UApresents kicks off its 2014-15 season on Oct. 25 with comedian and former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno.
Leno headlines a season of artists that includes Tony Award-winning Broadway singer and actress Audra McDonald on March 15, Mannheim Steamroller on Dec. 27, and jazz songstress Dianne Reeves on Jan. 18.
Most of the performances are at Centennial Hall and Crowder Hall on the University of Arizona campus, and several are in downtown venues.
New this year is an outdoor performance at the Tucson Jewish Community Center: Jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen will perform in the Sculpture Garden on March 22.
“I think we’re having great fun using these new venues around town,” said UApresents Executive Director Chuck Tennis, who has the bulk of the 2014-15 jazz series at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.
“The first time I did it I worried that our audience would not want to park downtown. But our audience loves Jazz at the Fox,” he said.
Other downtown venues for the season are Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.; and the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.
In addition to Reeves, the Jazz at the Fox series includes The Hot Sardines on Jan. 23 and Ladies Sing the Blues on April 18.
McDonald also will perform at the Fox as part of the American Songbook series, which includes Ted Sperling heading up “A Sondheim Evening” on Dec. 5 at Crowder Hall and Suzanne Vega on Feb. 22 at the Fox.
The dance series includes shows at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre on campus starting with UA Dance’s annual “Premium Blend” showcase Oct. 23-Nov. 2. Also coming: Jessica Lang Dance, Nov. 11-13; and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, March 24-26. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns for a show April 12 at Centennial Hall.
“The newer, smaller companies feel lost (in Centennial Hall), so instead of doing one show in Centennial they will do three performances in Stevie Eller,” Tennis said. “That’s going to show off those two companies just beautifully.”
Here’s the rest of the season:
Classical: Moscow State Symphony with cellos Joshua Roman, Oct. 31, and pianist Murray Perahia, March 10. Both perform in Centennial Hall.
Classical at Crowder: Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, Jan. 29 (part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival); A Far Cry string ensemble, Feb. 5.; and violinist Ray Chen, Feb. 11.
Classical at Club Congress: Richter Uzar Duo, March 12 and 13.
World music: DakhaBrakha, folk from Ukraine, Dec. 5 at Rialto; Cuban pop band Pedrito Martinez, Dec. 11-13 at Club Congress; Kodo Japanese drummers, Feb. 8 at Centennial Hall; and Spanish Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Feb. 13 at Centennial Hall.
Classical theater: Aquila Theatre presents Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Nov. 20-21; Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights,” Nov. 22-23, both at Pima Community College Proscenium Theatre.
Family: Zoppe Family Circus, Jan. 9-18. Location is to be announced.
Cirque: “Sequence 8” by Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Feb. 15 at Centennial Hall.
Spotlight speakers: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, Oct. 26; Alec Baldwin, Nov. 15, at Centennial Hall.