PORTLAND – The theatrical hit “Blast!” – featuring 48 brass, percussion and theater artists in a high-powered explosion of sight and sound – will be performed Wednesday and Thursday, March 12-13, at Merrill Auditorium.

PCA Great Performances will present the Broadway national tour of the show the Nashville Tennessean called “a visual and aural juggernaut that far outdoes ‘Stomp’ and ‘Riverdance’ with youthful energy and cocky panache … an absolutely marvelous time.”

A celebration of movement and music, “Blast!” won a Tony Award for Best Theatrical Event and was an Emmy honoree for Best Choreography. It has had successes in London, on Broadway and on its current North American tour.

Born on athletic fields across the nation, where precision marching bands compete in colorful extravaganzas, “Blast!” is a supercharged stage show that evokes the showmanship of outdoor pageantry.

The Boston Globe described “Blast!” as “an exuberant 15-number show that doesn’t falter while bridging the categories of classical, blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, big band, and techno-pop music. It stands, blows, pounds, marches and whirls with panache.”

“Blast!” evolved from the drum corps Star of Indiana, founded in 1984 in Bloomington, Ind., by businessman Bill Cook to inspire young people with music education. The show’s artistic director, James Mason, is a lifelong veteran of drum and bugle corps. In its initial year, Star of Indiana became the first rookie corps ever to place among the top 10 competitors at the prestigious Drum Corps International World Championships. Star’s performances thereafter revolutionized the world of drum corps, bringing an ever more sophisticated musicianship, showmanship and choreography to the discipline.

Since the early 1990s, Mason has shaped the evolution of Star of Indiana from a competitive corps to the theatrical show “Blast!”.

The touring Broadway show features three performing sections: brass, percussion and theatrical ensembles. The brass players wail and soar, while the percussion section pulses with drums, mallet instruments and electronic keyboards. Movement artists twirl and juggle traditional military sabers and colorful flags, adding a perfectly synchronized visual element to the exciting mix.

The theatrical show will begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $60, $52 and $45. They are available through PortTix, the box office at Merrill Auditorium; by calling 842-0800; and at www.porttix.com or www.pcagreatperformances.org.

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