Great variety and a sparkling array of internationally-known entertainers mark the inaugural season of the EKU Center for the Arts at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.
The new, state-of-the-art, 2,100-seat Grand Hall, the largest venue in Central Kentucky, will provide the setting for two primary series as well as a number of special events. Series offerings include headline attractions ranging from popular concerts and Broadway hits to classical music. Included in the series are Mannheim Steamroller, Garrison Keillor, Wynton Marsalis, “Riverdance,” “Spamalot,” the Munich Symphony Orchestra, and the Temptations and Four Tops.
In addition, special events featuring B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin and the popular radio program, “Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!,” NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program, will highlight the star-filled season.
“This new center at my alma mater is a gem in the heart of Kentucky that will be the home for outstanding performances and other events to enrich the lives of people throughout the region and beyond,” said Debra Hoskins, executive director of the center. “We look forward to beginning the exciting new season in September.”
EKU President Doug Whitlock said the 128,000-square-foot facility “has all the amenities and will be a venue where all Kentuckians will have an opportunity to share in a wealth of entertainment and cultural events for years to come. Being founded in a true town-and-gown partnership, this venue is a gift to all Kentuckians.”
Valet parking, transportation service from Boyle and Fayette counties, personal attendants in box seating and alcohol sales are just a few of the available amenities.
The opening will be an invitation-only, black-tie special event Sept. 9.
EKU also is vying to host a presidential debate in 2012 in the new facility.
The Grand Hall Series
World-class music and dance, hit Broadway favorites, and a visit by America’s favorite humorist come together in the new Grand Hall Series.
The Munich Symphony Orchestra, led by legendary pianist and conductor Philippe Entremont, opens the series as the orchestra begins its North American tour Oct. 26 at the EKU Center. The 80-piece orchestra will be joined by the Gloria Dei Cantores chorus in a performance that features the Mozart “Requiem.”
Mannheim Steamroller makes a stop on its annual Holiday Tour Nov. 15, just in time to begin the festive season. With more than 35 million albums sold, Mannheim Steamroller’s show, with its new interpretations of beloved holiday music and sparkling multimedia effects show, is one of America’s favorite holiday traditions.
The smash Broadway hit “Beauty and the Beast,” nominated for nine Tony Awards, comes to life Dec. 4 on the Grand Hall stage. Filled with memorable music, enchanting sets, and fantastic costumes, the celebrated Disney hit is a treat for all ages. Curtain time for “Beauty and the Beast” is a family-friendly 7 p.m., an hour earlier than usual.
Garrison Keillor comes to the EKU Center Feb. 14. The star of “A Prairie Home Companion,” Keillor is an American favorite with his folksy and hilarious anecdotes about growing up in the Midwest, and his delightful stories of Lake Wobegon.
Jazz superstar Wynton Marsalis performs with his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra Feb. 25. Winner of nine Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Music — the first ever awarded to a jazz artist — Marsalis is a contemporary pioneer in the evolution of jazz, and a tireless advocate for jazz as America’s classical music.
After a recent performance with the orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma described his experience with The Knights as “vibrant” and “energetic.” One of the hottest items on the current New York City classical music scene, The Knights is a company of adventurous musicians whose collaborative style and innovative programming have engaged audiences in a completely new way. The 40-piece chamber orchestra comes to the Grand Hall April 12.
On April 17, the Grand Hall Series continues with the Moscow Festival Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty.” Featuring the beloved music of Tchaikovsky and the classical Russian choreography of Marius Petipa, the company’s fully-staged performance takes the entire family to a fantasy world filled with enchanting dancers, sparkling sets, and beautiful costumes.
The international phenomenon “Riverdance” concludes the Grand Hall Series May 4. One of the most successful shows in entertainment history, the company’s avant-garde interpretation of traditional Irish dance intertwined with contemporary music has enthralled millions in sold-out performances worldwide.
Show Place Series