The University of Akron will be busy with spring concerts this weekend.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, the University of Akron Steel Drum Band will create the sunny sounds of the Caribbean with its 39th annual concert at E.J. Thomas Hall, featuring guest pannist Daron Roberts from Trinidad and Tobago. The performance is dedicated to the memory of pan builder and tuner Clifford Alexis, who was a friend of the steel band for nearly 40 years.

Performer Roberts, 23, is a music prodigy who began performing at age 2. By 5, he was playing the drum set for his local church and with the prominent youth steelband Golden Hands Steel Orchestra.

As a teen, Roberts was the youngest in his country to earn the Trinity Guildhall ATCL Diploma Certificate in Drum Kit Recital. His awards include the National Youth Award of Trinidad & Tobago for Music and various titles in the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival.

Roberts' percussion work can be heard on the albums “Pure Gold” and “Under the Sapodilla Tree” by Golden Hands Steel Orchestra, “Music Over Me” by gospel-jazz vocalist Kezie Peters, “Scatterbrain” by funk-fusion band Friends Fly South, and “F.A.B. 105” by his Latin-jazz trio, LAC Connection. He is a graduate assistant at Northern Illinois University, where he studies with steel pan virtuoso Liam Teague.

Cost for the concert is $22 general admission, $20 for senior citizens and UA faculty/staff or $11 for students. Call 330-253-2488 or see www.uaevents.com.

On Thursday and Friday, the University of Akron Dance Company will present its Spring 2019 Dance Concert, at 7:30 p.m. each night, at E.J. Thomas Hall. The concert will feature new choreography by five faculty members, students and guest artists.

They are faculty members Nick Carlisle and Robin Prichard, student choreographer Dominique Patton and guest choreographers Robert Wesner and Catherine Meredith. Carlisle's "Gravity" is an explorative duet based on his early collaborations with Tom Evert, former director of Tom Evert Dance Company. Prichard will premiere two works — "Shhh ... he" and "Trigger Warning."

Wesner, artistic director for Neos Dance Theatre, will have his work "Mourning Time," which premiered last summer at the Heinz Poll Dance Festival, performed. Meredith's work, "Five," incorporates music by Ryuichi Sakamoto Bach. Finally, student Patton's dance "Her" will be presented.

Cost is $14 general admission, $12 for seniors, alumni, faculty and staff, and $5 for students. Call 330-253-2488 or see www.uakron.edu/ej/events.

 

'Anne Frank' at Weathervane

Weathervane Playhouse is presenting Wendy Kesselman's 1997 adaptation of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett's stage play "The Diary of Anne Frank" through April 20 as part of its Emerging Artists Series. The classic drama stars Alaina Tennant as Anne, the remarkably hopeful girl who, with seven others, spent two years in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. She captured in her diary the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence.

"Despite the constant discrimination and torment Anne Frank, her family and the Jewish community faced, their hope and resiliency touched me as an African American,'' said director Terrence Spivey, former artistic director at Karamu House. "The parallels between both communities speak volumes."

Cost is $13-$16. Call 330-836-2626 or see www.weathervaneplayhouse.com.

 

Verb stages 'Mowgli'

Children's Concert Society will present Verb Ballets' new story ballet "Mowgli's Jungle Adventures" in four performances Wednesday and April 18 at E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St., University of Akron. The work, choreographed by Associate Artistic Director Richard Dickinson, integrates a blend of dance styles with ballet to tell the wild adventures of man-cub Mowgli, who was raised by wolves.

The 45-minute story will include special appearances by traditional Indian dancers at Cleveland's Kalaa Mandir — Center for Indian Performing Arts, who will portray python Kaa and elephant Hathi. Josie Wolfenbarger also will make a special guest appearance with A Special Wish. Costumes for the premiere are by Janet Bolick and lighting design by Ben Gantose.

Morning performances are for students only, but 12:30 p.m. performances each day are open to the public. Cost is $5. For reservations, see https://bit.ly/2Tz0rkE.

 

'Superman' in concert

Who knew that the Man of Steel sings? Kent State University's School of Theatre and Dance and the Musical Theatre Project of Cleveland will present an in-concert production of the 1966 musical "It's a Bird … It's a Plane … It's Superman" at 2 p.m. Sunday at KSU's E Turner Stump Theatre, 1325 Theater Drive, and 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts, 2008 W. 30th St., Cleveland.

Charles Strouse wrote the music and Lee Adams the lyrics for the score for the Broadway show, originally directed by Harold Prince. Tickets for the Kent show are $14-$18. Call 330-672-2787 or see https://bit.ly/2InN5Wo.   

For Breen Center tickets, which cost $30-$38, see www.musicaltheaterproject.org or call 800-838-3006.

 

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or kclawson@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or www.facebook.com/kclawsonabj.