Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Actor Courtney B. Vance and American Repertory Theater director Diane Paulus will combine forces Friday for their alma mater’s Celebration of Harvard Artists.

Harvard’s annual Arts First festival runs Thursday through April 30, including a fair with 100-plus free performances in 11 locations, Make Art stations and a Friday celebrity-studded Celebration of Harvard Artists.

The Friday evening of dance, music, drama and film is directed by Harvard’s resident celebrity – American Repertory Theater leader Diane Paulus, herself a 1988 graduate of the school.

Paulus has a lot of talent to work with. The cast for the show includes Emmy-winning actor Courtney B. Vance ’82 (who recently portrayed Johnnie Cochran in “The People v. O.J. Simpson”); Academy Award-nominated composer Nick Britell ’03 (who did the score for Best Picture “Moonlight”); former New York City Ballet principal dancer Damian Woetzel ’07; television writer Alexis Wilkinson ’15 (of “Veep,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and more); and actor and vocalist Elizabeth Leimkuhler ’15 (a member of The Bats acting company at the off-Broadway Flea Theater in New York). Members of the Silk Road Ensemble (founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma ’76) and Harvard Dance Project, as well as other undergraduate performers, will also participate.

The Celebration of Harvard Artists takes place at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., near Harvard Square. It is free, but tickets must be reserved here, and only two tickets can be reserved per person.

Thursday sees John Lithgow ’67 given the 2017 Harvard Arts Medal;  Sunday brings Jazz on the Plaza.

A performance fair schedule of events is here. A map of performance spaces (all in or around Harvard Yard) is here.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.