“This season, the Norton Center presents popular, amazing and world-class talent that continues a 40-plus-year tradition of offering the highest quality artists performing in our region’s premier and most intimate facility,” says Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts Executive Director Steve Hoffman.
The Norton Center will continue to offer a choose-your-own subscription series. This year, when creating series packages, all Weisiger Theatre and Newlin Hall shows are available to mix and match, allowing subscribers complete flexibility when selecting their season. As in the past, the more shows patrons purchase, the higher discounts and earlier seat selections they will receive.
Kicking off this season will be a return visit from “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, which has has visited the Norton Center three times since 1989. The Marine Band is the nation’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization and makes over 500 appearances at state events and presidential celebrations annually. Tickets for this free concert, co-sponsored by the Advocate-Messenger, are not included in the subscription package and must be reserved through the Norton Center box office in advance.
America’s Got Talent all-stars and “junk rock” musicians Recycled Percussion take the Newlin Hall stage direct from Las Vegas on their first national tour. Whether they’re playing on buckets, ladders, grinders or sinks, Recycled Percussion’s boundless energy and creativity will blow audiences away in the same spirit as STOMP and Blue Man Group. Audience members will each receive a recycled instrument to join in the performance.
Centre College’s Family Weekend concert will feature the 90s ska-influenced pop-rock group Smash Mouth, whose hits “Walkin’ on the Sun,” “All Star” and “I’m a Believer” have established them as the ultimate true-to-life California party-band with a fun-loving vibe. In addition to selling more than 10 million albums worldwide, the band’s music has appeared in many popular films, including Shrek, The Jungle Book 2, The Cat in the Hat and Rat Race.
October at the Norton Center will kick off with the Americana instrumentalist duo of Chris Thile (mandolin; Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers) and Edgar Meyer (double bass; Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Béla Fleck), presenting a diverse program of largely original music from their new album, set to be released later this year. These two MacArthur “genius award” recipients have collaborated on several critically acclaimed projects, including recordings with Yo-Yo Ma, and have both performed at the Norton Center previously—just not together.
Next will be another duo of string players: violinist Lara St. John with harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet in a concert featuring the works of Bach and Franz Schubert. This will be St. John’s third visit to the Norton Center (first with Bowfire, second in a solo recital). She has recorded with many premier international orchestras. Since 1993, Langlamet has served as the principal harpist with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Coinciding with Centre College’s Homecoming Weekend, the Norton Center will welcome the sharp-dressed men of legendary rock band ZZ Top. The band’s music is always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful and 100 percent Texas-American in derivation. Popular hit songs include “Sharp Dressed Man,” “La Grange,” “Legs,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Tube Snake Boogie.”
The approximately 90 musicians of The Russian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Polyansky with celebrated guest pianist Vladimir Feltsman, will take the stage in early November. The program will include some of classical music’s most recognizable and popular works: Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March, Op. 3; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18; and Prokofieff’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100.
Kentucky native Wynonna will usher in the holidays at the Norton Center with her concert A Simpler Christmas, featuring a mix of traditional Christmas classics, Wynonna’s own holiday songs and a sprinkling of some of her biggest hits—all backed by her band, The Big Noise.
Another nod to Kentucky will come in the form of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in January 2015. This troupe, Taylor’s primary company, celebrates its 60th season this year, and their Newlin Hall performance will feature the Kentucky premiere of American Dreamer, a brand new work set to the music of Kentucky’s own Stephen Foster. A direct disciple of the Martha Graham dance lineage, choreographer Paul Taylor is often called the greatest living pioneer of American modern dance, whose works take audiences on a new journey every time. With almost a dozen PBS televisions specials, films and even an Academy Award, Taylor’s work is accessible, powerful and entertaining.
From the intimacy of Weisiger Theatre, audiences will experience an unstoppable, undeniable new talent in female jazz vocals today: Cyrille Aimée. At the tender age of just 26, Aimée won both the Frist and Public prizes in the Montreaux Jazz Festival Competition, and her rich background of Dominican rhythm and French Gypsy swing has generated her a fan following wherever she goes.
In February, the Norton Center will present a Japanese Winter Plum Festival featuring a direct-from-Japan Sagi-Ryu Kyogen performance in partnership with Yamaguchi Prefectural University and Centre College’s Center for Global Citizenship and the Asian Studies program. The evening event will include demonstrations in Japanese tea tasting, flower arranging, calligraphy, Saké tasting and karaoke, as well as a sampling of traditional Japanese Sagi-Ryu Kyogen theatre.
Broadway returns to Newlin as audiences will be reminded of why everyone really DOES love Lucy, with I LOVE LUCY: Live on Stage! Presented as a live taping of two I LOVE LUCY episodes on the Desilu Playhouse soundstage, complete with live advertising jingles between scenes and a charming host, this Broadway-quality performance will leave audiences saying “Brylcreem?!”
Shattering boundaries in classical music, new music and style, Cameron Carpenter—the first organist to be nominated for a Grammy® Award—will fill Newlin Hall with a wide range of robust and melodic sounds from an instrument typically associated only with churches. As a keyboard prodigy, he performed Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier at age 11 and now holds a master’s degree from the Juilliard School. Cameron will perform a mixed repertoire of traditional classical music, original compositions and other selected works on the Norton Center’s very own pipe organ, as well as on his newly created International Touring Organ.
Returning to Newlin Hall with its signature style and dynamic approach, Aquila Theatre will perform one of the most famous love stories ever told: Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Impeccable design and a unique physical style combine with a marvelous cast to make Wuthering Heights an exquisite and captivating theatrical experience.
Best Musical Tony Award winner of 2010, MEMPHIS, arrives in late March with its electrifying 1950s sounds of rock ‘n’ roll, blues and gospel. From writer Joe DiPietro, and with original songs by Bon Jovi co-founder David Bryan, this gripping true-to-life-inspired story filled with laughter, soaring emotion and roof-raising rock ‘n’ roll will leave audiences exhilarated.
The Norton Center will close its season in mid-April with two performances by American Comedy Award winner Bill Engvall, whose first album, Here’s Your Sign, was certified platinum and held the #1 position on the Billboard Comedy Chart for 15 straight weeks. Engvall was part of the hugely successful Blue Collar Comedy Tour and film series, starred in The Jeff Foxworthy Show, was a featured contestant on the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars and has hosted, starred and appeared in numerous television shows and films. He is known for his smart, clean and funny comedy suitable for all ages.
“Our audiences are used to seeing top-name artists and major productions in the very intimate settings of the 1,470-seat Newlin Hall and 360-seat Weisiger Theatre,” says Hoffman. “With acclaimed acoustics and warm and friendly customer service, the Norton Center continues its ongoing tradition of providing central Kentucky with a carefully hand-picked selection of the finest, newest and most audience-pleasing performances. Watch for more shows to be announced throughout the season!”
All 2014-15 Norton Center Season subscriptions are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale beginning Wed., August 20, 2014. To purchase tickets online or to request a brochure, please visit the Norton Centre for the Arts website. Patrons are also encouraged to join the Norton Center’s Facebook page and Twitter for news and announcements.
View the complete 2014-15 season.
Read more information about the Norton Center for the Arts.
by Mandy Prather, Norton Center for the Arts director of marketing and development