Rialto Center at GSU announces 2022-2023 series ‘Season of Power & Spirit’

The Martha Graham Dance Company will perform at the Rialto Center for the Arts on Feb. 5, 2023.

Combined ShapeCaption
The Martha Graham Dance Company will perform at the Rialto Center for the Arts on Feb. 5, 2023.

The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University (GSU) has announced its 2022-23 Rialto Series “Season of Power & Spirit.” This theme builds upon last year’s “Season of Mastery” to depict positive change and unity through the arts.

“Power is the ability to change people’s lives, and spirit is the thing that connects us together to want to change people’s lives,” Lee Foster, Executive Director of the Rialto Center for the Arts, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Foster said that this year’s theme brings together world-class musicians at the nexus of precision and expression to make moments of emotion feel connected. As perhaps one of the most eclectic seasons of the Rialto, Foster said this series should make viewers feel like “one people, one culture.”

“In some ways, what’s the most personal is the most general, so what we feel as individual human beings, what I feel, what you feel, we can create unity by feeling together,” she added. “So if you consider music or even tap dancing or dancing as embodying... that expression that’s coming out, that heart and that mind that’s coming out, it sort of hits us all.”

The Rialto Center, in the heart of Atlanta’s historic Fairlie-Poplar district, will kick off its season on Sept. 15 with “Traces: A Speech to African Nations,” with a theatrical performance in French with English supertitles of a work by Senegalese musician Felwine Saar. The performance will feature Étienne Minoungou, a Burkinabe actor and director who will tell the story of one man’s return to Africa. Foster said they’re working with the Consulate General of France on this production.

Combined ShapeCaption
"Traces" is a work by Senegalese musician and thinker Felwine Sarr that will open the Rialto Center's 2022-2023 season.

Credit: Véronique Vercheval

"Traces" is a work by Senegalese musician and thinker Felwine Sarr that will open the Rialto Center's 2022-2023 season.

Credit: Véronique Vercheval

Combined ShapeCaption
"Traces" is a work by Senegalese musician and thinker Felwine Sarr that will open the Rialto Center's 2022-2023 season.

Credit: Véronique Vercheval

Credit: Véronique Vercheval

“It’s a wish from an African man to his people about how they need to behave and treat each other, and it gives me goosebumps,” Foster said. “It makes me feel a little transcendent to be honest with you because I think it’s in a way a wish for the world even though he’s dealing specifically with Africa and many of its problems.”

The season will continue on Oct. 1 with vocalist Jane Monheit, a two-time Grammy nominee and runner-up of the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition who will perform beloved jazz standards and contemporary pop songs. Female a cappella group Nobuntu, from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, will round out performances for October on Oct. 15. Nobuntu is a concept meaning humility, love and purpose, according to Foster.

Ten-time Grammy Award winner and Cuban-American jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will give a performance in November followed by the 25th annual Gala Holiday Concert presented by the GSU School of Music.

In 2023, seven-time Grammy winners and former members of The 5th Dimension, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., will take to the stage in January. Come February, performances will be given by the Martha Graham Dance Company — founded in 1926 and performing two pieces originally choreographed by Graham herself — and six-time Grammy Award winner and blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples with opening act Lamont Landers Band

Combined ShapeCaption
Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples will perform at the Rialto Center for the Arts on Feb. 11, 2023.

Credit: Myriam Santos

Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of
Famer Mavis Staples will perform at the Rialto Center for the Arts on Feb. 11, 2023.

Credit: Myriam Santos

Combined ShapeCaption
Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples will perform at the Rialto Center for the Arts on Feb. 11, 2023.

Credit: Myriam Santos

Credit: Myriam Santos

Georgia’s own Johnny Mercer will be honored in a March tribute by trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden and the Georgia State Jazz Band. Two weeks later, Jazz at Lincoln Center — under the musical direction of Riley Mulherkar and featuring rising stars discovered by Wynton Marsalis — will present “Songs We Love” as an exploration of the first 50 years of jazz song.

The season will be rounded out in April with award-winning tap dance company Michelle Dorrance Dance Company, GSU School of Music Opera Theater’s presentation of the opera “Our Town,” and Jeff “Tain” Watts with the GSU Jazz Band.

“You’ve got the intro with the verbal power and spirit all the way to the power and spirit of the next generation with the GSU Jazz Band,” Foster said.

Subscriptions for the 2022-2023 season are now available, and single tickets will go on sale Aug. 24. The Rialto will continue its “Feed Your Senses” lunchtime performing arts series every third Wednesday at noon.


“Traces: A Speech to African Nations,” 7 p.m. Sept. 15, $25

Jane Monheit, 8 p.m. Oct. 1, $46-$81

Nobuntu, 8 p.m. Oct. 15, $34-$68

Arturo Sandoval, 8 p.m. Nov. 12, $59-$120

25th Annual Gala Holiday Concert, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, $17-$36

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., 8 p.m. Jan. 21, $59-$120

Martha Graham Dance Company, 3 p.m. Feb. 5, $46-$81

Mavis Staples with opening act Lamont Landers Band, 8 p.m. Feb. 11, $59-$120

Johnny Mercer Tribute featuring Joe Gransden with the GSU Jazz Band, 8 p.m. March 4, $24-$52

Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents “Songs We Love,” 8 p.m. March 18, $46-$81

Dorrance Dance Company, 8 p.m. April 1, $46-$81

“Our Town” the Opera, 8 p.m. April 15 and 3 p.m. April 16, $15

Jeff “Tain” Watts with the Georgia State University Jazz Band, 8 p.m. April 21, $24-$52