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LMC Mendel Center Announces 2014-15 Mainstage Season

June 4, 2014

Series tickets on sale now; individual shows on sale July 1

BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – The 2014-2015 Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Mainstage season will kick off Thursday, August 7, with the Grammy winner Peter Frampton. Among the other season headliners are ‘80s classic hits group Air Supply, the Broadway musical revue Smokey Joe’s Café, Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, an evening of improv comedy with Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy, and Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid Live!

Series tickets for packages of three or more shows are on sale now. Current series members have seating priority through June 20, then orders from new Series members will be filled. Individual show tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 1, at 10 a.m.

“Becoming a series member is the number one way for people to buy early and get the best seats possible,” stated Mike Nadolski, director of Mainstage Services. “We anticipate strong, early ticket sales for several of the shows on our roster this year. Series buyers will get the first opportunity at tickets before individual shows go on sale to the public.”

The Mendel Center Mainstage 2014-2015 line-up includes:


Grammy Winner Peter Frampton

Thursday, August 7, 2014, 8 p.m.

$55 - $200

Peter Frampton remains one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history. At 16, he was lead singer and guitarist for the British band The Herd. At 18, he co-founded one of the first super groups, seminal rock act Humble Pie. His session work includes collaborations with such legendary artists as George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, John Entwistle, and many others. His fifth solo album, the electrifying Frampton Comes Alive!, is one of the top-selling live records of all time. Sponsored by Whirlpool Corporation.


Air Supply

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8 p.m.

$39 - $56

The trademark sound of Russell Hitchcock’s soaring tenor voice and Graham Russell’s simple yet majestic songs create a unique sound that will forever be known as Air Supply. In the late 1970s, they quickly gained a reputation for great harmonies and for the original songs that Graham was constantly writing. Seven top-five singles later, Air Supply at that time had equaled The Beatles’ run of consecutive top five singles. The albums Lost in Love, The One That You Love, Now & Forever, and The Greatest Hits sold in excess of 20 million copies. “Lost in Love” was named Song of the Year in 1980, and, with the other singles, sold more than 10 million copies. “Lost in Love,” “All Out of Love,” “The One That You Love,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” have each achieved multi-million plays on the radio. Sponsored by Insurance Management Service.


Casey Abrams

Saturday, October 11, 2014, 8 p.m.

$25 - $34

America first fell in love with Casey Abrams during the 10th season of American Idol. His brilliant musicianship coupled with an infectious on-stage personality landed him in the top six of the perennially popular vocal competition.  Since then, he has performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live with Regis and Kelly, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He has also performed throughout the U.S. and internationally as part of the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2011. Casey released his debut album, Casey Abrams, in 2012. His blend of up-beat pop rhythms, jazz bass lines, and laid back melodies has led to a following of fans that span generations. Many are calling him one of the best young artists to come along in a long time.


Smokey Joe’s Cafe

Saturday, October 25, 2014, 8 p.m.

$48 - $60

The longest running musical revue in Broadway history is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Smokey Joe’s Café is a theatrical event complete with sizzling choreography and nearly 40 of your favorite songs written by Leiber and Stoller for artists including Elvis, The Drifters, and more! The show features The Coasters who will perform classics including “Yakety Yak,” “Poison Ivy,” “Love Potion #9,” “Searchin’,” and “Charlie Brown.” The entire cast will perform additional hits including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Treat Me Nice,” “On Broadway,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Stand By Me,” and much, much more! It will be a night of old time rock n’ roll, dancing, and good times!  Sponsored by Comfort Suites - St. Joseph/Stevensville.


Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir

Sunday, November 2, 2014, 4 p.m.

$15 - $25

Direct from Dakar, Senegal, for a special 2014 tour of the U.S., the Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir is made up of 15 vocalists and four traditional Senegalese drummers. Each Sunday, in the heart of Dakar’s most working-class neighborhood, the choir interprets gospel works, spirituals, traditional African Songs, and the magnificent masses. The voices – to which drums, guitar, and kora are occasionally added – interpret and combine Catholic liturgy and the indigenous Muslim songs of Senegal to create an extraordinary harmony between the two cultures that comprise the nation of Senegal. Local youth choir All God’s Children will join the Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir for featured selections creating an unforgettable afternoon of world music with a local connection. Sponsored by Whirlpool Corporation.


Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid Live!

Saturday, November 8, 2014, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

$16 - $26

Sid the Science Kid comes to life in this incredible live stage experience! Kids and parents alike will be thrilled as Sid, May, Gabriela, and Gerald come to southwest Michigan to discover the excitement and curiosities of the world around them. With wonders to discover, Sid and his friends set off on a day of excitement and adventure. They explore their five senses through fun games and experiments, by asking curious questions, and by finding fascinating answers. Teacher Susie keeps the music flowing as the kids explore the world around them with interactive audience activities, cooperative problem solving, and plenty of laughs to go around. There is even a surprise sixth sense revealed by Teacher Susie. Sid the Science Kid LIVE! will have the whole family cheering, exploring, dancing, and discovering more about the great unknown. Great for ages 2 to 7. Sponsored by Honor Credit Union.


2nd Annual Nobodies of Comedy

Saturday, November 29, 2014, 8 p.m.

$25 - $28

Everyone laughed so hard last year that we’re doing it again Thanksgiving weekend – with an all new lineup of comics! We’ve scoured the country for the funniest and most outrageous comics we’ve ever seen and guess’ve never even heard of them! But all that’s about to change! It’s 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 that will give you no time to breathe! Comics scheduled to date are Liz Miele, Dwayne Murphy, Jr., and Mark Walton. Contains adult language and subjects. Show recommended for audiences 18+.  Schedule subject to change.


Kathy Mattea: Songs and the Season

Sunday, December 14, 2014, 4 p.m.

$32 - $48

Kathy Mattea, known for her Top 20 country radio hits “Where’ve You Been?” and “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” will add a new layer of artistic and spiritual growth to the long tradition of holiday music with her Songs and the Season program: a thoughtful blend of old favorites and music from her celebrated holiday albums, Joy For Christmas Day, and the Grammy winning Good News.  Kathy says Songs and the Season is “more about the spiritual side of Christmas, and not so much about the holiday” – and the result is a performance that will bring both joy and reverence to this season of celebration. Kathy is long known as an impeccable song catcher. Her 17 albums have garnered multiple CMA, ACM, and Grammy Awards. Sponsored by Hilton Garden Inn.


The Russian National Ballet Theatre presents

Don Quixote

Saturday, January 10, 2015, 4 p.m.

$34 - $45

Based on an episode from Miguel de Cervantes’ famous novel, Don Quixote de la Mancha, the story follows its title hero, a middle-aged country gentleman absorbed with tales of chivalry, who sets out to defend virtue and punish those who violate the code of honor. A dance-packed feast of comedy, drama, romance, intrigue, betrayal, and fantasy, Minkus’ rousing score endows each scene with rich atmosphere. With a company boasting more than 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, the Russian National Ballet Theatre delivers exquisite storytelling through the time-honored art of dance, demonstrating the best in ballet artistry. Sponsored by Holiday Inn Express – St. Joseph.


Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy

Thursday, February 5, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

$36 - $55

With more than thirty years of experience and an alumnus of Saturday Night Live and Chicago’s famed Second City, Jim Belushi is now bringing to the stage an improvised comedy sketch show featuring members of the Board of Comedy. Belushi starred on the ABC hit comedy According to Jim, on which he also served as executive producer, music composer, and director. After wrapping 182 episodes for its eighth and final season, the family favorite series also hit a milestone when it launched into off-net syndication in 2007. A favorite of film, television, and stage audiences, Belushi is one of the great leading character actors equally at home in drama and comedy, and a gifted performer who can also hold a room as front man of a rhythm and blues band. Accompanying Belushi are Megan Grano, Larry Joe Campbell, Brad Morris, and Joshua Funk*, all of whom are classically trained professional improvisers who tour regularly nationwide. Supporting cast may be subject to availability. Language may be offensive. Show recommended for audiences 18+.  Sponsored by Chemical Bank and The Boulevard Inn & Bistro.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites

Saturday, February 14, 2015, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

$14 - $18

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites includes the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly, the fanciful account of Little Cloud’s travels through the sky, and The Mixed Up Chameleon’s discovery of his own unique nature. Directed and designed by Jim Morrow, who ranks among Canada’s most esteemed puppetry creators, the triple-bill show incorporates evocative original music by Nova Scotian composer Steven Naylor and innovative “black light” staging techniques that highlight Morrow’s stunning puppets and props. The works follow closely the books from which they are adapted, providing a new generation with a seamless entry into the world of theatre and music. Great for ages 2 to 6!


Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles

Thursday, February 26, 2015, 7 p.m.

$48 - $60

Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles is a live multi-media spectacular that takes you on a musical journey through the life and times of the world’s most celebrated band. Going further than before, this expanded Rain adds even more hits that you know and love from the vast anthology of Beatles classics such as “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together,” and “Hey Jude.” This stunning concert event takes you back in time with the legendary foursome delivering a note-for-note theatrical event that is the next best thing to the Beatles. Don’t miss the Broadway smash that’s taking the world by storm… Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles.


The Acting Company presents

Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Saturday, March 14, 2015, 8 p.m.

$25 - $30

The Acting Company, the country’s premiere touring theater group, returns to the Mainstage with an all-new production. Lancelot, Guinevere, Merlin, and Mark Twain himself (as Hank) come tumbling your way in this satirical tale from America’s favorite humorist. Wander with Twain as he time travels from the 19th Century to 6th Century England’s medieval times through the eyes of Hank Morgan of Hartford, Connecticut, who, after a blow to the head, awakens to find himself transported back to the time of legendary King Arthur.  Mark Twain’s satirical romp exposes the foibles and fortes of both ages leading audiences to question and laugh at themselves and the principles of the 21st century.  Sponsored by First Source Bank.


Wild Kratts Live!

Saturday, April 25, 2015, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

$20 - $32

A PBS Kids favorite is coming to the Mendel Center Mainstage! Animated Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, come to “real life” in a classic Wild Kratts story. Off to the Creature Rescue, the Kratt Brothers activate some fan-favorite creature power suits to confront a comic villain. Through hilarious pratfalls and amazing animal wow facts, the Wild Kratts team rescues a helpless animal friend and returns her home “living free and in the wild!” Great for ages 3 to Grade 5! Sponsored by Meijer.




Hanson Theatre Living Room Series -- A new addition to the entertainment lineup at the LMC Mendel Center is the Hanson Theatre Living Room Series. The series brings up-and-coming regional musicians and comics to the intimate setting of the 246-seat Hanson Theatre.


“The connection between the audience and the artist is always outstanding in the Hanson Theatre. The smaller, yet comfortable, surroundings provide the maximum viewing and listening experience. It is the perfect setting to enjoy a relaxing evening of entertainment with friends,” stated Nadolski.



THE Ha! Ha! Holidays Show – A Comedy Extravaganza

Friday, December 19, 2014, 7 p.m.


This holiday season give yourself the gift of laughter. It’s a night of stand-up and improvisational comedy featuring local and regional improvisation comedy troupes and stand-up comedians. Since 2003, Crawlspace Eviction has been delivering laughs, chortles and guffaws to Kalamazoo. With a blend of short- and long-form improv comedy, troupe members show audiences just how much fun it is when what happens next is anybody’s idea. Crawlspace Eviction will be joined by troupe members from TORP, the improv troupe based right here in Benton Harbor - St. Joseph, and a stand-up comedian to be named later. Guaranteed to be an evening of laughter and libations.


Wild Ponies

Friday, January 23, 2015, 7 p.m.


Offering dead right, honest songwriting delivered in a hauntingly beautiful and gritty neo-traditional Americana wrapper, Wild Ponies takes all the rich detail and narrative of Doug and Telisha’s earlier work and adds a sonic right fist. Quick wit and fearless delivery make every show stunning and personal. Touring in support of their release on Ditch Dog Records, Things That Used to Shine, Wild Ponies - Doug and Telisha Williams with drummer Jake Winebrenner - bring energy and charisma along as they perform brilliant new songs as well as some of the old Doug and Telisha favorites. 


Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys

Friday, February 13, 2015, 7 p.m.


The tight-knit lyrics and infectious joy in The Flatbellys’ songs will make you stop whatever you’re doing and cock an ear. The band’s skill is breath-taking, and it’s obvious through their playing that there is nothing they’d rather do more than come together and make music. Drawing from Americana and early twentieth-century music, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys firmly place themselves within the continuity of American music without sounding self-conscious, as many of the bands who try to capture this sound do.

No -- this is just who they are.


Other new features being introducted during the 2014-2015 season include:


Mainstage VIP Status – For select Mainstage performances, Mainstage VIP Status is available. The $20 package includes a private reception area, two drink tickets, snacks, and prizes 90 minutes before the show and during intermission, if an intermission is offered. VIP Status may be purchased for $20 per show, or $105 for the seven performances. It is limited to the first 100 patrons for each show in the Stage Side and Platinum sections.


Community Showcase Series – The LMC Mainstage hosts many performances presented by community performing arts organizations. Now, Mainstage Series members can receive special discounts on five of these performances that comprise the Community Showcase Series. Performances include: Children’s Music Workshop’s presentation of Disney’s Peter Pan, Jr., Citadel Dance and Music Center’s Steamed Spring Concert of Dance 2015, and three Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra performances scheduled at the Mendel Center.


Additional event discounts for Series members – Mainstage Series members will receive special discounts on other Mendel Center events including performances offered by the LMC Fine Arts Department, Winter Delights: A Festival of Wine, Food, and Jazz, and the Art of Beer Festival.


Beverages allowed in the theaters – For the first time, LMC is allowing beverages into the Mainstage and Hanson Theatre with the use of special no-spill cups available for purchase. This amenity is available when lobby beverage service is provided.


New Box Office hours – Beginning July 1, LMC Mendel Center Box Office hours will move to 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, for phone and walk-up orders. The change is designed to make it more convenient for working patrons to contact the Box Office after traditional work hours.


For more information about purchasing series tickets or any of the new features, 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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