The Norton Center for the Arts is proud to welcome audiences to a new season of incredible performing arts at Centre College. With the belief that the arts have a powerful ability to galvanize and transform a community, the Norton Center is committed to serving as a catalyst that energizes the city and the region, offering opportunities for dialogue, discovery, and delight with its lineup of 2016-2017 performances.
The Norton Center will once again offer one subscription series, with audiences able to choose from performances across both Newlin Hall and the Weisiger Theatre that fit their schedule and interests, and receive higher discounts for the more shows they select.
“The Norton Center continues its 40+ year tradition of presenting the greatest artists, past and present,” said Norton Center executive director Steve Hoffman. “Our patrons have come to expect exceptional theatre, exquisite dance, and eclectic music performances all within the intimacy of our two venues. This year is no exception as we invite you to experience a carefully selected season of truly amazing talent all conveniently made available in central Kentucky!”
The season will kick off when America’s Got Talent judge and host, Howie Mandel and Nick Cannon, team up to bring the comedy show of a lifetime during Centre College’s Family Weekend. Mandel has been an unstoppable force since entering show business over thirty years ago, appearing in movies such as Gremlins, St. Elsewhere, and Take it All. Cannon, best known for his role in the TV series All That and leading role in the 2002 movie Drumline, is not only a successful comedian but a writer, producer, director, and author. September 24, Newlin Hall. Sponsored by Community Trust Bank, presented in partnership with the Centre College Student Activities Council.
In homage to election season, the Norton Center will next present the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s slapstick sketch comedy performance The Complete History of America (abridged): Election Edition, a ninety-minute roller coaster ride through the glorious quagmire that is American History, with “guest appearances” by past presidents, presidential frontrunners and maybe the President himself. October 1, Newlin Hall.
Performances in Weisiger Theatre are sponsored this year by Stuart Powell and begin with an Americana double bill of singer/songwriters Aoife O’Donovan and Willie Watson. Aoife has collaborated with mega-stars such as Chris Thile, Alison Krauss, and Yo-Yo Ma and will feature works from her latest album. Willie, an original member and founder of the band Old Crow Medicine Show, combines subtle banjo and guitar accompaniments with soaring vocals not be missed. October 13, Weisiger Theatre. Sponsored by Stuart Powell Ford Lincoln Mazda.
For Homecoming Weekend, the Norton Center will welcome back The Manhattan Transfer and Take 6 in a combined performance which highlights each group’s tremendous breadth. The Manhattan Transfer’s original members Janis Siegel, Alan Paul, and Cheryl Bentyne, with newcomer Trist Curless will honor founding member Tim Hauser as they perform iconic material from their remarkable career and share some new creations in this collaboration. Take 6’s crystal clear harmony, innovative arrangements, and funky grooves demonstrate why this sextet is recognized as the pre-eminent a cappella group in the world. With unexpected twists and turns, this will be an unforgettable evening. October 21, Newlin Hall. Sponsored by Farmers National Bank.
Danville, Kentucky resident and trumpet superstar, Vince DiMartino, will take the Weisiger stage in November with fellow trumpet master John Foster, of Australia, in a light-hearted romp through the history of one of the most vibrant and recognizable instruments. Entitled, Sound the Trumpets!, the program will feature a variety of instruments all belonging to the trumpet family such as the conch shell, Shofar, Digeridoo, and English Slide Trumpet and music styles including music of the Civil War, New Orleans Jazz, Pops, and Classical. November 18, Weisiger Theatre. Sponsored by Stuart Powell Ford Lincoln Mazda.
Celebrate the holiday season with A Rockin’ Christmas with Brenda Lee. Brenda, a legendary and award-winning vocalist, is beloved around the world for a litany of classic hits like “I’m Sorry” (which has sold over 20 million copies) and “Break It To Me Gently,” while her perennial holiday classic, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” wins new fans every year and even reached #1 on the Billboard Christmas charts in 2015—a remarkable 55 years since its’ initial release in 1960. Join Brenda and her band as she makes her Norton Center debut this holiday season in a concert filled with beloved classics and Christmas favorites that’ll get your spirits rockin’! December 3, Newlin Hall. Sponsored by Ephraim McDowell Health.
Jazz lovers will appreciate the vocal vibrancy and self-possessed boldness of René Marie in Weisiger Theatre in January 2017. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and other leading ladies of past generations, René and her live band, Experiment in Truth, borrow elements from folk, R&B and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. January 14, Weisiger Theatre. Sponsored by Stuart Powell Ford Lincoln Mazda.
Families of all ages should get ready for the ultimate playdate – 65 million years in the making – as ERTH’s Dinosaur Zoo Live offers a breathtaking tour though a pre-historic time. Audiences can observe, meet, and interact with an eye-popping collection of amazingly life-like dinosaurs and other creatures presented in a theatrical performance that will thrill and entertain while stimulating imaginations in ways that will forever connect us to their world. January 20, Newlin Hall. Sponsored by Sodexo.
Dance fans will enjoy the highly acclaimed, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, known for its collaborations and pairings of music from all over the globe. With breathtaking movement, beautifully executed by King’s extraordinary dancers, Alonzo King’s visionary choreography is renowned for connecting devoted audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity. January 25, Newlin Hall. Sponsored by DecoArt, Southern Company, Milton & Sandy Reigelman and support from South Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Who’s peeking out from under a stairway?” Relive the swingin’ 60s with 2016 America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame Inductee, The Association. With #1 hits including, “Never My Love,” “Cherish,” and “Windy,” they have sold 80 Million records, tapes, CDs and DVDs, earning six gold, three platinum discs along with seven Grammy® Award Nominations. January 28, Newlin Hall.
Broadway fans be sure to mind the wolf, heed the witch, and honor the giant in the sky during this extraordinary musical about the power of wishes and what really happens after they come true: Into the Woods. This Tony® Award-winning musical classic by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is a witty and wildly theatrical reinvention. Including dazzling songs like “Children Will Listen” and “No One Is Alone,” this thrillingly clever new version made Ben Brantley of The New York Times fall “head over heels.” February 9, Newlin Hall. Sponsored by Bob Allen Motor Mall and Macy’s.
Legendary stage and screen actor Ben Vereen returns to the Norton Center in February for an inspiring and enlightening evening of versatility and creativity: Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen. A Tony® and Drama Desk Award Winner for his role in Pippin, this performance will be a unique blend of artistry, combining a tribute to Broadway, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Filled with song and dance, stories of his life, and a great deal of humor, this performance brings together excerpts and memories from his long history in show business. February 18, Newlin Hall. In partnership with the Centre Diversity Office.
Also in February, The Venice Baroque Orchestra with violinist Nicola Benedetti will perform Baroque masterworks from Italy and England including Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. The Venice Baroque Orchestra is recognized as one of the very finest period instrument ensembles in the world and Benedetti’s interpretations of Vivaldi have been called “teasingly wistful one minute, electrifying and explosive the next” (The Scotsman). February 20, Newlin Hall.
With the popular resurgence of Americana, blues and traditional music, The Music Maker Blues Revue artists serve as musical masters. This performance is being held in conjunction with the exhibition, Our Living Past, a collection of tintype photographs from Tim Duffy, founder of Music Maker Relief Foundation, in the Norton Center Grand Foyer January through March 2017. Both projects began with the goal of helping a small group of tenured, southern musicians still performing the musical traditions of the 19th and early 20th century America. They’ve busked on the sidewalks of High Point, NC, received standing ovations at Carnegie Hall, travelled from Argentina to Australia, Europe to Guatemala, and across the U.S. The Revue pleases all types of fans, from the “boogiers to the bookworms.” February 24, Weisiger Theatre. Sponsored by Stuart Powell Ford Lincoln Mazda with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The final performance in the Weisiger Theatre is a one-woman tour-de-force: The Other Mozart. The true and untold story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus – a prodigy, a keyboard virtuoso and composer, who performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim, but whose work and story faded away, lost to history as she acceded to the role of wife and mother, according to the social dictates of her time. March 10, Weisiger Theatre. Sponsored by Stuart Powell Ford Lincoln Mazda.
From the Daytime Emmy® Award-winning hit television series on PBS KIDS, comes Odd Squad Live!, a show focused on two young agents, Olive and Otto, who are part of the Odd Squad, an agency with a mission: to save the day whenever something unusual happens. Audiences will see their favorite Odd Squad agents on screen give out exciting assignments and audience members just might get called up on stage to the mathroom! March 12, Newlin Hall.
The Norton Center will close its season in early-April with Grammy® Award-winning country superstar and music icon Kenny Rogers. Embarking on what will be his final world tour with a show that will celebrate his musical legacy: The Gambler’s Last Deal with Special Guest Linda Davis, our audience will join the millions of fans around the world who have heard him sing songs from his catalog of 24 Number One hits including “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” “Coward of the County,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” “Lady,” “Islands in the Stream,” “She Believes In Me,” “We’ve Got Tonight,” “Daytime Friends,” “Through The Years,” “You Decorated My Life,” and “Buy Me A Rose.” April 8, Newlin Hall. Sponsored by AARP.
The Norton Center recognizes that great performances are often just the beginning of a lifelong connection to the creativity that crosses the stage each season. Thus, the Norton Center provides many opportunities for audiences to deepen their connection to the arts through art exhibits, panel discussion, scholarly articles from Centre faculty, workshops, and master classes that are held throughout the year, open to the general public, and often offered free of charge. Complete information on these activities will be posted on the Norton Center’s website, NortonCenter.com throughout the season.
Subscribers to the Norton Center Series can opt in or out of shows they want to attend; the more performances a patron selects, the better their seats will be (and the greater the discounts). Subscribers should pay specific attention to the value of upgrading their packages to ensure they get the most for their money. To accommodate those with busy weekday schedules, each Norton Center performance that occurs on Monday through Thursday will again feature a start time of 7:30 PM in order to get audiences home earlier.
All 2016-2017 Norton Center Season Subscriptions are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale beginning Monday, August 22, 2016 at 9 AM. For information on the Norton Center’s 2016-2017 Performing Arts Season or to request a brochure, please visit www.NortonCenter.com. Patrons are also encouraged to join the Norton Center’s Facebook page and Twitter for news and announcements.
The Norton Center also offers free e-newsletters and e-blasts. Patrons may sign up for these and other features online.