Celebrate the Life of Velma Morrison on Sept. 22

VelmaMorrison620x320Join in a celebration of Velma Morrison’s life at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. The event will honor Morrison for her support of the community and contribution to the arts, writes Kathleen Tuck of Boise State University.

The program will include guest speakers and a free concert by Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (“Kiss Me Kate,” “Man of La Mancha”) accompanied by the Boise Philharmonic under the direction of Robert Franz. Outside of select seating held for the family and speakers, seating will be open to the public and is on a first-come, first-served basis. No ticket is required. Parking is free. The community is encouraged to attend.

“The Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts is the perfect location to celebrate Velma’s life,” said James Patrick, executive director of the Morrison Center. “It is the realization of her dream to build a world-class theatre in Idaho. This tribute brings the very best that Broadway has to offer to Idaho and its citizens, while also celebrating some of our very talented local artists. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to her amazing life.”

BrianMitchellDubbed “The Last Leading Man” by the New York Times, Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls.

His musical versatility has kept him in demand by some of the country’s finest conductors and orchestras. He has performed selections from “Porgy and Bess” with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall; performed works by Aaron Copland and various contemporary composers at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic under the batons of Leonard Slatkin and John Mauceri; sung Broadway tunes at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. under the direction of Marvin Hamlisch (most recently at the National Symphony Orchestra’s 75th season pops concert debut), and jazz and standards with Maestro John Williams at Disney Hall and with the Boston Pops. He recently debuted Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Del Tredici’s “Rip Van Winkle” with the National Symphony Orchestra. He has been invited to the White House and has performed for Presidents Clinton and Obama.

His Broadway career includes performances in “Man of La Mancha” (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award); “Kiss Me Kate” (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); “Ragtime” (Tony nomination); August Wilson’s “King Hedley II” (Tony nomination); “Kiss of the Spider Woman”; “Jelly’s Last Jam”; David Merrick’s “Oh, Kay!” and “Mail,” which earned him a Theatre World award for Outstanding Broadway Debut.

He continues to perform as both a soloist and a guest star at concerts all over the United States. In December 2008 he performed as the musical guest artist at “Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.” The concert was aired on PBS during Christmas 2009.