Celebrity guest lists for the 2015 Kentucky Derby

Tammy McIntyre-Demuth shakes hands with Josh Henderson star of TNT’s revival of "Dallas" outside the annual Barnstable Brown Gala was held at the Barnstable Mansion, Friday, May 2, 2014 in Louisville. Herald-Leader photo by Danielle Palmer.

Tammy McIntyre-Demuth shakes hands with Josh Henderson star of TNT’s revival of “Dallas” outside the annual Barnstable Brown Gala was held at the Barnstable Mansion, Friday, May 2, 2014 in Louisville. Herald-Leader photo by Danielle Palmer.

We could work any number of cliches about stars over Louisville or just say, it’s Derby time. That means celebrities.

As with every year, the guest lists at Derby Eve parties and in the luxury seats and boxes are filled with newcomers and old friends, current marquee toppers and names from the past.

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Richie Sambora, lead guitarist for Bon Jovi, leaves the red carpet before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014. Herald-Leader photo by David Stephenson.

A surefire way to get someone coming back to the Derby is to get them here the first time as recent first timers now back for more include Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, who will once again be auctioning off a guitar at the Barnstable-Brown Gala, and Dallas star Josh Henderson, returning for a third time to the Barnstables and the big race.

Making a very strong play for its place in the Derby Eve party constel … uh … among the Derby Eve events is the newly minted Hermitage Grand Gala, hosted by 21c Museum Hotels owners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson at their Hermitage Farm in Goshen along with former University of Louisville basketball standout and NBA star Junior Bridgeman and his wife Doris Bridgeman. The event is a sort of marriage of the two presenters’ previous Derby Eve parties.

Their lineup is topped by entertainers Darius Rucker, who promises a 45-minute set of solo and Hootie and the Blowfish classics; R&B chart-topper Ne-Yo and DJ Cassidy, a New York spinner whose personal style is tres Derby.

Topping the guest list is movie star and comedian Chris Rock, joined by fellow actors Martin Lawrence, David Arquette, Dean Norris of Breaking Bad and Under the Dome, Chadwick Boseman of Get On Up, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett, actor and director Tate Taylor, singer Nick Lachey and his wife Vanessa Minnillo Lachey, TV personalities Andy Cohen and Star Jones, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and The Help novelist Kathryn Stockett.

OK, someone at this party needs to get Bassett and Boseman to channel their Tina Turner and James Brown performances onstage, and it could melt down.

Also on the guest list, according to some sources, is University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.

Meanwhile, back in Louisville, a number of this year’s thrilling UK men’s basketball team will be at the Barnstable-Brown Gala, now in its 27th year. Cats expected in attendance include Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker, Dakari Johnson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein. They will be joined by UK’s biggest football alum now in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb and fellow Packers Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

The guest list of twins Patricia Barnstable Brown and Priscilla Barnstable also includes Super Bowl champion (again) New England Patriots Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, visits with fans as she leaves the red carpet before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014. Herald-Leader photo by David Stephenson.

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, visits with fans as she leaves the red carpet before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014. Herald-Leader photo by David Stephenson.

As is usually the case, the Barnstables have the longest guest list, including musicians Brian McKnight, New Edition’s Johnny GillBoyz II Men, Run DMC’s Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, country star Clay Walker, Michael Jackson guitarist and solo artist Orianthi, country musician Terri ClarkRon Isley of the Isley Brothers, Salt-N-PepaMorris Day, Travis Tritt, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Mary Wilson of the Supremes, ‘N Sync’s Joey Fatone and newly inducted Kentucky Music Hall of Famers Montgomery Gentry.

Reality TV tends to make a strong showing at the Derby, with stars such as Robert Herjavec of Shark TankKym Johnson of Dancing With the Stars and multi-show star Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett. From the scripted TV world, there is Stephen Amell of Arrow, Liam McIntyre of Spartacus and Julie Benz of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dexter. This party also attracts a smashing model or two and Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellingson is on this year’s guest list.

We didn’t finish the athlete list earlier, which also includes football stars Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos, Vince Wilfork of the Houston Texans and Matt Cassel of the Buffalo Bills, NHL player Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche,  Ohio State basketball standout and NBA hopeful D’Angelo Russell and NBA players Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and former Cats Julius Randle of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Also returning this year are Olympic ice skaters and social media and TV personalities Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, who will be interviewing the stars themselves on NBC’s red carpet Saturday.

That’s where all the stars will converge, including attendees at the Unbridled Eve Derby Gala at the Galt House in Downtown Louisville. The event’s website is somewhat murky on who is coming this year, but the Courier-Journal reports the guest list includes TV stars Sarah Hyland of Modern FamilyDavid Walton of About a BoyRose McGowan of The WB’s Charmed and the movie Scream, Diego Klattenhoff of The Blacklist, Don Most of Happy Days, Paget Brewster of Criminal Minds and Friends, Maj Delfino most recently seen on Friends With Better Lives and personalities Robin Meade of  CNN and Bachelor and Bachelorette star Bob Guiney. 

There are a few film stars coming including Michelle Rodriguez of the Fast and Furious franchise, Claire Forlani of Meet Joe Black and Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame.

Musicians include American Idol winners Ruben Studdard and Kris AllenWayne Nelson of the Little River Band and country artist Ray Scott.

Sports stars include jockey Jean Cruguet, who rode Seattle Slew to the Triple Crown; football stars Chris Cantry of the Baltimore Ravens and Warren Moon of the Houston Oilers, and Louisville basketball star Luke Hancock.

Author Nora Roberts is expected along with model Bonnie Jill Laflin and pageant winners Miss America Kira Kazantsev, Ms. Kentucky United States Laura Grant, Miss Kentucky United States Katie Himes and Miss Teen Kentucky United States Adrienne Poole.

And here’s the wildcard: You never know who else might show up.

We will be out Friday and Saturday on the Derby celebrity beat. Follow us at LexGo.com and on Twitter at @LexGoKy.

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Derby helped bridge distance between Mom and me

Monarchos, on the outside, with Jorge Chavez up charges past Congaree and Victor Espinoza in the stretch of the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky Saturday May 5, 2001.

Monarchos, on the outside, with Jorge Chavez up charges past Congaree and Victor Espinoza in the 2001 Kentucky Derby. Like many winning Derby picks, my Mom went with Monarchos for his name © Herald-Leader staff photo by Ron Garrison.

My mother’s stockbroker was explaining to my brother-in-law a frustration of dealing with Mom.

There was a stock she wanted to buy that he had advised against; it just didn’t have much of a chance of doing anything, he thought.

It ended up outperforming everything else in her portfolio. The stock in question: Dollar Tree. Leave it to my cheapska … uh … frugal mom to pick a winning stock and it be Dollar Tree.

Madge Poole Copley, 1924-2015.

Madge Poole Copley, 1924-2015.

That was Mom, my brother-in-law explained, elaborating that every year, she would send her son a list of bets for the Kentucky Derby, and she always won. And he was not wrong, I can say, being the son in question. I would annually crumple up my tickets as the horses crossed the finish line, but still have to dutifully schlep to the pari-mutuel window to cash Mom’s winning tickets.

What was her strategy? Jockeys? Previous performance? Running times? What data was she mining from the Daily Racing Form to place her wagers?

None. She picked by names. She liked cute names. She really liked cat names, which didn’t end up winning in her Derby era, but were on several occasions good for a profitable place or show, like Bluegrass Cat in 2006.

But she did not discriminate against other animals, so Mine That Bird in 2009 was her pick, along with Animal Kingdom in 2011. There was some family story that got her behind Smarty Jones in 2004, and while I had picked Monarchos, my favorite Derby winner, based on some of his connections and performance, Mom just tapped the 2001 winner because my alma mater is Old Dominion University – the Monarchs.

Eventually, I learned my lesson and started basing my bets at least in part on Mom’s choices. As we said, she was chea … uh … thrifty, so Super Saver obviously paid off in 2011.

This year, I don’t know who to choose.

Mom died on April 13, after contending with a variety of complications following a fall last year.

Picking winning Derby horses was just one of the many wonderful qualities of my beautiful, courageous and clever mother. She and her identical twin sister had all kinds of fun confusing the boys of Troy, N.C., and Duke University. Following my father’s death when I was 12, she endured the financial and emotional struggle of single parenthood, but I never knew it because she put on such a brave face. She was a wit who could lay out an entire room in laughter with one quiet comment.

Mom worked until she was 87 and lived to 90.

When we called from Athens, Ga., in the winter of 1998 and told her we were moving to Kentucky, I imagine there was some disappointment that the move wasn’t closer to her home in Virginia Beach, Va. But she was kind of excited that an annual trip to the Kentucky Derby came with the move. She seemed to enjoy it vicariously through me.

Mom had always liked horse racing. She had a little horse-riding in her past, growing up in North Carolina. I remember when I was in elementary school, there was a TV show each week called Let’s Go to the Races, and during the week, you would go to the grocery store and get a ticket that had your pick for each race on it. If your horse won, you’d go back and get some cash. Mom loved it, and I remember her following the Triple Crown campaigns of Seattle Slew and Affirmed in the 1970s. I think she would have liked to have seen another Triple Crown in the 21st century as much as anyone.

Over the years, she toured the Derby Museum, amassed a good julep glass collection — on her first visit to Kentucky, I made a pitcher of mint juleps that had to be the strongest drink that woman ever put to her lips — and, as I saw when I was looking through her stuff last weekend, she taped a lot of Derbys before her last VCR died.

Calling Mom from Churchill Downs was a Derby Day tradition for me to make sure her bets were in order. This year, I expect a melancholy moment when I want to call her and remember, I can’t anymore.

But for me, Derby will endure as an event that helped melt away the miles and mountain range between us. And that is far more valuable than picking a winner.

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Kentucky Theatre Summer Classics 2015

A very young Drew Barrymore plants a kiss on the title character in "E.T." (1982).

A very young Drew Barrymore plants a kiss on the title character in “E.T.” (1982).

Big names! Big titles! Big action! Sumptuous romance! Hilarious comedy!

Yes, summertime is blockbuster season, when Hollywood rolls out popcorn fare and huge crowd pleasers. This year’s Summer Classics series as the Kentucky Theatre takes a similar tact, loading the lineup with some of the biggest titles in movie history, including Gone With The Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca, as well as several films Gen Xers will reluctantly acknowledge have made their ways into the classics category, including E.T. and The Princess Bride. There’s even a nod to early Millennials with the series finale.

Here’s the list, where we will attempt to not to overuse the word quintessential. As always, screenings are at 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. on Wednesdays, and admission is $6.

May 27: Blade Runner (Final Cut) (1982). Harrison Ford sci-fi thriller.
June 3: An American in Paris (1951). Gene Kelly, singing, dancing, romancing.
June 10: Casablanca (1942). Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s ill-fated World War II romance.
June 17: The Wizard of Oz (1939). Beware the flying monkeys.
June 24: A Night at the Opera (1935). The Marx Brothers movie, not the Queen album.
July 1: Gone With the Wind (1939). The quintessential classic.
July 8: The Princess Bride (1987). (Insert your favorite quote here.)
July 15: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Mid July is a perfect time to admire how Gregory Peck keeps a suit on through the entire Alabama summer.
July 22: The Sound of Music (1965). Julie Andrews!
July 29: E.T. (1982). Pretty much defined “Spielberg movie.”
Aug. 5: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with The Black Cat (1934). Double feature with early horror master, Boris Karloff.
Aug. 12: Charade (1963). Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn thriller.
Aug. 19: Rear Window (1954). Jimmy Stewart! Grace Kelly! Alfred Hitchcock! What more do you want?!
Aug. 26: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Quintessential Clint Eastwood. Quintessential spaghetti western.
Sept. 2: The Big Lebowski (1998). the dude abides

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Review: Ben Sollee at the Kentucky Theatre

Cellist and singer Ben Sollee on stage at the Kentucky Theatre on April 22, 2015, with percussionist Jordan Ellis. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley (with cameraphone).

Cellist and singer Ben Sollee on stage at the Kentucky Theatre on April 22, 2015, with percussionist Jordan Ellis. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley (with cameraphone).

Musicians often give hometown shows around holidays. Thanksgiving or Christmas visits can provide the perfect excuse for a hometown gig.

But it was only fitting that the holiday Ben Sollee chose to make a Kentucky Theatre stand was Earth Day. After all, this is the guy who has a cello carrier on his bicycle — and sometimes tours that way — and has a catalog full of songs about the land and environmental responsibility (and irresponsibility). There are so many, in fact, my daughter lamented he didn’t play one of his environmental gems, Bury Me With My Carbut we all acknowledged it was a pretty darned swell show.

Ben Sollee. Photo by Magnus Lindqvist.

Ben Sollee. Photo by Magnus Lindqvist.

It was also a very personal show Sollee opened saying, “Hello, hometown,” and stopped in several places to remember how he discovered the cello when he was a student at Yates Elementary School and learned different ways of playing it through his father, a rhythm and blues musician, and his grandfather, a bluegrass banjo player. At another point, he brought out his son, Oliver, to show us how to plant a tree in Minecraft.

Maybe his most relevant pause for the evening was introducing percussionist Jordan Ellis, a Frankfort native who Sollee met when they were both in all-state band and Ellis was regarded as the wunderkind. That has not changed as Ellis proved himself to be both and accomplished and creative percussionist, collaborating with Sollee on some of the concert’s most magical moments, such as Prettiest Tree on the Mountain, which seemed to be drawing to a close, and then they engaged in an accelerating exchange that created a thrilling second half to the song.

The 16-song set covered a broad swath of Sollee’s catalog, but the sweetest moment came with the performance of Loving Memory from his new EP, Steeples, Part One. After the lights went black at the end of the previous song, Sollee lit a lantern and asked that the sound system be switched off. He then proceeded to play the pleasantly haunting song, just wood and voice, to the silent Kentucky Theatre crowd.

It was one of those moments that make live performances so thrilling.

Opener Twin Limb was at its best serving as Sollee’s backup band, particularly on the late set combo of DIY and a Springsteen-esque performance of Pursuit of Happiness, which Sollee said was the first-ever live performance of the 2012 song from his Half Made Man album.

As a trio, Twin Limb had a hard time holding interest. It essentially felt like the group played the same droning, wailing song seven or eight times, and their onstage configuration facing one another made you wonder if they were aware they had an audience. A combination of Drums, electric guitar and accordion, the Louisville band is interesting and clearly talented. But the stage presentation and songwriting (and enunciation) need work for this to be a compelling live act.

This was a night that Sollee came home and showed how a combination of powerful message and musicianship, with a lot of heart, can combine for a transcendent night of music.

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Backstreet Boys go bluegrass

Easily the coolest thing at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday night was that Backstreet Boys Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson invited a duo of college bluegrass musicians to play with them at the ceremony. Richardson discovered Butler University senior Josh Turner and University of North Carolina senior Carson McKee when a Backstreet Boys fan tweeted him the guys’ YouTube video of their bluegrass take on Larger Than Life. The video opens with an apology to Backstreet Boys fans, but judging by the reaction of BSB fans online and at Friday’s ceremony, no apologies were in order.

In the video above, we chatted with Richardson and the guys about the performance and caught some snatches of their performances of I Want it That Way and Larger Than Life. Also, click here for the complete Larger Than Life performance, and go to Kentucky.com’s YouTube Channel for more from Friday night and all out video offerings.

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Review: Joshua Bell and the UK Symphony

Violinist Joshua Bell performed Max Bruch's "Violin Concerto No. 1" with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Nardolillo, on April 3, 2015, in the Singletary Center for the Arts concert hall on the university campus in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Andrew Brinkhorst for the Singletary Center for the Arts.

Violinist Joshua Bell performed Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1″ with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Nardolillo, on April 3, 2015, in the Singletary Center for the Arts concert hall on the university campus in Lexington, Ky. Photos by Andrew Brinkhorst for the Singletary Center for the Arts.

The night before the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team was set to take the court in Indianapolis in pursuit of a historic 39th win and berth in the national championship game, the UK Symphony Orchestra put a W in its record book with its concert featuring superstar violinist Joshua Bell.

To put this in basketball context — which is what everything around here seems to be in, this week — this was like LeBron James coming and playing with Wildcats. Bell is arguably the most famous person playing violin today not named Itzhak, and some would say the Hoosier (we complete our circles here) has even eclipsed the instrument’s elder statesman (who has played with the UK Symphony twice).

Joshua Bell rehearsed with the UK Symphony a few hours before the concert.

Joshua Bell rehearsed with the UK Symphony a few hours before the concert.

But anyone, even LeBron, can tell you a superstar can only do so much on his or her own. Winning, in basketball or orchestras takes a total team effort, and that’s what the audience in the Singletary Center concert hall got on Friday night.

UK has participated in these marquee soloist concerts since 2008, with the Singletary Center booking the star and then pairing him or her with the student orchestra. The guest list has included Itzhak Perlman, violinist Sarah Chang and, last year, pianist Lang Lang. All have been dazzling nights, but this may have been the most complete concert of the bunch.

The first half was devoted to the student orchestra playing Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite. In these concerts, there has often been an untidy orchestral work it seemed didn’t get proper attention in the midst of preparation for the soloist.

But nobody wants to hear a ragged Firebird, and they didn’t Friday. After the tone-setting overture, the orchestra lit up Stravinsky’s masterwork with a sharp, fully nuanced performance from that haunting rumble of low strings to the dazzling woodwind work that gives Firebird its life.

Far from distracted by the star, this UK Symphony sounded refined by months of working on everything from Stephen Sondheim to György Ligeti, the most vexing composer the orchestra encountered in its performance of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

150403JoshuaBell-blog15241Director John Nardolillo wisely programmed Bell’s appearance for the second half, as some previous concerts have seen the audience diminish in part two when the soloist played only in the first half. When Bell took the stage for Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in g minor, he found a more than capable partner in the orchestra. Concertos can be like theater, where one actor’s performance elevates the other’s, and the UK musicians seemed to give Bell plenty to play off of Friday night in fiery exchanges of passages. That’s not to say that Bell did not provide a veritable violin clinic with his fleet fingers and tight bow technique. It was one of those performances we have to thank Singletary Center for the Arts director Michael Grice for providing.

Bell seemed to enjoy the collaboration with the students in his exceedingly physical performance. After the concerto, Camille Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Capriccioso in a minor  served as a sort of scheduled encore for Bell, and more of a playground for the visiting artist to dazzle the audience (and all in the hall) with a show of passion and prestidigitation.

The audience, which appeared to fill about two-thirds of the 1502-seat Singletary Center concert hall, was a bit smaller than you might expect for an artist of Bell’s stature. The culprits likely included a $65 to $85 ticket price, Fayette County Schools’ spring break, Good Friday observances, a record rainfall that turned navigating some sections of town into a maze-like exercise and a certain basketball team preparing to play a historic game a mere four hours away (I have covered arts in this town long enough to know there is a strong crossover audience of arts and Cats fans). Given that promoter’s nightmare of conflicts, it may be a testament to Bell’s stature that as many people showed up as did.

Folks that were there saw an orchestra worthy of the superstars it gets to play with and that at UK, elite isn’t a status just enjoyed by basketball.

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Follow up: Lexington filmmaker wins in ‘Twilight’ competition

Lindsey Hancock Williamson in the pitch video for "Turncoats," the "Twilight"-based short film she will direct in the Lexington area later this month. Photo courtesy of Suburban Tallyhoo Productions.

Lindsey Hancock Williamson in the pitch video for “Turncoats,” the “Twilight”-based short film she will direct in the Lexington area later this month. Photo courtesy of Suburban Tallyhoo Productions.

Lexington director Lindsey Hancock Williamson has won (again) in the Twilight Storytellers competition, and will film her short movie based on characters from the Twilight series later this month.

The Storytellers — New Voices of the Twilight Saga competition was launched by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer to make six new Twilight mini-movies by female directors. Williamson initially won the story idea and screenplay portions of the competition with Turncoats, her tale of the Revolutionary War meeting of Carlisle Cullen, father of series hero Edward Cullen, and Garrett, a vampire introduced at the end of the final book in the series, Breaking Dawn.

In the last round, she faced off against a Boston-based director for the chance to film her script. The outcome was determined by a combination of judges’ decisions and public voting. She was one of six winning directors.

Williamson is a Lexington native who went to film school in Nashville and then worked in film production in New York. She and her husband, Sam Williamson, founded Suburban Tallyho Productions and moved back to Lexington to be near family.

Williamson said she plans to film later this month in Central Kentucky.

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‘Justified’ finale previewing in Harlan

Erica Tazel as Deputy U.S. Marshal Rachel Brooks in 'Justified.' FX photo by James Minchin.

Erica Tazel as Deputy U.S. Marshal Rachel Brooks in ‘Justified.’ FX photo by James Minchin.

UPDATE: The event in Harlan is sold out.

The FX crime drama Justified has been set in Harlan and Lexington for all of its six seasons. But while writers and producers have made research trips to Eastern and Central Kentucky, the series has never filmed in the Commonwealth.

But a group of the series’ stars and executive producer and showrunner Graham Yost will be in Harlan county next Saturday, April 11, for a screening of the series finale and a question and answer session at Harlan County High School. The actors include Joelle Carter who plays Ava Crowder, the woman at the center of the conflict, this season, between Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Harlan crime boss, and her beau, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Joining her will be Erica Tazel who plays Rachel Brooks, the acting chief of the Marshals’ Lexington office, and Jacob Pitts who plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Gutterson.

According to a press release from FX, the screening will be at 4 p.m. at the Harlan County High School Auditorium, 4000 North U.S. Highway 119 in Baxter. It will be followed at 5 with a panel discussion with the actors, Yost and other executive producers.

There are two ways to get tickets: Listen to Crow in the Morning on WTUK-FM 105.1 FM starting at 7 a.m. Thursday (April 2) for chances to win tickets or enter for a chance to win on the Facebook page of the Harlan Daily Enterprise.

There are two episodes left in the series, based on the late Elmore Leonard’s short story Fire in the Hole, that airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on FX (TWC Ch. 55). The series finale is April 14.

BTW, we are scheduled to talk to Joelle Carter this week. If you want to suggest a question, head over to my Facebook page.

 

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Lexington Children’s Theatre casts Jim Gray as …

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray delivered his annual State of the City Address in the Patterson Ballroom of the downtown Hyatt Regency hotel in Lexington, Ky.,Tuesday, January 20, 2015. Hosted by the Lexington Forum, the event was free and open to the public. Herald-Leader staff photo by Charles Bertram.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray delivered his annual State of the City Address in the Patterson Ballroom of the downtown Hyatt Regency hotel in Lexington, Ky.,Tuesday, January 20, 2015. Hosted by the Lexington Forum, the event was free and open to the public. Herald-Leader staff photo by Charles Bertram.

So, you have probably played this game where you take a favorite film or play or novel and pick who among your friends or family would be which characters. Well, that’s what the Lexington Children’s Theatre has done for its seventh annual Celebrity Curtain Call fundraiser, this year titled Celebrity Curtain Call in Oz.

Ramsey Carpenter, Miss My Old Kentucky Home, waves to the crowd after being crowned Miss Kentucky 2014 during the pageant at Singletary Center For the Arts in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, July 12, 2014. Herald-Leader staff photo by Matt Goins.

Ramsey Carpenter, Miss My Old Kentucky Home, waves to the crowd after being crowned Miss Kentucky 2014 during the pageant at Singletary Center For the Arts in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, July 12, 2014. Photo by Matt Goins for the Herald-Leader.

The April 11 event will feature attractions such as hors d’oeuvres from Azur and other local eateries, a Blanton’s bourbon tasting and live and silent auctions. But the major attraction is seeing local celebrities and notables acting familiar roles, such as WKYT anchor Sam Dick as Toto, Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron as the Cowardly Lion and Miss Kentucky, Ramsey Carpenter, as the Queen Mouse and Munchkin. And then people will certainly be paying attention to the man behind the curtain, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray as The Wizard.

Here’s the complete cast list:

  • Amelia Martin Adams (Attorney, DelCotto Law Group), Glinda
  • Jay Alexander (Program/Music Director, WBTF-FM), Munchkin 2/Winkie Extra
  • Marcey Ansley (Executive Director, Lexington Hearing and Speech Center), Winkie 1/Munchkin Extra
  • Soreyda Benedit Begley (Fashion Designer), Wicked Witch
  • Lynn Braker (Franchise Owner, Remedy Intelligent Staffing), Queen Mouse, Act 1/Winkie Extra
  • Renee Brewer (Owner, Wine & Market, Enoteca), Dorothy, Act 1
  • Seth Brewer (Owner, Wine & Market, Enoteca), Scarecrow, Act 2
  • Ramsey Carpenter (Miss Kentucky 2014), Queen Mouse, Act 2/Munchkin Extra
  • Danielle Clore (Executive Director, Kentucky Nonprofit Network), Lion, Act 2
  • Chauncey Curtz (Partner, Dinsmore), Uncle Henry
  • Sam Dick (Anchor, WKYT), Toto, Act 1
  • Colmon Elridge (Executive Assistant to the Governor), Scarecrow, Act 1
  • Luann Franklin (Director of Peforming Arts, Lexington Opera House), Aunt Em
  • Jim Gray (Mayor of Lexington), Wizard
  • Elias Gross (PR and Marketing Director, Lexington Art League), Toto, Act 2
  • Kate Horning (Chef, Author of Healthy Living Redefined), Mouse 1/Munchkin Extra/Winkie Extra
  • Lori Houlihan (Director of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Office of the Mayor), Gatekeeper
  • Keith Jackson (Fire Chief, City of Lexington), Tin Man, Act 2
  • Ann Phillips Mayfield (Realtor, Commonwealth Realty Group), Mouse 2/Winkie Extra/Munchkin Extra
  • Chris McCarron (Retired Hall of Fame Jockey), Lion, Act 1
  • Will Pieratt (Owner, Bourbon and Toulouse), Tin Man, Act 1
  • Nan Plummer (President and CEO, LexArts), Dorothy, Act 2
  • Todd Svoboda (Industry Consultant – Manufacturing and Distribution, former UK basketball player), Munchkin 1/Monkey 1/Winkie Extra
  • James Vermillion (International Logistics Manager, Age International, Inc.), Witch’s Guard
  • Gary Wortz (Chief Medical Officer, Omega Opthalmics), Monkey 2/Winkie 2/Munchkin Extra

The event is at 7 p.m. April 11 at the Children’s Theatre, 416 West Short Street, and tickets are $75.

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Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra announces 2015-16 season

Soprano Karen Slack will be featured in the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra's season-opening performance of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 2, 'Resurrection.'" © LexGo.com photo by Mark Cornelison.

Soprano Karen Slack will be featured in the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra’s season-opening performance of Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 2, ‘Resurrection.'” © LexGo.com photo by Mark Cornelison.

The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra unveiled a 2015-16 lineup Thursday night that continues music director Scott Terrell‘s adventurous programming and features a monumental opening bow.

Avner Dorman will be the Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence, continuing the Philharmonic’s joint program with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. His world premiere composition will be featured in the April 2016 concert along with his percussion and orchestra work Frozen in Time. Other contemporary composers in the lineup include John Adams, John Corigliano and Eric Whiteacre.

Unlike the season in progress, the coming season’s subscription series of concerts will all take place at the Singletary Center for the Arts for one night only. This season, the orchestra has tried some multi-night stands at the Lexington Opera House.

The highest profile change is the annual December Messiah performance will be replaced by a concert featuring selections from Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria and works by John Taverner and Whiteacre with guest artists the Lexington Chamber Chorale at the Cathedral of Christ the King. That will be a special concert outside of the subscription series along with another New Year’s Eve concert at the Lexington Opera House, this time with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet.  Last year saw a successful first attempt at a New Year’s Eve show with soloist Ute Lemper.

The subscription season will open Sept 12 with a massive work, Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection symphony, and close with one of the most iconic works in history, Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Here’s the complete 2015-16 lineup:

Sept. 18: 7:30 pm, Singletary Center for the Arts

Mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges. Photo by Devan Cass.

Mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges. Photo by Devan Cass.

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”

Guest artists: Karen Slack, soprano; J’nai Bridges, mezzo soprano; college choruses of Transylvania University, Eastern Kentucky University, Asbury University, and Berea College.

Oct. 23: 7:30 pm, Singletary Center for the Arts

Aaron Copland: Our Town

George Gershwin: Catfish Row, symphonic suite from Porgy and Bess

Chris Brubeck: Travels in Time for Three
Guest artists: Time for Three: Zach De Pue, violin; Nick Kendall, violin; Ranaan Meyer, double bass

Fei Fei Dong. Photo by Ellen Appel-Mike Moreland.

Fei Fei Dong. Photo by Ellen Appel-Mike Moreland.

Nov. 13: 7:30 pm, Singletary Center for the Arts

Felix Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture

Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1
Guest artists: Fei-Fei Dong, piano; Stephen Campbell, trumpet

John Corigliano: Voyage
Soloist: Pei-San Chiu, flute

W.A. Mozart: Symphony No. 40

Feb. 5: 7:30 p.m., Singletary Center for the Arts

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Beyond the Score multi-media program featuring projected images, live-acting, and narration, produced by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Composer Avner Dorman. Photo from avnerdormanmusic.com.

Composer Avner Dorman. Photo from avnerdormanmusic.com.

April 15: 7:30 pm, Singletary Center for the Arts

Avner Dorman: world premiere

Avner Dorman: Frozen in Time
Guest artist: Simone Rubino, percussion

Antonin Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “New World”

May 13: 7:30 p.m., Singletary Center for the Arts

John Adams: Lollapalooza

Félix Alexandre Guilmant: Organ Symphony No. 1
Guest artist: Paul Jacobs, organ

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

Special Concerts

Dec. 12: 8 p.m., Cathedral of Christ the King

Gloria! Concert featuring the music of George Frideric Handel (Messiah) and Antonio Vivaldi (Gloria) paired with modern masters John Taverner and Eric Whitacre

Guest artists: Lexington Chamber Chorale

Dec. 31: 7:30 p.m., Lexington Opera House

Take Five at New Year’s Eve! featuring the Brubeck Brothers Quartet

Tickets are available now for current subscribers and go on sale to the general public May 1. Call (859) 233-4226, or visit the Philharmonic website.

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