Performing Arts Connect

The Center’s new Performing Arts Connect series uses Zoom videoconferencing to bring you live workshops and presentations featuring artists and experts from leading cultural organizations around the world. You can enjoy these virtual field trips from the safety of home – or anywhere!


After registering, you will be sent a Zoom link so you can connect live for the program. For any questions, contact


November 10 at 7PM

Songwriting 101: Kacey Musgraves Style

Country Music Hall of Fame

Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard described country music as “three chords and the truth,” and many songwriters use humor to address some of life’s most difficult truths. In this introductory workshop, museum educator and professional musician Adam Ollendorff will teach the fundamentals of songwriting, including form, theme and rhyme scheme. Using Zoom’s chat function, participants will share ideas and write an original song inspired by Kacey Musgraves’ comedic song, “Family Is Family,” written by Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. Ollendorff has toured with Musgraves, performed with Willie Nelson, and written songs with Natalie Hemby and Maren Morris. The session is presented in support of the exhibit Kacey Musgraves: All of the Colors.


December 1 at 7PM

Jim Henson Trivia Night

Center for Puppetry Arts

Did you grow up watching Sesame Street and loving the Muppets? Or maybe Fraggle Rock or The Dark Crystal were more to your liking. How much do you really know about the iconic, prolific American puppeteer Jim Henson? Put your Muppet knowledge to the test during our Jim Henson Trivia Night!


We are partnering with the Center for Puppetry Arts, the largest organization in the U.S. dedicated to the art form of puppetry, to offer this hilariously fun live webinar.


Here’s a little early trivia for you: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog helped open the Center in 1978, and it is now home to the largest collection of Jim Henson puppets, props and costumes in the world, including puppets from Fraggle Rock, The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.

Questions will highlight items from the Center's Henson artifact collection.


Recommended for ages 10 to adult


January 7 at 7PM

The Beatles at Shea Stadium: The Beginning of Stadium Rock

Author/Comedian Dave Schwensen

Celebrating a half century of the Beatles in America, this program focuses on the chart-topping band’s historic August 1965 concert at New York’s Shea Stadium, where John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr performed in front of 55,600 fans and were filmed for a network television special in what is considered the first outdoor stadium rock show.


This program includes film clips, rare audio of the performance and discussion by Dave Schwensen, author of The Beatles at Shea Stadium: The Story Behind Their Greatest Concert. Schwensen will share little-known details about promoter Sid Bernstein’s dealings with the band, how the technology and security capabilities differed from modern stadium shows, how the Beatles secretly re-recorded some songs before the ABC broadcast, and how the event drew a capacity crowd with no paid advertising, only word of mouth.


February 2 at 7PM

Story of a Composer: George Gershwin

Manhattan School of Music

The 1920s saw a young nation, now free from war, able to develop its own rich culture. Major cities became centers for innovation in music, shunning European classicism for a freedom that was strictly American. It was from this ideal that the most well-known of American composers, George Gershwin, emerged. In this interactive Zoom program, participants will make guided comparisons between the classical and jazz idioms and apply these differences to the music of Gershwin in historical and social context, learning about many important works such as Porgy and Bess and Rhapsody in Blue.


March 6 at 10AM

Make It! Fish Puppet

Center for Puppetry Arts

Become puppet makers and puppeteers as you create a wriggly fish puppet with Mr. Jeffrey from the Digital Learning team at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. In this fun, interactive webinar offered live through Zoom, children create a puppet and perform with it in their home "studios."


Recommended for children ages 7 and older.


Supplies needed: paper (construction paper or card stock works best), tape, markers or crayons, scissors and something to make eyes (googly eyes, buttons, stickers, etc.)


April 20 at 7PM

From Hamilton to West Side Story: Identifying the American Experience through Song

Manhattan School of Music

What do a Founding Father, the Pacific Theater of WWII, and a mid-century Puerto Rican street gang all have in common? Find out in MSM Orto Center’s interactive Zoom session “From Hamilton to West Side Story: Identifying Our American Experience through Song.” In this night on the town, we’ll take a trip on NYC’s “Great White Way” to examine three preeminent American musicals, Richard Rodgers’ South Pacific, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Hamilton. Evaluating the historical context and socio-cultural issues in each musical, participants will tackle the overt and underlying themes as a means to reflecting on their own cultural and personal identities. In addition to a live performance by an MSM Orto Center Teaching Artist, participants will collaboratively compose and perform their own historical rap! Join us and discover what makes the American Musical a defining part of American culture and identity. 


For more information, contact Julia Shildmyer-Heighway at 317.819.3516 or