Archived Arts & Entertainment

Must-see in Cullowhee

art frFrom blockbuster Broadway musicals to the obscure art of throat singing to politically-charged documentaries on Iranian oppression, Western Carolina University is filling the stage and screen with an impressive line-up of shows, acts and film screenings over the coming year.

Entertaining, thought-provoking and cultural enlightening, WCU has three different performance series plus a film series. Act now to get season tickets to any of the series, or clip and save the line-up for upcoming shows you won’t want to miss.



Galaxy of the Stars Series

• Brass Transit, a Chicago tribute band, Sept. 29. Filled with horns and towering vocals, the group plays the hits from the legendary rock-n-roll act.

• “Ring of Fire – The Music of Johnny Cash,” Nov. 24. Showcase touches on the life and times of the legendary country singer through music and stellar impersonations. 

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• “Smokey Joe’s Café,” Jan. 26. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller virtually invented rock ’n’ roll, and their songs provide the basis for entertainment that illuminates a golden age of American culture. 

• 1964, a musical tribute to The Beatles, Feb. 9. The group portrays the “Fab Four” with a wide selection of their material, with this specific show marking the 50th anniversary of the band’s immortal performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

• The Squirm Burpee Circus, March 2. An exhilarating, fantastical adventure of classic slapstick comedy, high-skill circus acts with a classic melodrama plot.

• The Fantasticks, April 27. Billed as “the world’s longest-running musical,” the act transcends cultural barriers with its story of love both nostalgic and universal. 

Season tickets for all six shows are $100 for adults and $25 for students and children. Single tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for WCU employees, and $5 for students and children.  All shows are at the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The Galaxy of Stars Series is presented by the WCU College of Fine and Performing Arts and with support from the WCU Friends of the Arts organization.

828.227.2479 or


Stage and Screen Mainstage Series

• “Next to Normal,” a rock musical Sept. 25-28. The book and lyrics of Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt portray the struggle of a suburban mom with depression, memory loss, worsening bipolar disorder and the effects on her family members – as well as her unsure relationships with them. Held at Hoey Auditorium.

• “Zombies on Campus! A SlaughterPocalypse,” Nov. 13-15 and Nov. 17-19. The comedic play-within-a-play tells the story of young theatre majors coming to terms with their lives, studies, lines for “Macbeth,” and the assault on their onstage refuge by the flesh-consuming undead. Held at the Bardo Arts Center.

• “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, Feb. 12-16. The “modern tragedy” reveals the love, deceptions — and self-deceptions — that lead a woman with few alternatives to reevaluate her own identity as a wife and mother, as well as her relationship to her husband. Held at the Hoey Auditorium.

• “Les Miserables,” April 3- 6. The play portrays policeman Javert’s relentless pursuit of main character Jean Valjean, an escaped convict who served five years for stealing bread to feed his sister’s starving family – and 14 more for an escape attempt. Held at Bardo Arts Center.

This series is directed and performed WCU faculty and students.

Season tickets for all four shows are $50 for adults, $40 for seniors and WCU employees, and $20 for students. Individual tickets for the shows range from $15-$20 for adults, $10-$15 for seniors and WCU employees, and $7 for students.

828.227.7491 or 828.227.2479 or


Arts and Cultural Events Performance Series

• “Vodoun Gods on the Slave Coast” and “The Divine River: Ceremonial Pageantry in the Sahel” screening at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24-25 at the University Center Theatre. Free.

• “Song of the Phoenix” by the Na-Ni Chen Dance Company at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2. $5 for students, $10 for all others.

• The Alash Tuvan Throat Singing Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16. Free for students, $5 for all others.

• “An Enchanted Broadway Holiday Show” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, performed by recording artist Lee Lessack, mezzo-soprano Joanne O’Brien and musical director John Boswell. $5.

• “FROGZ,” a family-friendly show by Imago Theatre with a cast that ranges from comedic amphibians to acrobatic larvae to mimes, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11. $5.

• Acclaimed Americana group The Carolina Chocolate Drops will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 3. $5 for students and $10 for all others.

• Award-winning novelist Colum McCann will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in the Coulter Building. Free.

Held at the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. or 828.227.2479.


Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers

• “How to Make Movies at Home” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, in the A.K. Hinds University Center. The film is a fictional depiction of do-it-yourself filmmakers in Maine in the process of making a movie when a Hollywood film company encroaches upon their town and their movie. Intended to be entertaining yet educational, the picture offers real lessons for aspiring filmmakers. Q&A to follow the screening.

• “Birth of the Living Dead,” Tuesday, Oct. 22. A documentary about the revolutionary filmmaking techniques used by George Romero, the impact classic horror film “Night of the Living Dead” had on the craft, and a reflection of the turbulent era in which it was created. 

• “GMO OMG,” Tuesday, Nov. 12. Director Jeremy Seifert goes around the country seeking out food that is free of GMOs, interviewing farmers and attempting to interview an executive at the Monsanto Corporation, a producer of seeds engineered to increase the yield of crops.

• “The Iran Job,” Tuesday, Feb. 4. A documentary about an American professional basketball player who joins an Iranian basketball team that ends up shedding light on women’s struggles against the oppressive Iranian regime as well as the political process.

• “Finding Hillywood,” Tuesday, March 18. A feature documentary depicting a Rwandan man’s journey to become a filmmaker and bring movies to rural areas through the use of a giant inflatable screen, shedding light on genocide in the process.

• “The New Public,” Tuesday, April 8. A documentary that explores the flaws of public education and the children that fall through the cracks. 

The tour is part of WCU’s Arts and Cultural Events Performance Series and a program of South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization. All films in the series are free and begin at 7:30 p.m. A question-and-answer session with the filmmaker will follow. Refreshments will be available. or 828.227.3751.



Monks labor at sand mandala on WCU campus

Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta will demonstrate the art of mandala sand painting and perform sacred music and dance through Sept. 13 at Western Carolina University as part of the WCU Arts and Cultural Events Performance Series.

A sand mandala will be created in the A.K. Hinds University Center Grandroom. Derived from the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, the sand mandala is considered a tool for healing the earth. Chants and music at an opening ceremony at noon on Sept. 9 will precede the drawing of an outline on a wooden platform on which lamas will lay millions of grains of different colored sand to depict geometric shapes and ancient spiritual symbols.

When complete on Sept. 13, the sand mandala will be ceremoniously dismantled at a noon closing ceremony. Multi-phonic singers from the monastery will perform “Sacred Music Sacred Dance” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for all others. or 828.227.2479 or

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