This year’s Performance Series’ lineup ranges from jazz, blues, folk and American to the lights and glamour of Broadway. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, August 16.
“We have some great performers lined up for the season,” said Joe Firman, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts director. “The quality and variety of performers coming to the Bicknell Center’s stages are typically found only in the major metropolitan areas. This is going to be a season to remember.”
Two ticket packages are available for this season. Discounts are available to patrons who choose either the Full Season Package, which includes all six of the premiere Bicknell Center events, or the Broadway Series Package.
For ticket information and more about specific performances, visit the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts website at www.bicknellcenter.com. Or, stop by the Box Office, located in the Garfield Weede Building, 1701 S. Homer, for more information on a wide range of discounts for seniors, groups, PSU faculty, staff, retirees, and students.
The Bicknell Performance Series opens on Friday, September 16, with a performance by internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist Polly Gibbons. Gibbons broke onto the scene with a BBC Jazz Award nomination in 2006 and has since become one of the most respected and talked about young singer/songwriters of her generation. Her influences include the poetry of Joni Mitchell, the be-bop of Charlie Parker and the gospel soul of Mahalia Jackson.
The Vogts Sisters
The Vogts Sisters bring an exciting acoustic American-folk performance to the Bicknell Center stage on Saturday, Sept. 24. The duo, touring the Midwest since 2012, has already racked up nearly 200 performances and garnered numerous awards, including their latest win at the Ozark Folk Festival Singer-Songwriter Competition in Eureka Springs, Ark.
“Once,” the winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, comes to the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Thursday, Sept. 29. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor-musicians who play their own instruments onstage, “Once” tells the tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs.
U.S. Navy Jazz Band Commodores
The Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, will bring the sounds of big band jazz to the Bicknell Center on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Formed in 1969, the Commodores continue the American jazz big band legacy.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Big Head Todd and the Monsters, a rock group that has built its considerable fan base on exciting live shows and blockbuster tours, will perform in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 29. This year’s tour pays tribute to Willie Dixon, one of the pillars of modern blues, and one of the most influential songwriters of early rock and roll.
The Official Blues Brothers Revue
The spirit of the Blues Brothers, created by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, is alive and will fill the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Monday, Nov. 7. Kieron Lafferty and Wayne Catania, who perform as the Official Blues Brothers Revue, were hand-picked by Aykroyd, Judith Belushi Pisano and Paul Shaffer, the original Blues Brothers musical director, to carry on the legacy of the iconic duo. Backed by the all-star Intercontinental Rhythm & Blues Band, the Official Blues Brothers Revue is a multi-media interactive performance.
Pianist Jason Farnham is more than an international performer of piano music. Fans have compared him to the character Schroeder from the Peanuts comic strip because of his toy piano, his witty Victor Borge piano comedy antics and the way he interacts with the audience. Farnham will perform at the Bicknell Family Center for the arts on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Broadway’s “42nd Street”
The quintessential backstage musical comedy classic, “42nd Street,” comes to the Bicknell Center on Monday, February 27. “42nd Street tells the story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who leaves her Allentown home and comes to New York to audition for the new Broadway musical, “Pretty Lady.” When the leading lady breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star.
In addition to the Bicknell Performance Series, the Bicknell Center also partnered with the PSU Music Department to co-produce these great events for 2016-2017:
Jeri Sager “This Broad’s Way”
Singer Jeri Sager, a star of Broadway and numerous national tours, will share the stage with the Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 18. Sager is best known for her portrayal of “Grizabella” in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-Award-winning musical, “CATS.” She has performed in numerous award-winning productions on Broadway and has worked on a number of theatrical productions in New York.
The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra
The legendary Count Basie Orchestra will headline this year’s PSU Jazz Festival with a concert on Friday, March 3, 2017. Thirty years after the bandleader’s death, his world-renowned orchestra continues to sell out concerts all over the globe. The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won 18 Grammy Awards and performed before heads of state, as well as music lovers everywhere.
In addition to the major performances listed above, the Bicknell Center also hosts scores of other performances and events including the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker on Monday, November 28. Information about these events is also available on the center’s website as they are scheduled.