You are here
June 17, 2019

The Mondavi Center staff is a diverse team with many interests, but all of us share a passion for the performing arts. As we look forward to the 2019-20 season, we'll be posting videos featuring staff members talking about the three shows they are most looking forward to seeing next season.

Below, Erin Kelley, Art Director & Senior Designer, shares her top three picks and why she chose them.

There are some generalizations about the creative free spirit that are likely true. As the Mondavi Center’s art director and designer, I am also the resident paper-sniffer, PMS swatch-buckler, introverted observer, over-thinker. The magic for me happens in the spaces of unexpected possibility. With authenticity as the base and passion as the driving force, shows that inspire me are the ones that push the boundaries of convention, change perspective and challenge the way we see.


Merce Cunningham CentennialAs a former dancer (and Modern art geek), it’s probably no surprise that at the top of my list is the Merce Cunningham Centennial. Cunningham is one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience two of his iconic works. I still talk about seeing LA Dance Project’s Winterbranch in 2013, and I can’t wait to sink deeper into the themes that Cunningham’s visionary processes reveal. What is the relationship between the human spirit and technology? Is life guided by coincidence or fate? How do we create cohesiveness out of chance and circumstance? Taking such timeless questions about the human condition and inserting art in the age of mechanical/digital reproduction into them feels more relevant now than ever. Performed by France’s National Center for Contemporary Dance (CDNC d’Angers) who are licensed to present these historical gems, we get to see them purely as Cunningham intended, taking us back in time and yet rooting us in our iPhone present. This will be one of those shows that won’t really sink in until afterwards and then you’ll wish everyone you knew had seen it just so you could download. It’ll mess with your mind (in a good way).


Musica NudaEver wanted to ride on a Vespa through the streets of Pisa with a couple of smart, supercool Italians who could show you all the neatest spots you would never find as a tourist?  This is the feeling I get when I savor the whole package of Musica Nuda. I love the juxtaposition of her ethereal and distinct voice and his rich, warm, earthy string tones. With the intimate and thoughtful moments of silence and pause, listening to their songs is like unveiling a surprise around every corner. This is a serious dose of originality and culture, and another group that I would never have known about if our programming team hadn’t brought them here. They also do a cover of Prince’s Kiss. So, of course I have to see them.


Joey AlexanderJoey Alexander. Believe the hype. When we presented him last year, I had to see it for myself. That performance will remain one of my most memorable concert experiences ever. This poised young human wearing black jeans and Converse tennies sat down at a giant piano, and from the moment his fingers touched the keys, I lost all sense of time and musical expectation. Joey is so much more than a “child prodigy.” This charming, soft-spoken teen from Bali plays with such musicality, heart and old-soul intuition that one wonders if he wasn’t chosen to channel the legends who came before him. Joey *is* jazz. It will be an evening of pure joy that will go by all too fast, and before you know it, you will one day be able to say you saw him when.