Executive director Brian McCurdy is expanding programming at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre for the second year in a row with a 2015-16 season featuring an eclectic array of artists including Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love, comedian Howie Mandel, guitar great Jose Feliciano, Broadway star Colm Wilkinson and multiple Juno-winner Bruce Cockburn.
Unfortunately, McCurdy won't be around to fully see the fruit of his efforts.
McCurdy, who took the helm of the three-and-a-half year-old theatre in 2013, is retiring shortly after the new season opens Sept. 1 with a concert by 20-time Grammy winning jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.
McCurdy came to Burlington after working five years as director of culture for the city of Kingston. He had hoped to stay on for several more years, but family matters are forcing him to leave early.
"I have some personal family issues I have to deal with," said McCurdy, who turns 65 this fall. "We still have our house in Kingston and my wife has been there all along because she has a job there."
McCurdy said his job has been posted and applications are being accepted until June 26.
"The situation is good for somebody coming in and I think the word is out there that it is a really good job so I think we'll get a lot of good applicants," he said.
McCurdy can look back on the 2014-15 season as a success, expanding programming from 50 to 80 shows, increasing gross revenues by some $300,000, drawing strong audiences and increasing the involvement of community arts groups.
For the upcoming season, the total number of shows - including education programming and the "Live and Local" series - will reach over 100, McCurdy said.
Among the highlights of the upcoming season is a performance by Darlene Love, a hall of famer known for her vocal collaborations with producer Phil Spector on songs like "He's a Rebel" and "Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry." Love's career was renewed in recent years as a regular guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, singing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" 29 years in a row on the talk show host's Christmas shows.
"I saw her at B.B. King's (night club) in New York back in January," McCurdy said. "I was amazed. She's not a young lady, but she's really high energy and the voice is phenomenal."
Tickets, which go on sale to the public June 3, for the upcoming season can be purchased in series packages or individually through the centre's box office.
Entertainers Series: Jose Feliciano/Pavlo, Oct. 22; Jully Black and Jarvis Church, Oct. 30; Art of Time Ensemble Beatles Project, Nov. 4; The Celtic Tenors, Dec. 20; Bruce Cockburn, Feb. 18.
Blues and Rock Series: Lighthouse, Sept. 26; Darlene Love, Nov. 29; Classic Albums Live performs Pink Floyd, "The Wall," Feb. 6; Matt Anderson, March 4; Ruthie Foster/Harrison Kennedy, April 20.
Traditions Series: Irish Rovers, Nov. 20; John McDermott, Dec. 13; Men of the Deeps, April 13.
Dance Series: Canada's Ballet Jorgen performs "Sleeping Beauty," Oct. 2; ProArteDanza, Nov. 11; Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet performs "Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation," Feb. 4; Peggy Baker Dance Projects performs "Armour and Coalesce," Feb. 19; Hong Kong Ballet, March 8.
Family Series: "Goodnight Moon" and "The Runaway Bunny" by Mermaid Theatre, Nov. 22; "Alive in Wonderland," by Tout a Trac, Jan. 24; "Cat in the Hat" by Childsplay, Feb. 21; "Alexander Who's Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move," by Theatreworks USA, March 12.
Comedy Series: Howie Mandel, Oct. 3; Ron James, Nov. 7; Brent Butt, Jan. 30; Steven Wright, Feb. 19; Just For Laughs, April 7.
Jazz Main Stage Series: Pat Metheny Trio, Sept. 1; Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya, Oct. 23; Matt Dusk, Nov. 27; Holly Cole, April 6.
Classical Series: Emanuel Ax performs Beethoven, Dussek and Chopin, Nov. 3; Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, "Die Fledermaus," March 5; Midori, April 19; Collectif 9, May 5.
Global Beat Series: Campania Flamenca Jose Porcel, Oct. 15; Soweto Gospel Choir, Dec. 3; Jesse Cook, Dec. 12; Dakhabrakha, Jan. 29; Yamato "Bakuon," Legend of the Heartbeat, Feb. 25.
Live in Concert: Colm Wilkinson - Broadway, Christmas and Beyond. A special fundraiser to support education programs at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Nov. 14.
Cirque Special Event - "Timber!" Cirque Alfonse, Oct. 29.
Holiday Special Event - "The Nutcracker," Moscow Classical Ballet, Dec. 8 and 9.
Country Special Event - Gord Bamford, Jan. 20.
Special Event Broadway - "Saturday Night Fever," Jan. 28.
Studio 440 Singer/Songwriters Series: Danny Michel Trio, Oct. 2; Fortunate Ones, Nov. 6; David Francey, March 2; David Myles, March 12.
Studio 440 World Series: Alex Cuba, Oct. 17; The Once, Nov. 21; De Danann, March 10; Sultans of String, April 8.
Studio 440 Jazz Series: Tribute to Dave Brubeck, Remi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble, Oct. 16; Shine On, The Universe of John Lennon, Michael Occhipinti, Dec. 11; Laila Biali, Feb. 20.
Sunday Brunch Classical Series: Campbell/Afiara, Oct. 18; Crow Chiu Duo, Nov. 15; Gryphon Trio, Feb. 21
Cushion Concert Series: Markus, Oct. 3; Camping Royale (Corpus Dance), Feb. 13; Old Man and the River (Theatre Direct), March 5.
Theatre Series: "The Second Life" (Tottering Biped Theatre), Oct. 22-25, 29-31; "Ralph and Lina" (The Edge of the Woods Theatre Company), Nov. 25-29; "Air" (Tottering Biped Theatre), Jan. 14-17, 21-23; "Late Company" (Why Not Theatre), Feb. 24-28; "Proof" (Nortesur Artistic Productions), May 5-7, 12-14; "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" (Koogle Theatre Company), July 14-17, 21-24.
Matapa World Music Series: Zal Sissokho (Senegal/Montreal), Oct. 1; Ivan Mazuze (Mozambique/Norway), Nov. 19; Kasse Made Diabate (Mali), March 26; Marrabenta (Mozambique), April 27.
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Burlington Performing Arts Centre
What: 2015-16 season
When: Tickets go on sale June 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in person. By phone: noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Burlington Performing Arts Centre box office, 440 Locust St., Burlington
Box office: 905-681-6000
Credit: Graham Rockingham The Hamilton Spectator
Caption: Emanuel Ax Bruce Cockburn Darlene Love Jose Feliciano Burlington Performing Arts Centre executive director Brian McCurdy is stepping down. John Rennison, The Hamilton Spectator
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