The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (the Hett) at McKendree University will continue to connect its audiences to the arts in its 2020-2021 season, in some creative new ways if necessary.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges for scheduling, contracting and preparing to host events months in advance at the 488-seat auditorium, said Liz Crabtree, director of the Hett. Performances will be held on site if conditions are within the appropriate recovery phases of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan.
“We are reimagining our 2020-2021 season and remaining hopeful and flexible,” said Crabtree. “Performances could take place inside the auditorium, outside as a ‘concert in your car’ in the Hett parking lot like a drive-in movie, or virtually on-demand or live-streamed. I am committed to finding ways for us to connect with the arts.”
The Hett will adhere to state and local public health recommendations for events and will take appropriate precautions to protect audience members’ health and safety. Indoor seating capacity may be reduced to create more distance between individual seats, or pairs of adjacent seats, in order to minimize contact. The box office ticketing system may be adjusted accordingly, potentially making some seats unavailable.
A video preview, as well as ongoing updates, will be posted on theHett.com. Dates and times are subject to change. Friends of the Hett may purchase tickets starting on Aug. 3; the general public may do so beginning Aug. 13 at noon. Visit theHett.com or call 618-537-6863 (1-800-BEARCAT, ext. 6863) for tickets or more information. All events are open to the public. Prices will range from $5 for children to $38 for adults, with discounts for seniors and students.
Local and regional artists are the focus of the “Discovery Series” in 2020 and early 2021:
Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m.: Mr. Blue Sky, a recreation of the ultimate Electric Light Orchestra experience.
Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.: The Traveling Salvation Show, an energetic Neil Diamond tribute.
Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.: U.S. Air Force Starlifters play current and ’70s hits, rock, pop, jazz and country.
Nov. 10, 7: 30 p.m.: Old Salt Union, a progressive, high-energy Americana bluegrass-string band.
Dec. 6, 2 p.m.: Janet Evra gives bossa nova, samba and Latin a modern, indie twist.
Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 13, 2 p.m.: U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America in a joyful holiday season concert.
Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.: Big Muddy Dance Company’s “Scrooge,” a contemporary dance satire on the classic tale of love and redemption.
Jan. 24, 2021, 7:30 p.m.: Dave Dickey Big Band performs jazz classics by Count Basie, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich and Duke Ellington.
“Discovery Series” performers may also include country singer Alexandra Kay, Randy Holmes, The Wee Heavies and The Brothers Jefferson. Check theHett.com for updates.
“McKendree Presents,” a series of national and international touring acts, will resume in 2021:
Annie Sellick, Nashville jazz vocalist, known for her pleasing, expressive voice.
Pat Hazell’s “Permanent Record” dives into the former “Seinfeld” writer’s personal records to confront his past, present and potential future with humor.
Beauty Slap combines funky, bold, big-band brass with electronic dance music grooves.
Leonid & Friends, an 11-piece band from Moscow, captures the spirit and musicality of jazz-rock super group Chicago.
The ReMINDers mixes soulful vocals and reggae-tinged hip-hop beats with inspiring messages.
Schoolhouse Rock Live! The hit cartoon is brought to life, updated for a new generation with a rock ’n roll feel.
Women in Jazz celebrates the legendary Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.
Goitse, an energetic, award-winning Irish quintet plays traditional and original tunes.
Carpe Diem String Quartet, an indie chamber ensemble with a repertoire of classical, Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock and jazz.
Pilobolus, dancers whose speed, accuracy and strength breaks barriers between disciplines.
ETHEL + Robert Mirabal: The River, a collaboration of music, narrative and ritual by an adventurous New York string quartet, a Native American artist and the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
The McCammon Distinguished Speaker Series will host two Nat Geo Live!speakers, Dr. Zoltan Takacs, a snake venom scientist; and Bertie Gregory, a wildlife photographer. Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier and human rights activist, and the idea lab, a TED Talk-style evening of speakers, will return next spring.
The Hett’s free Film Art Series will present “Booksmart,” Sept. 22; “The Night of the Hunter,” Oct. 12; “Scotland, Pa.,” Nov. 12; “Spider-man,” Feb. 11, 2021; “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” Feb. 23; and “The Anthropocene,” Apr. 22.
The “McKendree University Series” proudly presents talented students from the Division of Visual and Performing Arts throughout the year.
The Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts—“The Hett”—is Southern Illinois’ premier performing arts venue, presenting world class dance, drama, classical music and jazz. The 488-seat auditorium is located on the McKendree University campus in Lebanon, Ill., 25 miles from downtown St. Louis.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.