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LPAC to close season with top acts in music, comedy and classic theater

Something for all ages this spring

Merdies Hayes | 2/28/2014, midnight

From child prodigies to literary masterpieces, the Lancaster Performing Arts Center will close its 2013-14 season with some of the entertainment industry’s most popular and surprising acts.

First up on March 11 is 13-year-old piano sensation Umi Garrett. At the age of nine, Garrett wowed American viewers with a virtuoso performance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and has since been in demand worldwide. In 2012 she became the youngest person to perform at the International Piano Stars Festival in Latvia. That year, she won the Osaka and the Chopin International music competitions. In 2011, Garrett performed at Italy’s Assisi nel Mondo Festival as well the Kizuna Concert Series in Tohoku, Japan, a special engagement to benefit the victims of the 2011 tsunami. She completed four dates in Tohoku last year.

During her still brief professional career, Garrett has performed in the Netherlands, Poland, Germany and in Panama. She made her Chinese debut in 2010 with the Wuhan Symphony Orchestra and, a year earlier, captivated audiences at the Vianden Musical Festival in Luxembourg. In 2009 she also performed with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, and made her orchestral debut with the Desert Symphony in Palm Desert.

—Ray Bradbury’s powerful 1953 sci-fi masterpiece, Fahrenheit 451, will be performed March 14 by the British-American touring troupe Aquila Theatre. The story is a visionary parable of a dystopic society gone wrong in a strange, future world where books have been outlawed and attainment of knowledge is discouraged. Bradbury wrote most of the novel on a public typewriter at Los Angeles Central Library.

Fireman Guy Montag is the principal character who is charged with uncovering and burning books as well as the homes of dissenters. But when his young neighbor, Clarisse, causes him to recognize how empty his life is, Montag starts to question his beliefs as well as the confines of authority, and slowly begins a process of self affirmation. Fahrenheit 451 questions the impacts of technology on literature and society; some of these issues are more relevant today than they were 61 years ago.

The novel has always been considered a commentary on censorship and restrictions of freedoms and has frequently been banned in some school districts nationwide. Bradbury said years ago that the novel was an outgrowth and commentary on the “Red Scare” during the McCarthy era of the early 1950s. Memorable characters include Montag’s boss, “Captain Beatty,” the ex-English professor “Faber,” and , representing the anti-intellectuals of the day, “Mrs. Ann Bowles” and Mrs. Clara Phelps.” The curtain rises at 8 p.m.

—Molly Ringwald and her Quartet will perform at 8 p.m. on March 15. Movie fans will remember red-haired Ringwald from the popular 1980s films by the late director John Hughes: “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty In Pink” and “Sixteen Candles” all about teenage angst. What Ringwald didn’t display to audiences back then was an outstanding singing voice and musical aptitude. She was reared within a musical family as her father, Robert Scott “Bob” Ringwald, is a Jazz pianist who happens to be blind. She learned the “American song book” of Jazz and Pop classics at an early age. “There was nobody really in my generation that sang the kind of music that I sang, and I realize it gave me this backbone,” Ringwald said. “But my tastes in Jazz tend to be a lot more modern than my father’s. He is of the traditional era, but he gave me an incredible education that a lot of my generation do not have.”