The Morrison Center is celebrating a ruby anniversary. Frozen's Elsa, Steve Inskeep, and you are invited
The reason the 40th anniversary is celebrated with a ruby, according to withclarity.com, is that by 40 years, a relationship has “overcome many challenges and their love has become even deeper and more enduring.”
And considering that quite a bit of love has been shared from the stage of the Morrison Center– which has showcased Tony Bennet, B.B. King, Wicked, Hamilton and so much more – they’re celebrating in grand style.
“And because Boise continues to grow and our subscriber base continues to grow, Boise is definitely on their radar,” said Morrison Center Executive Director Laura Kendall, adding that longer runs of blockbuster hits, like Hamilton, are a perfect fit for Boise in general and the Morrison Center in particular.
”Audiences here sold out three weeks, which we did right out of a pandemic. The audiences here in the Treasure Valley are spectacular. They're always well-received. So, we're pretty lucky.”
Kendall visits with Morning Edition host George Prentice to talk a bit about the past … and a lot about their plans for their 40th year, including a sterling list of Broadway shows, featuring a Harry Potter film, with the Boise Philharmonic playing the live score, plus Frozen, the Musical.
Read the full transcript below:
GEORGE PRENTICE: It's Morning Edition. Hi. I'm George Prentice. The Morrison Center is celebrating a big birthday this year, and like most seasons, they are celebrating in style. Joining us to spend some time with us this morning is Morrison Center executive director Laura Kendall. Laura. Good morning.
LAURA KENDALL: Good morning George.
PRENTICE: Laura, I must tell you that when I do travel to New York or London and see some pretty exciting shows, and when I tell friends here in Boise, it's not as if they can go stream it somewhere. But when you bring some of these shows to Idaho, Boise in particular, it's pretty spectacular. And this season, this is a really, really great season. So, congratulations on that.
KENDALL: Thank you. We are so excited. We just had My Fair Lady and almost sold them out. So, we are thrilled to kind of kick off our 40th anniversary with a wonderful show.
PRENTICE: Over the years I think of all of the, well if you will, the special runs, the extended runs of gosh, Miss Saigon and Wicked, of course Hamilton. How do you make that happen?
KENDALL: Oh, it's a little bit of a puzzle, I think, because we work with a company called Broadway Across America. They have markets all across the country of which we are one. And so they are helping these tours route. And because Boise continues to grow and our subscriber base continues to grow, Boise is definitely on their radar. So Hamilton was a was a very easy opportunity for them to know that the audiences here will respond, that we can sell out three weeks, which we did right out of a pandemic. Yeah. So they really see the benefit of coming to Boise. The audiences here in the Treasure Valley are spectacular. They're always well received. So we are on their routing. So we're we're pretty lucky..
PRENTICE: We also think of the people who have been on the stage of the Morrison over the years. Just looking at the list here, my gosh, Itzhak Perlman, B.B. King, Tony Bennett, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Robert Redford, Harry Belafonte.
KENDALL: Legends. We've had legends on our stage, and we want to continue to do that as well and be bringing these artists who are just spectacular again and again, you know, audience pleasers. We have an Amy Grant concert coming up. I mean, just, you know, people that everybody knows and loves to have an incredible moment on stage. We had Bob Dylan, you know, that's really important. I think for the Morrison Center to provide that opportunity for our community.
PRENTICE: Well, let's talk a little bit more Broadway, though. Hadestown is coming; Six The Musical I've seen and love… Mean Girls, and something I'm really excited for people to see. And that is Aaron Sorkin's recent stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. That's a really great get.
KENDALL: Oh it's incredible. I saw the show on Broadway, you know, it is the story we know. But what I think Aaron Sorkin did masterfully is just be able to kind of reorganize the story and tell it in a really compelling way, and the cast is just spectacular. So yes, I am so excited for that one as well. I remember reading the book and the impact it made on me, and then just having that opportunity to see a full production, I think, for our audiences is going to be really wonderful.
PRENTICE: I was stunned at how powerful the stage adaptation was. You know, I mean, the book is iconic, but anyway, can't wait for people to see it. So I'd be remiss if I also didn't mention that Frozen is on its way for an extended run.
KENDALL: That is correct. Two weeks…we’ll have Frozen here. It's at the very end of our season, almost the beginning of our next season, so we do have to wait a little while. But you know, of course it has all the Disney magic, right? It's pretty remarkable how they're able to take an animated film with you can do anything and be able to translate that to the stage. I know the young people in our audiences are going to be thrilled to be able to see that transformation that happens when Elsa, you know, goes to her castle and creates that space. Like, this is just, you know, pure Disney magic on stage.
PRENTICE: Can you talk a little bit about your relationships with The Cabin and Ballet Idaho? I mean, we've got The Nutcracker coming.
KENDALL: Oh, I can't wait. Ballet Idaho has a brand new Nutcracker just a few years old with a brand new set. It is incredibly….really beautiful. It gives me goosebumps every time I see it and it is such a holiday tradition. We're so thrilled they're on our stage again. And they, you know, again for two weekends, which is really amazing. And they will most likely sell out. So I encourage everyone to get their tickets soon because it is such a tradition. You don't want to miss it. So yes, we have these beautiful relationships, these important long relationships with our local arts companies that are fantastic. And you know, George, I've lived in a lot of different communities, and I have to say, the quality of our companies that we have that are homegrown in our community are some of the best I've seen. So we are so lucky here. And I want people to know just what, what amazing artistry we have that is in our backyard, and we need to support it. Opera Idaho, the Philharmonic, you know, even led. We've just got these spectacular companies that make the make our stage their home. They know our staff and team. We all just really work together and want to make sure all of us are thriving.
PRENTICE: And I'm pretty excited that one of the hosts of this program, Steve Inskeep, will be on the stage of the Morrison Center.
KENDALL: The Cabin really has some incredible speakers and writers. That has become one of my very favorite series, honestly, is the writers that The Cabin is bringing in.
PRENTICE: So, the 40th anniversary: can I assume that your gala will be extra special?
KENDALL: It will be extra special indeed. You know, we haven't had any kind of celebration since our 25th when Velma Morrison was alive. And this is, you know, we're hitting our 40th. And we felt, you know what? It is really time to celebrate where we've come, how far we've come, where we're going. And so on June 1st, we are hosting a spectacular evening. We're going all out because we don't expect to do another, you know, gala like this for another ten years. So probably at our 50th. So it will be a night that you won't want to miss. It will be full of entertainment. Of course. We're raising money for the Morrison Center as well as our you know, we are part of Boise State University, so we want to support our university students in theater. So through scholarships. So we're raising money through scholarships as well. And then our own arts education program. You may not know this, George, but we have really invested in our community and our local teachers and students to be able to do musical theater and bringing the arts into their classroom as much as possible and supporting them in what they're doing. So we have an incredible program called the Patty Duke Awards, and it is for high school students who are doing musical theater in their high schools with their teachers. And so we just host kind of a Tony Awards ceremony where we share all of the hard work and wonderful talent that we have in our community. And so that's also one of the programs that we are focusing on for the future.
PRENTICE: I don't know if many of our listeners know that Oscar winner Patty Duke made Idaho her home. And that's right, right in North Idaho. Talk about giving back… because she began on the stage in The Miracle Worker and of course, went on to the, the screen and, and television. So wow, what a legacy. Laura Kendall is the executive director of the Morrison Center. Happy anniversary. Thank you so very much. Can't wait to see well, the entire slate here. And thanks for giving us some time this morning.
KENDALL: Well, you're welcome, George, thank you so much for your time. And we'll look forward to seeing you in the seats.
Find reporter George Prentice on X @georgepren
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