When folks think of the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t traditional theater. Alternative theater, yes. Food, definitely – after all, the neighborhoods are home to Elizabeth’s, Pizza Delicious, Mimi’s in the Marigny, and The Joint, among other many others. But Broadway? In the Bywater? Probably not what you were thinking.
Nestled along the Mississippi River is the educational home to some of New Orleans’ most talented arts-oriented teenagers, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), a tuition-free, audition-only regional education institute that offers students intensive instruction in culinary arts, dance, media arts, music, theatre arts, visual arts, and creative writing. Alumni include Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., and Wendell Pierce. Yup. We’re talkin’ real deal artists.
Which also means NOCCA makes for some of the most incredible “off the beaten path” performances and art experiences offered in New Orleans. From student showcases to professional mentors brought in from within and outside of New Orleans’ artist community, it’s always a place to watch. And this year’s regular series, Broadway at NOCCA, is a one to not watch once, but multiple times, because this season they’ve got one of the best line-ups in you could ask for.
The performances will feature Broadway diva and two-time Tony Award winner Patty LuPone, Emmy winner and utterly hysterical Megan Mullally, five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster, and Tony Award winner Betty Buckley. This season’s Broadway at NOCCA series offers a unique opportunity to observe the best talent in the nation right in our own backyard.
The performances will present a mixture of monologues, singing and comedy, and each are offered only once or twice to the general public. While in New Orleans, the stars also spend time with local high school students at NOCCA, doing workshops, offering advice, and giving back to the next generation who intends to give their lives over to art. The season starts next week with Ms. LuPone, and continues through June 1.