Tuesday, October 1, 2019

KEAN STAGE Presents ARTrageous at Kean University's Wilkins Theatre on October 20 & 21


WHEN: Sunday, October 20, 3 p.m. and a special performance  on Monday, October 21, at 10:30 a.m. for school-time audiences.
: Wilkins Theatre, Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave., Union
TICKETS: $15-$35 and can be purchased at the Kean Stage Box Office in Wilkins Theatre, 1000 Morris Ave., Union, by phone at (908) 737-7469 or online at www.keanstage.com.

Imagine an artist creating a masterpiece in front of your eyes within minutes! This one-of-a-kind interactive art and music experience has artists painting at lightning speed, and racing to finish a portrait before the song ends. With more than 3,000 shows performed around the world, it’s no wonder CBS raved, “Go see this show!”
ARTrageous was formed in the 1980s by a group of performers with roots in children’s theater and street performance. The shows are a mix of fine art, live music, singing, dancing, puppetry, humor and audience participation. Lauri Francis, a painter, singer and dancer, one of the troupe’s founding members, said, “We’ve all had entertainment woven through our lives since we were kids.”

The group built a children’s theater in their native New Mexico, but when it burned to the ground, they decided to take their show on the road.

“We started a band and it eventually morphed into ARTrageous,” she said. “We brought everything we had learned onto one stage and invited audiences to participate. They sing along and dance in the aisles, and we even invite people up with us. It’s fun to see the audience come alive on stage.”

As all this action unfolds, the band plays a song while an artist vies to complete a portrait of a well-known person or a famous work of art. They use brushes, sponges or even their hands to create the oversized paintings.

“We have about six and a half minutes to complete a painting,” said Francis. “It’s a lot of fun!”

ARTrageous has opened for Jay Leno, Kenny Rogers, the Pointer Sisters and KC & the Sunshine Band. They even performed on Sir Richard Branson’s private island for his daughter’s birthday party. “Performing at the World Cup soccer finals in Paris was crazy,” said Francis. “It was really a highlight for us.”

Before the show, the ARTrageous members will greet the audience and host activities in the theater’s lobby. At the end of the performance, they host a splatter station, where audience members can bring an item or article of clothing to be splattered with paint. Francis said people have brought aprons, shoes, hats, backpacks, baby clothes, a tutu and even a doily.

“They walk away with an original ARTrageous piece of art,” she said. “It’s a really joyful experience for the whole family.”