It might take the entire stage at the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts just to hold all the awards won by the performers who'll grace it in the Center's fifth season.
How about a Tony Award, a Screen Actors Guild award, a Golden Globe and three Emmys. And that's just veteran actor Hal Holbrook, who brings his acclaimed Mark Twain tribute to the Center's stage. Add to that a combined haul of 71 Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement; a MacArthur Fellow; and the dance troupe behind two different Kennedy Center honors.
In "The Illusionists," the Center presents the hottest special event from Broadway's past season. Also, star Cary Elwes will take guests on a behind-the-scenes tour of one of this era's most beloved movies, "The Princess Bride." The Canadian Brass will even welcome local high school musicians to the stage for a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity.
Little wonder the theme for the Center's coming season is "You'll Love What You See."
"Our 2015-16 season will lift your spirit, fill you with laughter, introduce you to some of the world's most interesting young artists and, indeed, bring the world to your back door," said Joel Aalberts, executive director of the Center. "We look forward to seeing you at the show."
Some of this season's performers are household names: The Beach Boys, Ron White, Mannheim Steamroller, Mummenschanz, The Chieftains, Blue Man Group, Canadian Brass, Kathleen Battle and Vince Gill.
The season also includes a performance of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," an award-winning concert event that features symphonic arrangements of music from the most popular video games of all time, a theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters," a concert by Southern Gospel favorites Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Booth Brothers, even a week-long magic camp for children, and much more.
For a complete season schedule, with performance times, costs and much more information, visit ekucenter.com.
Last season, the Center welcomed more than 77,000 guests from 35 states, contributing almost $4 million to the local economy, according to Aalberts. It also enriched the lives of more than 13,000 area students through the Center's K-12 school matinee program and outreach activities that brought touring artists to Corbin, Manchester, Berea and into classrooms across the EKU campus. This coming season, five school matinees are scheduled: Ailey II, Doktor Kaboom, Seussical, Henry and Mudge and Aesop: The Untold Stories of Aesop's Fables.
The more performances they attend, the more Center guests save: those who buy tickets to 15 or more events receive a 20 percent discount; to 10 or more events, a 15 percent discount; and to five or more events, a 10 percent discount. Regular discounts are offered seniors, military, youth and students. In addition, membership in the Center's Friends group means even more benefits, such as special receptions, artist meet-and-greets and more.
Subscription tickets (for orders of five shows or more) go on sale Monday, June 1, and must be ordered by phone (859-622-7469) or in person. Individual event tickets go on sale on July 6. In addition to ekucenter.com, the Center's box office is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays and can also be reached toll free at 1-855-EKU-SHOW (358-7469).
The complete list of performances and events:
- July 20-24, Magic Camp with Kevin Spencer, morning session for ages 7-10, afternoon session for ages 11-17.
- Sept. 12, Vince Gill, whose 2012 performance "endures as one of the most talked-about events in the EKU Center's five-year history," said Aalberts. Gill has won 20 Grammy Awards.
- Sept. 13, "The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening with Cary Elwes." Patrons will enjoy a screening of the film, a moderated discussion with star Elwes and a Q-and-A.
- Sept. 25, Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack, "a tribute show re-creating one of the famous "Summit at the Sands" hotel shows when the Rat Pack was king. Hackett is the son of legendary comedian Buddy Hackett.
- Oct. 1, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck. The pianist and banjo player, respectively, have earned a combined 30 Grammy Awards.
- Oct. 4, Imagination Movers, which have delighted Disney audiences for years. For an additional cost, fans can attend a special meet-and-greet party.
- Oct. 7, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," the family musical and first collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
- Oct. 14, "The Screwtape Letters," a "smart, provocative and wickedly funny" theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis' novel about spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view. Ticket discounts are available for groups of more than 10 people. The evening will conclude with a discussion with the actors.
- Oct. 16, The Beach Boys, American icons whose good-time music has thrilled audiences for more than half a century.
- Oct. 22, Good Lovelies, a Toronto-based group that won a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for Roots Album of the Year. Performances by Good Lovelies, Raul Midon and Mountain Stage constitute the Center's Mainstage Lounge series, with special pricing.
- Oct. 29, Ailey II, a mix of contemporary and classic dance pieces.
- Nov. 5, Ron White, the salty story-telling comedian who rose to fame on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Mature content and language.
- Nov. 7, The Illusionists – Live from Broadway, the world's best-selling touring magic show.
- Nov. 13, Canadian Brass, featuring brass standards of classical works as well as a vast repertoire of original arrangements. The evening features a pre-show discussion and a joint performance with young musicians from Madison County.
- Nov. 19, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, back by popular demand, beloved music combined with dazzling multimedia effects.
- Nov. 21, "The Brotherhood Tour," an evening of southern gospel featuring Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Booth Brothers.
- Dec. 5, An Irish Christmas, a journey through the holiday season in Irish music and dance.
- Jan. 28, Raul Midon, blind singer-songwriter and guitarist, part of Mainstage Lounge series.
- Feb. 4, Shaping Sound, founded by Emmy-nominated choreographer Travis Wall, a collaboration of visual musicians whose explosive choreography, dynamic rhythm, speed and physical strength give shape and form to sound.
- Feb. 11, Here Come the Mummies, "Love Fest Tour," the world's greatest mystery band performing funk and R & B jams.
- Feb. 13, Mummenschanz, a famous Swiss performance troupe that has enchanted audiences for more than 40 years with its surreal, comic universe.
- Feb. 25, Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years, the song-writer behind some of Campbell's greatest hits, sharing the music and personal stories of their friendship.
- March 2, globalFEST, one of the most dynamic global music platforms in North America, featuring music from Haiti, Brazil and Jamaica.
- March 9, Paddy Maloney, The Chieftains and special guests. The Chieftains have won an Oscar and six Grammys, released 58 albums, performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Great Wall of China, and with everyone from Pavarotti to the Rolling Stones, to Madonna.
- March 10, Video Games Live, symphonic arrangements of music from popular video games, featuring a 65-piece orchestra and a spectacular multimedia experience.
- April 7, Mountain Heart, award-winning bluegrass band that has appeared at the Grand Ole Opry more than 125 times, part of Mainstage Lounge series.
- April 16, Kathleen Battle: The Underground Railroad, with special guests Cyrus Chestnut and the American Spiritual Ensemble, a song cycle of freedom, suffering and salvation with unique renditions of traditional music.
- April 22, Jad Abumrad, "Gut Churn," a discussion by the host of WNYC's Radiolab about the radical uncertainty he feels at the very core of the creative process.
- April 30, Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight," featuring topical passages from Twain's works relevant to current events. Holbrook first presented his Twain tribute 50 years ago.
- May 3-4, Blue Man Group, a global sensation that combines music, technology and comedy.
Also, many campus groups will perform at the Center throughout the coming academic year.
The EKU Center for the Arts is located just off Exit 87 of I-75, across the Eastern By-Pass from the University's Alumni Coliseum.