Tickets on Sale for Inaugural Season of EKU Center for the Arts

Photo collage of season's performers

Great variety and a sparkling array of internationally-known entertainers mark the inaugural season of the EKU Center for the Arts at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.

The new, state-of-the-art 2,100 seat Grand Hall, the largest venue in Central Kentucky, will provide the setting for two primary series as well as a number of special events.  Series offerings include headline attractions ranging from popular concerts to Broadway hits to classical music.  Included in the series are Mannheim Steamroller, Garrison Keillor, Wynton Marsalis, “Riverdance,” “Spamalot,” the Munich Symphony Orchestra, and the Temptations and Four Tops.  In addition, special events featuring B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, and the popular radio program, “Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!,” NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program, will highlight the star-filled season.

“This new Center at my alma mater is a gem in the heart of Kentucky that will be the home for outstanding performances and other events to enrich the lives of people throughout the region and beyond,” said Debra Hoskins, executive director of the Center. “We look forward to beginning the exciting new season in September.”

EKU President Doug Whitlock said the 128,000-square-foot facility “has all the amenities and will be a venue where all Kentuckians will have an opportunity to share in a wealth of entertainment and cultural events for years to come.  Being founded in a true town-and-gown partnership, this venue is a gift to all Kentuckians."

Valet parking, transportation service from Boyle and Fayette counties, personal attendants in box seating and alcohol sales are just a few of the available amenities. 

The opening will be an invitation-only, black-tie special event on Friday, Sept. 9.

EKU is also vying to host a Presidential debate in 2012 in the new facility.

The Grand Hall Series

World-class music and dance, hit Broadway favorites, and a visit by America’s favorite humorist come together in the exciting new Grand Hall Series.

The Munich Symphony Orchestra, led by legendary pianist and conductor Philippe Entremont, opens the series as the orchestra begins its North American tour at the EKU Center on Wednesday, Oct. 26.  The 80-piece orchestra will be joined by the Gloria Dei Cantores chorus in a performance that features the Mozart Requiem.

Mannheim Steamroller makes a stop on its annual Holiday Tour on Tuesday, Nov. 15, just in time to begin the festive season. With more than 35 million albums sold, Mannheim Steamroller’s spectacular show, with its new interpretations of beloved holiday music and sparkling multimedia effects show, is one of America’s favorite holiday traditions.

The smash Broadway hit “Beauty and the Beast,” nominated for nine Tony Awards, comes to life on the Grand Hall stage on Sunday, Dec. 4.  Filled with memorable music, enchanting sets, and fantastic costumes, the celebrated Disney hit is a treat for all ages.  Curtain time for “Beauty and the Beast” is a family-friendly 7 p.m., an hour earlier than usual.

Garrison Keillor comes to the EKU Center on Thursday, Feb. 14.  The star of “A Prairie Home Companion,” Keillor is an American favorite with his folksy and hilarious anecdotes about growing up in the Midwest and his delightful stories of Lake Wobegon.

Jazz superstar Wynton Marsalis performs with his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 25.  Winner of nine Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Music – the first ever awarded to a jazz artist – Marsalis is a contemporary pioneer in the evolution of jazz, and a tireless advocate for jazz as America’s classical music.     

After a recent performance with the orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma described his experience with The Knights as “vibrant” and “energetic.”  One of the hottest items on the current New York City classical music scene, The Knights is a company of adventurous musicians whose collaborative style and innovative programming have engaged audiences in a completely new way.  The 40-piece chamber orchestra comes to the Grand Hall on Thursday, April 12.

On Tuesday, April 17, the Grand Hall Series continues with the Moscow Festival Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty.”  Featuring the beloved music of Tchaikovsky and the classical Russian choreography of Marius Petipa, the company’s fully-staged performance takes the entire family to a fantasy world filled with enchanting dancers, sparkling sets, and beautiful costumes.  

The international phenomenon “Riverdance” concludes the Grand Hall Series on Friday, May 4.  One of the most successful shows in entertainment history, the company’s avant-garde interpretation of traditional Irish dance intertwined with contemporary music has enthralled millions in sold-out performances worldwide.

Show Place Series

The Show Place Series brings together an array of performances spanning country music, classic rock and roll and comedy.

Wynonna Judd, a Kentucky favorite, comes home as she kicks off the series on Saturday, Sept. 24.  Born in Richmond, Judd has enjoyed more than 20 number-one singles and 13 additional Top 10 hits, and she has won more than 60 industry awards, including five Grammy Awards. 

The improvisational comedy of Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood comes to town on Friday, Nov. 18.  The duo became known to millions of television viewers through the ABC-TV program “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” 

Acclaimed for her signature rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the 2004 movie “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” Jane Monheit is one of today’s most gifted jazz vocalists.  Her romantic interpretations of the great American songbook have made her a favorite in the cabaret and jazz worlds.  Monheit performs on Saturday, January 28.

“Spamalot,” winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical, takes the Grand Hall stage on Friday, February 3.  The outrageous musical comedy – lovingly ripped off from the classic film “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” – drew more than 2 million guests during its Broadway run of more than 1,500 performances. 

The incredible Chinese acrobats of Cirque D’Or make the impossible look easy with amazing feats of treacherous balancing, trick cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting, and gymnastics.  The company’s captivating performances have thrilled audiences around the world, and now Cirque D’Or comes to the EKU Center on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Direct from the Emerald Isle, Celtic Crossroads brings its high-energy evening of music and dance to the EKU Center for the Arts on Saturday, Feb. 18.  In an explosion of youthful energy and dazzling musicianship, the seven charismatic musicians of Celtic Crossroads explore the fusions of traditional Irish music, bluegrass, gypsy and jazz while pulsating with the rhythms of exciting Irish dance percussion.    

The unique talent of Chris Botti has earned him a place as one of the world’s smoothest and most famous trumpet players.  Botti, who recently teamed up with the Boston Pops for a wildly successful PBS Special, has sold nearly 3 million albums worldwide.  He performs at the EKU Center on Friday, April 6. 

The Show Place Series continues on Saturday, April 14, as The Temptations and the Four Tops claim the spotlight.  The two legendary groups will rock the Grand Hall with their hits, including “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,” “Reach Out,” and “My Girl.”

The hit songs keep coming on Tuesday, June 5, as urban soul legends Cornell Gunter’s Coasters, Bobby Hendricks’ Drifters, and the Platters bring the season to a close.  It’s an evening filled with some of the greatest music from the 1950s and ’60s, including hits such as “Yakety Yak,” “On Broadway,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” and “Under the Boardwalk.” 

Special Events

Some of the biggest names in popular music take the stage in the season’s Special Events.

Co-founder of Humble Pie, one of the first super groups, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Peter Frampton is one of the most-celebrated artists in rock history.  Frampton comes to the EKU Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4 as part of Michael Johnathon’s Troubadour Series.  To celebrate the 35th anniversary of his landmark multi-platinum recording, Frampton will perform the entire “Frampton Comes Alive!” album onstage, including the hit songs “Baby I Love Your Way,” “Do You Feel Like We Do,” and “Show Me the Way.”Produced in cooperation with The Troubadour Concert Series, the concert will be recorded, and fans can buy a DVD of the event the night of the show.

The King of Blues takes center stage on Saturday, Oct. 15, as international superstar B.B. King comes to the Grand Hall.  With hit songs like “The Thrill is Gone,” “When Love Comes to Town,” and “Everyday I Have the Blues,” the 15-time Grammy winner is revered as the most important blues guitarist of the last half century, and his heart-felt musicianship has defined the blues for audiences worldwide. 

The legendaryWillie Nelson – singer, songwriter, and film star – will perform on the EKU Center stage on Wednesday, Oct. 19.  With more than 2,500 songs and close to 300 albums to his credit, Nelson has transcended musical genres, remained relevant through five decades and is still going strong. 

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is coming to the EKU Center on Saturday, April 28, 2012 (a change from the previously announced time).  She recently captured the national spotlight when she surprised Oprah for her farewell show, and will perform her greatest hits, including “Think,” “Chain of Fools,” and “Respect,” on Kentucky’s newest stage.  

Favorite regional performers will also be featured in special performances at the new EKU Center.  The holidays are not complete without a performance of “The Nutcracker,” and The Lexington Ballet will bring its production of the holiday classic to the Grand Hall on Saturday, Dec. 10.  The Lexington Singers and the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra then share the stage in an extraordinary concert of Carl Orff’s masterpiece “Carmina Burana” on Friday, March 30. On Thursday, Dec. 8, the popular NPR radio program “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!” will air from the center.

Free concerts to the public will include the Eastern Kentucky University Symphony Orchestra and an evening with comedian Carl Hurley.

Tickets on Sale Now

Subscriptions for the Signature Series (which includes all of the performances of both the Grand Hall Series and the Show Place Series), the Grand Hall Series, the Show Place Series, and Special Events, as well as individual tickets, are now on sale.  For more information, call the EKU Center for the Arts box office at 1-855-EKU-SHOW (358-7469) or 859-622-SHOW (7469).  Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Eastern time.  Additional performance information is online at



The Signature Series includes 17 performances from the Grand Hall and Show Place Series.  Patrons will save over 20 percent compared to the full single ticket price.  Prices are: $752, $648, $602, and $477.  


Series subscriptions for all eight performances are $428, $365, $338, and $266.


Munich Symphony and Gloriae Dei Cantores

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $55, $45, $45, $35


Mannheim Steamroller

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $75, $65, $65, $45


Beauty and the Beast

Sunday, December 4, 2011 – 7 p.m.

Single Tickets: $65, $55, $45, $35


Garrison Keillor

Thursday, February 14, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $65, $55, $45, $40


Wynton Marsalis

Saturday, February 25, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $65, $55, $55, $45


The Knights

Thursday, April 12, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $35, $30, $30, $25


Moscow Festival Ballet-Sleeping Beauty

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $40, $35, $35, $25



Friday, May 4, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $75, $65, $55, $45



Series subscriptions for all nine performances are $419.00, $365.00, $340.00 and $272.00



Saturday, September 24, 2011 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $75, $65, $55 and $45


Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood

Friday, November 18, 2011 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $40, $35, $35 and $25


Jane Monheit

Saturday, January 28, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $35, $30, $30 and $25



Friday, February 3, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $65, $55, $55 and $45


Cirque D’Or/Golden Dragons

Thursday, February 9, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $35, $30, $30 and $25


Celtic Crossroads

Saturday, February 18, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $35, $30, $30 and $25


Chris Botti

Friday, April 6, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $65, $60, $55 and $45


Temptations and Four Tops

Saturday, April 14, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $75, $65, $55 and $45


Coasters, Drifters, and Platters

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $40, $35, $32 and $22




Peter Frampton

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.

Single Tickets - $125, $95, $75


B.B. King

Saturday, October 15, 2011 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $75, $65, $55 and $45


Willie Nelson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets: $110, $95, $85, and $65

Single Premium Tickets - $125


The Nutcracker-The Lexington Ballet

Saturday, December 10, 2011 – 8 p.m.

Single Tickets - $30, $25, $25, and $20


The Lexington Singers and the UK Symphony Orchestra

Friday, March 30, 2012

Single Tickets - $20 and $15


Aretha Franklin

Saturday, April 28, 2012 – 8 p.m. (change from previously announced date)

Single Tickets - $110, $95, $85, and $65


Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!

Thursday, December 8, 2012

Single Tickets - TBA


EKU Center for the Arts Box Office

To order tickets, or for more information, call the EKU Center for the Arts box office: 

855-EKU-SHOW (358-7469) or 859-622-SHOW (7469).

Box Office hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


See for all performance information.

Published on July 08, 2011

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