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Season Preview: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

October 10, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Tierney Sutton Band will perform at Kumble Theater, presented by Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. Photo courtesy of the Tierney Sutton Band
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The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College will open its 2017-18 season at the Kumble Theater in Downtown Brooklyn on Oct. 21 with eight-time Grammy-nominated jazz artist Tierney Sutton, according to a release. Praised by The New York Times as “a pure jazz spirit,” Sutton and her band will perform their 2017 Grammy Award-nominated project “The Sting Variations.” The show celebrates Sting, the British rock icon who is best known for his time as the front man and bassist of The Police.

“The Sting Variations” delivers unique arrangements of both familiar and lesser-known gems. Songs include “Driven to Tears,” “Shadows in the Rain,” “Fields of Gold,” “Every Breath You Take” and “Message in a Bottle,” the release states.

“[The Police] were part of my teenage DNA,” Sutton said in a 2016 interview with Jazz Times. “It was before I was introduced to jazz, and it was interesting to do research on Sting and learn how much jazz influence and jazz background he had.” In an interview with Billboard, she adds, “[Sting’s] autobiography is full of references to Miles and Coltrane and the Great American Song tradition,” making the choice to explore his work a natural one.  In fact, he earned the nickname “Sting” (he was born Gordon Sumner) from the black and yellow striped sweater that he wore while playing with a group called the Phoenix Jazzmen before forming The Police.

“This is an exciting and different kind of season for Brooklyn Center as we will be doing the bulk of our programming Downtown Brooklyn at the Kumble Theater at One University Plaza, LIU Brooklyn,” said Jon Yanofsky, director of the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts.

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“Our main theater here at the Brooklyn College campus, The [Walt] Whitman Theater, is closed for repairs all year so we will be doing our fall and winter seasons down at the Kumble and then be back here on the campus in the spring when our beautiful new state-of-the-art Leonard and Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts opens.”

The Brooklyn Center organized two programs at the Kumble Theater last February. “We knew we were going to be back this year, so we wanted to test-drive it. We had a really positive experience both from just our work with the facility and the venue, as well as our audience response.”

Yanofsky said that they were bringing in seven very diverse programs for a total of nine performances, starting with the Tierney Sutton Band. “Kicking off with Tierney Sutton is a real coup for us,” said Yanofsky. “She is an incredibly accomplished jazz vocalist who really brings a personal signature style and touch to everything. This project in particular was exciting for us where she takes on doing her own interpretations and arrangements of songs by pop icon Sting, and really makes them her own.”

Founded in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College offers performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities, at affordable prices.

As part of its season at Kumble Theater, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts will also present Afro-Puerto Rican group Los Pleneros de la 21 (Dec. 10, 2017), Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company (Feb. 11, 2018), Daniel Beaty’s solo theatrical tour-de-force “Emergency” (Feb.17-18, 2018), NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron (Feb. 24, 2018), Brooklyn-based jazz artist Alicia Olatuja (March 10, 2017), and Step Afrika! (April 28, 2018).

One of the unique things that Brooklyn Center also does, according to Yanofsky, is bring up to 45,000 schoolchildren from more than 300 schools to attend their SchoolTime series, one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough.

“They bring in children from local schools to enjoy performances during the day as part of a field trip to the center,” said Yanofsky. “And it’s really important to be able to introduce school children to a whole world of cultures that are not only part of the global mix but essential and integral to the landscape here in New York.”


For more information, visit for ticket prices and a complete season lineup.


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