Curtains Up series

Performers in Connect2Culture's 2019-20 Curtains Up concert season include Ailey II (clockwise from upper left), David Phelps, Choir of Man and Voctave. 

A familiar tenor singer and three entertainment acts that have never visited Joplin before will be part of the third annual Curtains Up series.

First introduced by Connect2Culture in 2017, Curtains Up brings nationally touring musical groups and individual artists to Joplin. This year’s season runs from late October through early March 2020.

“We’re really excited about this season,” said Emily Frankoski, community arts director for Connect2Culture. “It feels really nice. It feels like a good mix of different types of art. We just can’t wait to see how people will enjoy these shows.”

The 2019-20 season, which was announced Tuesday, includes:

• Ailey II, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29, Joplin High School performing arts center. Based out of New York City, the junior company of legendary dance choreographer Alvin Ailey and his world-renowned dance theater — 12 dancers in all — will perform a “unique and spectacular show.”

“This is a completely new genre for the series,” Frankoski said. “Dance was something we really wanted to try because ... we’ve never brought ballet before, or dance.” The dozen Ailey II dancers “are the best of the best," she said.

• David Phelps, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, Joplin High School performing arts center. Phelps, a tenor singer whose vocal range spans more than three octaves, performed live in Joplin for the debut Curtains Up series in 2017. He’s back to showcase his "It Must Be Christmas" 2019 tour thanks to local popular demand.

“David Phelps was sold out when he was here in 2017,” said Clifford Wert, president and CFO of Connect2Culture. “We’ve already had people saying to us, ‘When (will he be here)?’”

• Voctave, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, Joplin High School performing arts center. Formed in 2015, this 11-member a capella group got its start at Disney’s Epcot Center, and will sing classic Disney songs and recognizable Broadway hits. It’s the first time a professional a capella group has performed for Curtains Up, Frankoski said.

“I know I’ll be singing along,” said Frankoski, a talented a capella singer herself. “I’m particularly excited about that."

• The Choir of Man, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Joplin Memorial Hall. Rounding out the series, this touring concert show is composed of singers from throughout the United Kingdom. It was originally inspired by an impromptu jam session inside an Irish pub. The show has since become an international hit.

“This will be very exciting,” Frankoski said. “It anyone likes participatory theater, this is definitely for them. I can just imagine an Irish pub on the Memorial Hall stage — (it’s a) perfect setting for that."

Subscription ticket sales, which offer discounted package tickets, are on sale now. Individual ticket sales will be available on Sunday, Sept. 1. All tickets are available exclusively at

“We’re still learning what the community likes, and it will continue to be an ongoing process,” Frankoski said about the Curtains Up series. The ultimate goal, she added, is trying to get the community to try new things "so they can figure out what they like."

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