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The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College announces the return to in-person events with the 2021-22 Mainstage performance season lineup

The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College announces the return to in-person events with the 2021-22 Mainstage performance season lineup

May 20, 2021

The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College announced its 30th season of Mainstage performances during a special season reveal presentation Thursday evening to Series members and sponsors. The 2021-22 lineup includes 15 events that span the spectrum of music, dance, family programming, and comedy.

Among the headliners are the Russian National Ballet, improv comedy from Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, the return of STOMP and ABBA Mania to southwest Michigan, and the debut of the National Geographic Live series.

“After a season where all of our programming went virtual, it feels great to be able to offer a full schedule of in-person performances and events during the 2021 – 2022 season to welcome everyone back to The Mendel Center,” stated Mendel Center Director Grace Kelmer. “Our new season is an exciting blend of four performances postponed from the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 shutdown plus 11 new events.”

The 2021-22 Mendel Center performing arts season lineup is:


Special Engagement
Drive-in Live Concert with Gary Roland and The Landsharks Band
Saturday, August 28, 2021, Gates open at 5:30 pm, Music Begins at 7 pm
Put on your flip flops and sunscreen as The Mendel Center parking lot is transformed into the ultimate beach party complete with beach sand dance zone, contests, and tunes from Gary Roland & The Landsharks Band. After performing with Gary Roland & The Landsharks Band, Jimmy Buffett hired them to be the house band at Margaritaville. From there The Landsharks became part of beach music history. As one of the most popular beach bands in the world, The Landsharks have an impressive resume, including opening up for, backing up, and playing with Jimmy Buffett in concert, and opening up for The Beach Boys. The Landsharks have also played at The Super Bowl several times. Bring your lawn chairs to sit stage side or tailgate at your vehicle and get ready to celebrate summer with a Key West vibe!


Folk Legacy Trio
Saturday, September 25, 2021, 7:30 pm
$35 - $65
Folk Legacy Trio are George Grove, formerly with the Kingston Trio for 41 years, Rick Dougherty, former member of the Limeliters and Kingston Trio for 25 years, and Jerry Siggins, former lead singer of the legendary doo-wop group The Diamonds for 27 years. They sing the Great American Folksong Book™, the songs of the great Folk Era from the ‘50s through the mid-‘70s, including classics from The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, The Limeliters, Peter Paul & Mary, The New Christy Minstrels, The Brothers Four, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, and others. It is a journey through American musical history with their signature dynamic harmonies enriching some of the most beloved songs ever written.


Special Engagement
The Accidentals
Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 7 pm
$20 - $50
The Accidentals and Sawyer Fredericks are both set to release killer new albums. The Accidentals release their long-awaited Vessel album. This power trio from Northern Michigan can’t wait to share the new music, an exciting new stage show, and a powerful narrative on perspective. “The Vessel album is one of the most compelling collections of indie rock and punk folk we’ve heard from this band yet!” Joining them for a spectacular night of music is Sawyer Fredericks touring his new album Flowers for You.  Voted top ten on No Depression, “Flowers for You is a mix of great energy and exceptional guitar work.” The Accidentals joined Sawyer on strings on the album and are excited to tour the releases together.


Motown All-Star Spectacular
Thursday, October 14, 2021, 7:30 pm
$35 - $65
The music and the magic of Motown return to The Mendel Center featuring the voices and the musicians who started it all, and those who’ve kept it center stage for the last 60 years.  Starring The Motortown All-Stars singing all your Motor City favorites like “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Do You Love Me,” “The Tears of a Clown,” and more. Plus, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers The Original Vandellas (“Heatwave,” “Dancin’ in the Streets,” “Jimmy Mack,” “Nowhere to Run”), The Marvelettes (“Beechwood 4-5789,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “Too Many Fish in the Sea”), and The Shades of Blue (“Oh How Happy”). Presented by Praia Entertainment Group.


Discovery Series
Halcyon Shows presents Aureum: An Aerial and Acrobatic Adventure Tale
Saturday, October 16, 2021, 8 pm
$26 - $48
Aureum is an adventure tale told through heart-stopping aerial routines and amazing acrobatics. A time traveler meets the beautiful defender of nature’s power – only to find that power threatened by dark forces. Thrill to the incredible original soundtrack, choreography, and some never-seen-before aerial performances. Halcyon Shows creates a new genre known as theatrical acrobatics, which seamlessly integrates compelling storytelling and characters with world-class acrobatics and aerial artistry. Part of the Discovery Series. Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.


Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Scared Scriptless
Saturday, October 23, 2021, 8 pm
$34 - $58
Armed with only their wits, Whose Line is it Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are taking to the live stage and they’re...Scared Scriptless. Prepare to laugh yourself senseless as improv comedy masterminds Colin & Brad must make up original scenes, songs, and more from whatever you, the fans, suggest. You just might also get to join in on the fun on stage. It’s a hilarious comedic high wire act… just like a live version of Whose Line! How the heck do they do it? We don’t know either! Don’t miss the best duo in improv in the Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Scared Scriptless Tour.


ABBA Mania
Sunday, October 31, 2021, 7 pm
$27 - $57
From London’s West End to Las Vegas, ABBA Mania is the world’s number one touring ABBA tribute and has been delighting audiences around the world for more than two decades. In an exhilarating two-hour recreation of ABBA’s last-ever concert, ABBA Mania brings to life the flamboyance of the ‘70s and all the uplifting, dance-inducing, and sometimes heart-breaking songs from the Swedish “Supergroup”, fully live with fantastic costumes, staging, lighting, and effects. For life-long ABBA fans or the new generation of fans who never had the opportunity to see ABBA live, ABBA Mania is the perfect excuse to party, relive the memories of the band that took over the disco world, or simply be entertained by the best music ever. So, dig out those platforms, dust down those flares, and enjoy all your favorite hits including “Mamma Mia,” “Voulez Vous,” “Dancing Queen,” “Winner Takes It All,” “Waterloo,” “Fernando,” “Super Trouper,” and many more. In the spirit of Halloween,  the audience is encouraged to dress in their disco finest.


Discovery Series
National Geographic Live
Filipe DeAndrade: Untamed
Monday, November 22, 2021, 7 pm
$30 - $50
Filmmaker Filipe DeAndrade believes animals saved his life - and he wants to return the favor. Raised in poverty, surrounded by addiction and abuse, he felt voiceless. He related to animals, because they too were voiceless, and he fell in love with photography as a way to tell their stories. Now the star of National Geographic’s digital series Untamed, DeAndrade works to save the animals that saved him. In this presentation, DeAndrade will talk about finding passion in life and living it with intent. Along the way, he’ll bring the audience face-to-face with lions, sharks, snakes, jaguars, jumping spiders, whales, and one of the rarest animals in the world—a hawk moth caterpillar that resembles a venomous snake. Part of the Discovery Series. Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.


Discovery Series
National Geographic Live
Steve Winter: On the Trail of Big Cats
Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 7 pm
$30 - $50
From trekking India’s Himalaya in search of rare snow leopards and stalking the elusive jaguar through Latin American jungles to chronicling the nocturnal activities of the “American lion” or cougar, award-winning photographer Steve Winter ventures far and wide to come face-to-face with his subjects. This is no easy task: many big cat species are in danger of extinction, so they have good reason to avoid humans. Endangered, wild, and unpredictable, caution is required in the presence of these felines, and negotiating their habitats can be dangerous. Winter has been charged by rhinos and stuck in quicksand. He’s had mishaps with remote-controlled cameras and captured more than his share of hikers with his camera trap on a Southern California hillside before catching his memorable shot of a cougar under the iconic “Hollywood” sign. Throughout it all, Winter’s mission is to share the beauty of big cats and work to save them. Part of the Discovery Series. Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.


Discovery Series
The Russian National Ballet presents Swan Lake
Friday, February 4, 2022, 7 pm
$32 - $54
Experience a classic story of the search for love, love unrequited, and redemption that only true love can bring when The Russian National Ballet presents Swan Lake. The Russian National Ballet upholds the grand, national tradition of exquisite storytelling through the time-honored art of dance. With a company boasting more than 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, The Russian National Ballet will deliver a performance demonstrating the best in ballet artistry. Part of the Discovery Series. Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.


Discovery Series
Cirque Mechanics: Birdhouse Factory
Saturday, February 19, 2022, 8 pm
$26 - $48
Enter the most unlikely setting for a circus: a factory. One where the workers are acrobats and the machines are circus props. Welcome to the Birdhouse Factory! See a contortionist perform on a turntable powered by unicyclists. Be captivated by the trapeze artist powered by the spins of an acrobat inside a giant wheel. Be stunned as the trampoline wall artist defies the laws of physics. Giggle at the antics of the characters, be impressed by the acro-dancing, and enchanted by the story of laughter, love, flight, and birdhouses. Birdhouse Factory is a simple story of daily life in a “widgets” factory circa 1935 as workers are brought together by the most unlikely of events, a bird accidentally injured by the main steam boiler. The accident and the caring for the bird brings the workers closer together and inspires them to break away from the monotony of the assembly line. They showcase their true inner talents and abilities by using their bodies and machines to build birdhouses in a more joyous and soulful way. Part of the Discovery Series. Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.


Special Engagement
Winter Delights Festival
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Plans are being developed for the annual Winter Delights Festival to be hosted by The Mendel Center. The annual event celebrates local brews, wines, food, art, and a wide spectrum of musical entertainment. Event details and tickets will be available later in 2021.


Discovery Series
National Geographic Live
Kara Cooney: When Women Ruled the World
Thursday, March 24, 2022, 7 pm
$30 - $50
When it comes to women in power, we’ve come a long way…right? Join Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptology, for a look at a time in ancient history when women ruled the world. Often neglected in the history books, these women were considered exceptions to the rule, political pawns in a patriarchal society. But their power and influence are undeniable. Cleopatra used her sexuality—and her money—to build alliances with warlords of the Roman empire. Neferusobek was the first woman to definitively take the title of King. Nefertiti is known more for her beauty than for bringing a fractured Egypt together. What can we learn from how these women ruled? Dr. Cooney shares some illuminating answers. Part of the Discovery Series. Made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.


Stars of the Sixties
Thursday, March 31, 2022, 7:30 pm
$35 - $65
Two of the biggest Stars of the Sixties are coming to Benton Harbor for one night only. Jay & the Americans will take the stage singing all their hits including “This Magic Moment,” “Cara Mia,” “Come a Little Bit Closer,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Walkin’ in the Rain,” “Only in America,” “She Cried,” “Let’s Lock the Door (And Throw Away the Key),” and more! They will be joined by The Cyrkle, reunited after 50 years (“Red Rubber Ball” and “Turn Down Day”), and one of the hottest young singers on the scene today, Chris Ruggiero, who’ll be singing some of the greatest hits of the 1960s. If you’ve ever seen those late-night PBS-TV vintage rock and roll specials, you’ve probably seen Ruggiero singing his heart out.  A Pop, Rock & Doo Wopp production.


Friday, April 1, 2022, 7 pm
$35 - $60
STOMP is explosive, inventive, provocative, witty, and utterly unique – an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered armfuls of awards and rave reviews and has appeared on numerous national television shows. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. Year after year, audiences worldwide keep coming back for more of this pulse-pounding electrifying show. As the Boston Globe says, “If you haven’t seen STOMP, GO! If you have seen it, take someone and share the pleasure!” STOMP. See what all the noise is about.


Tickets for The Mendel Center Mainstage 2021-2022 season are available:

Mainstage Performance Series member ticket packages are available by purchasing three or more shows and come with a number of benefits including ticket pre-sale opportunities, discounts, exclusive services, and advance notice when new events are added.

In anticipation of evolving pandemic gathering guidelines, several updates and additions are planned for the upcoming season.

Seating Capacity & Wait Lists
The number of tickets available for purchase will be based on seating capacity guidelines set by state, local, and College authorities at the time tickets go on sale. When capacity is reached, wait lists will be established. As capacities are expanded, wait listed individuals will be offered the opportunity to purchase tickets.


Zoned General Admission Seating
For the 2021-22 season, seating for all Mainstage events will be general admission by zone – two or three zones on the main floor plus one zone in the balcony. Because of potential changes in allowable seating capacities and configurations, this plan allows for seating flexibility, provides patron health protections, and reduces potential disruption for ticket holders.


Online Live Stream Option
Knowing that some people may not be ready or able to attend in-person events right away, select events will be available for live stream viewing from home.

“This will be a transition year for everyone,” Kelmer commented. “Undoubtedly, there will be unexpected twists and turns. By acknowledging that and looking for new ways to put patrons’ best interests first, we hope to minimize inconveniences while giving everyone an opportunity to experience fun and enriching in-person performances and events.”

To purchase tickets or learn more visit or contact The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-8700, option 1, weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm.



About The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College

The Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since that time, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million patrons in the 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre. Newly renovated Grand Upton Hall, first opened in 1979, is a 13,700-square-foot venue serving the community as the host site for meetings, banquets, trade shows, weddings, and other celebrations. The 229-seat Hanson Theatre is home to the Lake Michigan College Visual & Performing Arts Departments as well as a variety of Mendel Center and community events.

The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.

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Mendel Center 2021-2022 Season Sponsors
Stage Side Sponsors
: Sturgis Bank, Honor Credit Union, Silver Beach Pizza, Kruggel Lawton CPAs, Meijer, Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, TCF Bank, TPC Technologies.

Media Partners: 98.3 The Coast, News/Talk 94.9 WSJM, Sunny 101.5, SuperHits 103.7, MailMax, and The Herald Palladium,

Preferred Partner Hotels: The Inn at Harbor Shores and The Boulevard Inn & Bistro

Posted May 20, 2021

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