Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts’ sixth season will feature shows for the young and the young-at-heart with stage productions of several children’s classics, performances by renowned award-winning comedians and dance troupes with styles ranging from Irish step to Russian ballet, and a concert by a Grammy Award-winning member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
John Mellencamp will bring his Plain Spoken Tour to the Center in October with support artist Carlene Carter, daughter of June Carter Cash. The multiple Grammy Award-winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has earned critical praise from Hollywood Reporter for his “triumphant, career-spanning show.”
The Center will also welcome comedians Jerry Seinfeld, with his uncanny ability to joke about the little things in life that relate to audiences everywhere, and Lewis Black – the king of the rant – who makes people laugh at the absurdities in life as he exposes the hypocrisy and madness he sees in the world.
Children and adults of all ages will be mesmerized when Christmas classics “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Elf: The Musical” soar onto the stage. They will also be entertained by “Peppa Pig Live!” an action-packed live show featuring life-size puppets and costume characters, and “Seussical,” where Dr. Seuss's best-loved stories collide in an unforgettable musical caper.
Fewer events are being programmed in advance and the Center is pursuing a more aggressive schedule this season of adding top-name acts throughout the year.
“We are very excited about the EKU Center’s 2016-17 season,” said Joel Aalberts, executive director of the Center. “What you see, however, is just a taste of what’s in store for the coming year.
“Over the past few months, we have added a significant number of new events, including Boston, Styx, and several programs included in this year’s lineup, including John Mellencamp, Lewis Black, and “Peppa Pig Live!” he explained. “More great shows are on the horizon.”
For a complete season schedule, with performance times, costs and much more information, visit ekucenter.com
Members of the Friends of the EKU Center group have a pre-sale opportunity beginning Friday, June 17. They can purchase tickets to any of the new EKU Center events at this time.
Also available beginning June 17 is the opportunity of all patrons (not just Friends) to purchase tickets to the Showstoppers Series, a collection of four events: “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage,” “Elf: The Musical,” Unelectable You” and “Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary Tour.”
In addition to pre-sale opportunities, membership in the Center’s Friends group includes additional benefits, such as special receptions, artist meet-and-greets and more.
“The best way to gain early access to these events and have a VIP experience is by joining our Friends group,” Aalberts noted.
General public tickets will go on sale for all events on July 28.
Tickets and information are available at ekucenter.com or in person at the Center’s box office, open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays. The Center can be reached at 859-622-7469.
The complete list of performances and events:
- Friday, July 8, 7:30 p.m., America’s premier comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, returns for one night only.
- Friday, Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m., “Unelectable You,” a brand new interactive election year comedy revue created by writers from The Second City in partnership with Slate Magazine. The show mocks every vote, every candidate, and the whole political process in an up-to-the-minute political parody where the audience gets in on the act.
- Saturday, Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m., The Piano Guys, whose strikingly original self-made music videos powered by an original blend of classical and pop music have turned four Utah dads into a worldwide phenomenon.
- Thursday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., Grammy Award-winning stand-up comedian Lewis Black brings “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to the Center. (Mature content and language.)
- Saturday, Oct. 8, 5 p.m., “Peppa Pig Live!” will feature Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and more in an all-singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles!
- Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m., John Mellencamp. On the strength of critical praise and high fan demand, the multiple Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is set to resume the renowned Plain Spoken Tour with support artist Carlene Carter, daughter of June Carter Cash.
- Sunday, Nov. 13, 6 p.m.,“Elf: The Musical” is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf.
- Thursday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., “The Price Is Right Live” is the hit interactive stage show that gives eligible individuals the chance to “Come On Down” to win. Prizes may include appliances, vacations and possibly a new car!
- Thursday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., The Ten Tenors. “Home for the Holidays” brings Australia’s rock stars of the opera to amaze and enthrall with their unique selection of traditional and contemporary seasonal favorites.
- Friday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m., “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” brings the beloved television classic off the screen and onto the stage.
- Thursday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m., Aquilla Theatre presents “Much Ado About Nothing,” one of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedies.
- Tuesday, March 21, and Wednesday, March 22, “Riverdance.” The international Irish dance phenomenon returns to the Center for two shows with “The 20th Anniversary World Tour.” Drawing on Irish traditions, the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures.
- Saturday, March 25, 3 p.m., “Seussical,” where, with Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat as the host (and all-around mischief-maker), you’ll meet Horton the Elephant, JoJo the young Who, who dares to think, and the amazingly lazy Maysie La Bird, who gets Horton to sit on her egg.
- Tuesday, April 4, and Wednesday, April 5, “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage,” is a record-breaking live theatre sensation, with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing.
- Saturday, May 6, 8 p.m., Celtic Woman. The celestial voices of the multi-platinum Irish singing sensation return by popular demand.
- Sunday, May 7, 3 p.m., Russian National Ballet Theatre presents “Sleeping Beauty,” an enchanted romantic fairy tale for all ages. With a timeless score by Tchaikovsky, the ballet captures the delight, fantasy, and drama of this cherished story.
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.