Perhaps as a precursor to his future career, native Chicagoan Isaiah Sharkey spent his early years living with his parents in a row house on a street that is now named for Curtis Mayfield. Coming from a musical household, Sharkey was introduced to music before he began school, decided he wanted to be a guitarist, and asked his parents to purchase one. He grew up surrounded by gospel, jazz, R&B, blues, rock, and funk, and by age 14, he was active on the performance and recording scene. Soon spotted by other musicians in the Chicago area as an up-and-coming talent, Sharkey has since firmly established himself, building “an enviable reputation as a guitarist’s guitarist” (Rolling Stone) through his solo work and his collaborations with artists such as Ronald Isley, Smokie Norful, Donald Lawrence, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, John Mayer, Patti LaBelle, Paul Simon, Corrine Bailey Rae, Raphael Saadiq, Lupe Fiasco, Kelly Price, Faith Evans, The Winans, The Clark Sisters, and many more. His work on D’Angelo’s album Black Messiah helped garner a Grammy win for Best R&B Album. Sharkey is currently at work on his third solo album, Black Sunshine.
If you can, show your love for the arts by purchasing an “Advocate” ticket; the additional ticket cost directly benefits Krannert Center.
Tickets for this event will go on sale to the public at 10am on Tuesday, August 31. Tickets will be sold online only, not by phone or at the Ticket Office counter. Before the on-sale date, please visit Krannert Center’s online ticket office to ensure you have or can create an active account. To learn about early ticket-buying opportunities, please contact Krannert Center’s Advancement team: 217.333.6700 or advancement [at] krannertcenter.illinois.edu.
As part of the University of Illinois, Krannert Center follows U of I guidelines regarding face coverings and other COVID-19 safety protocols. These guidelines change as conditions change, so we will continue to adjust our practices and keep you informed throughout the season. At this time, face coverings are required in indoor university spaces such as Krannert Center. In addition, people who are NOT fully vaccinated are required to wear a face covering outdoors when they cannot practice social distancing.
We kindly ask that you please leave large bags/purses at home or in your car rather than bringing them into the theatres.
Because of staffing changes resulting from the pandemic, Intermezzo cafe is closed for the festival, but snacks and beverages are available at Stage 5 Bar. Please wear a mask unless you are actively eating or drinking. No eating or drinking is permitted in lines or inside Foellinger Great Hall, Tryon Festival Theatre, or Colwell Playhouse.
Friday, September 17
Stage 5 Bar: 4pm-11:30pm
Beer and Wine Bar: 5pm-8pm
Saturday, September 18
Stage 5 Bar: 11am-11:30pm
Beer and Wine Bar: 7pm-9pm
Hummus and Pita snack box with vegetables
Assorted cheese and summer sausage snack box with crackers
Gardetto’s snack mix
Mixed nuts with fruit
Did you know that 14 cafes and restaurants are located within two blocks of Krannert Center? Please visit these neighborhood partners during the festival and beyond!
The Bread Company
Espresso Royale Coffee
Manolo’s Pizza & Empanadas
4th Quarter Nutrition
Basil Thai at Urbana
Bab Plus Korean Restaurant
- A. Mark Neuman
- Jill & James Quisenberry
- Frances & Marc Ansel in memory of George Perlstein
Corporate and Community Gold Sponsor
- The Whip at Backland Radio dot com
Corporate and Community Silver Sponsors
- Kessler Optical
Corporate and Community Bronze Sponsors
- The Blind Man Hunter Douglas Gallery
- Carter’s Furniture
- Smile Politely
The Augustine Foundation provides continued substantial support for ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival.
ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival is possible because of individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Krannert Center thanks all Patron Sponsors and Corporate and Community Sponsors—performances at the Center could not happen without their support.
If you would like to make a gift today, you can visit our giving page to learn more about the various ways you can support Krannert Center. If you are interested in sponsoring an upcoming performance, please email the Krannert Center Advancement team. Your continued support enables the Center to strengthen and enrich the community through the performing arts as we reopen our doors this season. Thank you.
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