HUNTINGTON - So what do Blood, Sweat and Tears, Jason Mraz, Natalie Cole, Blue Man Group and comedian Kevin Pollak have in common?
In the coming year that diverse slate of professional performers will all find themselves gawking at the Spanish starry sky ceiling in the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center as part of the 77th season of the Marshall Artists Series.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2013-2014 Artists Series season. The deadline to renew season tickets for current subscribers is Aug. 19. The Artists Series offers a two-payment option with half of the total due by Aug. 19 and the second half due by Sept. 19. Payroll deduction is available for MU faculty and staff.
Individual tickets - including tickets to the Sept. 28 Uncorked Fundraiser and a special event comedy show on Sept. 18 with Bill Burr - go on sale on Sept. 9.
Angela Jones, marketing manager for the Artists Series, one of the country's oldest town-and-gown artists series, said after dialing back a bit last year, this year's season is packed with two additional shows.
And a river of music runs through it with three shows packed the stage with a full orchestra (Blood, Sweat and Tears, the Vienna Concert with the Verein Orchestra and Bizet's Carmen), two female singers (Natalie Cole and Roslyn Kind), two big musicals ("The Million Dollar Quartet" and "American Idiot"), performance musical art with Blue Man Group, and two-time Grammy Award-winner Jason Mraz.
"This is definitely the season for music lovers," Jones said of the music packed season. "We have a little more of an expanded season form last year a couple more events."
Fresh back from a Las Vegas trip, Jones said they're excited to bring in such edgy theatrical shows as Vegas staple Blue Man Group, as well as bring in contemporary artists such as Mraz as well as Cole, a 9-time Grammy Award winner who has never played in this market.
"We always like to, of course, be innovative and like to be the destination for someone to come for the first time because we are 77 years old and we have a great history for bringing in significant people to the area," Jones said.
The first official show in the new season will be Natalie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole, who has been on the charts since her first No. 1 single, "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" in 1975, and who is on the charts again with her latest project, "Natalie Cole En Espanol," featuring her take on Latin classics from the Latin American Songbook as well as some classics cut by her late, great father one of America's most influential crooners.