‘Garba360,” a lively, immersive, and free community dance party featuring a high-energy live band and guided dance instruction, kicks off Portland Ovation’s 92nd season, which also includes a Congolese musical legend, Broadway’s best, and a world premiere play.
This unique event invites all to enjoy the spirited Indian Gujarati folk dances of garba and raas that commemorate wedding celebrations and the vivacious Hindu festival Navratri. All ages, abilities, and backgrounds are invited to join the excitement that’s energized communities across the country from Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing to Chicago’s Summer Dance to New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
The afternoon in Deering Oaks Park has two staggered start times, at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., with live music by Kashyap Jani and Friends. No seating is provided, so bring your own chairs and blankets. The rain date is Sept. 18 from 1-4 p.m.
Since the early age of 10, Congolese dancer-singer-songwriter Héritier Watanabe has been singing and electrifying audiences with his mix of Congolese Ndombolo, soukous, and rumba music. Captivating and charismatic, Watanabe’s high-energy dance music is backed by a full band of singers, dancers, percussionists, guitar, bass, and keyboard.
Co-presented with New England African Art & Entertainment Community Association on Sept. 30 at 8:30 at the State Theater.
After 25 years, “Chicago” is still the one musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmy-shake: A universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one show-stopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. It has six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy, and thousands of standing ovations.
Performances, which include mature content, are Oct. 7 and 8 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., at Merrill Auditorium.
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
Lauded as one of the great classical ensembles of the day, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble is recognized worldwide for its musicianship, expressiveness, and joy in performing together. Based in London and named for a landmark 18th-century church, the ensemble formed in 1967 under the leadership of Sir Neville Marriner as an extension of the acclaimed Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for the express purpose of creating an ensemble to perform larger-scale chamber music by musicians who regularly play together.
Drawn from the principal players of the orchestra and play-directed by academy director and leader Tomo Keller, the Chamber Ensemble now performs in multiple configurations from wind trios to string octets. With Ovations, their all-strings program for octet on Oct. 11 at USM’s Hannaford Hall includes works by Henry Purcell, Johannes Brahms, J.S. Bach, and Felix Mendelssohn.
World premiere: ‘The Last Girl’
In collaboration with Survivor Speak USA, Ovations presents the first full-length staged reading of the late Diane “dee” Clarke’s memory play, “The Last Girl,” based in part on Clarke’s 2014 testimony on sex trafficking to the Maine Human Rights Commission.
The Last Girl tells, in three acts, Clarke’s personal story of surviving trafficking as a young child and adult. Reflecting the advocacy work for which she is best known and of which “The Last Girl” is a part, Clarke, who died unexpectedly in November 2021 at 64, was driven to bring to life the humanity of each of the many characters portrayed – traffickers as well as survivors – giving voice and hope to those trapped by poverty and racism.
This reading on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center represents a critical moment in the play’s evolution before the addition of staging, costumes, and tech.
‘Flamenco Íntimo’ with Farruquito
Farruquito (Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya) is hailed by critics and audiences alike for his prodigious artistry, incredible stage presence, profound poetry, and captivating beauty. Heir to the most renowned flamenco dynasty, Farruquito made his first international stage appearance on Broadway at the age of 4 alongside his grandfather, “El Farruco.”
Farruquito is a celebrated progenitor of this electrifying dance form, making it his life’s mission to share the purest expression of flamenco on stages all around the world while further broadening flamenco’s influence through collaboration with the most paramount film directors, conductors, and artists of our time.
Part of the “Raise the Barre” series, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Celebrate 60 years of New Orleans jazz with the revered Preservation Hall Jazz Band on their nationwide 60th-anniversary tour. The incredible intergenerational ensemble springs from New Orleans’ Preservation Hall, a humble, much-loved room dedicated to keeping the past and future of jazz alive. Nov. 1, 7 p.m., Merrill Auditorium.
A highlight of Ovations’ 2020-’21 virtual season, the Fauré Quartett returns live with a program of works composed by Gabriel Fauré, Gustav Mahler, and Johannes Brahms all specifically for piano quartet instrumentation.
Founded in 1995 and named in honor of the French composer, the Fauré Quartett quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading piano quartets and continues to perform with all four original founding members. Visionary in their approach and highly regarded for their experiments and challenges to the form, Fauré Quartett brings refreshing and new energy to chamber music. Nov. 10, 7 p.m., Hannaford Hall, USM.
The Four Phantoms
It’s the most wonderful time of the year to join The Four Phantoms for a joyous holiday concert, “Phantoms’ style,” Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium.
An extravagant celebration of the iconic music of Broadway and more, The Four Phantoms brings together four Phantoms from the Tony Award-winning “The Phantom of the Opera” for an unforgettable evening of music, entertainment, and holiday cheer: Brent Barrett, John Cudia, Franc D’Ambrosio, and Ciarán Sheehan, under the musical supervision of two-time Grammy Award-winner David Caddick and musical direction of Ryan Shirar.