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Soraya Stories

Tony-winner Aaron Tveit and humorist David Sedaris among six new events announced

By Marie Estrada

Tony Award-winning actor Aaron Tveit and comedian David Sedaris are among the artists announced in the 23-24 Season by The Soraya this summer. Joining them are GRAMMY Award-winner Samara Joy, Disney, violinist Joshua Bell, comedic performance troupe Culture Clash, and the Pacific Jazz Orchestra in its inaugural season.

Sedaris’ return marks his sixth time performing in the Great Hall, this time tackling subjects ranging from adult braces to America’s post-pandemic “normalcy.” In past seasons the well-known humorist’s wicked sense of humor has sold out The Soraya—making audiences roar with laughter with his over-sharing, and wise insights into human nature.

Less than one year after her GRAMMY wins for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album, and just months after her Soraya debut in the 2023 Jazz at Naz Festival, Samara Joy returns to the Great Hall for a holiday special. This time performing with her talented family in what her manager calls, “a jazz/gospel” fusion.

Just a few months after her two 2023 GRAMMY wins, Samara Joy made her debut at The Soraya with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra – selling out the house in March 2023.

Samara Joy | Photo Credit: Luis Luque, Luque Photography

This year is a momentous occasion for many, especially those at the Walt Disney Company, where the 100th anniversary celebrations have begun. On Nov. 18 The Soraya guides audiences through a magical 100-year retrospective of the company’s creative legacy—complete with glimpses from behind-the-scenes pulled from the fabled ‘Disney Vault.’ The familiar favorites, from Peter Pan, Beauty & The Beast, Alice in Wonderland, and Moana will be brought to life by a live onstage orchestra led by CSUN alumnus Richard Kaufman. This evening promises to be a musical salute the company that fans of all ages will enjoy.

In 2024, Joshua Bell returns to The Soraya for his ninth appearance, leading Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Bell will be honored in a gala evening alongside the individual most responsible for The Soraya – former CSUN President Dr. Jolene Koester. Dr. Koester moved state and local leaders and philanthropists with her vision and perseverance to open The Soraya in 2011. Now, with more than four decades of service to higher education and the state of California, she returns to The Soraya to be honored.

In May, Culture Clash and the newly-established Pacific Jazz Orchestra take over—bringing satire and jazz to The Soraya’s spring events list. Culture Clash, an iconic Chicano performance troupe, proudly returns to The Soraya with an all-new show that serves up an explosive cocktail of humor and satirical outrage. This eclectic group of California natives celebrates 40 years of profoundly exploring the evolution of LatinX culture on stage and screen for four decades with this new show, May the 40th Be With You. We dare you not to laugh out loud!

For the final show of the season, Hollywood veteran Christopher Walden brings his newly formed big band, Pacific Jazz Orchestra (PJO, to join Broadway superstar and Tony winner Aaron Tveit (making his Soraya debut!).

The newly created PJO made its first public appearance in April at Hollywood’s United Recording Studio.

“It’s not a symphony orchestra, but it’s also not just a big band,” Walden told Variety in an interview before the show. “It’s a hybrid ensemble with instrumentation that allows us to explore the boundaries of jazz and create collaborations with a wide range of guest artists.”

Herb Alpert, who will launch The Soraya’s third-annual Jazz at Naz Festival with his wife, Lani Hall, in January 2024 is part of PJO’s story — as the Herb Alpert Foundation is one of the primary sponsors of the orchestra’s inaugural season.

Speaking with Variety, Alpert said the orchestra will indeed carry on the tradition of orchestral jazz, but the most important part of its existence is its work exploring “musical collaborations beyond jazz, which will appeal to a wider and more diverse audience. And this will undoubtedly entertain, inspire, and enrich our great city of Los Angeles.”

Culture Clash May the 40th Be With You

Culture Clash May the 40th Be With You

Sat May 4 | 8PM
Pacific Jazz Orchestra with Aaron Tveit

Pacific Jazz Orchestra with Aaron Tveit

Sat May 11 | 8PM

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