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Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Announces 2013-14 Mainstage Season - Series tickets on sale now; individual shows on sale July 31

June 13, 2013

BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – The 2013-2014 Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Mainstage season will kick off Saturday, September 28, with the classic rock group Little River Band. Among the other season headliners are Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis, the Broadway musical Hair, Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show, and Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live.

A new feature this season is the Artists You Should Know series. The series will give Mendel Center audiences a chance to discover up-and-coming performers who are building names for themselves in music, dance, and comedy. Acts included this year are Americana/country vocalist Susan Ashton, Irish dance sensations Atlantic Steps, and stand-up comedians Matt Bergman, Tony Deyo, Chris Doucette, and Andy Pitz as part of the Nobodies of Comedy.

“A few years ago when Hunter Hayes was the opening act for Leann Rimes on the Mainstage, he was unknown, but our audience loved him. Now he is a rising star in the country music world. As this season took shape, I thought it would add a new dimension to our programming to seek out other performers who are in the process of building their fan bases. It will gives our audiences the inside track on talented artists who might just be the next big thing,” stated Laura Kraklau, LMC executive director of marketing and communications.

Series tickets for packages of three or more shows are on sale now with current series members given seating priority through July 8. Individual show tickets will go on sale to the public Wednesday, July 31, at 10 a.m. The Mendel Center Mainstage 2013-2014 line-up includes:

Little River Band
Saturday, September 28, 2013, 8 p.m.
Little River Band, formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1975, is one of the great vocal bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Between 1976 and 1983, chart successes in America included “It's a Long Way There,” “Help Is on Its Way,” “Happy Anniversary,” “Reminiscing,” “Lady,”  “Cool Change,” “Lonesome Loser,” “The Night Owls,” “Take It Easy On Me,” “Man On Your Mind,” “We Two,” and “The Other Guy.” Worldwide album and CD sales now top 30 million. They also set a record for having Top 10 hits for six consecutive years, the first band to achieve that mark. According to BMI, “Reminiscing” has garnered rare status with over 5 million airplays on America radio, and “Lady” is close behind with over 4 million airplays.

Susan Ashton
Saturday, October 12, 2013, 8 p.m.
Grammy Award®-nominated Susan Ashton brings her mesmerizing voice and powerful performance ability to showcase some of the best Americana songs while weaving in hits from her 20-year career. Susan has written and performed with artists Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Collin Rae (Jim Brickman's hit "The Gift"), as well as many others. She has had multiple-format Top 40 singles, including eight #1 singles, and has won multiple industry awards. Her new 6-song EP Thief is available on iTunes. It features her first single, a cover of the Gary Wright classic “Love is Alive,” and her upcoming single release “Moonshine.

Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show
Saturday, October 26, 2013, 8 p.m.
Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show has been hailed as the next best thing to seeing the Rat Pack themselves. This critically acclaimed, hugely entertaining theatrical production, which includes exciting new arrangements of the classic songs everyone knows and loves, is currently performing nightly in Las Vegas at the LVH Hotel & Casino. Receiving standing ovations nightly in Las Vegas and on tour, it is the longest running show of its kind with national and international appearances that have been seen by more than 1,000,000 people.

Dinosaur Train Live!
Saturday, November 9, 2013, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Based on the PBS television show Dinosaur Train, Dinosaur Train LIVE! is set with lush animation-styled vegetation, large rear projection video screens creating motion-driven backgrounds, and a full-sized replica of the Dinosaur Train. Using combinations of hybrid walk-around/puppeteered costume characters, and black light puppetry for special effects, Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don and all of their friends will truly seem larger than life.

Nobodies of Comedy
Saturday, November 30, 2013, 8 p.m.
Nobodies of Comedy is a lineup of some of the best "unknown" comedians from across the country rolled into one hilarious show. No over-hyped stars, just hilarious comics and a great night out with guaranteed laughs. The “nobodies” coming to the Mainstage are Matt Bergman, Tony Deyo, Chris Doucette, and Andy Pitz who will provide two hours of comedic relief perfect for a Thanksgiving weekend.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis
Sunday, December 22, 2013, 4 p.m.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday celebration for over 25 years. Grammy Award®-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller.

Brass Transit
The Musical Legacy of Chicago
Friday, February 21, 2014, 8 p.m.
Brass Transit is Toronto's dynamic, studio-tight Chicago tribute that brings together eight of Canada’s most in-demand musicians and singers. The band's show includes all the hits from Chicago's golden age. With a world-class horn section, a rocking rhythm section, and vocals stacked sky-high, Brass Transit transports its audience back to the freewheeling days of the ‘70s. The band includes veterans of Hall-of-Fame rock and soul acts like the Drifters, Sam and Dave, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, the Marvelettes, Frankie Valli, Mary Wilson, Martha Reeves, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Del Shannon, and the Mamas and the Papas. 

PFX – The Pink Floyd Experience
Saturday, March 8, 8 p.m.
Pink Floyd remains one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Now, get ready for The Pink Floyd Experience live in concert, presenting Pink Floyd’s Greatest Hits and Rarities. The Pink Floyd Experience is more than a flawless recreation of the legendary songs that spanned decades in their appeal. PFX echoes everything that made Pink Floyd one of rock and roll’s greatest icons, from the blinking eye to the marching hammers – all translated into clever hooks along the ride. Complete with a massive light show, HD projection, full quadraphonic sound, and six brilliant musicians singing all of Pink Floyd’s classics including “Wish You Were Here,” “Time,” “Another Brick in the Wall,” and much more…live!

Thursday, March 13, 7 p.m.
Hair is the exuberant musical about a group of young Americans searching for peace and love in a turbulent time that has struck a resonant chord with audiences young and old. Hair features unforgettable songs including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine,” and “Easy to Be Hard.” Its relevance is undeniable. Its energy is unbridled. Its truth is unwavering. It’s Hair. (FOR MATURE AUDIENCES. While many find this show suitable for young adults (13 and older), parental discretion is advised. There is a brief scene with nudity that is non-sexual in nature.)

The Ugly Duckling & The Tortoise and the Hare
Saturday, March 15, 11 a.m.
In an age when television, computers, and video games reign supreme, Lightwire Theater, in conjunction with Corbian Visual Arts and Dance, bring their use of cutting-edge technology, moving sculpture, and dance to another unforgettable theatrical experience. Lightwire Theater, with its dazzling visuals, poignant choreography and creative use of music ranging from classical to jazz to pop, brings these classic tales into a new and brilliant light. In 2012, Lightwire Theater made it to the semi-finals of NBC’s America’s Got Talent with their unique and dazzling stage show. The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare will use Corbian’s signature electroluminescent puppetry to bring these stories to life.

Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60
Wednesday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.
Founded in 1954, the Newport Jazz Festival was the first of its kind in America and has been called the “grandfather of all jazz festivals.” 2014 marks its 60th year and the Festival is celebrating with a multi-generational tour featuring an all-star band honoring the festival’s rich heritage, its significance, and the global scope of jazz today. Led by clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen, the ensemble features vocalist Karrin Allyson, hailed by the LA Times as “the jazz world’s finest” and often heard on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion; five-time Grammy Award®-winning trumpet wizard, Randy Brecker; guitarist Mark Whitfield; and pianist Peter Martin; with Clarence Penn on drums; and Larry Grenadier on bass.

Atlantic Steps
Saturday, April 12, 8 p.m.
A talented young dancer, 24-year-old Brian Cunningham from Connemara, is bringing one of Ireland’s oldest dance forms – sean-nós – to the world stage with Atlantic Steps. The Cunningham family of dancers regularly performs alongside Irish greats including Dé Danann, The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon, Altan, Dervish & Téada. Their recent stops throughout the country have led to critical acclaim by the Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. Atlantic Steps is the inspiring epic story of Ireland’s oldest dance form, portrayed through the music, song, dance, and Atlantic Ocean-inspired energy of the Connemara region. Centered around the joyful dance and unbridled enthusiasm of the Cunningham family – Brian, Irene, Ashline, Michael, and Lorraine – the show continues to move festival and theatre audiences to their feet, bringing sean-nós dance to its rightful place on the world stage.

Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live
Friday, May 9, 7:30 p.m.
Recognized around the country as America’s favorite zookeeper, Jack Hanna has made countless television appearances since 1983 on shows such as Good Morning America, CNN’s Larry King Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Fox News programs, and the Late Show with David Letterman. Jungle Jack took his infectious energy to the airwaves by creating two of his own nationally syndicated television programs Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures and most recently Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild. Jungle Jack’s live show features many of his favorite animal friends, as well as fascinating and humorous stories and footage from his adventures around the world.

The Mendel Center Box Office is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for phone and walk-up orders. For more information, visit, contact the Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-1221.


The 1,517-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre offers state-of-the-art acoustics and comfortable seating in elegant surroundings. Other amenities include free, lighted parking; handicap accessibility (inside and out); and an array of special services. 

The Mendel Center is a short 30-minute drive from Niles and within a 40-minute drive of Kalamazoo or South Bend.  It is located on the Lake Michigan College Napier Avenue campus in Benton Township, Michigan. The Mendel Center is on Napier Avenue one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24).

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