What’s on tap as the Norton Center celebrates 50 years? Shows, celebrations and more

by Addie Osborne

Centre College News
Broadway hit CHICAGO will perform at the Norton Center on May 1, 2024.

The Norton Center will celebrate its 50-year anniversary in 2023-24. See what performances are coming to Danville, Kentucky.

Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts is celebrating its 50-year anniversary beginning in August.

Since its 1973 opening, the Norton Center has brought world-renowned artists to Central Kentucky and the campus of Centre College, producing 50 years of great stories that reflect the impact of the performing arts and a long list of people — patrons, subscribers and community members — who have helped elevate the Norton Center as a premier arts venue.

“For the past 50 years, the Norton Center has shared diverse stories that entertain, encourage and connect communities,” said Norton Center Executive Director Steve Hoffman. “That’s why, to commemorate this anniversary milestone, we’ve packed the upcoming season full of events and festivities to create even more unforgettable community experiences.”

The entire community is invited to join in on the celebration with special free events including the 50th Anniversary Block Party on August 11, the year-long exhibition of modern art from the Norton Center’s permanent collection opening August 14, and In Harmony: The Commonwealth Tour of the Louisville Orchestra concert on March 8.

When planning the 50th anniversary season, Hoffman focused on curating a special lineup that commemorates the past five decades of programming, while also representing the next generation of entertainment.

“This season includes the return of fan-favorite artists from every decade since the building opened in 1973,” said Hoffman. “In addition, there are new blockbusters and innovative artists who have been invited to launch us into the next Norton Center era.”

Highlights of the season include:

Legendary lady of rock Ann Wilson of Heart and Tripsitter (Sept. 1) will open the season with the same powerful voice that has enticed rock-n-roll fans since Heart’s beginning in the early 70s. With over 35 million in record sales, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, Wilson will bring the same vigor and verve on-stage that she has for the last five decades.

Ann Wilson
Ann Wilson

Toad the Wet Sprocket with The Verve Pipe (Sept. 16) will take audiences back to the ‘90s with hits like “All I Want,” “Walk on the Ocean” and “Freshmen.” One of the world’s best tribute bands Killer Queen (Sept. 27) brings the legendary Freddie Mercury back for a final bow with uncanny authenticity.

Arriving in time to celebrate Día de los Muertos, Coco in Concert on Tour (Oct. 25) will feature a screening of the popular film, with Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s musical score performed live by the 20-member Latin ensemble, Orquesta Folclórica Nacional de México.

See what all the noise is about when international sensation STOMP (Nov. 5) returns to the Norton Center. The eight-member troupe uses anything but instruments: matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, hubcaps and more will fill the Newlin Hall stage with toe-tapping rhythms.


Ring in the holiday season with the only all-female act to achieve multi-platinum success in the classical crossover and world music genres over the past decade. Celtic Woman Christmas Symphony Tour (Dec. 2) brings back the celestial voices that have dazzled audiences since their debut in 2005. Accompanied by a live orchestra, the show is sure to elicit loads of holiday cheer.

A part of four touring choirs that hail from dozens of nations and together perform over 300 times a year, the Vienna Boys Choir (March 1) will travel across the globe to delight the Central Kentucky audience. These gifted musicians have been internationally praised for their “purity of tone, distinctive charm and diverse repertoire,” and boast over six centuries of performance.

The season ends on a shimmy-shake when the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history, CHICAGO (May 1), once again dances onto the Newlin Hall stage for the first time since 2008. A universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz, CHICAGO will perform one show-stopping hit after another, with the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen.

For more information on the entire lineup of performances, including videos, biographies, activities and more, visit nortoncenter.com.  


2023-2024 Norton Center Performing Arts Season

September 1: Ann Wilson of Heart & Tripsitter

September 7: Cimarrón

September 16: Toad the Wet Sprocket with Special Guest The Verve Pipe

September 27: Killer Queen

October 25: Coco in Concert on Tour

November 3: Devine Carama

November 5: STOMP

December 2: Celtic Woman: Christmas Symphony Tour

January 19: Simone Porter

February 2: Aquila Theatre: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

February 20: Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents Sing and Swing

March 1: Vienna Boys Choir

March 8: In Harmony: The Commonwealth Tour of the Louisville Orchestra

March 26: MOMIX: Alice

April 12: A Tribute to Dave Brubeck with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet and Special Guest Roxy Coss

May 1: Chicago: The Musical


The Norton Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. Learn more about the season by emailing nortoncenter@centre.edu or calling the Box Office at 859-236-4692. Not ready to buy a subscription? Regular-priced tickets go on sale July 24. For more, visit nortoncenter.com.