By JENNIFER BRUMMETT
8:25 PM PDT, May 12, 2012
The 2012-2013 season at Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts will feature acts ranging from The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma and Huey Lewis and the News to the rock musical “Hair” and “Yellow Dubmarine,” a reggae tribute to The Beatles. These all come together to create a “perspective” — the theme for the 2012-2013 season.
“When planning and identifying a central theme for this season, we kept gravitating back to the notion of ‘perspective,’” Norton Center for the Arts Executive Director Steve Hoffman explained. “With Centre College’s distinction and honor of hosting the 2012 vice-presidential debate, and recognizing that political discourse truly is all about perspective, we considered the similarities between artists and politicians.
“Artists use perspective in the works they create and the messages they convey. Audiences use perspective while interpreting performances and exhibitions. Voters base their decisions on their own perspectives. When we considered all of these exciting things happening at the Norton Center in one season, we knew we had the right theme.”
The debate created a need for a condensed season at the Norton Center, but 19 performances still are on tap for theater-goers.
“While not every artist in our new series is immediately recognizable by name, the perspective each shares touches us in some way, and we hope that patrons will join us as we continue the tradition of presenting premier arts performances in central Kentucky,” Hoffman said.
The Norton Center will continue to offer two series options: Newlin Hall Series and Club Weisiger. That format was successful during the 2011-2012 season. Subscribers have more flexibility in choosing the programs that most interest them, with reduced prices available on shows in both series based on the quantity of tickets purchased.
The Norton Center also will offer a variety of K-12 matinee performances and engagement activities to complement the season’s performances. Collaborations with several academic programs and divisions at Centre are planned, which will allow educators to integrate the arts into their curricula.
The Newlin Hall Series
Each Norton Center season performance that occurs on Monday through Thursday again will feature a start time of 7:30 p.m., in an effort to get audiences home earlier. Each subscription order (six shows or more) will receive a free gift as an additional thank you for supporting the Norton Center.
Aug. 25: The Newlin Hall series begins earlier than ever this year with a concert featuring 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas. Krauss is considered a bluegrass virtuoso who incorporates flavors of roots — or folk — music as well as country, rock and pop. The inaugural event begins at 8 p.m.
Oct. 19: The week after the vice presidential debate and debate festival, the series continues with one of America’s most popular pop/rock bands of the mid-1980s, Huey Lewis & The News. The News have a driving, party-hearty spirit that makes songs like “Workin’ for a Livin’,” “I Want a New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” “Power of Love” and “Hip to Be Square” personal rock anthems for multiple generations of music fans. The band is the headline performance of Centre College’s homecoming weekend festivities; the concert begins at 8 p.m.
Nov. 16: The Norton Center will present a new work by modern dance troupe Seán Curran Co. in collaboration with Norton Center veteran performers and 2012 Grammy winners The King’s Singers. The work is titled “Solstice.” With a newly-commissioned score by Joby Talbot that uses the six vocalists as an abstract, orchestral chorus, the work takes inspiration from ancient architectural landmarks, ritual and mysticism.
Nov. 28: The Norton Center will celebrate a down-home country Christmas with two of country music’s most acclaimed singers, Craig Morgan and Phil Vassar, when they bring their “Acoustic Christmas” tour to central Kentucky. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. The two award-winning superstars will present a family-friendly concert, performing their own hits and an assortment of hand-picked holiday favorites, along with some old-fashioned surprises.
Jan. 18: The first Newlin Hall Series performance of 2013 will feature San Francisco’s premier conductorless ensemble, the Grammy-nominated New Century Chamber Orchestra, led by music director and world-renowned violin soloist, chamber musician and recording artist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. The concert, which will take place at 8 p.m., will feature works by William Bolcom, Mendelssohn, Villa Lobos and R. Strauss.
Feb. 2 and 3: Next up will be the region’s premier and only performances of the national tour of the American tribal love-rock musical, “HAIR.” Performances will be 8 p.m. Feb. 2 and 1 p.m. Feb. 3. “HAIR” features unforgettable songs, including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Easy To Be Hard.” The performance is recommended for mature audiences.
Feb. 14 and 15: A Valentine’s Day double feature is planned with the world-renowned Aquila Theatre Co. The troupe will present Edmond Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” at 8 p.m. Feb. 15. The New Yorker describes the company’s productions as “the classics made relevant with superb acting and clever staging” while The New York Times calls “the excellent Aquila Theatre, an extraordinarily inventive and disciplined outfit.”
Feb. 26: The Norton Center will host China’s flagship orchestra, the China National Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Led by guest conductor En Shao and featuring 20-year-old Chinese piano prodigy Peng-Peng Gong, the concert program will include Xia Guan’s “First Movement of Earth Requiem,” Peng-Peng Gong’s own composition “Zhongua Chronicles — Third Piano Concerto,” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92.”
March 5: The ordinary becomes extraordinary when common materials and everyday objects — such as wires, tubes, boxes, and even toilet paper — all spring to life as fantastical characters in Mummenschanz. The result is a visual spectacle of family-friendly entertainment that sparks the imagination and transcends cultural barriers. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, these invisible masters of movement will perform their magic using mime, acting and dance at 7:30 p.m.
March 21: Classical music meets world music with The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma at 7:30 p.m. Taking his inspiration from the historical Silk Road trading route as a modern metaphor for multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange, cellist and cultural ambassador Yo-Yo Ma brings together some of the world’s most talented musicians in a performance that explores the relationship between tradition and innovation in music from the East and the West. One of the smallest theaters on the tour, the intimacy and acoustic superiority of the Norton Center’s Newlin Hall for a concert of this caliber is unparalleled. A partnership of Kentucky performing arts centers made it possible for the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma to perform in central Kentucky.
April 5: The classic tale of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers will spring to life musically in “Notes from the Balcony,” featuring The Boston Brass and The Enso String Quartet, at 8 p.m. The two groups will use genre-crossing music to loosely tell the story of “Romeo & Juliet” in their unique way by performing some of the finest and most familiar pieces written about Juliet and her Romeo, including those by Kabalevsky, Prokofiev, Bernstein and even Elvis Costello.
April 26: The final performance of the Newlin Hall series will be from three-time 2011 Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire. Founded in 2002 by Artistic Director Patrick Dupré Quigley, the chamber choir has garnered critical acclaim both locally and nationally with a repertoire that includes classical and contemporary, sacred and secular.
Subscription information for the Newlin Hall series is as follows:
n Platinum subscribers choose 11 to 13 of the Newlin Hall shows, get first choice for seating, save more than 20 percent off single ticket prices and can purchase single Club Weisiger tickets for $5 off.
n Gold subscribers choose eight to 10 of the Newlin Hall shows, save as much as 15 percent off single ticket prices, have their orders processed after Platinum subscribers and can purchase Club Weisiger tickets at the Gold Level discounted price.
n Silver subscribers choose six to seven of the Newlin Hall shows, save as much as 10 percent off single ticket prices, have their orders processed after Gold subscribers and can purchase Club Weisiger tickets at the Silver Level discounted price.
The Club Weisiger Series
The second season of the Club Weisiger series again will offer an eclectic journey into the world of the performing arts with rising musicians whose programs are difficult to define, yet incredible to experience. All six acts are Norton Center debuts, and all tickets are $30 — unless a patron chooses all six, in which case he or she will save $30 per subscription, or essentially get one Club Weisiger show for free. Newlin Hall Series subscribers also will receive special discounts for this series.
Nov. 17: Kicking off the Club Weisiger series at 8 p.m. are the Beatles-loving Reggae rockers, Yellow Dubmarine. Forty years after the Fab Four made their classic album, “Abbey Road,” another group of talented musicians from Washington, D.C., reimagined that same album in its own unique way. The resulting sound is a sonic landscape that blends traditional African drumming, simple Rock-steady cadence, a horn-laced Ska — a popular music that originated in Jamaica in the 1960s that incorporates R&B, blues, jazz and calypso — groove full of Caribbean and Calypso overtones, and bass-heavy Dub “riddim” that sways and bounces, and gets everyone up and moving.
Nov. 27: Next is 24-year-old artist Lise de la Salle, who has been playing the piano for 20 years and gave her first public concert, which was broadcast live by Radio France, when she was just 9. She has awed critics with her artistry and mesmerized audiences throughout the United States and Europe ever since. She will perform at 7:30 p.m.
March 1: Club Weisiger then goes wild with “One Man Star Wars,” an epic take on the world’s most popular movie trilogy, condensed to just one 75-minute, high-energy, kinetic monologue performed by a slightly schizophrenic stage actor. Charles Ross, the “force” behind “One Man Star Wars,” plays all of the characters, recreates the effects, sings the music, flies the ships and fights both sides of the battle from the original George Lucas trilogy in this hilarious one-man show, to be performed at 8 p.m.
March 15: Neither blues nor R&B, Grégoire Maret’s harmonica style is lyrical and progressive, with a unique sound and a versatile style that enables him to play across different musical genres. Often compared to the legendary Stevie Wonder and Toots Thielemans, Maret’s Club Weisiger debut, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., will feature his quartet performing works from his new album, along with jazz standards and a few surprises.
April 23: At 7:30 p.m., with the drive of Celtic fiddling, spontaneity of jazz, soul of the blues and intricacies of chamber music, the Jeremy Kittel Band will perform. Still in his 20s, Kittel has made a name for himself among the artists with whom he has worked, and the venues in which he has performed, including serving as a member of the Turtle Island Quartet for five years, working with My Morning Jacket, Abigail Washburn and Chris Thile, and performing at Bonnaroo and Telluride Bluegrass Festivals.
May 6: Singer/songwriter Sherrié Austin will be the final performance of the Club Weisiger series as well as close out the 2012-2013 Norton Center season at 7:30 p.m. Whether performing solo or with a band, Austin has a unique sound, with arrangements built around her sweet voice, personal lyrics, and often adding acoustic guitars, mandolins, fiddle lines, and the occasional ripple of the steel guitar.
Subscription information for the Club Weisiger series is as follows:
n Patrons who choose all six performances within the Club Weisiger series receive first choice for seating and $30 off the single Club Weisiger ticket prices, as well as ensure best chance to see these sure-to-sell-out shows.
All 2012-13 Norton Center season subscriptions (Newlin Hall and Club Weisiger) go on sale May 14. Single tickets go on sale July 20. For information on the Norton Center’s 2012-2013 performing arts season and artists or to request a brochure, visit www.NortonCenter.com. Patrons are also encouraged to join the Norton Center’s Facebook page for additional news and announcements.
About Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts: For more information, contact the box office at (859) 236-4692 or toll-free at (877) 448-7469. To buy tickets online (single tickets only; available July 20), request a brochure or for additional information on other performing artists, visit NortonCenter.com. For insider information and updates from performers this season, follow the center on Twitter or become a Facebook fan.