Cash, Christmas, kids and Elvis will be featured onstage at Memorial Auditorium during its 2022-23 season
“The entire show is built on the audience having the absolute best time,” said Tammy Makram of the upcoming Elvis ROCK ‘N Remember show.
WORTHINGTON — Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center has released its slate of events for the new season, featuring the music of Johnny Cash and Chicago, performances from Janie Becker and The High 48s, and the twice-rescheduled, always-zany “Pirates of Penzance” from the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players.
“I do believe we learned through COVID how important being able to sit in an audience with other people and enjoy live performing arts is to our lives,” said Tammy Makram, manager of Memorial Auditorium, noting that “Pirates” had been canceled twice during the pandemic.
Children’s Theatre: Space School Musical, 7 p.m. Aug. 19
Joseph Hall: Elvis ROCK ‘N Remember, 7 p.m. Aug. 26
The shows kick off with the Dakota Players’ Children’s Theatre presentation of “Space School Musical,” featuring local students, at 7 p.m. Aug. 19, followed by Joseph Hall’s Elvis ROCK ‘N Remember at 7 p.m. Aug. 26.
Makram received a call about two months ago from someone who had heard about Memorial Auditorium as a venue for the performing arts. It was Hall’s manager, who wanted to know if Memorial was interested in the Elvis ROCK ‘N Remember show, as it would be in the area.
“After he called, I felt like I needed to see the show in person before I made the decision,” Makram said. “So I drove a few hours to see the show myself and was impressed, not only with the show but the fact that the audience members around me had seen the show 10, 15 and even 20 times.”
The one-man show isn’t just Hall singing Elvis Presley’s songs, but also includes an exploration of the performer’s life and history, complete with costume changes from the leather jacket era to the white jumpsuit period, with everything in between, like Elvis’ two years in the U.S. Army.
Makram praised Hall’s ability to connect with his audience.
“The entire show is built on the audience having the absolute best time,” she said. “He is constantly interacting with people in the audience, and takes time to meet and greet patrons.”
Transit Authority: The Premier Chicago Tribute Band, 7 p.m. Sept. 24
Many people have asked Makram to bring Transit Authority to Memorial Auditorium, so she seized the opportunity to bring the big-band-inflected pop-rock music of Chicago to the Worthington stage.
Chicago’s big hits include “Saturday in the Park,” “25 or 6 to 4” and “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” but lacking an extensive knowledge of the group’s back catalog won’t stop listeners from enjoying the cover group’s performance, Makram said.
“Honestly, whether you know the band Chicago or not, you will be blown away by this group,” she added.
Glenn Miller Orchestra: Its Greatest Hits Show, 2 p.m. Oct. 1
The Glenn Miller Orchestra will bring its big band tunes like “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)” and “Stairway to the Stars” to the Worthington stage, along with a music director, five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombonists and three rhythm musicians, plus vocalists.
Janie Becker: The Best of Janie Becker, 2 p.m. Oct. 16
Pianist Janie Becker started playing the organ at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Heron Lake at the age of 10, and since then she’s been performing and teaching. Starting in 2000, she started composing piano music, producing many songbooks with an easy-listening tone.
Folsom Prison Experience: Tribute to Johnny Cash, 7 p.m. Oct. 22
The audience becomes part of the show as the night at Folsom Prison when Cash recorded a live album is recreated. The featured band, the Church of Cash, has performed in Worthington before to sold-out crowds, Makram said, and local performers will be getting into the act as prison guards and in other roles.
The High 48s: Holiday Bluegrass, 7 p.m. Dec. 3
The High 48s performed in Worthington before as part of the Caravan du Nord, and many people have requested their return, Makram said. They will be the Holiday show this year.
New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players: Pirates of Penzance, 7 p.m. March 18
Twice-rescheduled, the Pirates of Penzance is a hilarious comedy romp through the world of loyal pirates, idiot generals and police who don’t understand the meaning of the word “quiet,” with a love story and a lot of music thrown in.
How Sweet It Is: The Music of James Taylor & Carly Simon, 7 p.m. April 1
Dennis Curley and Dorian Chalmers have performed in Worthington before, in “Country Roads: The Music of John Denver,” and Makram had many requests to bring the storyteller-musicians back.
“They really make it a fun experience for everyone,” she said.
Artrageous: Electrifying Art & Music Circus, 7 p.m. April 14
The Artrageous performance includes an artist creating a painting in just a few moments during a single song, but it also includes music, dance and audience interaction in a high-energy musical circus.
Gone Country: Back in the Saddle Again, 7 p.m. April 22
The Gone Country concert will once again include local performers playing the greatest hits of country music, with a live house band, and it will serve as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Auditorium.
Fabulous Armadillos: What’s Going On, 7 p.m. May 6
The Fabulous Armadillos are another group returning to Memorial Auditorium, after having done tributes to the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel’s “River of Dreams.”
“What’s Going On” focuses on the protest music of the 1960s and early 1970s, narrated by three Vietnam War veterans, with live music and a multimedia show illustrating the history of that era.