CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts will bring a variety of touring artists to its stages for the 2022-23 season, albeit on a smaller scale than during its pre-COVID-19 seasons. The performances include several rescheduled events whose original dates had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
Last year, the Krannert Center presented in-person performances for ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival, and its season featured a combination of in-person events and online offerings. The performing arts community is still feeling the effects of the pandemic, from the increased financial risk of touring to the difficulty of finding safe rehearsal spaces, said Emily Laugesen, KCPA’s co-director of engagement.
“We are grateful for all that we are able to do and aim to move forward in a manageable and healthy way for the community,” Laugesen said. “We want to create opportunities through the arts for people to come together in community, whether it’s a joyful experience or a more thoughtful one. We hope people will find this in the various offers of the season.
The Krannert Center opening weekend will take place on September 9 and 10. Friday night performances, which are free, begin in the outdoor amphitheater with Gracie and Rachel, a piano and violin duo who toured with Tori Amos. They are followed by performances in the lobby of the Krannert Center by Mariachi Herencia de México, a Latin Grammy-winning group of teenage musicians from Chicago, and The Soul Rebels, a horn and drum group that mixes the brass tradition. from New Orleans with funk and soul. .
Saturday performances feature pianist Chad Lawson, comedy show The Second City and the Jerry Douglas Band, with its signature blend of bluegrass, country, blues and rock.
Early-season performers include jazz and blues artists Mwenso and The Shakes, and the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio – Cuban musicians with a background in classical and folk music playing Afro-Cuban jazz in a club-style setting. The Chicago Immigrant Orchestra is a group of musicians from Chicago’s immigrant community who play a fusion of musical traditions from around the world. Their appearance is in conjunction with the Center for Global Studies and the International and Area Studies Library and is free to anyone affiliated with the University of Illinois.
Toronto-based Why Not Theater will present “Prince Hamlet,” a unique take on “Hamlet” that asks who can tell this story. The production features a reverse cast with women in the roles of Hamlet, Horatio and Polonius, and it will be performed with a combination of English and American Sign Language.
The Foellinger Great Hall is the unexpected venue for CIRCA Contemporary Circus of Australia, with shows that combine circus, theatre, acrobatics and dance. The group will present its show “Sacre”, an interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” which expresses traditional orchestral music and contemporary composition through movement.
The SITI Company ensemble theater troupe is in its 30th and final season. For their latest tour, the band revives one of their early works, “The Medium”, a meditation on technology that draws on the writings of Marshall McLuhan and “brings our modern technocratic dilemmas to the fore”.
The Great Hall Classical Series begins in October with the Los Angeles Master Chorale performing “Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter),” a choral piece that includes choreography and depicts the seven stages of grief experienced by St. Peter. The classic five-event series includes pianist Lang Lang performing JS Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’, as well as Ukraine’s Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra and the returning Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Vision Duo, composed of a violinist and a percussionist, kicks off the Sunday Salon series with its interpretations of chamber music, classical works and contemporary pieces. The Salon series includes a performance by the Aizuri Quartet, winners of the 2022 Cleveland Quartet Award.
Spring semester performances begin with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis.
The Krannert Center Youth Series returns in the spring with in-person events for area school groups. The first performance is “Jabari Dreams of Freedom”, a play set during the presidency of Barack Obama in which a boy who experiences a difficult encounter with the police escapes through his artwork to meet his hero, Obama, as a boy. Jabari meets other children from the civil rights movement who share their experiences of fighting racism. The youth series also includes “Cenicienta: A Bilingue Cinderella Story” and a JazzReach multimedia presentation on Latin jazz.
The season’s dance performances range from traditional to contemporary offerings. Modern dance group Pilobolus brings their “Big Five-Oh!” 50th anniversary visit to the Krannert Center in September. The band will perform a remixed selection of tracks from across their performance history.
In February, Dublin Irish Dance will present traditional Irish dance and music using Celtic instruments. Choreographer and performer Lil Buck tells the story of a style of street dancing unique to Memphis on March’s “Memphis Jookin’: The Show.” The Mark Morris Dance Group returns to their Midwestern home in April with “The Look of Love,” a new production set to music by Burt Bacharach.
The National Theater of Scotland presents an immersive theatrical experience in ‘The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart’, a supernatural story based on the Border Ballads and set in a Scottish pub.
Queen’s cartoonists play classical and jazz music featured in vintage cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry and The Pink Panther, as well as contemporary cartoons.
The opera “Parable of the Sower,” based on Octavia Butler’s dystopian novel, is coming to KCPA on April 28-29. Toshi Reagon, composer, musician, musical director and producer, created the opera with her mother, singer and songwriter Bernice Johnson Reagon. It was originally scheduled to be performed in February as part of the year-long Parable Path CU project, run by the Krannert Center and featuring events related to the novel. The performance has been postponed due to production difficulties related to COVID-19.
The 2022-23 season will also include a series of performances by the Jupiter String Quartet and Sinfonia da Camera, as well as productions from the music, theater and dance departments of the U. of I.
Series tickets are on sale now. Tickets for individual events will go on sale in blocks of two months. Tickets will be sold online only as mobile or print-at-home tickets, not over the phone or at the box office. Before purchasing tickets, visit Krannert Center’s online ticket office at krannertcenter.com to ensure that you have or can create an active account. For questions about purchasing tickets, contact the box office at (217) 333-6280 or [email protected]
The public sale dates for tickets for the 2022-23 season are:
- August 10 for events from September to October
- September 28 for events from November to December
- December 7 for events from January to February
- January 25 for March-April-May events