'It's been a difficult 15 months': Live shows return to Stephens Auditorium this fall

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune

Tammy Koolbeck and the staff at Stephens Auditorium are thrilled that a full lineup of live events is coming back this fall to one of Iowa’s most popular venues.

“It’s been a difficult 15 months as the pandemic completely disrupted live performances for artists and venues,” Koolbeck, Stephens Auditorium’s executive director, said in a news release. “Although we were fortunate to host smaller events in a safe, socially distanced environment, we are looking forward to opening our doors to full houses once again. We believe audiences will find several shows on our series lineup to attend and experience the joy of being together for performing arts.”

Subscriptions are on sale now for the 2021-22 Performing Arts Series, a 16-show lineup that begins Oct. 3 with a concert by Three Dog Night, a rock band in its fifth decade of performing.

Three Dog Night will perform at Stephens Auditorium on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

The lineup offers a variety of genres and productions to the Ames venue. 

This year’s Broadway series includes four shows: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “South Pacific” and “Hairspray.”

Subscription orders can be purchased online at www.center.iastate.edu/orderonline. Subscribers have the “best seats in the house,” the release said and save up to 20% on packages.

Individual tickets will go on sale in August. You can sign up from the website to receive an email notification when individual tickets are on sale.

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2021-22 Performing Arts Series at Stephens Auditorium

Three Dog Night — Sunday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m. — With songs like “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” “Joy to the World,” “Black and White,” “Shambala” and “One,” from 1969 through 1974, no other group achieved more top 10 hits, moved more records or sold more concert tickets than Three Dog Night, according to the news release.

♦ The Fab Four — Friday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m. — This Emmy Award-winning Beatles tribute band performs all over the world and prides itself on its note-for-note live renditions of the Fab Four’s classic songs.

The Tony Award-winning musical "Hairspray" will be performed at Stephens Auditorium on Sunday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m.

♦ Whose Live Anyway? — Friday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. — Current cast members from the Emmy-nominated TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” perform a 90-minute improv show, which includes suggestions from the audience.

♦ Ballet Hispánico — Sunday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. — This Latino dance organization is based in the United States, celebrating and exploring Latino cultures through “innovative dance performances, transformative dance training and enduring community engagement experiences.”

♦ Susan Werner — Sunday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m. — This singer-songwriter “composes skillful songs that effortlessly slide between folk, jazz and pop, all delivered with sassy wit and classic Midwestern charm,” according to the release.

♦ A Magical Cirque Christmas — Monday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m. — A family-friendly holiday production combines “dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists, accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live.”

♦ “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” — Wednesday, Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m. — Roald Dahl's story takes the stage at Stephens and includes songs from the original “Willy Wonka” film: “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” along with some new scores.

A Magical Cirque Christmas will be performed at Stephens Auditorium on Monday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m.

♦ Drumline Live — Saturday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m. — This international tour is based on the marching band traditions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The choreographed show incorporates original compositions as well as interpretations of Top 40 hits.

♦ “Fiddler on the Roof” — Monday, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. — This North American tour of the Broadway show is directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher. It’s a “fresh take on a beloved masterpiece” and includes a live orchestra.

♦ Dinosaur World Live — Friday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. — A “roarsome interactive show for all the family,” this production includes life-like dinosaurs, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Segnosaurus.

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♦ “South Pacific” — Thursday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. — This Rodgers and Hammerstein classic tells the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of love transcending war and prejudice during World War II. The musical won 10 Tony Awards and features beloved songs, such as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.”

♦ Russian National Orchestra — Friday, Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m. — Bringing its “Rebirth and Resilience Tour” to concert venues across the United States, the Russian National Orchestra is led by guest conductor Kirill Karabits. The program features masterworks by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev.

Velocity Irish Dance will take the stage at Stephens Auditorium on Monday, March 28, at 7 p.m.

♦ Cirque Mechanics — Tuesday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. — Although it’s inspired by the modern circus, Cirque Mechanics “finds its roots in the mechanical and its heart in the stories of American ingenuity.” The troupe’s current production is “42FT- A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels.”

♦ “Hairspray” — Sunday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. —This Tony Award-winning Broadway musical comedy inspired the film and live television event. The production is the story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad, who is determined to dance her way onto a popular TV dance show in 1960s Baltimore.

♦ Velocity — Thursday, March 24, 7 p.m. — Velocity Irish Dance is “the next generation in Irish tap,” according to the news release. It’s an “expressive, free, fast-paced and edgy performance,” led by James Devine, Guinness World Record holder for The Fastest Feet in the World, and David Geaney, five-time world champion Irish dancer.

♦ Russian String Orchestra — Friday, April 29, 7:30 p.m. — “Founded in 1991 as Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, the Russian String Orchestra is comprised of some of Russia’s finest young string players and has carved a niche for itself under the creative baton of founder Misha Rachlevsky,” the release stated.