What’s next for the 2015-16 Performing Arts Series lineup

Bill Maher, from HBO’s Real Time, comes to Ames at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Stephens Auditorium.

Melissa Garrett

The 2015-16 Performing Arts Series at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium will offer 15 unique and entertaining performances, including Broadway shows, orchestras, comedy, family shows and more. 

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise specified.

Wed., Sept. 30 – Last Comic Standing

As America’s most compelling TV comedy competition, audiences will get to enjoy Emmy-nominated comics and the world’s funniest comedians in a night filled with laughter and gut-wrenching comedy. Season nine of “Last Comic Standing” premiered July 22 on NBC, but Ames audiences can check out the finalists, who will perform live on the Stephens Auditorium stage.

Sun., Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. – 42nd Street

This Tony award-winning Broadway musical features dewy-eyed dancer Peggy Sawyer, who packs her bags for New York City for her big break. In a twist of fate, Peggy becomes a star in this Broadway musical comedy. With the title song, “42nd Street,” this musical showcases some of the most famous Broadway song and dance numbers written about Manhattan. 

Thurs., Oct. 8 – The Chamber Orchestra Kremlin

Critically acclaimed as one of the finest string ensembles in Russia, Maestro Misha Rachlevsky initiates her young players to perform with heightened emotion, vibrant musical excellence and brilliant intonation. Rachlevsky blends the incomparable historical character with the present-day influences of Russia’s musical talent.

Sun., Oct. 18 – The Hot Sardines

Known for their distinctive musical magic, The Hot Sardines fuse influences from New York, Paris and New Orleans from the Prohibition era through the Great Depression, World War II and beyond to create their electrifying sound. Bridging generations with vibrant performances, the band captivates modern audiences with their unique jazz sound.

Thurs., Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. – Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

This international hit musical puts a new twist on Disney’s classic tale of Belle, a young and intelligent girl, and Beast, a prince trapped by an enchantress’ spell. By learning to love and be loved, the Beast can return to his former human frame, but time is ticking away and his impending doom is evident unless he can break the spell. Experiencing the magic of Disney on stage makes for an enchanting “tale as old as time” that will sweep audiences off their feet.

Sat., Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. – Bill Maher

For more than three decades, Bill Maher has broken the boundaries of political humor by stretching the limits with hard-hitting, side-splitting comedy. Currently the host of HBO’s “Real Time,” Maher is a 26-time Emmy Award nominee and annually performs more than 60 shows in Las Vegas and sold-out theaters across the country.

Sun., Nov. 8 – The Fab Four                       

Throwing it back to Ed Sullivan Theater in 1964, this incredible show makes a tribute to The Beatles in an Emmy-winning rendition of Beatles classic hits. With three costume changes, the group represents every era of the Beatles’ multi-faceted career for a tribute performance Beatles’ fans will want to experience.

Thurs., Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Based on the beloved 1964 stop-motion animated special, this faithful adaptation of the wonderful holiday tradition that tells a tale of misfit toys, flying reindeer and Santa in a holly-jolly adventure. Rudolph is joined by all of his friends, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster, also known as “the Bumble,” as this story for audiences of all ages comes to life on stage.

Fri., Jan. 22 – The Moscow Festival Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

From storybook to stage, the Moscow Festival Ballet brings the mesmerizing tale of Sleeping Beauty to the stage, as the show comes with good and evil fairies, a prince and princess and magical stage effects. Set to Tchaikovsky’s remarkable score, the show is a perfect fit for the entire family.

Thurs., Feb. 11 – Celtic Nights

This cultural journey through the folklore and history of Ireland features Celtic music, costumes and imagery in a show that evokes a music journey about people leaving home and sharing their legacy with pride and passion.

Thurs., Feb. 18 – Ragtime

From the team that brought audiences “Rock of Ages,” “The Addams Family,” “Spamalot and “The Color Purple,” Ragtime tells the story of an upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician. United by the desire for and belief in a brighter future, the play features a Tony Award-winning score and is set at the dawn of a new century in New York when change is everywhere and anything is possible.

Tues., March 1 – The Polish Philharmonic Orchestra

Performing an all-Beethoven program, the Polish Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Boguslaw Dawidow and will feature the exhilarating “Egmont Overture,” followed by “Piano Concerto No. 5,” “The Emperor,” with Marcin Koziak as soloist. The show concludes with one of the best-known and most frequently played compositions in classic music: Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony.”

Thurs., March 3 – Bullets Over Broadway

Written by Woody Allen, this hilarious musical comedy about the making of a Broadway show tells the story of a young playwright struggling to secure financial backing for his next show. He accepts an offer he cannot refuse from a mobster looking to please his showgirl paramour. Filled with unique characters, big laughs and familiar songs from the roaring ’20s, Bullets Over Broadway brings musical comedy to the stage.

Tues., April 5 – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Revealing the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s exciting family musical stays true to the 1968 hit with this new production. With subtle updates for a modern audience, Rice and Webber’s production tells the heart-warming story of Joseph and his 11 brothers, while the many-colored coat is magical and memorable.

Tues., April 19 to Wed., April 20 – Blue Man Group

Wrapping up the series, the world-famous Blue Man Group brings a phenomenal and truly outrageous show to audiences of all ages. Combining music, comedy and multimedia theatrics, this sensational group creates an unforgettable performance.

For more information and for video and audio previews of the shows, visit the Iowa State Center website.