Arts Education Outreach Breaks Records

This is a record-breaking year for the Lincoln Center Arts Education and Community Outreach program! During the 2017-2018 season, we connected 4,689 students and community members with world-class professional artists at 17 different events. These included:

– Dance Company masterclasses at CSU – 120 students and community members

– Classical Convergence Music Performance masterclasses at CSU – 217 students and faculty

– Music masterclasses at PSD middle and high schools – 73 students and teachers

– Elementary and Middle school field trips to Lincoln Center presentations – 3,204 students and teachers

– PostSecret: The Show Mental Health Awareness Week – 1,075 community members

Some of our favorite moments included an improvised jam session between legendary blues musicians Bobby Rush and William Bell with high school students at Polaris Expeditionary School on October 27, 2017. These Grammy-Award winning musicians were on tour with the multimedia presentation of Take Me to the River and stopped into the school the morning after their performance at the Lincoln Center. They spent time sharing their wisdom, humor, and legacy of stories with more than 30 students and graciously extended the visit time to play instruments and sing with the school’s rock band.

Another outreach highlight occurred on February 12, 2018, when more than 1,000 3rd grade students from area elementary schools filed into the Lincoln Center Performance Hall for Bill Blagg’s special presentation of The Science of Magic. More an educational presentation than a traditional magic show, Bill Blagg shared some of the physics and chemistry behind preparing and performing illusions of magic — he still awed every student by making one of their teachers “float” in mid-air. (Click here to watch a video of the kids begging Bill Blagg to pick their teacher.

Finally, our PostSecret: The Show outreach efforts in February 2018 offered four-panel discussions along with a Mental Health Awareness Fair on the Friday before the performance. The entire week’s events provided more than 1,000 attendees with resources from a dozen organizations supporting mental health in our community.  

There are so many meaningful, touching, and educational moments that happen during our Arts Education and Community Outreach programs. There is magic in connecting highly accomplished performers with students of all ages. From the intense, individual attention of the master teacher in the dance studio to the astonished faces of students seeing the Lincoln Center Performance Hall for the very first time, we are so pleased and proud to have a strong and ever-growing outreach program here at the Lincoln Center.

You can help us continue our education and outreach efforts by supporting the Lincoln Center Support League with your time, talent, or treasure. Their next fundraising event is April 18 from 4p.m. to 9 p.m. at CopperMuse Distillery, where 15% of sales that evening will be donated to the Lincoln Center Support League.

For more information about the Lincoln Center Support League and the programs they sponsor, visit their website here or email them at

Kids Write the Darndest Things

Recently 3rd grade Poudre School District elementary students were treated to a special free performance of Bill Blagg The Science of Magic courtesy of the Lincoln Center Support League. The show was packed with mind-blowing illusions which Blagg used to give the students to a rare behind-the-scenes look at how magicians use science to create magic.

We thought we’d share a few of the notes that the students wrote to Bill Blagg thanking him for the great show… prepare to grin your face off.


Thank you notes from PUSD students

I think it’s safe to say, these kids loved the show! Here at the Lincoln Center we love being a part of these “edu-tainment”” opportunities and together with the Lincoln Center Support League we strive to provide the children of our community enrichment through art that radiates beyond the stage.

Branford Marsalis and All That Jazz

In a family with five critically acclaimed jazz instrumentalists, including his father and three of his brothers, Branford Marsalis acts as the prince of the saxophone in a clan that some would classify as jazz royalty. 

“We were a family first,” says Marsalis, clarifying that they weren’t a musical family in the sense of the Partridges or the Von Trapps. Even so, it’s hard to argue that music wasn’t a huge part of his life. Marsalis’s upbringing in New Orleans was instrumental in his appreciation for music. “We were lucky enough to grow up in a city where music was a priority,” says Marsalis, “Where playing an instrument was as cool as playing sports.” He and his brothers easily gravitated toward jazz, forming the Wynton Marsalis Quintet in college before Branford formed his own quartet in 1986. 

While the Marsalis brothers developed together musically, they eventually all grew into their own styles and pursued independent careers — and Branford started his with style. Few jazz artists can lay claim to having performed with Sting, The Grateful Dead, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie. Far fewer have been bandleaders on The Tonight Show, been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters Award, and helped to develop a community for displaced families after a hurricane.

His work as a bandleader, composer, musician and philanthropist has garnered him three Grammys, a Tony nomination, and the New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation’s 2018 “Legacy Tribute” award.

Since then, he has toured, founded the Marsalis Music label, developed The Musicians Village in New Orleans, written an original score for the Broadway production of Fences and hosted NPR’s Jazz Set.

But what makes Marsalis arguably the most respected U.S. jazz instrumentalist alive is his ability think and hear critically. When it comes to performing, Marsalis says he “found it was better to be wrong with conviction, than right with doubt,” and that is why audiences flock to hear his fearless brand of jazz. There is a fluency of thought with his work that’s constantly evolving. Marsalis believes that you have to be able to “change your mind when you’re wrong” to produce great work.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet consists of pianist Joey Calderazzo, bass guitarist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner, and together they have won two Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Their latest recording is Four MF’s Playin’ Tunes, and they have been hailed as the most innovative and forward-thinking jazz ensembles around today.

See the Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Lincoln Center April 18 at 7:30 p.m. Seats from $15.

Meet a True Cabaret Star

The Sally Bowes character in Cabaret, which Liza Minelli made famous with her showstopping performance in the 1972 film, tends to get a lot of attention. However, the real protagonist is Cliff Bradshaw, a writer who falls for not only the seductive goings-on of the Berlin underground but also for the irresistible burlesque singer Sally.

We spoke with actor Carl Pariso, who plays the role of Cliff in the nationally touring Broadway musical, to learn more about his character. “Cliff is a young American novelist, and he comes to Europe as a lot of American writers did at this time to try to find an experience to write about,” says Pariso. Cliff has already traveled to London and Paris at this point, but he chooses Berlin as his next destination because of Berlin’s notoriety for being sexually liberated and welcoming of all kinds.

While Cliff enters the story as an innocent young writer, there are parts of himself that he hasn’t explored yet that are brought to light over the course of the musical — namely his bisexuality. He has multiple encounters with men and becomes involved with Sally Bowles as he has the time of his life experiencing the raucous nightlife of the Kit Kat Club.

Pariso says that Cliff is “caught up in this whole party debauched life in Berlin, but he really starts to wake up when he realizes Berlin isn’t all this party — it’s got some pretty sinister politics.” Cliff is blindsided by the glitz of the cabaret before he comes to realize that he hasn’t been paying attention as the Third Reich rises in Germany.

Cabaret is “supposed to make people uncomfortable and make them question things they’ve never questioned before,” Pariso says. “I think that’s a good sign of a good piece of theatre, when you feel questioned or challenged. I think there’s a lot of theatre or art that doesn’t do that enough today.”

Come experience the decadent allure of the Kit Kat Club for yourself. Cabaret comes to the Lincoln Center April 19–21 at 7:30 p.m. and April 21 at 2 p.m. Seats from $20 are available here.