The Norton Center turns 50

Published 1:42 pm Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Norton Center turns 50


Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. 50 years of bringing world-renowned artists to Central Kentucky; 50 years of great stories that reflect the impact of the performing arts; 50 years of people – patrons, subscribers and community members – who have helped elevate the Norton Center as the premier arts venue it is today.

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“For the past 50 years, the Norton Center has shared diverse stories that entertain, encourage and connect communities,” said Norton Center Executive Director Steve Hoffman. “That’s why, to commemorate this anniversary milestone, we’ve packed the upcoming season full of events and festivities to create even more unforgettable community experiences.”

The entire community is invited to join in on the celebration with these free special events: the 50th Anniversary Block Party on Aug. 11, the year-long exhibition of modern art from the Norton Center’s permanent collection opening Aug. 14, and In Harmony: The Commonwealth Tour of the Louisville Orchestra concert on March 8.

When planning the 23/24 50th Anniversary season, Hoffman focused on curating a special season that commemorated the past five decades of programming, while also representing the next generation of entertainment.

“This year’s season includes the return of fan-favorite artists from every decade since the building opened in 1973,” said Hoffman. “In addition, there are new blockbusters and innovative artists who have been invited to launch us into the next Norton Center era.”

Highlights of the season include:

Legendary lady of rock Ann Wilson of Heart and Tripsitter (Sept. 1) will open the season with the same powerful voice that has enticed rock-n-roll fans since Heart’s beginning in the early 70s. With over 35 million in record sales, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, Ann will bring the same vigor and verve on-stage that she has for the last five decades.

Toad the Wet Sprocket with The Verve Pipe (Sept. 16) will take audiences back to the ‘90s with hits like “All I Want,” “Walk on the Ocean” and “Freshmen.” One of the world’s best tribute bands Killer Queen (Sept. 27) brings the legendary Freddie Mercury back for a final bow with uncanny authenticity. Arriving in time to celebrate Día de los Muertos, Coco in Concert on Tour (Oct. 25) will feature a screening of the popular film, with Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s musical score performed live by the 20-member Latin ensemble, Orquesta Folclórica Nacional de México.

See what all the noise is about when international sensation STOMP (Nov. 5) returns to the Norton Center. The eight-member troupe uses anything but instruments: matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, hubcaps and more will fill the Newlin Hall stage with toe-tapping rhythms.

Ring in the holiday season with the only all-female act to achieve multi-platinum success in the classical crossover and world music genres over the past decade. Celtic Woman Christmas Symphony Tour (Dec. 2) brings back the celestial voices that have dazzled audiences since their debut in 2005. Accompanied by a live orchestra, the show is sure to elicit loads of holiday cheer.

A part of four touring choirs that hail from dozens of nations and together perform over 300 times a year, the Vienna Boys Choir (March 1) will travel across the globe to delight the Central Kentucky audience. These gifted musicians have been internationally praised for their “purity of tone, distinctive charm and diverse repertoire,” and boast over six centuries of performance.

The season ends on a shimmy-shake when the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history, CHICAGO (May 1), once again dances onto the Newlin Hall stage for the first time since 2008. A universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz, CHICAGO will perform one show-stopping hit after another, with the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen.

Buying a subscription is the best way to experience the Norton Center. Embark on musical adventures with the popular TasteMAKER Series: a hand-picked, globally-inspired series of six shows with exclusive access to the TasteMAKER Lounge and incredible 25% show discounts. Or, create a personalized package with the Choose-Your-Own Series and buy tickets to three or more shows to unlock exclusive benefits, access to the best seats and savings up to 25% off. The more you buy, the more you save. Season subscription packages are on sale now!

For more information on the entire lineup of performances, including videos, biographies, activities and more, visit

The Norton Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more about the season by emailing or calling the Box Office at 859-236-4692. Not ready to buy a subscription? Regular-priced tickets go on sale July 24.


2023-24 Norton Center Performing Arts Season

• Sept. 1: Ann Wilson of Heart & Tripsitter

• Sept. 7: Cimarrón

• Sept. 16: Toad the Wet Sprocket with Special Guest The Verve Pipe

• Sept. 27: Killer Queen

• Oct. 25: Coco in Concert on Tour

• Nov. 3: Devine Carama

• Nov. 5: STOMP

• Dec. 2: Celtic Woman: Christmas Symphony Tour

• Jan. 19: Simone Porter

• Feb. 2: Aquila Theatre: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

• Feb. 20: Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents Sing and Swing

• March 1: Vienna Boys Choir

• March 8: In Harmony: The Commonwealth Tour of the Louisville Orchestra

• March 26: MOMIX: Alice

• April 12: A Tribute to Dave Brubeck with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet and Special Guest Roxy Coss

• May 1: Chicago: The Musical