The Lied Center for Performing Arts
by Lauren Durban and Matthew Boring
The Lied Center for Performing Arts has been a national leader in arts presenting and community involvement since it opened in 1990 in Lincoln. Known as “Nebraska’s performing arts center,” the Lied brings the world’s greatest artists to the Midwest, including Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Misty Copeland, Isaac Stern, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, STREB, Danny Elfman, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Yuja Wang, Chris Thile and many more of the top artistic talents touring the world.
Even amid all the challenges of last year, the Lied Center has remained a vital, vibrant part of the community. With health and safety always at the forefront, the Lied continually innovated to keep the arts alive…and the nation took notice! The New York Times said the “…future has already arrived at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska” in a piece about theaters offering streaming options, USA Today published a piece (and produced a video!) entitled “Lied Center Keeping the Arts Alive” about the Lied’s journey through the pandemic, and the National Endowment for the Arts featured the Lied Center and an interview with Executive Director Bill Stephan in its national report “The Art of Reopening.”
Now, with the 2021-2022 season in full swing and full audiences once again enjoying spectacular artists and events from all over the world, it is a time of celebration for the arts in Lincoln! After an 18-month hiatus caused by the pandemic, Broadway has returned to Nebraska. To celebrate, the Lied Center is featuring the biggest Broadway season in Lied Center history. In spring of 2022 the Glenn Korff Broadway series will feature eight Broadway productions, plus the return of Broadway legend Bernadette Peters for an unforgettable one-night-only engagement. Lied Center Executive Director Bill Stephan says, “Broadway is the most popular art form at the Lied, and we’re so excited to have the big tours back with giant sets, dancers filling the stage, and the big production numbers that make you jump to your feet with joy.”
In January, Roald Dahl’s classic tale becomes Lincoln’s golden ticket in the musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. February brings Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, the inspiring true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise to stardom. Also in February, the Lied is thrilled to welcome back Broadway icon Bernadette Peters for the first time in almost a decade! This Tony Award-winning performer will thrill audiences with hits from her legendary career on stage and screen. March 2022 brings the return of Jersey Boys, one of the most popular and most requested Broadway shows ever to perform at the Lied Center, as well as the 25th anniversary tour of Riverdance.
April 2022 will be a historic month of Broadway in Lincoln, as the Lied Center welcomes both the Nebraska premiere of The Band’s Visit and the Lincoln premiere of Come From Away. The Band’s Visit is among the most acclaimed shows in Broadway history. In 2018, this beautiful story won 10 Tony Awards® and became just the 4th musical in history to take home all of the “Big 6” Tonys: Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Performance by a Leading Actor, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress. New York Times Critic’s Pick Come From Away tells the uplifting true story of what happened when 7,000 stranded airline passengers were taken in by a small Canadian town in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Rounding out the month is some crack-a-lackin family fun with the hit musical version of the movie Madagascar. In May, the Lied’s historic Broadway season wraps up with the provocative and reimagined revival of Oklahoma, winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
Stephan says, “The return of Broadway is truly a celebration! Spring 2022 is wall-to-wall Broadway at the Lied! From the Nebraska debut of The Band’s Visit, to the deeply moving and uplifting Come From Away, to the family fun of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and so much more, this season offers something for everyone. We’ve never had this many Broadway shows in a single season, and we’re so excited to welcome audiences back in a big way!”
For a full listing of Lied events, including world-class offerings in dance, jazz, symphonies, and more, visit liedcenter.org