Chef Nigella Lawson, trumpeter Chris Botti, Pooh bear, more coming to JCCC next season
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, trumpeter Chris Botti a Winnie the Pooh musical and more will highlight the Midwest Trust Center Series’ next season — 44 events announced on Friday.
But the 2022-23 season will also be marked by the departure of Emily Behrmann, who retires this summer as the longtime executive director of the Johnson County Community College series. The season will be her last in an official capacity. That means a lot more free time — especially at nights and on weekends.
Part of her process has been to watch in person the 40-plus concerts, plays, children’s shows and other entertainment that she has painstakingly arranged each year.
“Everything I book I attend in its entirety because I want to make sure we get what we were promised,” she said. “I also want to experience it from the audience’s point of view.
“Next season, that’s going to be interesting, because I don’t really have to be here. But I’m looking forward to so many of these shows so much that I probably will darken the door a few times.”
Behrmann will retire June 30 after nearly 31 years at JCCC. She has been in charge of the school’s performing arts series since 2009, first as general manager and as executive director since July 2021. The search for her replacement is ongoing.
“We’re announcing this season and putting it on sale, and then I guess I get to float away,” Behrmann said.
Botti will open the season Aug. 24 at Yardley Hall. His booking was an example of how the pandemic has finally provided folks in the performing arts with a silver lining after two years of shutdowns, cancellations, mask mandates and limited audiences.
“A lot of artists, performers, entertainers, public figures are looking to get back to that schedule, just like we’re hoping to get back to presenting that schedule,” Behrmann said.
That mutual eagerness has made it simpler to nail down commitments. With Botti’s booking, it was a matter of his agent calling and asking Behrmann whether she was interested.
“Was I interested?” she said. “Of course I’m interested. So that was an easy one.”
Another celebrity who more or less fell into Behrmann’s lap was Lawson, the renowned British food writer and television cook. She will discuss her latest book, “Cook, Eat, Repeat,” on Nov. 19.
“That was just something that came across my desk,” Behrmann said. “I love Nigella, just personally. A lot of people I know find her very interesting and fun, so I just called the agent and said, ‘I’m interested in this. What are the details?’ And it just kind of came together.”
Other highlights of the season:
▪ Folk music legend John McCutcheon; a co-promotion with Folk Alliance International, which is headquartered in Kansas City.
▪ Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain with the Masters of Percussion. “In the Indian community, Zakir is a huge celebrity,” Behrmann said.
▪ “Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation,” a new touring play featuring life-size puppets.
▪ DakhaBrakha, a folk music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine.
▪ L.A. Theatreworks’ production of “Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom.”
Events will be held in the 420-seat Polsky Theatre or the 1,300-seat Yardley Hall.
Season-ticket packages will go on sale May 2, with tickets to individual shows available June 6.
Midwest Trust Center Series 2022-23 season
Aug. 24: Chris Botti, Yardley Hall
Sept. 16-17: New Dance Partners, “The Ultimate Collaboration,” Yardley Hall
Sept. 25: The Opus 76 Quartet, “Glass, Beethoven and Mendelssohn,” Polsky Theatre
Sept. 29: “DEAFinitely Dope” with Mathew Maxey, Polsky Theatre
Sept. 30: Verona Quartet, Yardley Hall
Oct. 1: MTC Kids Jam: Yogapalooza with Bari Koral, Polsky Theatre
Oct. 2: Winterlude: Vine Street Rumble, Yardley Hall
Oct. 15: “Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation,” Yardley Hall
Oct. 16: Soweto Gospel Choir Hope, Yardley Hall
Oct. 21: Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and the Hanover Big Band, Yardley Hall
Oct. 22: An Evening With Jon, Jon and Efren: “Napoleon Dynamite” Film Screening and Conversation, Yardley Hall
Oct. 28: The Four Freshman, Yardley Hall
Oct. 30: Piff the Magic Dragon and Puddles Pity Party, “Misery Loves Company,” Yardley Hall
Nov. 12: “Legally Blonde the Musical,” Yardley Hall
Nov. 19: An Evening With Nigella Lawson, Yardley Hall
Dec. 2: TenThing Brass Ensemble, Yardley Hall
Dec. 4: Winterlude: Doug Talley Quartet, Polsky Theatre
Dec. 9-10: Mesner Puppet Theatre, “Cirque de Wiener Dog,” Polsky Theatre
Jan. 15: Winterlude: Bobby Watson Quartet, Yardley Hall
Jan. 21: MTC Kids Jam: Oran Etkin, “Finding Friends Far From Home,” Polsky Theatre
Jan. 22: Oran Etkin, “Open Arms,” Polsky Theatre
Jan. 29: Opus 76 Quartet: “Amadeus” (recital and film), Polsky Theatre
Feb. 4: “Cenicienta: A Bilingual Cinderella Story,” Yardley Hall
Feb. 5: The Small Glories, Polsky Theatre
Feb. 11-12: LA Theatreworks, “Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom,” Polsky Theatre
Feb. 11: “Voices of Mississippi,” Yardley Hall
Feb. 18: Emerson Quartet: Farewell Tour, Yardley Hall
Feb. 19: Winterlude: Trent Austin Quartet, Polsky Theatre
Feb. 24: DakhaBrakha, Polsky Theatre
Feb. 26: Opus 76 Quartet: “Haydn and Schubert,” Yardley Hall
March 2: “It’s OK to be Different,” Yardley Hall
March 3: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra, Yardley Hall
March 5: Brooklyn Rider, “Variations on a Theme,” Polsky Theatre
March 10: Danú, “St. Patrick’s Celebration,” Yardley Hall
March 11: John McCutcheon, Polsky Theatre
March 12: Opus 76 Quartet with Ramona Pansegrau, piano, Polsky Theatre
March 19: Winterlude: KC Jazz Disciples, Polsky Theatre
March 25: MTC Kids Jam: Billy Jonas, “Who’s Gonna Make Our Music?!” Polsky Theatre
March 26: “Curtis on Tour,” Nina von Maltzahn Global Touring Initiative of Curtis Institute of Music, featuring David Shifrin, clarinet; John de Lancie, narrator; Soovin Kim, violin, Polsky Theatre
March 31: “A Moving Sound,” Polsky Theatre
April 1: Masters of Percussion featuring Zakir Hussain, Yardley Hall
April 15: Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Yardley Hall
May 6: MTC Kids Jam: KC Spotlight, Polsky Theatre
May 19: “Cirque Kalabante,” Afrique en Cirque, Yardley Hall