Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner, celebrates a career that exceeds a half a century. Within the Blues world, he is described as a “living legend” and has performed at many of the world’s most renowned music festivals.
“A legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues” (NPR Music)
A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Walker’s 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene.
Born on December 25, 1949, in San Francisco, at age 14, he took up the guitar. Just two years later, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene, playing blues with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock. For a while, he roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. Walker even made a brief pilgrimage to Chicago to check out the blues scene there. In 1975, burned out on blues, Walker turned to God, singing for the next decade with a gospel group, the Spiritual Corinthians. When the Corinthians played the 1985 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Walker was inspired to embrace his blues roots again. He assembled the Boss Talkers, and throughout the 1990s merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock influences with his trademark blues. Through the years Walker has collaborated with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. He has released twenty-five albums since 1986, including his most recent effort “Journeys to the Heart of the Blues” in 2018.
Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, “I’d like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I’ve learned more from my failures, than from my success. But that’s made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style. I’d like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That’s Joe Louis Walker.’”
Make your plans now to be at The Franke for an evening of great Blues with this legendary performer!
visit Joe Lousi Walker’s website: https://www.joelouiswalker.comTICKETS
April 14 and 15 from 4:30-6:30
Encouraged to attend both days
Prepare a monologue no longer than 2 minutes
Rehearsals begin May 4, Monday through Fridays from 7-9pm
Performances will be June 4, 5 and 6
Directed by Jennifer Conley Darling
Produced by Allison Ebner
Produced by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing. (www.broadwaylicensing.com)
Online printable audition form coming soon
Enjoy an evening of laughs, music, and dance with Marshall native turned New York City actor Beau Hutchings. He, alongside his college and NYC best friend Prescott Seymour, will dance you down memory lane and Beau’s time growing up, performing at the Franke Center of Arts. They will speak (and sing) about what it’s like for a wide-eyed 6th-grade boy to discover his love for the performing arts in the Marshall Civic Players Jr Youth Program, all the way through his graduation from Marshall High School with over 20 theatrical credits under his belt. Follow them as they describe their big moves from Western Michigan University into the great unknown of New York City as they chase their Broadway Dreams. Sure to make you tap your toes and smile a great big smile by the end of the night!
Beau Hutchings Bio: Beau is thrilled to be back where it all began! Originally from Marshall, Beau has been living in New York City for the past 11 years. After graduating from Western Michigan University’s Music Theatre Performance Program, he moved directly to the city to pursue a career in musical theatre. After 2 weeks of living in NYC, he landed his first big gig in the Broadway National Tour of “The Wizard of Oz” where he danced in the ensemble and understudied the role of the Tin Man. After this production, he was fortunate enough to travel with the Broadway National Touring production of “West Side Story” dancing as a Jet, which then took him on the International European tour of “West Side Story” in the role of Riff, the leader of the Jets. He also danced in Sir Andrew Llyod Webber’s re-orchestrated production of “The Wizard of Oz” which toured throughout the US and Canada for the better part of a year. Another thrilling experience was sailing the Caribbean in the Broadway Musical “Chicago” on Royal Caribbean’s “Allure of the Seas” for 6 months. Aside from National Tours and cruises, he has performed in some spectacular regional theaters throughout the country doing some amazing productions. These groups include The Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Fireside Theatre in Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin, Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, Long Island, Abilene Opera Association in Abilene, Texas, The Palace Theatre in Manchester, New Hampshire, and most recently the Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan and Northern Michigan University’s premier professional summer series up in Marquette, Michigan this past summer. He has also danced in “Broadway Bares” at the iconic Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, an amazing fundraiser produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS alongside notable Broadway performers and choreographers, created and directed by Paw Paw, Michigan Native and Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell. Aside from performing gigs, this is his third season sitting on the panel of judges with “Applause Talent”, a National dance competition circuit. Dance has always been a large part of his life and Beau loves adjudicating as well as teaching whenever possible. He is lucky enough to be invited to teach while in Marshall at Brianna Novak’s studio, “Dance Dynamics” and with Kathryn Grable’s Studio “The Repertoire”. He has formed a great bond with the teachers and students at both of these amazing studios and loves seeing how much they grow between his visits to Marshall. “I think the most heartwarming thing I have noticed over my years of being away is how strong the support for the Arts has grown in this town,” Beau recently said. “I can’t wait to show my hometown friends how much I have grown and learned since making my move to New York City. Because this is where my love for the arts started, it’s so wonderfully full-circle getting to come home and do my thing on this stage once more. Thank you to the Franke Center for having me back to perform my “one-man show”, and to have me as a guest teacher for many of their summer camps and workshops geared towards local young thespians the past couple of years. I feel truly blessed, and to quote a little show called The Wizard of Oz….’There really is no place like home’.”TICKETS
Enjoy an evening of world-class Jazz as this acclaimed Septet, joined by vocalist Rockelle Fortin, celebrates the release of their latest CD, “All Too Soon – The Music of Duke Ellington”.
Led by Acclaimed MSU Professor and Bassist Rodney Whitaker, this seven-piece orchestra will be joined by vocalist Rockelle Fortin for what promises to be an evening of great music including leading-edge Jazz and traditional Jazz standards.
Enjoy an evening of music and singing celebrating the life and work of folk icon Pete Seeger, one of America’s most beloved Singer/Songwriters. He was an important figure in the revival of American Folk Music, and a strong champion for civil rights, peace, and equality. In addition, he was also known a songwriter of classic songs such as “If I Had A Hammer”, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” and “Turn, Turn, Turn”.
The show will feature Marshall’s own band “3LB Cut”, which includes Kjell Croce, Adrian Bagale, Derek Smith, and Alvin Lautzenheiser. Joining them through the evening will be several guest artists to perform the music of Seeger, from his early days with Woody Guthrie, The Almanac Singers, and The Weavers on through his solo career.
Join us in the Downstage Club at The Franke Center for what promises to be a special night to sing along, remember and honor Pete Seeger!
Marshall, Michigan native Katie Gray returns from the West Coast with her beau and bandmate Kurt Baumann. Fresh from an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show, this duo blends intricate vocal harmonies, haunting guitar riffs, and inspired lyrics to weave a musical spell unlike any other. The Sea Stars’ music has been described as mysterious, uplifting, haunting, and unique. Their songs have been featured on 8 major television shows, as well as radio stations around the country. When asked about the nature of their music, they share that their goal is: “to create an experience that is moving, honest, authentic and real. Through music and sound, we hope to welcome the listener to a place of relaxation and healing”.
Katie (www.katiegray.com) writes and records her own music and has collaborated and/or performed with groups such as Band of Horses (live on Jimmy Kimmel), Nightmares on Wax, Trevor Hall, Ani Difranco, and Random Rab. When not focusing on music, she is an event producer and has also created her own practice which she terms “intuitive counsel”, helping countless people access freedom through letting go of shame and fear. Katie is currently writing her first book and is also a caregiver (with help from Kurt and family) for her mother Annette, who has dementia.
Kurt performs and records with his band ‘The Burned’ (www.theburnedmusic.com), was the founder of the band ‘Kan’Nal’ and has recorded and toured with electronic superhero, Adam Freeland. When he is not recording or songwriting, he can be found in his pottery studio, where he is consistently creating work for his brand ‘Kopal’, a line of boutique ceramics. Kurt is also a certified astrologer and passionate beekeeper.