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Star power: Popejoy bringing Bernadette Peters, Lily Tomlin, Broadway shows for 51st season

The Russian National Ballet will present “Cinderella.”

The Russian National Ballet will present “Cinderella.”

Tom Popejoy had a dream to create a venue where top-notch entertainment – especially music – could be enjoyed in Albuquerque.

On Oct. 1, 1966, a concert hall opened for its first concert on the University of New Mexico campus.

Two years later, it was named Popejoy Hall, to honor the former President of UNM.

For a half century, Popejoy Hall has remained a premier facility in which to take in the arts.

And Popejoy Hall continues to up the ante when it comes to bringing arts to the community.

Comedian Lily Tomlin will take the stage as part of Popejoy Hall’s 51st season. (Courtesy of Greg Gorman)

Comedian Lily Tomlin will take the stage as part of Popejoy Hall’s 51st season. (Courtesy of Greg Gorman)

The 51st season will include names such as Lily Tomlin and Bernadette Peters, as well as Tony Award-winning “An American in Paris,” which is on its first national tour. More information can be found at popejoypresents.com.

“Our upcoming season offers an excellent mix of returning favorites and new shows coming to Popejoy for the first time,” says Tom Tkach, Director of Popejoy Hall. “Our Broadway Series, in particular, features five shows on their first stop at Popejoy. Two of them are still running in New York. … Nowhere else in New Mexico can people see the range and caliber of shows that we have for the coming season.”

Terry Davis, Popejoy marketing manager, says Popejoy Hall wouldn’t exist if Tom Popejoy hadn’t fallen in love with performing arts.

Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters has a show scheduled at Popejoy Hall in 2017.

Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters has a show scheduled at Popejoy Hall in 2017.

“This is a testament to Tom Popejoy,” Davis says. “With the new season, we’re continuing to develop what we’ve established in the last 20 years of programming. We are able to bring in big Broadway shows. That’s a positive thing.”

The Popejoy seasons have continued to grow, and Davis says that last season, Popejoy took a chance and booked The Beach Boys. It was successful.

So wanting to bring in more big names, Popejoy was able to book dates with comedian Lily Tomlin and Bernadette Peters.

“Bernadette Peters has never been on our stage before, and we’re looking forward to having her on,” he says. “She’s been doing Broadway shows since the early ’70s and is a force.”

The Popejoy Presents/Haverland Carter Broadway in New Mexico series is as follows:

  • Jan. 12-15, 2017 – “Matilda The Musical” is a four-time Tony Award winner and is based on the novel by Roald Dahl.
  • Feb. 28-March 15, 2017 – “Motown The Musical” is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul responsible for many careers.
  • May 4-7, 2017 – “The Illusionists – Live From Broadway” showcases the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth.
  • June 15-18, 2017 – “Dirty Dancing” tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in a triumphant summer of their lives.
  • Oct. 17-22, 2017 – “An American in Paris” is about about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl, and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war.

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