Category: News

Inside the Franke Center, the stage is set to let your imagination soar! This beautiful auditorium is a crowning achievement for Marshall residents with all the qualities the will make you want to come back for more. Not only is it ideally suited for every type of dramatic stage performance; it also serves as a concert venue for live entertainment and for musical performances. The Franke Center also serves as a civic auditorium for private, corporate functions, meetings and parties.

The Franke Center will offer programming that includes:

  • Classical concerts
  • Family musicals
  • A new film series
  • Blues, folk, & Celtic music
  • Magic and more.

Now with over a decade of service to the community, The Franke Center is offering more programs, reaching more people and working harder to serve the community of Marshall and Calhoun County than ever before.

Sponsored by Eaton Corporation, The Franke Center opens the regular concert season on September 28, 2013 with a blues concert featuring Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown. Savoy Brown Blues Band is one of the earliest of British blues bands who helped launch the UK blues boom movement that brought blues music back to the USA invigorating the style forever.  In the process, the band became part of the framework that launched the rock and roll music of the 1970’s.  Their influence now stretches into rock, as we know it today.

October 17 through 20, 2013 features The Franke Center Children’s Theater young thespians in The Little Mermaid musical.  The Little Mermaid is a very well known fairy tale by the author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince.

Coming in November, Thanksgiving weekend, is The Moxie Strings, a fresh spin on Celtic and Americana Music. The Moxie Strings are an electrifying combination of fiddle, Diana Ladio, and electric cellist, Alison Lynn.  With their feel-good melodies and foot-stomping rhythms, these young women have put a fresh, enticing spin on Celtic and Americana music.

Christmas time is just around the corner and helping to celebrate the Christmas season on December 13, 2013 is the first of our film series featuring family classic; A Christmas Story.  Join us for a fun night with family and friends and relive Ralphie Parker and his wish for the ultimate Christmas gift, a Red Rider BB gun with a compass in the stock and a “thing that tells the time.” But adults who continually tell him “No, you’ll put your eye out with that thing” thwart Ralphie’s holiday wish.  From his mom to Santa, the Red Rider BB gun is decried as an object of evil. But maybe Santa will come through. And if he does, what if the grown-ups are right?  A number of subplots and short arcs run through the film.  Ralphie’s friend Flick is triple-dead-dog-dared to stick his tongue on a frozen flag pole, he and his friends are set upon by the bully Farkis; the neighbor’s dogs, Ralphie’s use of the Queen Mother of Dirty Words and the Battle of the Lamp all play a part in this tapestry of Americana which has become one of the most beloved films of the last 30 years.

January brings a Hollywood legend, Ronny Cox to the stage.  On January 18, 2014, The Franke Center presents Ronny Cox; an artist who wears a variety of hats –– from actor to musician to family man –– but if there is one common thread that pulls it all together it’s the “real” person that wears each hat and the warmth his craft brings to anyone exposed to his many talents. With a career that spans over 125 films, Ronny Cox’s first film was as the guitarist in the famous “dueling banjos” scene in Deliverance followed by numerous films including Beverly Hills Cop, Captain America, Murder at 1600, Robocop, Total Recall, The Onion Field and more.  Ronny has been writing songs and telling stories for over four decades.  Only in the last 10 years has the world seen him evolve from being an “actor who sings” into knowing him as a singer who happens to have a pretty fair career acting.

On January 31 and February 1 of 2014 is The Repertoire Dance Company, one or our highly popular concerts showcasing the works of dynamic and talented owner, Kathryn Kennedy-Grable and choreographers exploring the boundaries of dance and performance.

Beat the winter blues during our Winter Blues Festival coming February 8, 2014.  Held each year, the popular Winter Blues Festival returns for its fourth year with another sizzling lineup featuring Larry McCray.  The McCray style of blues is broadly appealing as his bold, brawny, often dazzling guitar lines are matched with confident, soul-drenched vocals; it’s that appeal that has drawn attention worldwide. He is undoubtedly up there with the very best bluesmen alive today. McCray is one of a handful of talented young blues performers leading the genre across boundaries and into the new century. McCray’s savage blues-rock guitar and warm, soulful vocals have drawn attention worldwide. McCray’s hard work paid off when he became the first artist signed by Virgin Records’ blues division.  You don’t want to miss this one!

Also coming in February 2014 is Beauty and the Beast (pending royalties) performed by The Franke Center Children’s Theater.  Step into the enchanted world of Disney’s beloved musical featuring songs from the Academy-Award winning Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with new songs by Mr. Menken and Tim Rice.  Performances are February 20 through 23, 2014 (pending royalties).

March 29, 2014 brings magic to the stage.  The American Museum of Magic and The Franke Center work together to present The American Museum of Magic On Stage!  This is a magic show where you can witness the impossible features of magicians performing a stunning mix of unbelievable optical illusions.  Prepare to have your perception of magic shows redefined as magicians combine to create an amazing magic show for the family.

The second film showing as a special fundraiser is Gone With The Wind.  Come out and enjoy this all time classic movie on April 4, 2014.  More details coming soon!

Saturday Night Blues, on April 12, 2014 will begin our April concert events.  If you love the blues and live anywhere near Marshall, MI, then you are in for a special treat. Saturday Night Blues offers a broad spectrum of blues-based music  – everything from Mississippi Delta blues to roots rock, zydeco and swing. This tradition has been serving the area with down home blues for over 10 years.  Enjoy the amazing atmosphere, bring your friends, raise a glass and get your tickets early.

Also returning by popular demand is our 6th Annual A Cappella concert in April, 2014 (date TBD).  Enjoy a fantastic lineup of five first-rate university a cappella groups including University of Michigan, The Spartan Dischords from MSU, and Western Michigan University Broncords, performing as part of the sixth annual “Oh, What A Night!” concert. This performance has grown into a wonderful family tradition for all ages, and tickets sell out, so make sure to get yours early.

Join us for the final concert of the season when The Franke Center welcomes Albion College Symphony Orchestra to the stage on April 26, 2014.  Make it a Night…or a Weekend in Marshall!  Join Music Director, Dr. James Ball and the musicians of the Albion College Symphony Orchestra in a performance set to stimulate the senses, fire the mind, and nourish the soul. Live passionately, and discover the transformative power of great music. Designed for audiences of all ages.

Hey You Guys!  The Franke Center presents the final film for the season.  Join us on June 20, 2014 for the ever-popular 1980s film – The Goonies.  Richard Donner and Steven Spielberg team up to bring us this classic.  The Goonies are a group of kids that love to go on crazy adventures and have a “never say die” attitude. They are being forced out of their homes by a local land developer that wants to build a country club. The only way to save their homes is to come up with enough money to pay off all the back taxes their families owe. Unfortunately, it is a feat that is practically impossible to accomplish. However, The Goonies discover a map that is supposed to lead to the buried treasure of the legendary “One-Eyed” Willie. Determined to keep their homes, the group sets off on a quest to find the rich stuff. Little do they know, that the beginning of the hunt leads to the basement of the local crime family the Fratelis. Now with the Fratelis hot on their tails, they must overcome numerous obstacles and booby traps to find the loot.

Season sponsors account for much of the continued success of the Franke Center.  “The Cronin Foundation has been supportive of our children’s programs, as has the Community Foundation and the Arts and Industry Council.”  In addition, the “Heavy Duty Blues” series is made possible through the generous support from Eaton Corporation.