This September, the Grand Theatre will have been open 10 years since restoration. In that time about 130,000 people will have attended more than 1,000 events in Frankfort’s Center for the Arts.
“We won the Ida Lee Willis Historic Preservation Award at reopening," Grand President Bill Cull said. "More importantly, we are a living, vibrant theatre. In our most recent year, we had about 18,000 attend 134 events — 3,000 of those from outside Franklin County.
"We are a principal force in bringing people to spend their money here — filling our restaurants downtown, hotel room nights. Everything we need for downtown viable."
Each year, the Grand plows back all it earns in sales plus county, city and state support to spend more on quality shows to draw more visitors with more shows raising the community's quality of life, promoting economic development while attracting businesses who appreciate the arts.
This year is no exception as the Grand will spend $18,000 more — a 14% increase on artists.
"This is our best season ever — as we try to increase our out-of-town visitors from 3,000 to 4,000 with 15 great shows," Cull said.
The 2019-20 season will kick off with John Mayall, “The Godfather of British Blues,” on Aug. 5. The English blues singer, pianist, harmonica player, guitarist and songwriter founded the band, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in the 1960s — a band whose members included many celebrated blues and blues rock guitarists, such as Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya and Buddy Whittington. Mayall’s current band includes noted female blues guitarist Carolyn Wonderland.
Longtime drummer for Springsteen’s E-Street Band and bandleader for "Late Night with Conan O’Brien," Max Weinberg brings his “Jukebox” four-piece band to play hits on Sept. 6. Performing songs from the glory days of rock and roll as the audience gets to choose from a video menu of more than 200 songs — everything from the Beatles to the Stones to Bruce and The E-Street Band’s biggest hits — and hear the band play them the way they want to hear them played!
On Sept. 13, the Grand welcomes Iris Dement,an acclaimed singer/songwriter whose 1992 debut "Infamous Angel" was hailed by Rolling Stone as “an essential album of the 1990s.” Dement’s vocal style merges elements of folk, gospel and country. Her rich lyrical landscapes and captivating music have earned two Grammy nominations.
Five-time Grammy Award winner, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives perform Sept. 19. Stuart got his start performing with Johnny Cash and Lester Flatt before launching a successful solo career. The master guitarist has roots from country to bluegrass to gospel to rockabilly. His Fabulous Superlatives are an extraordinary group of gifted musicians.
In 1999, Chet Atkins named Tommy Emmanuel a Certified Guitar Player, honoring him as among the world's greatest fingerstyle guitarists, while "Rolling Stone" (Australia) named him “Most Popular Guitar Player” for two consecutive years. The Australian guitarist has twice been voted “Best Acoustic Guitarist” by readers of "Guitar Player Magazine." Emmanuel will be joined on the Grand stage Sept. 28 by duo Pat Bergeson and Annie Sellick.
“We have been trying to get Tommy back for seven years,” Cull said. "Finally, he is returning!"
Composer/musician Michael Bacon and bandmate/acclaimed actor Kevin Bacon, The Bacon Brothers, bring “The Shaky Ground Tour” to the Grand Oct. 5. The music of the Bacon Brothers band spans rock, soul, folk and Americana. This marks the Bacon’s third visit to Frankfort.
Legends of Yesterday brings Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and a Beatles tribute from their Las Vegas headquarters for an Oct.18 performance. Beatles fans know the influence both The Everlys and Buddy Holly had on the bands early development. The first half of the show features Buddy Holly and The Everlys. For the second half of the show, the Beatles take the stage. "Yesterday" is a Bourbonanza event.
The Bohemian Rhapsody film and Remi Malek’s Academy Award-winning performance as Freddy Mercury brought Queen’s music back to the music world’s front page. Queen Machine appearing Oct. 26, travels from Copenhagen, Denmark, with a fabulous tribute show bringing the music of Queen to life. Bjarke Baisner Laursen is Freddy Mercury as he recreates all the bands' hits.
The Allman Brothers occupy a special place in the history of Southern rock and blues music. Greg Allman’s (deceased) son, Devon and Dickie Bett’s son, Duane perform their own music having just released "Down to the River," which is getting lots of play and press. Allman Betts Band also intermingles some of their dads' greatest music. Allman Betts Band will perform Nov. 4.
Joe Diffie was a huge Nashville success in the 1990s to today selling more than 6 million records. A great ballad songwriter, Diffie has had 12 No. 1 singles while winning a 1998 Grammy. The Joe Diffie Band will perform Nov. 22.
Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience bring Louisiana to Frankfort for a Mardi Gras celebration on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 25. Simien will present “Creole for Kidz” for a student matinee.
The Grand’s season also includes partner, Bluegrass Theatre Guild, and its presentation of “A Christmas Story” Dec. 5-8.
The genre-bending Take 3 performs Feb. 28. The trioblends the refinement of rigorous musical training with rock-star charisma performing pop, jazz and classical.
The National Players bring a multi-cultural cast to stage for the inspiring story of Anne Frank in “The Diary of Anne Frank” on March 6. A school matinee for students will also be performed.
Season ticket packages are now on sale — 13 to 15 event packages are available from $290 to $575. Individual tickets go on sale July 8 in our ticket office and online (Mayall, Weinberg, Bacon and Queen shows are currently on sale). Contact the Grand ticket office at 502-352-7469 to purchase a season subscription.
The historic Grand Theatre reopened as a performance venue in the fall of 2009 after a $5 million restoration spearheaded by the non-profit organization Save the Grand Theatre Inc. The Grand opened in 1911 as a vaudeville house and later became a movie theater before it closed in 1966. With its resurrection, the Grand is a 428-seat performing and visual arts theatre featuring state-of-the-art facilities. The Grand also hosts social, educational and civic events.
Max Weinberg’s “Jukebox”
Bacon Brother Band
Legends of Yesterday
Allman Betts Band
BTG “A Christmas Story”
& The Zydeco Experience
“The Diary of Anne Frank”
SEASON PACKAGES Premium Better Good
15 Event $575 $450 $355
14 Event (NO Queen) $540 $430 $330
14 Event (NO Diffie) $525 $415 $315
14 Event (NO Bacon) $510 $405 $310
13 Event (NO Diffie/Stuart) $480 $380 $290
13 Event (NO Bacon/Queen) $480 $380 $290