The Center for the Performing Arts announced its 2021-22 Center Presents season schedule June 8. But expect more to come is the message from President/CEO Jeffrey C. McDermott.
“This is what is booked to date,” McDermott said. “There are still a number of artists who aren’t touring yet and are still trying to put tours together. We know we’ll be adding a number of shows as we go, just because there are ongoing tours that aren’t announced just yet.”
Many national acts are waiting to see how the nation bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down much of the entertainment world since March 2020.
The 2021-22 season opens with Rufus Wainwright and José González: Unfollow the Rules in the Local Valley Tour Sept. 25. The final announced show will feature Center for the Performing Arts Artistic Director Michael Feinstein and Sandi Patty May 7. Most of the announced shows will be at the Palladium, with some at The Tarkington.
“COVID rules are still different in different states, so an artist touring in the Midwest, Michigan might have different rules than Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky,” McDermott said. “Some of the larger commercial artists are pointing their finger in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing. We’re pretty excited about what we’ve booked so far. I think Randy Rainbow (Oct. 7) is going to be an interesting one. We always love Pink Martini (Oct. 23) and Postmodern Jukebox (Dec 10). Singer/songwriter Ben Folds (Nov. 12) is going to be very well-received, and that is one (performer) we’ve been trying to get for a number of years.”
Folds is on a solo piano tour.
“Our country fans will love Clint Black (Oct. 24), and those who enjoy gospel, Christian music, the Gaither Vocal Band (Nov. 7) is very popular with them,” McDermott said.
Holiday concerts include Debby Boone (Dec. 4) and Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour (Dec. 11).
“Dave Koz is popular and has become a tradition around here,” McDermott said. “We have some tribute bands coming in like 1964 The Tribute (The Beatles, March 11, 2022) and George Michael Tribute (March 5, 2022). When you can bring in Itzhak Perlman (April 9, 2022), who is one of the great violin virtuosos of our time, that is saying something as well.”
Perlman, who made his debut on the “The Ed Sullivan Show” at age 13, has 16 Grammy Awards.
“There is a lot to choose from here,” McDermott said. “We’re really focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, and we’re trying to make that stand out in our programing, making sure we’ve got something that will be attractive to our community and beyond. A bit of our theme is looking forward, and no one wants to look back at the last 15 months, other than lessons learned, and we did learn some. There are things we changed in how we do things that were out of necessity, but we’ll continue to do that because we know they work. We’ve learned a lot about livestreaming capabilities. I don’t think anything beats coming to a show and seeing it in person.
“Our ability to livestream performances is really an ability we didn’t have before the pandemic.”
The annual gala will be virtual and streamed live from the Palladium. The Sept. 18 event will feature Feinstein, a gospel choir and other performers and surprise guests. Donations and auction proceeds will support the Center’s artistic and educational programming.
Among other highlights are Brubeck Brothers Quartet: Dave Brubeck Centennial Celebration, Oct. 2; The King’s Singers, Dec. 12; An Evening with David Sedaris, Dec. 15; The Company Men, Feb. 18, 2022; Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Feb. 27; and Peking Acrobats, March 26:
Subscription sales will start June 8. Available subscription packages are the Printing Partners Classical Series, Drewry Simmons Vornehm Jazz Series, Hoosier Village Songbook Series and Create Your Own Series (any three or more).
For a full schedule, visit thecenterpresents.org.