Classical chamber music, Santa, Kinky Boots and more this week

Harold DuckettArts 865

This is a busy week for the Knoxville Symphony, with the Q series concert at the Square Room, Wednesday, Dec. 13, at noon; four Clayton Holiday Concerts at the Civic Auditorium, Friday-Sunday, Dec. 15-17; and the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra concert Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m., at the Farragut Presbyterian Church 209 Jamestowne Blvd. in Farragut.


Two new theater pieces about perseverance and family open this week, in addition to the plays that have been running: “A Christmas Carol,” at Clarence Brown; “The Big F.A.T. Holiday Cabaret,” at the Flying Anvil Theatre; “Christmas Belles,” at Theatre Knoxville Downton; “Sister Act,” at the Oak Ridge Playhouse; and the Rive and Rail Theatre Company’s production of “The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby,” at The Green Room at the Jackson Avenue Terminal in the Old City.

The national touring company of “Kinky Boots” opens its run of three evening and two afternoon shows at the Tennessee Theatre, Friday, Dec. 15. “Kinky Boots” isn’t exactly a holiday play, but its themes of helping certainly fit the spirit of the season. The play won a slew of awards on Broadway. Cyndi Lauper’s score has been described as “love and heat-seeking.”

Photo of the Broadway production of Kinky Boots

It’s based on the true story of the struggling WJ Brooks shoe company in Northampton, England, where many of the UK’s shoe manufacturers used to thrive before cheaper imports killed their businesses. WJ Brooks was no exception.

Its survival came from an unusual source: a fetish shoe shop in Folkstone, which catered to the nation’s community of crossdressers and drag queens. Folkstone called asking if WJ Brooks would and could make thigh-high, high-heeled boots big enough and sturdy enough for its customers of all sizes of men. WJ Brooks created a new line of footwear called Divine Footwear. The creation process involved the interaction and eventual bonds of friendships between two communities who normally would not have mixed, the conservative Northampton community of traditional shoe-makers and the more flamboyant drag-queen entertainers.

Scene from the WordPlayers’ A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas

Also opening on Friday, Dec. 15, at Pellissippi State, is The WordPlayers’ production of “A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas,” a play, with music, written by Laurie Brooks, that is based on the “Little House on the Prairie” books and the events that occurred to the Ingalls family. It’s also a story about perseverance and family. Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 7:30, and Saturday, Dec. 16, and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 p.m.

Bassoonist Aaron Apaza and clarinetist Gary Sperl of the KSO Woodwind Quintet

At the Q Series concert, the KSO’s Woodwind Quintet will perform young American composer Adam Schoenberg’s “Winder Music,” written in 2012 as a balance to Samuel Barber’s much-admired quintet work, “Summer Music.”
Schoenberg, no relation to the great Arnold Schoenberg, through his music, is setting himself up to join the line of true-American composers that began with Charles Ives and includes George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein.

Edward Pulgar, who plays 2nd violin in the KSO Principal Quartet

The KSO Principal String Quartet: Gordan Tsai and Edward Pulgar, violins; Kathryn Gawne, viola; and Andy Bryanton, cello, will play Arcangelo Corelli’s “Concerto grosso in G Minor,” Op. 6, No. 8, commonly known as the “Christmas Concerto.” Published posthumously in 1714 it is part of a larger set of 12 concerto grossi. Normally played by a string orchestra, its beautiful, delicate character is perfectly suited for string quartet.

In addition to these classical works, the two KSO chamber ensembles will also play short seasonal pieces familiar to everyone.

Friday evening at the Civic Auditorium the Knoxville Symphony will be joined by GO! Contemporary Dance Works; Knoxville native, actor and singer Alex Ward; Knoxville Choral Society, Knoxville Handbell Festival Ringers; and the Farragut High School Ensemble.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is a range of ticket prices, with discounts for groups of 10 or more. Info: 865-521-2337.

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