Categories Appearances

Brinker International Forum lineup

An unlikely mom from the movie Hairspray, a soul diva, a two-time Academy Award-winning best actress, and a renowned documentarian, all will be coming to Dallas as part of the speakers’ series announced this week by the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.

John Travolta, Diana Ross, Hilary Swank and Ken Burns will join Beverly and Dereck Joubert and Spencer Wells as part of the Brinker International Forum, which aims to “go behind the scenes with people who have changed the world through film, music and scientific exploration.”

The inaugural season of the 2008-09 forum will begin Sept. 9 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, with an appearance by Mr. Travolta, whose movie roles include Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction and Hairspray, in which he played a mom. All succeeding seasons will take place in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, once the performing arts center opens in fall 2009.

The Jouberts, award-winning filmmakers and naturalists, follow on Oct. 14. They will share stories from their experiences of having spent 24 years in the African wilderness.

Ms. Swank, who won Oscars for starring roles in Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, will close out the 2008 schedule with an appearance on Nov. 25.

Spencer Wells is a population geneticist who directs the Genographic Project, a genetic study of human migration, a joint endeavor of National Geographic and IBM. Dr. Wells will appear on Feb. 17, followed by documentary filmmaker Mr. Burns (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The War) on March 31, 2009.

“Spencer Wells and Beverly and Dereck Joubert are fascinating people who have truly captivating stories to tell about what’s happening on our planet,” says Terry Garcia, executive vice president of Mission Programs with the National Geographic Society, who cites the forum’s primary objective of seeking to blend artistic and scientific personas.

The season closes April 28, 2009, with an appearance by singer Diana Ross, who has 70 hit singles and 14 consecutive No. 1 records as lead singer of the Supremes. Plan your life

Season subscriptions are on sale now for $210 to $420. 214-880-0075,