UK graduate heading to Met auditions finals

University of Kentucky Opera Theatre director Everett McCorvey, bass Matthew Turner, UK voice professor Dennis Bender and baritone Reginald Smith Jr. at the Metropolitan Opera Sunday afternoon. Turner and Smith competed in the semi-finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Sunday, and Smith advanced to the finals March 22. Photo courtesy of Everett McCorvey.

University of Kentucky Opera Theatre director Everett McCorvey, bass Matthew Turner, UK voice professor Dennis Bender and baritone Reginald Smith Jr. at the Metropolitan Opera Sunday afternoon. Turner and Smith competed in the semi-finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Sunday, and Smith advanced to the finals March 22. Photo courtesy of Everett McCorvey.

Reginald Smith Jr., who took an overnight Greyhound bus ride from Atlanta to Lexington to win a full scholarship to University of Kentucky’s voice program in 2007, has advanced to the final round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Smith will sing in the grand finals concert at 3 p.m. March 22 on the Metropolitan Opera Stage with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Luisi.

With the win, Smith joins Gregory Turay (1995) and Mark Whatley (2002) as the only singers from the University of Kentucky to advance to the Met Auditions finals. Turay is the only winner from UK.

Matthew Turner, a bass who was last seen locally in the UK Opera Theatre production of The Tales of Hoffman, also competed Sunday, but did not advance. There were 17 singers in Sunday’s semi-finals and nine advanced to the finals. In an interview with the Herald-Leader, Turner said it was amazing to be one of the 17 finalists in the competition that began with thousands of competitors in district rounds.

Smith enjoyed a high profile UK career, appearing in leading roles in many opera productions as well as singing with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and other groups. He graduated in 2012 and is currently in the Houston Grand Opera Studio Program for young artists and has appeared in numerous Houston Grand Opera productions.

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While his show is in ‘Cougar Town,’ Josh Hopkins’ heart is in Big Blue Nation

Lexington native Josh Hopkins, came out with cheerleaders Juliet McCreary, left, and Jacquilyn Lopez to do the "Y" , as #1 Kentucky defeated Texas-Arlington 92-44  on Tuesday November 25, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff.

Lexington native Josh Hopkins, came out with cheerleaders Juliet McCreary, left, and Jacquilyn Lopez to do the “Y” , as #1 Kentucky defeated Texas-Arlington 92-44 on Tuesday November 25, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff.

Life is about to get stressful for Lexington native Josh Hopkins.

It’s not that he’s wrapping up a six-season run on the TBS sitcom Cougar Town, playing opposite Courteney Cox, and now has to figure out what his next act is.

It’s something that starts late Sunday: The release of the NCAA brackets and start of the men’s college basketball championship tournament.

“It’s been a joy for me, as for all fans,” says Hopkins, who was in Rupp Arena March 7 to watch the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team complete a perfect season. “Once the brackets come out is when it really stops being a joy for me and just becomes an ulcer.

“Every win, before we get the last one, doesn’t make me happy as much. It just gets me back to medium. I’m just a wreck during the games, because we are the best team, you worry about that one game of not playing well and someone being on fire.”

Hopkins flashes back to the 2010 season with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, when UK seemed to be cruising to the national championship and then ran into West Virginia in the Elite Eight.

“We were definitely the best team in the country that year, and we just shot really poorly, and they shot the lights out,” Hopkins recalls. “That hurt, because we were definitely the best team that year. We’re definitely the best team this year.

“I just want to cap it off right, and I’m stressed.”

Cougar Town actor Josh Hopkins and his sister Shae on the red carpet at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014 in Louisville, Ky. Photo by Amy Wallot.

Cougar Town actor Josh Hopkins and his sister Shae on the red carpet at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014 in Louisville, Ky. Photo by Amy Wallot.

He has already capped off a milestone of his own, filming the final episodes of Cougar Town late last year.

In the show, Hopkins played Grayson Ellis who, like Cox’s Jules Cobb, was newly divorced. Her cross-street neighbor, Grayson initially irritated Jules by dating younger women, but the two eventually fell in love and got married.

“My character has definitely had a giant arc on this show,” Hopkins says. “In the pilot, they all had this group and I was not in it. I was the neighbor who thought they were all weird and acted weird. Six years later, I’m married to Jules, thick in the group, and probably one of the weirdest acting characters. They’ve fleshed him out to be this narcissistic, wannabe actor with this weird, outlandish behavior.”

The series itself had an interesting history, starting in 2009 on ABC and running there until TBS bought the show in 2013 and took it to basic cable. Hopkins says the cast enjoyed the somewhat uncommon situation of knowing it was the last season.

“I will probably never, ever film a series finale again and know it’s the series finale,” Hopkins says, noting most series are simply unceremoniously canceled, with no chance to tie things up. “We knew this whole time this was our last season, and we got to appreciate it and have fun. and I think the writers did and the actors did, so we all just enjoyed it.

“To have a six-year run in this fickle business is such a blessing, it hasn’t even really been sad.”

Hopkins says viewers will be happy with the final episode, set to air March 31.

“They did a really good job this season and for the final episode of staying true to the wackiness, and yet every episode ends with a little bit of heart,” Hopkins says. “The finale’s going to have that, and I think they did a really good job of tying everything together — the wackiness and the fun and the family spirit of the show.”
Hopkins, who has a long list of screen credits, acknowledges Cougar Town is the show he is best known for. Now, he is in the process of looking for what is next for him, and projects include a pilot he is filming for NBC.

“Hopefully, I will find something to rival it,” Hopkins says of his Cougar Town success. “But I’ve been blessed to have it.”

Now, the proud member of Big Blue Nation just wants his Wildcats’ season to have a great ending too.

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Getting a taste of SXSW without going to Austin

Houndmouth are drummer Shane Cody, bassist Zak Appleby, keyboardist Katie Toupin and guitarist Matt Myers. Photo by Dusdin Condren.

Houndmouth are drummer Shane Cody, bassist Zak Appleby, keyboardist Katie Toupin and guitarist Matt Myers. Photo by Dusdin Condren.

Sometimes, if you follow music media, you can get the impression that everyone is heading to the South by Southwest music festival this time of year.

Don’t I wish.

That trip isn’t quite in our budget here at the H-L, plus we have quite a lot going on in Lexington, Kentucky, thank you very much. But South by Southwest — excuse me … SXSW — is no doubt an incredibly important and influential event in the global music calendar, so if you are serious about music, you want to keep tabs on what’s going on down there.

One of my favorite ways is the Austin 100, NPR Music‘s playlist of songs by 100 must-hear acts at SXSW. If you listen to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, which you should, you have heard Stephen Thompson talking about this thing like he’s giving birth. And if you look at it and know a thing or two about putting things together for the web, you understand that is basically what he has been doing.

The 100 is a marvelously diverse collection of songs with some acts I’ve heard, many I haven’t, almost uniformly engaging, with a few keepers for every taste. And keeping is particularly easy on a mobile device because — and this is where I am particularly respectful of the effort —  every track has multiple links for saving or streaming on a variety of platforms including iTunes and Spotify. As I write this, my Austin 100 Spotify playlist is sitting at 34 tracks.

I’ve already sampled this year’s 100 once, and taking the second swing through, I was already finding myself drawn to finds from the first time, like Longview, Texas artist Sunny Sweeney‘s Second Guessing, a bright tune about a life of mistakes leading to a happy ending. Then there’s Torres‘ Strange Hellos, which shifts from quietly to abrasively haunting in a beat.

There were those instant hits like Tuxedo, the union of Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One, with their Number One, which sounds even more ’70s dance-floor retro than Daft Punk. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear immediately grabbed me with the sunny Silent Movies, or the rapid fire rap of Little Simz (if you hit the link, be advised she is making an obscene gesture in the main photo) and Jakwob’s Devour. There were even acts like Weyes Blood and Jukebox the Ghost that warranted immediate downloading of whole albums.

OK, Jukebox was evidence of one slightly annoying aspect of the list: You had to wonder if the No. 1 way to get to SXSW or onto the Austin 100 was to move to Brooklyn. OK, SXSW is a bit of a hipster convention, and Brooklyn is the hipster capitol of the United States. But still, there were moments it felt like every other band …

But then there were towns like … Louisville! Yes, Kentucky’s largest city with a happening music scene of its own made the cut three times with White Reaper,  Joan Shelley and Houndmouth, whose new album Little Neon Limelight conveniently drops the first day of SXSW, Tuesday.

Of course, hundreds of acts descend on SXSW, and the 100 is simply a very educated listener’s take on the best of the fest. But it is one way to keep plugged in to what’s going on, while we’re up here enjoying March Madness and whatever else it is we do around here.

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Eagles will return to Rupp Arena in July

The Eagles are Timothy B. Schmit, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Don Henley. Photo via

Eagles are Timothy B. Schmit, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Joe Walsh. Photo via

Note: This post has been updated with clearer information on the pre-sale tickets, below.

Twenty years after bringing the groundbreaking Hell Freezes Over reunion tour to Rupp Arena, Eagles will return to the home of the Wildcats on July 25. Tickets will go on sale to the general public March 21.

It will be the only Kentucky date of the iconic band’s North American summer tour, and Rupp Arena directors counted it as a major coup.

“Following Garth Brooks’ unprecedented and very successful weekend of 4 consecutive performances in Rupp Arena last October, the sold out Miranda Lambert concert in January and the upcoming Taylor Swift tour scheduled for October of 2015, this additional major concert date signifies that the staff and board of Lexington Center are fully engaged and working to attract a broad range of entertainment acts to Rupp Arena,” Bill Owen, president and CEO of Lexington Center, said in a news release.

In recent years, Rupp Arena has faced increased competition from Louisville’s KFC Yum Center for dates on major tours. But the Brooks dates in October and November were his only Kentucky shows on his comeback tour. Swift visits the Yum Center in June and then comes back through for an Oct. 20 date at Rupp.

In the Lexington Center Corporation release, Board Chairman Brent Rice added, “I have a hunch we will continue to attract more name acts to Rupp Arena in the near future.”

The concert will be one of the dates on the band’s History of the Eagles Tour, which is currently winding up dates in New Zealand. The tour features original band members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh and a huge serving of the band’s catalog of hits such as Hotel California, Take it Easy and Life in the Fast Lane.

When the band came to Rupp 20 years ago this month, it was the first time the group had toured together in more than 15 years. Following their historic run together from 1971 to 1980, the group split up and members, Henley and Frey in particular, went on to successful solo careers in the 1980s.

The mid-1990s tour set precedents for reunion tours and ticket prices, topping $100 a seat at many venues. At Rupp Arena, tickets were $86 and $41, which Herald-Leader critic Walter Tunis said may have kept the concert, which attracted 16,500 fans, from being a sellout. But the ticket prices set a new standard for concert fare — for example, people are paying between $97 and $275 face value to see Prince in Louisville this weekend — and Tunis said the show was terrific, giving Henley’s vocals and the guitar work of Walsh and Don Felder, who is no longer with the group, particularly high marks.

Tunis wrote, “For nearly three hours, the groundbreaking rock group served up by-the- letter recitations of its many ’70s hits, a generous sampling of music from its members various solo careers, new tunes, acoustic songs and some formidable rock ‘n’roll. And all of it was tied up in a performance package that was razor-sharp from top to bottom.”

Tickets for the July concert go on sale to the general public beginning at 11 a.m. March 21 at, and the Rupp Arena box office. Advanced tickets will go on sale to American Express Card members beginning at 10 a.m. March 16 (we initially reported March 13 because we received incorrect information in a press release) and will be available through 10 p.m. March 19. To access the American Express pre-sale, go to and click the American Express Card members box on the right. Rupp officials ask that you do not call them about the presale, as they have no involvement in it.

Rupp Arena will also have a First in Line Club presale. Click here to sign up for First in Line notification. Ticket prices and the show time have not been announced.

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Prince plays Louisville Saturday , tickets on sale Monday.

In this Aug. 9, 2011 file photo, U.S. musician Prince performs during his concert at the Sziget Festival on the Shipyard Island, northern Budapest, Hungary. The enigmatic star flew into London on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at the start of a still-evolving string of dates in support of forthcoming album "Plectrum Electrum," recorded with all-female trio 3RDEYEGIRL. (AP Photo/MTI, Balazs Mohai, File) HUNGARY OUT

In this Aug. 9, 2011 file photo, U.S. musician Prince performs during his concert at the Sziget Festival on the Shipyard Island, northern Budapest, Hungary. He will launch his North American Hit & Run Tour with 3RDEYEGIRL March 14 in Louisville. (c) AP photo by Balazs Mohai.

UPDATE: The show is at 8 p.m. March 14 at the Louisville Palace. Tickets are $97-$275. Good luck. Second show added at 11 p.m.

If you are Prince, it stands to reason you can show up in any town and say you want to play, and you will have a stage and an audience.

And that’s pretty much what we know about his show Saturday in Louisville: he will play somewhere, sometime in the Derby City, and tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday through LiveNation. We don’t know how much they will be, so warm up that plastic. A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to local charities.

This is the continuation of His Purpleness’ Hit & Run Tour he played last year in Europe with backing band 3rd Eye Girl. According to press coverage, he played multiple venues and/or shows in the same night on some European stops. The American leg of his campaign will start in Louisville, hometown of drummer Hannah Welton, which seems to have left Prince’s hometown paper in Minneapolis a bit incredulous.

Since the venue has not be announced, there has been lots of social media speculation and suggestions like “my living room.” Among traditional venues, we do know the KFC Yum Center is occupied that night with Maroon 5 and the Mercury Ballroom has Blackberry Smoke. The Louisville Palace doesn’t currently have a Saturday event on its public calendar.

In Europe, concert announcements were made via Twitter, but Prince has since deleted his Twitter account, so it’s not clear how information will be relayed. Prince will find a way.

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‘Justified’ enters the home stretch

Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd (Walton Goggins) face off in the marshal's office.

Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd (Walton Goggins) face off in the marshal’s office. (c) FX photo by Prashant Gupta.

The final season of Justified  didn’t get off to the rip-snortin’ start we were hoping for from FX’s Kentucky-based crime drama. It may have been hard for it to do that. After all, what we are anticipating is the resolution of the enduring conflict between Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Harlan crime boss Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).

In all fairness, it would have been hard for writers to stretch that sole confrontation out over 13 episodes. So, we brought in a few extra bad guys and a storyline about them trying to buy up land and be in prime position when marijuana becomes legal in Kentucky – this is happening? – to grow, grow, grow. It’s had mixed results, Sam Elliott’s turn as crime boss Markham being kinda disappointing while Garret Dillahunt as Ty Walker has been a somewhat deliciously-flawed bad guy a la Season 3’s Robert Quarels (Neil McDonough).

And then we have returning characters such Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen), the gangster widow who was probably the boss all along, and Wyn Duffy (Jere Burns), whose status as one of Justified‘s most peculiar characters was only enhanced by his tanning bed scene.

With the last few episodes, those stories seem to be winding out, and the central narratives are coming into focus. Markham’s gang is falling apart quickly, so its episodes as a credible threat are likely numbered, and you can’t imagine Katherine and Duffy have too many tricks left up their sleeves.

Make room for Raylan and Boyd.

Not that there is not a lot of intrigue left.

Last week’s episode got it out in the open that Boyd knew Ava (Joelle Carter) was betraying him by informing on him after, she noted, he had essentially abandoned her in jail. And then there was the question of Ava and Raylan, and Boyd gave Ava a gun and told her to shoot him if she and Raylan were involved with each other again (Season 1, remember?).

She didn’t shoot, but moments later we saw that the gun was not loaded. So Boyd may not be as ready to move on as we thought, in that moment.

While the crime couple still has a cloud of doubt over it, Raylan and Winona (Natalie Zea) solidified their union with her visit from Florida, where she told Raylan he could still be him — a lawman — and be with her and their daughter.

So Raylan’s stakes are clear: resolve the matter of Boyd and settle into the life of a husband and father, wherever that may take him/ them.

Shooting on the show has wrapped, and a wrap party has been had according to showrunner Graham Yost in his weekly postmortem with Yahoo TV. So there are people who know how this ends. We are left to guess.

A commenter on one of those post mortems made the point that Elmore Leonard, whose short story Fire in the Hole launched this whole franchise, never liked to kill off main characters. So it is not necessarily a lock that someone has to die here, and maybe we don’t want them to.

Boyd is a great character, a bad guy who has done despicable things. But he’s enough of a charmer that he doesn’t really qualify as the villain you love to hate or you want to see get his. That’s Quarles or Walker territory. Perhaps Justified’s most brilliant moment was the end of Season 2, when similarly charming Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale in Justified‘s only Emmy-winning performance) took herself out with a glass of her apple pie.

How Boyd handles Ava the next few episodes may call the tune as to how we feel about him and his fate. It is good to say that as Justified enters its home stretch, it will be interesting to watch.

Note: It’s been fun to see The Bourbon Babe, Louisville’s Carla Carlton, getting love from The Washington Post and The New York Times for her analysis of the bourbon consumed on Justified. 


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‘Hoffman’ another chance to enjoy Greg Turay on stage in Lexington

Gregory Turay sings the title role in "The Tales of Hoffman." photos by Rich Copley.

Gregory Turay sings the title role in “The Tales of Hoffman.” photos by Rich Copley.

I went to the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre’s rehearsal for The Tales of Hoffman Tuesday night to work on a story about Matthew Turner, the bass who has joined a small, elite club of UK singers who advanced to the national rounds of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

But as I was shooting pictures of the rehearsal, what caught my ear was another member of that club, the charter member, really: tenor Gregory Turay.

After an international touring career, Turay returned to UK several years ago to complete a master’s degree and now a doctorate. That has put him on the Lexington Opera House stage numerous times the past several years, singing roles such as Rodolfo in La Boheme, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and now the title role in The Tales of Hoffman, sharing the role with Jonathan Parham.

Gregory Turay as Hoffman and Whitney Myers as Giulette.

Gregory Turay as Hoffman and Whitney Myers as Giulette.

And he sounds spectacular.

I wasn’t taking notes, but there was crispness and power in his voice that was striking, even having heard him numerous times. It stilled the room, as it probably will this weekend as Hoffman plays at the Opera House.

It prompted me to touch base with UK Opera director and Turay’s teacher and mentor Everett McCorvey to get his take on the current state of Turay’s voice and career.

McCorvey recalled how Turay’s career took off after his win in the Met Auditions in 1995. It lead to years of performing around the world, being away from his wife Courtney and their family for as much as nine months a year. That wasn’t really Turay’s speed, a sentiment he has relayed to me in the past.

“When I recognized this, I offered him an opportunity to return to Lexington, finish his Master’s degree, watch his kids grow up and enjoy his family while working on advanced degrees, just in case he wanted to take the academic route after his career,” McCorvey wrote. “It could help him rejuvenate, it would be a huge boost to our program, and, our Lexington audiences would get to hear, on a regular basis, one of the great voices of the world, right here in their own backyard.

“It has been a great match. Greg has blossomed since he has been back. He has finished his Master’s degree, he is now close to completing his doctorate in music and now the companies are beginning to inquire about him coming back to sing again. We are hoping that we can keep him here in Lexington and associated with UK in some fashion. Our audiences love him, the students are excited about having a singer of his caliber in their midst, and he is becoming a fantastic teaching artist as well. There are just so many good reasons to keep him here, I hope that we can find a way!”

Whether he returns to international stages or remains in Lexington as a teaching and performing artist, this stretch of local appearances by Turay has been another special stretch for UK Opera, which enjoyed a lot of local and international exposure thanks to his win. It seems only appropriate the latest singer to make a run at the Met gets to share the stage with him this weekend.

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When Leonard Nimoy came to Lexington

KET personnel Bill Martin and Russ Farmer with actor Leonard Nimoy filming an episode of the KET series "The Universe and I" in 1975. Photos courtesy of George Rasmussen.

KET employees Bill Martin and Russ Farmer with actor Leonard Nimoy filming an episode of the KET series The Universe and I in 1975. Photos courtesy of George Rasmussen.

The death of iconic Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy on Friday prompted many people to share their memories of the actor who played Mr. Spock. Those people included Kentucky producer George Rasmussen, who hired Nimoy in 1975 to act in a film for PBS, shot at KET. In a few emails, Rasmussen recalled:

“I hired him to play a Sherlock Holmes character for an episode of The Universe and I called The Interior Motive. This series was an Earth-space science series for junior high students, funded by NASA. In 1975, Star Trek TV was over, and he had also done a stint on Mission Impossible.

“Leonard’s visit to KET was very professional, but also very special as he delighted everyone who came in contact with him. He seemed to love talking to people, asking them what they did, what they thought of the arts and the world in general.

“It was shot at the KET studios. In this short film, Leonard played Sherlock Holmes for the first time.

“In Nimoy’s book, I Am Not Spock, he writes about shooting the film and why he wanted to play Sherlock Holmes. Our writer, Dr. Richard Smith of Nicholasville, wrote a letter detailing the similarities and differences between Spock and Holmes. I believe this letter, which Nimoy reprinted in the book, was a major reason he came to Lexington.

“He was a joy to work with, very professional and engaging with the crew. He came every day prepared and on time, which was a little amazing since he went home each night with a different staff member. He said, ‘I prefer to sleep on a couch than in a empty hotel room.’ There was no hanky-panky that I was aware of, since the folks he left with each evening were married.

Actor Leonard Nimoy lays his Vulcan nerve pinch on producer George Rasmussen during filming for the KET series "The Universe and I" in 1975.

Actor Leonard Nimoyput his Vulcan nerve pinch on producer George Rasmussen during filming for the KET series The Universe and I in 1975.

“One evening, I took him to my house, at the time, in Meadowthorpe to celebrate my wife’s 30th birthday. Lots of folks in attendance. He chatted up everyone.

“At one point, he settled on a chair at the dinning room table, where the birthday cake was waiting to be cut. He started to pick and eat the cherries off it. My son, Dirk, 3 years old, watched in horror. He stared at Leonard until he was noticed. ‘That is a very, very bad thing to do,’ he admonished. A couple of people were noticing the exchange, including Dorothy Peterson, the associate producer on the project.

“’Dorothy, get my agent! I don’t have to take abuse from this kid!’ he said suddenly and loudly. For just a few seconds the place was totally quiet until a broad un-Spock-like smile spread warmly across his face and his eyes began to sparkle. Everyone burst into laughter.

“A few years later, when Dirk was in grade school at Cassidy and the Star Trek movies were coming out, Dirk would tell his friends and classmates about that night. But no one believed him.”

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2015 MoonTower Music Festival lineup


Moon Taxi frontman Trevor Terndrup on stage at the Moontower music festival. The inaugural Moontower Music Festival, presented by LexEffect, was July 26, 2014, at Equus Run Vineyard in Midway, Ky., with a lineup featuring Moon Taxi and Sundy Best. Photos by Rich Copley |

The lineup for the second annual MoonTower Music Festival has been released, featuring names familiar to both people who went to last year’s event and local and regional music fans.

The big changes in the second edition of the event are a change in venue and on the calendar. For 2015, the festival has moved from Midway’s Equus Run Vineyard to Lexington’s Masterson Station Park. And it will come later in the summer, Aug. 29. (For those tuned to the rhythms of the local calendar, there is not a UK football game that day, and that is not Labor Day weekend — missed it by one day.)

What will be the same as last year is the headliner, Nashville-based Moon Taxi, which brought a surge of energy to close out last year’s fest. Moon Taxi recently played an indoor gig at Cosmic Charlie’s and is on this year’s Bonnaroo lineup.

Regional acts joining Moon Taxi include Detroit-based Mike Mains & the Branches, Nashville-based funk outfit Space Capone, Nashville rock and hip-hop purveyors The Lonely Biscuits and returning Bowling Green band Buffalo Rodeo.

Tyler Childers performs at the Moontower Music Festival.

Tyler Childers performs at the Moontower Music Festival.

Joining them will be a lineup of local notables: contemporary cello pioneer Ben Sollee, one of Lexington’s hottest acts Coralee and the Townies, singer-songwriter Grayson Jenkins and returning artist Tyler Childers, who played a solo set last year and returns this year with his band.

Tickets are $50 general admission, $75 VIP and are available now at the festival website. The festival is presented by Lexington event coordinator LexEffect.

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Lexington high school theater tipster

This weekend sees 2015 spring semester high school theater getting into swing with several musicals and a play on tap. Here’s a look at what’s coming up, with a little interesting info on each show — there are some enticing shows coming up.

SCAPA: 42nd Street. When the Lexington Theatre Company announced this would be its inaugural production this summer, we said it would be a tall order, even for the pro troupe. How do high schoolers pull it off? A little help from Diana Evans is one answer. The results will be on stage this weekend. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 8 p.m. Feb. 27, 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 28. Lexington Opera House. $17 adults, $14 students and ages 65 and older.

Tates Creek High School. Grease. Talk about working both ends of the clock. WUKY reporter Karyn Czar, who you hear each day on Morning Edition, is directing this production (she has a pretty strong theatrical resume herself). And she brought in another ringer, with acoUstiKat Ron Wilbur singing Teen Angel. Still, this is one of the ideal shows for high schools, so it’s a chance to see future stars shine. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 to 28, 2:30 p.m. March 1. Tates Creek High School.

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Legally Blonde — The Musical Jr. Lexingtonian Laura Bell Bundy received a Tony Award nomination for creating the role of Elle Woods on Broadway. And her cousin, Addy Bell, is bringing the role to the Dunbar stage along with Ashton Elaine Stathis, as they share the role. When LBB was in town in January, she slipped over to Dunbar to work with the cast. 7 p.m. March 18 to 20, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 21, 2 p.m. March 22. Dunbar High School.

Bryan Station High School. Seussical the Musical. Bryan Station has been out of the high school musical and drama game, for the most part, recently. But this year, former Lexington Children’s Theatre staffer Amie Kisling joined the Station faculty and is getting things revived quickly, including a third-place finish at last fall’s Kentucky Theatre Association high school theater festival. 7 p.m. March 19 and 20, 2 and 7 p.m. March 21. $7 adults, $5 students. Bryan Station High School. *

Lafayette High School. The Addams Family. Yes, it will be spring when this production rolls around. But there’s never a wrong time to get creepy, kooky and ookey with Gomez, Morticia and their family. This is the recent Broadway version that rolled through Lexington a few years ago on the Broadway Live series. 7 p.m. April 16 to 18, 1 p.m. April 19.  $15 reserved, $12 adults, $10 students.

Henry Clay High School. Bad Auditions By Bad Actors; a comedy by Ian McWethy. Henry Clay is not presenting a musical this year, but has this comedy that sounds like a lot of fun. A director is attempting to cast a production of Romeo and Juliet to save a community theater with dim prospects that include “a ventriloquist, a girl who pretends she’s a cat, and someone who has somehow never heard of Shakespeare.” 7 p.m. April 23 to 25, 2 p.m. April 26. $8 adults, $5 students.

Are you associated with a Central Kentucky high school theater program and raising your fist to the heavens shouting, “My high school has a show too!”? (Come on, be dramatic. You have some association with theater.) Don’t get mad. Get on email and send me notice with showtimes, dates, location and ticket prices at We’ll try to make these posts a regular thing.

* Full disclosure: My kids are involved in this show.

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