Norton Center for the Arts announces exciting 2012-13 season
The 2012-13 season at Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts will offer a fresh, exciting perspective on culture and entertainment.
“When planning and identifying a central theme for this season, we kept gravitating back to the notion of ‘perspective,’” Executive Director Steve Hoffman explains. “With Centre College’s distinction and honor of hosting the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate, and recognizing that political discourse truly is all about perspective, we considered the similarities between artists and politicians. Artists use perspective in the works they create and the messages they convey. Audiences use perspective while interpreting performances and exhibitions. Voters base their decisions on their own perspectives. When we considered all of these exciting things happening at the Norton Center in one season, we knew we had the right theme.”
Although the Debate has caused a condensed season for the venue, patrons can still enjoy 19 thrilling, imaginative and extraordinary performances.
“While not every artist in our new series is immediately recognizable by name, the perspectives each shares touches us in some way and we hope that patrons will join us as we continue the tradition of presenting premier arts performances in central Kentucky,” Hoffman says.
Since the format was so successful last season, the Norton Center will continue to offer only two series options: Newlin Hall Series and Club Weisiger. Subscribers have more flexibility in choosing the programs that most interest them, with reduced prices available on shows in both series based on the quantity of tickets purchased. The Norton Center will also offer a variety of K-12 matinee performances and engagement activities to complement the season’s performances as well as collaborate with several academic programs and divisions at Centre, allowing educators to integrate the arts seamlessly into their curricula.
The Newlin Hall Series begins earlier than ever this year with a Saturday, August 25 concert featuring 27-time Grammy® Award winner Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas. Considered a bluegrass virtuoso, Alison Krauss bridges the gap between roots music and country, rock and pop. The group’s latest album, “Paper Airplane,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country, Bluegrass and Folk Album charts in early 2012. The inaugural event begins at 8:00 p.m.
The week after the Vice Presidential Debate and Debate Festival, the Series continues with one of America’s most popular pop/rock bands of the mid-80s, Huey Lewis & The News. The News have a driving, party-hearty spirit that makes songs like “Workin’ for a Livin’,” “I Want a New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” “Power of Love” and “Hip to Be Square,” personal rock anthems for multiple generations of music fans. As the headline performance of Centre’s Homecoming weekend festivities, this concert will take place on Friday, Oct. 19 at 8:00 p.m.
On Friday, Nov. 16 at 8:00 p.m., the Norton Center will present a new work by modern dance troupe Seán Curran Company in collaboration with Norton Center veteran performers and 2012 Grammy® winners The King’s Singers, entitled “Solstice.” With a newly-commissioned score by Joby Talbot that uses the six vocalists as an abstract, orchestral chorus, the work takes inspiration from ancient architectural landmarks, ritual and mysticism to show off the dance company’s reputation as “fresh … invigorating new American dance” (Los Angeles Times).
As the holiday season approaches, the Norton Center will celebrate a down-home country Christmas with two of country music’s most acclaimed singers, Craig Morgan and Phil Vassar, when they bring their Acoustic Christmas tour to central Kentucky on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. These two award-winning superstars will present an intimate family-friendly concert, performing their own hits and an assortment of hand-picked holiday favorites, along with some old-fashioned surprises.
The first Newlin Hall Series performance of 2013 will feature San Francisco’s premier conductor-less ensemble, the Grammy®-nominated New Century Chamber Orchestra led by music director and world-renowned violin soloist, chamber musician and recording artist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. The concert, which will take place on Friday, Jan. 18 at 8:00 p.m., will feature works by William Bolcom, Mendelssohn, Villa Lobos and R. Strauss.
Next up will be the region’s premier and only performances of the national tour of the American tribal love-rock musical, “HAIR,” on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 3 at 1:00 p.m. This exuberant, Tony® Award-winning musical from The Public Theater, about a group of young Americans searching for peace and love in a turbulent time, has struck a resonant chord with audiences young and old. “HAIR” features unforgettable songs, including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Easy To Be Hard.” This performance is recommended for mature audiences.
Audiences can then join the Norton Center for a Valentine’s Day double-feature with the world-renowned Aquila Theatre Company as they present Edmond Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” on Friday, Feb. 15 at 8:00 p.m. “Cyrano de Bergerac” takes us on a compelling and humorous journey through the romantic streets of Paris until finally reaching a bittersweet and emotional conclusion. With Aquila Theatre Company’s trademark attention to movement and the visual arts, “Cyrano de Bergerac” promises to be a wonderful evening of live theatre of the highest caliber and “gleefully engaging” (The New York Times) for audiences of all ages. With “The Taming of the Shrew,” Aquila breathes fresh life into one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. The New Yorker describes their productions as “the classics made relevant with superb acting and clever staging.”
Continuing its tradition of presenting world-class orchestras of the highest caliber, the Norton Center will host China’s flagship orchestra, the China National Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Led by guest conductor En Shao and featuring 20 year-old Chinese piano prodigy, Peng-Peng Gong, the concert program will include Xia Guan’s “First Movement of Earth Requiem,” Peng-Peng Gong’s own composition, “Zhongua Chronicles— Third Piano Concerto” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92.”
Enter the clever, comic and wordless world of Mummenschanz next on the Newlin Hall stage. With Mummenschanz, the ordinary becomes extraordinary when common materials and everyday objects—such as wires, tubes, boxes and even toilet paper—all spring to life as fantastical characters. The result is a wonder-filled, visually stunning spectacle of family-friendly entertainment that sparks the imagination and transcends cultural barriers. Celebrating their fortieth anniversary, these invisible masters of movement will perform their magic using mime, acting and dance on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Classical music meets world music with The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. Taking his inspiration from the historical Silk Road trading route as a modern metaphor for multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange, incomparable cellist and cultural ambassador Yo-Yo Ma brings together some of the world’s most talented musicians in this exciting performance that explores the relationship between tradition and innovation in music from the East and the West. One of the smallest theatres on the tour, the intimacy and acoustic superiority of the Norton Center’s Newlin Hall for a concert of this caliber is unparalleled. A partnership of Kentucky performing arts centers made it possible for the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma to perform in Central Kentucky. With Ma’s 2012 return to Newlin Hall, he joins a collective of renowned performers and composers from more than 20 countries. Each member’s career illustrates a moving response to the artistic challenge of our time: nourishing global connections while maintaining the integrity of art rooted in an authentic tradition.
On Friday, April 5 at 8:00 PM, the classic tale of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers will spring to life musically in “Notes from the Balcony,” featuring The Boston Brass and The Enso String Quartet. The two groups will use genre-crossing music to loosely tell the story of “Romeo & Juliet” in their own unique way, by performing some of the finest and most familiar pieces written about Juliet and her Romeo, including those by Kabalevsky, Prokofiev, Bernstein and even Elvis Costello.
The final performance of the Newlin Hall Series will be from three-time 2011 Grammy®-nominated vocal ensemble, Seraphic Fire. Founded in 2002 by Artistic Director Patrick Dupré Quigley, this exquisite chamber choir has garnered critical acclaim both locally and nationally with a repertoire that includes classical and contemporary, sacred and secular. Performing on the Newlin Hall stage on Friday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m., Serpahic Fire is lauded by the Miami Herald as “one of the best choirs anywhere.”
The second season of the Club Weisiger Series will again offer an eclectic journey into the world of the performing arts with rising musicians whose programs are difficult to define, yet incredible to experience. All six acts are Norton Center debuts, and all tickets are $30—unless a patron chooses all six, in which case he or she will save $30 per subscription, or essentially get one Club Weisiger show for free. Newlin Hall Series subscribers will also receive special discounts for this series.
Kicking off the Club Weisiger series on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8:00 p.m. are the Beatles-loving Reggae rockers, Yellow Dubmarine. Forty years after the Fab Four made their classic album, “Abbey Road,” another group of supremely talented musicians from Washington, D.C., reimagined that same album in their own unique way. The resulting sound is a sonic landscape that blends traditional African drumming, simple Rock-steady cadence, horn-laced Ska groove full of Caribbean and Calypso overtones, and bass-heavy Dub “riddim” that sways and bounces and gets everyone up and moving.
Next is 24-year-old artist Lise de la Salle, who has been playing the piano for twenty years and gave her first public concert, broadcast live by Radio France, when she was just nine. She has awed critics with her artistry and mesmerized audiences throughout the United States and Europe ever since. With a charming loveliness and brilliant musicianship, de la Salle will surely captivate the Club Weisiger audience with a soulful, spirited, and beautiful solo piano performance on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Club Weisiger then goes wild with “One Man ‘Star Wars’,” an epic take on the world’s most popular movie trilogy condensed to just one 75-minute high-energy, kinetic monologue performed by a slightly schizophrenic stage actor. Charles Ross, the “force” behind “One Man ‘Star Wars’,” plays all the characters, recreates the effects, sings the music, flies the ships and fights both sides of the battle from the original George Lucas trilogy in this hilarious and spellbinding one man show to be held on Friday, March 1 at 8:00 p.m.
Neither blues nor R&B, Grégoire Maret’s harmonica style is lyrical and progressive, with a unique sound and a versatile style that enables him to play effortlessly across different musical genres. Often compared to the legendary Stevie Wonder and Toots Thielemans, Grégoire Maret’s soulful Club Weisiger debut, scheduled for Thursday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m., will feature his quartet performing works from his new album, along with jazz standards and a few surprises.
On Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m., with the drive of Celtic fiddling, spontaneity of jazz, soul of the blues and intricacies of chamber music, the Jeremy Kittel Band promises to captivate audiences. Still in his 20s, Kittel has already made a name for himself amongst the artists with whom he has worked, and the venues in which he has performed, including serving as a member of the Turtle Island Quartet for five years, working with My Morning Jacket, Abigail Washburn and Chris Thile, and performing at Bonnaroo and Telluride Bluegrass Festivals.
Singer/songwriter Sherrié Austin will be the final performance of the Club Weisiger series as well as close out the 2012-2013 Norton Center Season on Monday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. Whether performing solo or with a band, Sherrié Austin has a sound uniquely her own with arrangements built around her sweet voice, charming and personal lyrics, and often adding chiming acoustic guitars, sparkling mandolins, evocative fiddle lines and the occasional ripple of the steel guitar.
Patrons who choose all six performances within the Club Weisiger Series receive first choice for seating and $30 off the single Club Weisiger ticket prices, as well as ensure best chance to see these sure-to-sell-out shows.
All 2012-13 Norton Center Season subscriptions are now for sale. Single tickets go on sale July 20, 2012. For information on the Norton Center’s 2012-13 Performing Arts Season and artists or to request a brochure, please visit www.NortonCenter.com.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has selected Centre to host the Vice Presidential Debate on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. This will be the second of four general election debates this year and the second time that Centre College has hosted a general election debate.
Those not able to secure tickets to the live Vice Presidential debate in Newlin Hall on October 11 are invited to join their friends and neighbors on Centre’s main lawn starting that afternoon for this free festival to celebrate the spirit of the debate. Throughout the day, festival attendees can enjoy performances by local artists and music groups, watch the debate as it happens live via screens throughout the lawn area, and celebrate Centre with a headline performance by southern rock pioneers, The Marshall Tucker Band.
Originally formed in the early 1970s in Spartanburg, S.C., The Marshall Tucker Band includes founding member Doug Gray on lead vocals and tambourine. During the past forty years, The Marshall Tucker Band has wowed critics and influenced major country acts like Alabama, The Kentucky Headhunters, Confederate Railroad, and Travis Tritt, with its definitive blend of rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, country and gospel. They’ve recorded over twenty two albums with a string of chart topping hits including “Take the Highway,” “Fire on the Mountain,” “Heard It in a Love Song,” “Searchin’ for a Rainbow,” “This Ol’ Cowboy” and “Can’t You See.”