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.