Leno, Nelson, Foreigner coming to Peace Center
Paul Hyde, [email protected] 12:28 a.m. EDT June 28, 2015
It'll feel like the first time for the rock band Foreigner.
The "Hot Blooded" group has been around for almost 40 years but has never performed at the Peace Center — until now.
Comedian Jay Leno also is among several acts making a first-ever stop next season at Greenville's cornerstone performing arts venue.
The center's 2015-16 series features several returning performers as well, including Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash, Jackson Browne, Audra McDonald, Yanni, Mannheim Steamroller and Blue Man Group — among others.
Eighteen entertainers and shows are being announced today. The mostly one-night performances join nine previously revealed Broadway musicals scheduled for 2015-16.
"Everything is eclectic as always," said Megan Riegel, president and CEO of the Peace Center. "We always try to find a great mix of programming that will appeal to a broad audience with varied tastes."
Riegel is particularly pleased about securing Leno, the former "Tonight Show" host.
"I'm thrilled about Jay Leno coming here," Riegel said. "He's someone we wanted to bring here for a long time."
More acts will be revealed as the season progresses, Riegel said.
"This is just the beginning," she said. "We'll be adding many more."
To make the Peace Center accessible for everyone, six shows boast ticket prices as low as $15, Riegel said.
"Those $15 tickets are not in the upper balcony," Riegel said. "There are some in the Founders Circle and in the orchestra section."
Following are the dates being announced today:
•Tuesday, Sept. 22: Willie Nelson. Leading the season will be the iconic Texas singer-songwriter who has more than 60 studio albums to his credit. ($55-$85, VIP packages also available)
"It's been a long time since we've had Willie Nelson in the building, so we're thrilled," Riegel said.
•Thursday, Oct. 8: Jackson Browne. California-native Browne is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with a 50-year career. Browne's new album, "Standing in the Breach," is a 10-song collection that explores his thoughts on love, hope and the uncertainties we all face in everyday life. ($55-$75, VIP packages available)
"Jackson Browne brought his acoustic show here a couple years ago but this will be his full band, so it'll be very different," Riegel said.
•Tuesday, Oct. 13: Audra McDonald. The Broadway star with a record-breaking six Tony Awards returns to Greenville with her jazz trio. McDonald had to cancel her earlier scheduled performance due to illness. ($35-$65)
•Saturday, Oct. 17: STREB: Forces. Founded in 1985 in New York City by innovative choreographer Elizabeth Streb, the STREB dance company keeps audiences close to the edge of their seats with pieces that combine dance with acrobatics, precision tumbling and high-flying stunts. ($15-$45)
•Sunday, Oct. 18: Foreigner. The band, created in 1976, rose to the top of the charts with songs such as "Feels Like the First Time," "Hot Blooded" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You." ($55-$85, VIP packages available)
•Friday, Nov. 13: Minneapolis Guitar Quartet. The group will feature both classical and contemporary music in its performance in the intimate Huguenot Loft. The loft may accommodate only about 200-250 people. ($35)
"People love classical guitar here," Riegel said. "It'll be more casual and interactive since we're doing this in the loft."
•Tuesday, Dec. 22: Mannheim Steamroller. The group returns to the Peace Center with its popular Christmas show featuring Yuletide favorites in easy listening and New Age arrangements. ($55-$85)
•Thursday, Jan. 28: The Tenors. The four Canadian tenors, who first joined forces in 2007, have shared the stage with such acts as Neil Young, Andrea Bocelli and Elton John. The Tenors perform a mix of classical and pop music. ($25-$55, VIP packages available)
•Friday, Jan. 29: The Hot Sardines. Fronted by Paris-born Miz Elizabeth, the band blends French and New Orleans jazz to create a unique style of music. ($15-$35)
"They remind me of Pink Martini but with more of a French, New Orleans sound," Riegel said. "I think the audience will love it."
•Sunday, Jan. 31: "Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage." A live symphony orchestra performs the music associated with "Star Trek" while iconic images of the TV and film series are beamed in high definition to a 40-foot screen. Music from all of the TV series and films will be featured. ($35-$65)
•Tuesday, Feb. 16: Yanni. The band leader's style blends world music, jazz, classical and adult contemporary. Fourteen of Yanni's albums have reached No. 1 on Billboard's New Age Album category. ($55-$95, VIP packages available)
•Wednesday, Feb. 17: Yamato. Founded in 1993, Yamato has toured the world, sharing the tradition of Taiko drumming in more than 50 countries. ($15-$45)
Riegel compared the group to the Kodo drummers, who have appeared at the Peace Center several times.
"It's a young, hip version of Taiko drumming," she said.
•Tuesday, Feb. 23: Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anais Mitchell: Together on Stage. Grammy Award-winner Griffin joins forces with Watkins and Mitchell for a celebration of American songwriting. The singers-in-the-round style show features all three artists on stage together, sharing songs and accompanying each other. Griffin's original songs have been covered by acts like the Dixie Chicks and Emmylou Harris. Watkins is the co-founder of bluegrass group Nickel Creek and a regular on "A Prairie Home Companion." Mitchell writes music that has been compared to the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. ($15-$35)
"It'll be one of those great, casual, intimate evenings of song," Riegel said.
•Thursday, Feb. 15: Vocalosity. Deke Sharon, the longtime arranger, singer, composer, producer, vocal coach and music director of "Pitch Perfect" and "The Sing-Off," put together this a cappella group that performs Broadway and pop songs. ($15-$35)
"That should be really fun for the family," Riegel said. "If you like a cappella music, I think you'll be very pleased with this show."
•Sunday, March 6: The Peking Acrobats. The group dazzles audiences with trick-cycling, precision tumbling, gravity defying flips, amazing contortions and other jaw-dropping stunts. ($15-$35)
"The Peking Acrobats have been around forever and they're so good at what they do," Riegel said. "We've presented other acrobatic groups but it's been a long time since we've had traditional acrobats."
•Friday, April 15: Roseanne Cash. The singer/songwriter has earned four Grammy Awards, 12 Grammy nominations and two gold records. She's written several hit singles and a best-selling memoir, "Composed." Cash's 2014 album, "The River & Thread," features 11 songs she wrote with her longtime collaborator/husband John Leventhal to celebrate the rich landscape of the American South. ($25-$55)
Cash performed at the Peace Center for a private event in the past but this concert will mark the first time she has presented a public performance at the venue.
"I'm thrilled about Roseanne Cash being here," Riegel said. "Her Dad, Johnny Cash, was on our stage. June Carter Cash was also on the stage, so it's such a cool thing that she would come back for a public performance. She's just doing some great work right now."
•Saturday, April 16: Jay Leno. The comedian led "The Tonight Show" for 17 years, building up a loyal late-night fan base with his topical humor before retiring in 2014. Leno maintains a busy touring schedule, with more than 200 stand-up shows a year. ($65-$95)
•Tuesday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 11: Blue Man Group. The group combines music, comedy and technology to create a playful, colorful, crowd-pleasing show. ($45-$75)
The Peace Center's previously announced Broadway shows include "Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story on Stage" (Sept. 29-Oct. 4), "Jersey Boys" (Oct. 27-Nov. 1), "Motown The Musical" (Nov. 24-29), "Disney's Newsies" (Dec. 29-Jan. 3), "Matilda The Musical" (Feb. 2-7), "Cabaret" (March 15-20), "The Sound of Music" (April 20-24), "Riverdance — The 20th Anniversary World Tour" (June 28-July 3) and "The Bridges of Madison County" (July 19-24).
Tickets for all shows (except the Broadway musicals) go on sale to Peacekeepers on Monday, 10 a.m. and to the public on Friday, July 10 at 10 a.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling 864-467-3000 or 800-888-7768 or in person at the Peace Center box office or online at www.peacecenter.org.