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Opening Night Party: 50th-Anniversary Celebration Kickoff

A little rain can’t hurt an Opening Night Party that’s been five decades in the making! Krannert Center invites all to celebrate its vibrant history with fabulous artists, dancing, food and beverage, and a by-the-decades car display that will now take place in the Orange parking garage (upper-level south garage). Come dressed from a decade of your choice, 1960s to the future! Rain or shine, the party will go on. Check Krannert Center on Facebook for updates.

South Carolina-based Ranky Tanky—whose name is loosely translated as “get funky”—performs timeless music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States. Combining influences from West Africa and American jazz into arrangements all its own, Ranky Tanky “is a joyous listen” (Elmore Magazine).

Baracutanga, with members representing four countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, US), prides itself on arranging traditional South American rhythms in new ways. This blending of ancestral traditions with a modern sensibility results in an exciting Latin flavor all its own that leaves dancers always wanting more.

Steel guitarist AJ Ghent returns by popular demand after setting the stage ablaze at ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival 2015. Ghent, who calls James Brown and Prince big influences and whose family helped to create the “sacred steel” tradition, plays his steel stand-up style, constructing a musical sound that can be heard howling from the church to the streets to the clubs. Fusing blues, funk, rock, and pop, Ghent creates an unforgettable experience for audiences, an energized and soulful musical paradise!

Musical breezes will fill the Studio Theatre as local favorites New Orleans Jazz Machine and clarinet/sax player Carl Johnson serve up Dixieland and swing classics, and we’ve got even a little more fun up our sleeves—throughout the night, Chicago’s own Mucca Pazza will pop up in performance, combining marching band traditions and street theatre with rock band sensibilities to create eccentric, frenetic fun. The kickoff of Krannert Center’s two-season 50th-anniversary celebration promises to be a one-of-a-kind, sound-good, feel-good occasion!

New to the Opening Night Party this year is a ticketless system for food and beverage purchases—all purchases can be made via cash or credit/debit card at each individual vendor. Joining the Center inside the Lobby will be Siam Terrace, Caribbean Grill, Piato, Rosati’s Pizza, Rick’s Bakery, Chester’s BBQ, and Oh, Honey Pie.

Free parking is available in the Yellow, Green, and Blue garages underneath Krannert Center. Surrounding street parking is free after 6pm. Parking on Goodwin Avenue in front of the Center will not be available.

Ranky Tanky, 6:30pm—Lobby, Stage 6
Baracutanga, 7:45pm—Lobby, Stage 5
AJ Ghent, 9pm—Lobby, Stage 6
New Orleans Jazz Machine, 6:15pm and 8:15pm—Studio Theatre
Mucca Pazza—wait and see in the Lobby

All ages are welcome.

Doors open and food and beverage sales begin at 6pm.

Keep the party going! Join us for our free 50th-Anniversary Celebration Family Day on Saturday, September 8 at 9am.

Patron Co-sponsors

  • Mary & George Perlstein

Corporate and Community Bronze Sponsors

  • BodyWork Associates
  • Kessler Optical
  • University of Illinois Community Credit Union

With deep gratitude, Krannert Center thanks all Patron Sponsors and Corporate and Community Sponsors.

If you believe in the life-affirming experiences that Krannert Center and the performing arts at Illinois make possible, please make a gift: development@krannertcenter.illinois.edu, KrannertCenter.com/Give, or faa.illinois.edu/giving.