Mendel Center Main Stage Line-Up Schedule!

The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College
Announces 14-show lineup for the 2017-2018 Mainstage Season
Series member pre-sale tickets available now; individual shows on sale June 14
BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – Southwest Michigan’s largest non-profit performing arts venue has unveiled its 26th season lineup of national and international touring artists and performances. The Mendel Center Mainstage 2017– 2018 season begins Friday, September 8, with a special co-presentation of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra performing with The Texas Tenors.
Among the other 13 season headliners are stand-up comedian Howie Mandel, the 20th anniversary tour of Riverdance, the national touring Broadway musical Cabaret, holiday favorite Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis, and music legend Art Garfunkel.
“This season’s strong mix of performances has a number of well-known names our audiences have been requesting,” stated Mike Nadolski, executive director of The Mendel Center. “Equally exciting are the new performances and artists we are introducing to southwest Michigan including B – The Underwater Bubble Show from Latvia, and Vitaly, a brilliant young illusionist from Canada. The season extends our ongoing commitment of presenting events that bring families, friends, and neighbors together and create community connections.”
Nadolski also commented that there will likely be one or two performances added to this season’s lineup. “We’re working on some exciting options and hope to have details finalized this summer,” he stated.
During the season reveal party on Wednesday for Mainstage Series members, Economic Club members, corporate sponsors, and donors, The Mendel Center provided a sneak peek at The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series with the announcement of Dave Ramsey who will speak on September 19.
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored seven best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership, Complete Guide to Money, Smart Money Smart Kids and The Legacy Journey. “The Dave Ramsey Show” is heard by more than 13 million listeners each week on more than 585 radio stations and digitally through podcasts, online audio streaming and a 24-hour online streaming video channel. Follow Ramsey on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at
“Dave Ramsey has been highly requested by Club members for the past several years. He accepts only five or six speaking engagements per year. We are very fortunate to be able to bring him to southwest Michigan,” Nadolski stated.
The complete Economic Club series will be announced later this summer, at which time membership renewals and new memberships will go on sale, followed by individual speaker event tickets as available seating permits.
The Mendel Center Mainstage 2017-2018 season lineup is:
Special Engagement
The Texas Tenors with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra
Friday, September 8, 2017, 8 pm
$40 – $85
With their Emmy Award-winning PBS special airing across the country and Billboard chart-topping albums, it's easy to see why THE TEXAS TENORS are America's favorite new tenors. They debuted their unique blend of country, classical, and pop music during the fourth season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Since then they have accumulated a long list of awards, accolades, and excited fans all the while covering the musical spectrum from Bruno Mars to Puccini during their unforgettable live shows. The SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, led by Maestro Robin Fountain, will provide orchestral accompaniment for The Texas Tenors. These talented vocal artists will soar over the SMSO’s tapestry of symphonic colors. This special engagement is a presentation partnership between The Mendel Center and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. Sponsored by 97.5 Y Country.
Jay & the Americans with Gary Lewis & the Playboys
Friday, September 22, 2017, 8 pm
$35 – $65
With a staggering 18 charted hits and five Top 10 records, few bands ever reached the heights of JAY & THE AMERICANS. The group has been experiencing resurgence in their popularity after re-forming with three original members and returning to stages all over the country. "This Magic Moment," "Only in America," "Cara Mia," "Come a Little Bit Closer," "Some Enchanted Evening," "Let's Lock the Door," "Walkin' in the Rain," and more will be faithfully re-created, accompanied by a live rhythm section and brass section. GARY LEWIS & THE PLAYBOYS co-headline with equally impressive credentials of eight gold singles, four gold albums, and a string of monster hits including “This Diamond Ring,” “She’s Just My Style,” “Count Me In,” “Everybody Loves a Clown,” and the list goes on. The band also made the transition to the silver screen, having appeared in several movies of the era. (It didn’t hurt that Gary’s father is comedy legend Jerry Lewis.) This is an all-American rock-and-roll reunion with the artists who carried the American flag through the British Invasion and dominated the charts during the greatest era of American music ever – the sixties! Presented by Praia Entertainment Group.
Discovery Series Performance
B – The Underwater Bubble Show
Saturday, September 30, 2017, 7 pm
$26 – $48
Escape with Mr. B to an enchanted universe of joy and freedom inhabited by seahorses, starfish, mermaids, and other magical creatures – the colorful underwater world of Bubblelandia. Inspired by Cirque du Soleil, B – THE UNDERWATER BUBBLE SHOW is a lavish spectacle of dance, puppetry, juggling, contortionism, and magic blended with cutting-edge laser technology, snow cannons, soap bubble tornadoes, and optical illusions. It’s an unforgettable interactive experience that will captivate adults and children alike. Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment. Sponsored by Whirlpool Corporation and MailMax.
The Mendel Center will host a pre-show Bubble Bash in the Mainstage North Lobby beginning at 5:30 pm. Little adventurers and their families will fuel up for their journey to Bubblelandia on a dinner that will include a beverage, chicken tenders, fries, fresh vegetables, fruit, and dessert, as well as other fun surprises. Tickets are $10 for children ages 3 to 12, $15 for those 13 and older. Children under 3 are free. Dinner tickets do not include admission to the performance.
Howie Mandel
Saturday, October 14, 2017, 8 pm
$40 - $85
From America’s Got Talent and Deal or No Deal, the always outrageous HOWIE MANDEL comes to The Mendel Center Mainstage for a night of stand-up hilarity. Howie has done countless comedy specials on cable and network television, and hosted his own syndicated talk show, The Howie Mandel Show. He continues to be a mainstay on the talk-show circuit and performs as many as 200 concerts a year throughout the US and Canada. Live show contains adult material. Sponsored by WNDU Channel 16 and SpringHill Suites – Benton Harbor.
Special Engagement
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis
Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 7:30 pm
$52 – $72
MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for over 30 years. Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics along with a selection of compositions from his groundbreaking Fresh Aire series which introduced the distinctive Mannheim sound to all of America. The program celebrates the group’s recent anniversary of 30 years since its first Christmas album and 40 years since the first Fresh Aire album, and includes dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller. Their holiday CDs have become synonymous with Christmas and continue to occupy top spots on Billboard’s Seasonal Charts every year.
Bryan Lubeck hosts Rejoice 2017 – A Tapestry of Holiday Music
Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 7:30 pm
$24 – $48
Bryan Lubeck is back to host REJOICE 2017 – A TAPESTRY OF HOLIDAY MUSIC. Last year’s live holiday concert brought folks to their feet. This year builds on that momentum with fresh arrangements of old holiday favorites and new musical surprises to make your holiday sparkle. Bryan, whose fiery Spanish guitar and smooth urban grooves are staples of holiday radio, will be joined by the vocal and saxophone mastery of radio darling Paula Atherton, by the melodic and contagiously high-energy keyboard creations of pianist Scott Allman, and by Ted Yoder who returns to Rejoice after having the most watched online music video of 2016 with his dulcimer rendition of the Tears for Fears hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” This spectacular vocal and musical tapestry will inspire the spirit of the season and have the audience groovin’ in the aisles. Sponsored by Signature Automotive Group and 98.3 The Coast.
Special Engagement
Discovery Series Performance
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE!
Friday, January 19, 2018, 7 pm
Tickets start at $25
“Won’t you be my neighbor?” Daniel Tiger and all of his friends from the beloved PBS KIDS television series are hopping aboard Trolley to your town with DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD LIVE! Along with “O” the Owl, Katerina Kittycat, Prince Wednesday, Mom and Dad Tiger, and many more, Daniel Tiger will take live audiences on an interactive musical adventure to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe,
sharing stories of friendship, helping others, and celebrating new experiences. This live theatrical production filled with music, dancing, laughter, and “grr-ific” surprises will warm the hearts of multiple generations. Ticket prices subject to change without notice. There is a limit of eight tickets per customer for this event.
Special Engagement
Art Garfunkel – In Close-Up
Friday, January 26, 2018, 8 pm
$38 – $80
Blessed with what The New York Times described as a “beautiful countertenor,” singer ART GARFUNKEL has made an indelible mark on the music world as both a solo artist and as half of the unrivaled Simon & Garfunkel. He also has enjoyed a successful film career, has published a book of poetry, and has released 12 solo albums – the most recent being Some Enchanted Evening. In this intimate performance accompanied by guitarist Tab Laven and keyboardist Dave Mackay, you’ll hear his solo hits, Simon & Garfunkel songs, cuts from his favorite songwriters – Jimmy Webb, Randy Newman, and George Gershwin – and parts of his forthcoming autobiography. Sponsored by Whirlpool Corporation and The Herald Palladium.
Discovery Series Performance
Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders
Friday, February 16, 2018, 8 pm
$20 – $32
As seen on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, VITALY is an innovative illusionist who notices wonder in the world and turns it into an unforgettable theatrical experience. From bringing photos and paintings to life to making audience members’ faces disappear from their own driver's licenses, even the most jaded illusionists have declared Vitaly's show as containing some of the most incredible and impossible magic ever witnessed. CBC calls Vitaly “astonishing,” and The Vancouver Sun says he “inspires wonder!” Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment. Sponsored by Chemical Bank, 98.3 The Coast, and Holiday Inn Express – St. Joseph.
VIP Experience packages are available with this performance. They include a private reception area with bar before the show and during intermission, appetizers, a complimentary drink, door prizes, and more. After the show VIP Package ticket holders can meet and take a picture with Vitaly. VIP Experience and performance tickets sold separately. Availability is limited.
Thursday, February 22, 2018, 7:30 pm
$45 – $65
The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand in RIVERDANCE – The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music, and song. Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland – in rock, music, theatre, and film – nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality, and the spectacle of Riverdance. Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour is composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty, and directed by John McColgan, and comes directly to North America from a sold out run across Europe and Asia.
Rockin’ Road to Dublin
Saturday, March 17, 2018, 8 pm
$30 – $55
The Mendel Center is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day bash! ROCKIN’ ROAD TO DUBLIN is the new sensation that combines the art of an Irish dance show, the power of a rock and roll concert, all with the finish of a Broadway theatrical production. Starring World Champion Irish dancers Scott Doherty and Ashley Smith, the cast includes 14 dancers, 8 musicians and two vocalists. This stylish, can't-miss spectacle is the perfect balance between concert and stage show! Irish Dancing Magazine raves "Rockin' Road to Dublin is that all-important one-two punch of style and mastery.” Sponsored by Rock 107 WIRX and Hilton Garden Inn – Benton Harbor.
Before the show, The Mendel Center is hosting the Shamrocked Irish Feast Pre-show Party in the Grand Upton Hall. There will be a selection of beers on tap plus a traditional Irish buffet including corned beef and cabbage, a build-your-own Reuben station, and shepherd’s pie. Dinner includes two complimentary drinks. Performance and dinner tickets sold separately. Must be 21 or older to attend the pre-show party.
Discovery Series Performance
Mutts Gone Nuts
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 11 am & 2 pm
$14 – $18
Expect the unexpected as canines and comedy collide in the smash hit MUTTS GONE NUTS – a performance that will leave you howling for more. From shelters to showbiz, these amazing mutts unleash havoc and hilarity in a breathtaking, action-packed, dog comedy spectacular featuring some of the world’s most talented four-legged performers. Deemed “a must see” by the Washington Post, the dogs are sure to steal your heart, and then your socks! Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment. Sponsored by Meijer, Honor Credit Union, and the South Bend Tribune.
Before the show, celebrate all things cute and furry at the Furry Friends Luncheon. The family-friendly event will feature a beverage, turkey sandwiches, potato chips, fresh veggies, watermelon, and dog biscuits – ahem, cookies – for dessert. Seating is limited. Tickets are $10 for children ages 3 to 12, $15 for those 13 and older. Children under 3 are free. Luncheon tickets do not include admission to the performance.
Special Engagement
1964 The Tribute
Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8 pm
$27 – $47
Since the early eighties, 1964 THE TRIBUTE has been thrilling audiences around the globe by taking them on journey through a quintessential moment in music history that will live forever. Over thirty years of researching and performing have made “1964” masters of their craft. They are hailed by critics and fans alike as THE most authentic and endearing Beatles tribute….which has earned them the distinction from Rolling Stone magazine as the “Best Beatles Tribute on Earth.” “1964” recreates an early ‘60s live Beatles concert with period instruments, clothing, hairstyles, and onstage banter with an accuracy that is unmatched. 1964 The Tribute is not endorsed by or affiliated with Apple Corps, LTD. Sponsored by Kruggel Lawton CPA and SuperHits 103.7 Cosy-FM.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 7 pm
$45 – $85
Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) and Rob Marshall’s (Into the Woods and Chicago, the films) CABARET is based on Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award®-winning production. Come hear some of the most memorable songs in theatre history, including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen,” and “Maybe This Time.” Leave your troubles outside – life is beautiful at Cabaret – John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe
Masteroff’s Tony Award-winning musical about following your heart while the world loses its way. Performance contains adult material. Sponsored by The Boulevard Inn & Bistro and 22 WSBT.
Tickets for The Mendel Center Mainstage 2017-2018 season are available:
● Now through June 7 – Pre-sale for renewing Series members who purchase three or more shows
● June 8 to 13 – Presale for new and renewing Mainstage Series members who purchase three or more shows
● June 14 – Individual shows go on sale to the public at 10 am. Series member ticket packages are available throughout the season.
Mainstage Series member ticket packages are available by purchasing three or more shows, and come with a number of benefits including ticket pre-sale opportunities, discounts, exclusive services, and advance notice of ongoing additions to the season.
To purchase tickets or get more information visit or contact The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-8700 option 1, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.
About The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College The 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre offers state-of-the-art acoustics and comfortable seating in elegant surroundings. Other amenities include free parking, handicap accessibility, and an array of special services including valet parking, catering and bar service for private pre- and post-show events, booster seats for children, hearing-assist devices, non-spill cups for beverages inside the theatre, and premium seats in the Stage Side section.
The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Mendel Center is one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). The GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.
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