Smile Politely

Plan ahead for Come Home to Krannert weekend

As you’ve heard a few times from us over the past several months, this season marks Krannert Center’s 50th anniversary — quite a milestone for this gem we have on campus. Next month will be one of the pinnacle events of this two-season celebration, their Come Home to Krannert weekend. They’ve invited anyone who has been or is involved with KCPA, along with anyone who has enjoyed the benefit of having this institution as a part of our community to celebrate with them. Here’s what’s happening, per the event website:


10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (observation): Forum on the Future of Performing Arts in Higher Education

Colwell Playhouse, free

Invited guests both local and national will convene on the stage of the Colwell Playhouse for a series of moderated conversations about the future of the performing arts in higher education, inspired by five decades of “the Krannert Center Effect.” Observers are welcome in the audience area of the Playhouse to hear and watch this dialogue, which will explore visions for the future for university-centered arts practitioners, their venues, and their institutions. Observers may come and go quietly at appropriate times.

3:30 p.m: Panel discussion: “The Miracle on the Prairie”—The Genesis and Structure of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Colwell Playhouse, free

Krannert Center was unprecedented in scope and scale. This discussion provides an engaging look at the facility’s history and characteristics and will include archival images

5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Casual Welcome Gathering

Stage 5, free, cash bar and food available for purchase

This informal meet-up time is a great chance to reconnect and converse. After this session ends, informal social time on the town is encouraged.


9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Krannert Center Open House

Meet in the Lobby, free

(Intermezzo cafe and Promenade Showcase + Gift Shop will be open throughout the morning)

With Dance at Illinois, Illinois Theatre, and Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, Krannert Center presents guided tours, open rehearsals, and special displays including a look at research during this behind-the-scenes experience.

2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Richmond Family Welcome Gallery Tour

Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Avenue, Urbana (directly east of Krannert Center), free

Join the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance for a tour of the newly opened Richmond Family Welcome Gallery on the first floor of the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. This experiential showcase celebrates the magnificent history, traditions, and innovations of the University of Illinois and also features a Memory Space where visitors are encouraged to capture their Krannert Center memories for future inclusion in the exhibit.

6 p.m.: The Come Home Gala

Lobby, free (Music starts at 6pm, formal remarks at 7pm, DJ and dancing at 7:30pm)

Festive attire encouraged; black tie optional (dress to the nines in whatever that means to you!)

This centerpiece event will be a grand celebration of the five decades of impact that began when Krannert Center opened in April of 1969. Join the Center’s director, Mike Ross; University of Illinois leadership; representatives from Dance at Illinois, Illinois Theatre, and Lyric Theatre @ Illinois; and other special guests for an evening featuring a display curated by the University of Illinois Student Life and Culture Archives, a patron-populated timeline, and more. Acoustic musical performances begin at 6pm, with complimentary appetizers and cash bar available. At 7 p.m., formal remarks will be presented, followed by a performance of an original composition by ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival alum Steve Dawson, performed by Dawson and the School of Music’s Jupiter String Quartet and complemented by a slideshow of Krannert Center images. The formal presentation will finish with a “global toast”—a “cheers” to the Center, both on-site and by friends around the world via social media. DJ music and dancing will follow.


3 p.m.: Krannert Center Debut Artist recital
Foellinger Great Hall, $10-$55

School of Music student Wilson Poffenberger, saxophone, was chosen by audition to be featured in this professional recital. He is joined by pianist Casey Gene Dierlam. Stage seating is currently unavailable, but balcony tickets can be purchased online for $10 each.

Registration is required for participation in any of the weekend’s events. You can do that here. You are also invited to share your Krannert story here, to be a part of their Story Collection.

Staff writer

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