BY HANNAH GOLDFINGER
Acrobats and fire dancers and The Broadway Boys, oh my!
The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center announced its 2023-2024 lineup last week with a stellar performance from The Broadway Boys.
The Broadway Boys performed during the announcement lineup. The Broadway Boys are a group of six men who have all been in different Broadway shows and perform selections from different shows.
During the announcement, they performed selections from many of the shows that will be coming to the Gogue Center over the next year.
The Gogue will welcome a number of celebrities, Broadway shows and performers to its stages next year, including Patti Lupone, Snarky Puppy, Craig Morgan, Straight No Chaser, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and more.
“We’re thrilled to be able to say goodbye to the 22-23 season and say hello to the 23-24 season,” said Chris Heacox, executive director of the Gogue Center.
There were a few changes to the lineups that Heacox announced, including that all performances will now start at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 — a change that brought great applause from the crowd.
“We do listen,” he said. “… With some of the Broadway shows that we bring, they’re three-hour shows. We want to make sure that we’re able to get everyone home on time.”
Additionally, The Gogue Center is introducing a Country Series with performances from artists like Chris Janson and Easton Corbin.
Family Series will move to Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m.
The Gogue Center is bringing several well-known Broadway shows to its stage.
The first is “Come From Away,” which will visit Auburn on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.
“Come From Away” is the true story of 7,000 stranded airline passengers on Sept. 11, 2001, in Gander, Newfoundland.
Next is “Mean Girls” on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, at 7 p.m.
“We have it on Wednesday, so on Wednesday what are we going to wear?” Heacox asked the audience to a resounding answer of “Pink!”
The Plains will then welcome “My Fair Lady” on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
Finally, “To Kill a Mockingbird” will come to the stage on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
“Thrilled to be able to bring this amazing story, this amazing Pulitzer-Prize winning story here to Auburn, where it should have been when it first came on tour,” Heacox said.
Patti LuPone and her Don’t Monkey with Broadway tour is the first of the celebrity series on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring Patti here, and one of the things that we try to be able to do every season is bring a Broadway star to Auburn, not only to perform for our audiences but also to be able to work with our theater students in our department of theater and dance,” Heacox said.
LuPone will host a master class for Auburn students while here.
Straight No Chaser will bring the Sleighin’ It tour on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.
Straight No Chaser was a big hit with the Auburn crowd. The a capella group will be performing Christmas numbers and some of their regular hits.
“We’re thrilled to be able to kick off our holiday season with Straight No Chaser,” Heacox said.
In December, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis is coming back to Auburn to bring Big Band Holidays on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
There will be one more in the celebrity series that’s “to be announced,” Heacox said.
The Auburn crowd was excited and pleased by the announcement of Snarky Puppy coming on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.
“It’s a group that a number of people have come to me and said, ‘Hey, bring Snarky Puppy, bring Snarky Puppy,’” Heacox said.
Veronica Swift will then perform on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.
The announcement of the Vienna Boys Choir on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. was met with applause from the crowd.
“We love to be able to have a cappella choirs in the theater,” Heacox said.
To jump into the comedy area, Brian Regan will be at Gogue on Feb. 29 at 7 p.m.
DANCE AND MOVEMENT SERIES
The first dance and movement performance will be held on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. — “Step Afrika!”
“It’s a really amazing performance; interactive with our audiences, you learn about steps and where it comes from in the African traditions,” Heacox said.
Next is the Mark Morris Dance Group performing “Pepperland” (a tribute to the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band) at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is performing twice in Auburn on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. and will put on a K-12 school show.
“To be able to bring Ailey here is amazing; it will be their debut performance in Auburn,” Heacox said. “They played in Opelika years and years ago, played in Montgomery and Birmingham but never in our theaters, so to be able to have this world-class, amazing group — historic dance group — here at Auburn is just one of our bucket-list items.”
The Paul Taylor Dance Company will put on the final dance and movement show on April 16 at 7 p.m.
ORCHESTRA AND CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES
The first show in the Orchestra and Chamber Music Series is a returning artist, Heacox said — Simone Dinnerstein.
Dinnerstein will be doing a residency throughout the year and will perform three times at the Gogue this season.
The first is on Oct. 12 with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will also be putting on a children’s performance of “Peter and the Wolf” for K-12 students.
Dinnerstein will then perform an immersive performance on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. titled “The Eye Is The First Circle.”
Finally, in April, she will perform “Baroklyn” on April 5.
The other performance in this series is Susanna Phillips on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.
“The goal with our family series is make it as affordable and easy for families and people to attend all performances at $10 tickets,” Heacox said.
Those shows will include “The Rainbow Fish” on Oct. 22 at 3 p.m., “The B – The Underwater Bubble Show” on Oct. 29 at 3 p.m.; “123 Andres” on March 24 at 3 p.m.; and “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” on April 7 at 3 p.m.
COUNTRY MUSIC SERIES
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring a number of wonderful country artists here to the Gogue Center,” Heacox said.
The new country series will kick off with Pam Willis & Lorrie Morgan with the Grits and Glamour Tour on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
Chris Janson will visit The Plains on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.
“Chris is an amazing multi-instrumentalist, award-winner, Opry member as well,” Heacox said. “We’re thrilled to be able to bring Chris here.”
Craig Morgan will perform on his God. Family. Country. Tour on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.
Finally, Easton Corbin will perform at the Gogue on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.
“I’m not going to hold it against him, he is a Gator,” Heacox said. “We’ll let him get on the stage, we might have a couple shirts for him and a hat — we’ll see if he wears it.”
SUMMER FILM SERIES
Until all these shows kick off, the Gogue Center will host its summer film series featuring three films:“Moana” on June 15, “La La Land” on June 29 and “National Treasure” on July 13. All three will be at 7 p.m. at the Ham Amphitheatre.
The announcement lineup ended with a reception featuring acrobats, fire dancers and more to set the tone for 23-24.