents Saints and Sinners for its 85th opening season debut. This nine-act vignette production will showcase 21 students in 23 roles, focused on on themes such as revenge, grief, and mortality. Saints and Sinners’ opening night will be on October 25, 2019 at the Dillard University Samuel DuBois Cook Hall Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15

Ben Levi Ross as ‘Evan Hansen’ and the Company of the First North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Dear Evan Hansen

Mahalia Jackson Theater, November 5-10

This tale of a boy and his quest to fit in gripped audiences upon its 2016 debut, and it’s finally making its way to New Orleans for the 2019/2020 Hancock Whitney Broadway in New Orleans season. Dear Evan Hansen is about a boy in high school who yearns so deeply for a connection with others that he fabricates a relationship with a deceased student to become closer to the boy’s family. Bring your tissues, as this musical will tug at your heart strings. Tickets start at $69

A Christmas Carol

Le Petit Theatre, December 6-23

Le Petit’s production of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic returns for a second year this December. A Christmas Carol is the story of Ebenzer Scrooge as he is visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future, forcing him to become a better person. This production features 20 young artists from Le Petit’s Young Conservatory Program. Tickets start at $40

Susannah Jones as Mother, Christopher Swan as The Old Man, Cal Alexander as Randy, and Colton Maurer as Ralphie In A CHRISTMAS STORY

A Christmas Story, The Musical

Saenger Theater, December 17-22

A Christmas Story, The Musical brings the 1983 film of the same name to life in a hilarious production perfect for families. Set in 1940s Indiana, a young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. The whole family will get a kick out of this musical, arriving just in time for the holidays. Tickets start at $30

Dance

Midsummer Night’s Dream

Marigny Opera House, October 4-6

Shakespeare’s classic comes to life in this imaginative production from the Marigny Opera Ballet. This full-length premiere features choreography from Derwin May Jr., danced to a commissioned score by Tucker Fuller, and accompanied by New Resonance Orchestra and Krewe de Voix Chamber Ensemble, Francis Scully, Conductor. Tickets are $45

Alesandra Doughty, Maggie Doyle, Erin Gradus, Chelsea Hoy, Sierra McNall, Sydney Niewiedzial, Aaron Wolf, Margaret Nowakowski, Marissa Wurster / Trinity Irish Dance Company

Trinity Irish Dance Company

Mahalia Jackson Theater, October 19

Dazzling audiences from around the globe, Trinity Irish Dance Company stops in New Orleans for one night only on October 19. Catch the rapid-fire rhythms of traditional Irish dance combined with contemporary American innovations at this show. Tickets start at $35

Pilobolus in “Shadowland” (Photo by Beowulf Sheeha)

Pilobolus in Shadowland

Mahalia Jackson Theater, November 22

Sit back and be taken on a journey with Pilobolus in Shadowland – The New Adventure. Using mixed media, animation, dance, and shadow theater, this charming adventure is full of visual surprises that will enchant audiences of all ages. Tickets start at $35

Christmas Dances

Marigny Opera House, December 6

Get into the holiday spirit with a performance from the Marigny Opera Ballet. This production features the works of Diogo de Lima and Kellis McSparrin Oldenburg. Tickets prices TBA

great russian nutcracker
The Saenger will host the Moscow Ballet’s performance of the Great Russian Nutcracker on Saturday, Dec. 27. (Photo: courtesy Moscow Ballet)

The Nutcracker

Various venues, December

There are various productions of The Nutcracker in the Greater New Orleans area each year. The New Orleans Ballet Association presents The Nutcracker Suite on December 8 featuring a multi-generational cast of dancers ages 6-70+. New Orleans Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker at the Orpheum Theater on December 14, 15, 21, and 22. The New Orleans School of Ballet presents The Nutcracker in New Orleans, a New Orleans-influenced presentation of the annual holiday favorite, from December 20-22 at the Contemporary Arts Center. Delta Festival Ballet presents the 38th season of The Nutcracker on December 21 and 22 with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. See Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at the Saenger Theater for two performances on December 27. Ticket prices vary  

Classical

New Orleans Civic Symphony – Concert No. 1

UNO Recital Hall, October 13

The New Orleans Civic Symphony is a group of volunteer musicians bringing a diverse orchestral experience to the community. Their first concert of the season will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F (“Pastorale”), Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with guest pianist Chris Jung, and Sibelius’s Karelia Suite. The performance will be held in UNO’s Recital Hall on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are strongly encouraged. Free

LPO: Ancient Spirits – An All Hallow’s Eve Performance

Orpheum Theater, October 31

This special Halloween Night performance from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will leave you feeling spooked. The program leads with a vivid depiction of revenge in Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, and moves quickly into despair with Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. The ending, Petrushka tells a story full of mischief, mayhem, and of ill-fated love. Tickets start at $20

The Orpheum Theater (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

LPO: Mozart Requiem

Orpheum Theater, November 21 & 23

The LPO invites you to join a spectacular journey that will explore emotions through the use of sound guided by New Orleans’ pianist and composer Courtney Bryan. In closing, the orchestra will perform Mozart’s Requiem, an unfinished work that serves as Mozart’s final masterpiece. Tickets start at $20

LPO: Baroque Christmas

Orpheum Theater, December 19

You’ll know Christmas is around the corner when you hear the sounds of S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah. Even if you’re not familiar with these pieces, this show is an annual holiday classic in New Orleans. Tickets start at $20

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