Among the big names coming to The Washington Center for the Performing Arts next season are Rosanne Cash, Kenny G, Janis Joplin and Edith Piaf.
OK, it’s true that Joplin died in 1970 and Piaf in 1963, but their songs and legends live on as the subjects of two tribute shows, “A Night With Janis Joplin” and “Piaf: The Show.”
As if that weren’t enough late celebrities for one season, “Joplin” includes appearances by singers portraying some of her inspirations, including Bessie Smith and Nina Simone.
The Washington Center lineup, announced Wednesday, also includes Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band, a Beatles tribute act infused with both bluegrass and jazz. (For those keeping a count, two of the four Beatles — John Lennon and George Harrison — are no more.)
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When it comes to living celebrities, though, there aren’t quite as many as in recent seasons.
Cash is the biggest name. “We’ve been trying for two or three years to bring her in,” said Jill Barnes, the center’s executive director. “These things can take years.”
The 32nd season’s mix of genres and styles is similar to last season’s. The season — with 36 shows plus one more to be announced later — begins Oct. 5 with Irish band Gaelic Storm.
The center won’t offer summer shows, as it did last year; most of the building will be closed in July, August and part of September for repairs to the heating and air conditioning system.
One thing that will be missing next season is a big-name Broadway tour on the level of last season’s “Once.” “Joplin,” which had a brief Broadway run in late 2013 and early 2014, is as close as it gets.
Other theatrical offerings are “Blonde Poison,” a one-woman show about a fair German Jewish woman who collaborated with the Nazis, and “Disenchanted,” which got its start off Broadway.
“It’s basically the princesses gone bad,” Barnes said. “It’s a musical, and it’s fun and lighthearted and colorful.”
It’s also for grownups only.
The season doesn’t have a performance targeted specifically to children and families, though Barnes expects that several of the shows will have broad appeal.
There’s one dance performance (the New York-based Stephen Petronio Company, known for bold and frenetic dances), one country show (Cash, whose music includes other genres, too) and one holiday show (G’s).
“Kenny G’s ‘Miracles’ is the most successful Christmas album on the market,” said Billy Thomas, the center’s director of marketing and sales. “He really embodies Christmas music.”
There’s ample world music, including Cuban (Tiempo Libre), African (Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which sold out its previous appearance at the center) and, of course, Irish (Gaelic Storm).
“Irish shows have been very well-received in our community,” Barnes said.
There’s comedy, with the center again hosting a semifinal show of Seattle International Comedy Competition; the ever-popular Comedy in the Box, which sold out every show last season; and the offbeat “God Is a Scottish Drag Queen,” starring Canadian comedian Mike Delamont.
Also returning will be National Geographic speakers, silent films accompanied by organist Dennis James, and Black Box Jazz, a 21-and-older cabaret-style series with a lineup of local and regional favorites.
An addition this year is an evening inspired by the increasingly popular world of podcasts. Brian Reed, who created the recent phenomenon “S-Town,” will talk about how he developed the audio program and offer details that didn’t make it onto the air.
Barnes is excited about that show, a last-minute addition to the lineup, and about “Piaf,” featuring French singer Anne Carrere.
“I saw her at Carnegie Hall, and it sold out. It was one of those perfect moments,” Barnes said. “She gave everything to the audience — the stories, the music. I don’t speak a lick of French, and it didn’t matter because the music transcends everything.”
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ 2017-2018 season
Season tickets: Discounts are available for those who choose tickets to five or more performances. They go on sale today.
Individual tickets: Prices vary. They go on sale Aug. 16.
Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
More information: 360-753-8586 or www.washingtoncenter.org
Gaelic Storm (Oct. 5): The California band’s oeuvre includes traditional Irish tunes as well as Celtic and rock originals.
“A Night with Janis Joplin” (Oct. 12): This concert-style show combines songs and stories to illuminate the singer’s life and her musical influences.
“Piaf: The Show” (Oct. 19): The multimedia show combines French singer Edith Piaf’s songs with projections of photos and other images to illustrate her life and times.
Dala (Oct. 28): The Canadian acoustic duo is known for its harmonies and catchy, insightful original songs.
Matt Andersen and Shemekia Copeland (Nov. 1): Andersen and Copeland team up for an evening of blues.
Seattle International Comedy Competition (Nov. 16): 10 comedians will compete in a semi-final round of the nationally renowned competition.
National Geographic Live: David Guttenfelder (Nov. 17): Guttenfelder has worked as a geopolitical journalist in many countries, including India, Israel, Kenya and North Korea, where he helped to open an Associated Press bureau in 2011.
Sing-along “Annie” (Nov. 26): The center’s annual post-Thanksgiving sing-along, hosted by Lauren O’Neill, features the spunky orphan, a costume contest and more.
Kenny G (Nov. 29): The Seattle saxophonist will perform his versions of holiday favorites.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Jan. 17): The Grammy-winning South African group, known for its joyful and spiritual sound, returns to the center.
International Guitar Night (Jan. 23): This night will bring together guitarist-composers from several countries.
“Blonde Poison” (Jan. 25 and 26): This one-woman show tells the true story of Stella Goldschlag, a German Jew who collaborated with the Nazis.
Rosanne Cash (Jan. 29): The four-time Grammy winner will mine her catalog, performing blues, gospel, folk, country and rock.
“Disenchanted” (Feb. 2): This adults-only musical shows another side of fairytale princesses, who drink, do housework, etc.
National Geographic Live: Bob Poole (Feb. 9): The Emmy-winning cinematographer has documented and worked for the rebirth of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park.
Brian Reed (Feb. 10): Reed, creator of the “S-Town” podcast, will give a behind-the-scenes look into the phenomenally popular podcast.
Tiempo Libre (Feb. 21): The three-time Grammy-nominated group, based in Miami, plays the music of Cuba, where all the members were born.
“God Is a Scottish Drag Queen” (March 8): This comedy show reimagines the deity with a flowered suit and plenty of sass.
Seattle Men’s and Women’s Chorus (March 17): The two choruses, who explore both the serious and fun sides of life in the LGBTQ community, collaborate on a concert.
Stephen Petronio Company (March 29): The New York-based dance company is known for its high-energy work inspired by both modern dance and contact improv.
The Center Salon (April 13): This locally produced evening combines theater, poetry, literature, visual art and more.
Las Cafeteras (April 26): The East Los Angeles-based band combines Afro-Mexican rhythms with politically conscious lyrics and Mexican zapateado dancing.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band (May 18): This band reimagines The Beatles’ music, adding bluegrass and jazz.
Silent Movies: The series with organist Dennis James celebrates its 11th year with “The Phantom of the Opera” (Oct. 15), “Steamboat Bill Jr.” (Jan. 21) and films of Charlie Chaplin (April 15).
Black Box Jazz: The cabaret-style music series will spotlight Steve Luceno (Oct. 27), Dmitri Matheny (Jan. 19), Climate Change (March 23) and Joe Mailhot (May 11).
Comedy in the Box: The cabaret-style stand-up comedy series continues with performances Jan. 18, Feb. 22, March 22, April 12, May 10 and June 14.