It's easier to book a season for a performing arts venue if you're coming out of a pandemic that stifled the performing arts for the better part of two years. It's a lesson The Center For The Performing Arts is taking advantage of with its 2022-23 lineup that features what its CEO says is it's most diverse schedule in its history.
"We're announcing 50 performances for the upcoming season (there were 48 during the 2011-22 season), and we anticipate adding several more after that to have as many as 70 shows," said Jeff McDermott in making public the season that officially begins in July with the Songbook Academy concert — but which really ramps up in September, with legendary blues guitarist Jimmie Vaughn.
Several artists will be making their debuts at the Center's primary venue — The Palladium. They include iconic West African singer Angélique Kidjo, R&B giants Trombone Shorty and Tower of Power and the legendary jazz-pop pioneer trumpet player Herb Alpert, performing with his wife and vocalist Lani Hall. Alpert remains the only artist in history to have Billboard number one hits with a vocal song ("This Guy's In Love With You" from 1968) and an instrumental ("Rise", from 1979).
The holiday season brings several fan favorites to the Palladium stage, including Marie Osmond and - back for his annual visit - saxophone legend Dave Koz.
McDermott is particularly proud that The Center was able to book the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine. "Obviously, Ukraine is going through a horrible, tumultuous time, and we're working on a fundraising aspect of that for the people of Ukraine in conjunction with that performance," McDermott said.
Also on the schedule is a New Orleans music celebration led by Dumpstaphunk, tributes to Ella Fitzgerald and the Electric Light Orchestra, and comedians Lewis Black and Kevin Nealon, part of a growing list of comedy events.
Artists returning to the Center include legendary crooner Johnny Mathis, jazz diva Diana Krall, Indiana-born violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, trumpeter Chris Botti, and pop-soul belter Michael Bolton. “Nothing can replace the experience of gathering together for live arts and entertainment, and this lineup should give everyone a reason to come and join us at the Center," McDermott said.