The Hett Announces its 2023-2024 Season

(LEBANON, Ill., July 20, 2023) – The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (the Hett) at McKendree University is proud to announce the lineup for its 2023-2024 season, featuring acclaimed performers and returning favorites.

Reserved seats for all programs may be purchased by the general public starting on Monday, Aug. 14 at noon. Friends of the Hett will be able to purchase their tickets beginning on Monday, Aug. 7 at noon. Buy tickets online at, the box office, or by calling (618) 537-6863 (1-800-BEARCAT, ext. 6863). All events are open to the public and held at the 488-seat performing arts center on campus. Ticket prices vary per event. Some are free to attend and others range from $5 to $55 for adults, with discounts for seniors, students and Friends of the Hett.

“I’m thrilled to be presenting my first season as the director of the Hett. We’ve truly got something for everyone – great music, intriguing performances and thought-provoking speakers,” said Michelle Magnussen, director of the Hett at McKendree University. “I’m proud to be a part of the Hett’s wonderful mission of bringing the best in live performing arts to the Metro East, and I look forward to welcoming everyone from first-time visitors to long-time patrons to our shows.”

Preview the new season online at The 2023-2024 season features the following acts:

Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.: The Red Hot Chilli Pipers is a 9-piece ensemble that consists of pipers, guitarists, keyboards, and drummers who have been rocking the world from New York to Beijing to Melbourne and everywhere in between with musicianship of the highest order and a passion for pipes.

Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m.: Best of Broadway: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, featuring Terry Barber is a 90-minute show that includes music from musicals Les Misérables, Hamilton, and a special tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Plus, Barber will perform several songs by Freddie Mercury, who always wanted to appear on Broadway in opera.

Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.: A Night in Rio, featuring Janet Evra blends traditional bossa nova, samba, and Latin jazz with modern continental influences and an indie twist to produce fresh, lush, original music in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.: The Wee Heavies are back by popular demand! The Wee Heavies have won a following with their eclectic mix of Scottish, Irish and American folk music, which combines tradition, innovative and original arrangements, and moving interpretation. They create a sound rich in harmony with unexpected twists and an energy that has audiences clapping, stomping and singing along.

Oct. 12, 10 a.m. (Arts Ed., grades K-8): Music of Lewis and Clark, presented in partnership with The Sheldon, follows the amazing adventures of Lewis and Clark with a musical journey from St. Louis, up the Missouri River, across the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.: The Fabulous Thunderbirds will bring their iconic sound, style and showmanship to the Hett stage in a performance that is sure to both bring back old memories and create new ones. The group’s distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up.”

Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.: The Music of Billy Joel and Elton John, featuring Michael Cavanaugh showcases songs from these two rock piano legends, including “Piano Man,” “Rocket Man,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Movin’ Out” and many more. Cavanaugh was handpicked by Billy Joel to star in the hit Broadway musical Movin’ Out, in which he received both Tony and Grammy nominations in the lead role.

Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.: Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!, featuring Clifton Truman Daniel is a faithful and often humorous portrayal of President Harry S. Truman’s life and presidency. It spans his childhood, his “political apprenticeship” as a judge in Jackson County, Mo., his years in the U.S. Senate and his momentous two terms as president. The show is portrayed onstage by a direct descendant of the former president – his oldest grandson.

Dec. 8, 10 a.m. (Arts Ed., grades K-12) and 7 p.m.; Dec. 9, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.: The USAF Band of Mid-America Concert Band presents a stunning concert that will bring holiday cheer to concertgoers of all ages.

Dec. 15, 10 a.m. (Arts Ed., grades K-12) and 6:30 p.m.; Dec. 16, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.: The Hett and State Street Dance Company co-present The Nutcracker, a cherished and timely holiday classic featuring local dance talent and principals from leading professional companies.

Jan. 25, 7 p.m.: U.S. Navy Fair Winds is a versatile woodwind ensemble with a repertoire consisting of a variety of styles including classical, military marches and patriotic compositions.

Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.: Animaniacs: In Concert invites you to join the voices of Animaniacs, the iconic animated Warner Bros. series for a “zany, animan-y and totally insane-y” evening as they perform the world-famous songs from the beloved cartoon series backed by the original projected animation. This show features Emmy-winning composer Randy Rogel on piano and the voice talents of Emmy winner Rob Paulsen (Yakko and Pinky on Animaniacs; Raphael on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Maurice LaMarche (The Brain on Animaniacs; The King in Disney’s Frozen).

Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.: The Traveling Salvation Show is an up-tempo, rock-oriented tribute to the legendary Neil Diamond and will have you dancing and singing along to all of the classic hits. The hard-driving band recreates the energy of Neil Diamond’s live arena performances with its own rock flair.

March 23, 7:30 p.m.: Giordano Dance Chicago has served as a prime example of a company that can simultaneously revel in the past and the present for 60 seasons. Considered jazz dance royalty, the electrifying performers of America’s original jazz dance company invariable run on high-octane fuel and generate a similarly high-powered response from their audience.

April 19, 7:30 p.m.: Head East has long set the standard for authentic, full-vocal, goodtime rock harmonies that few bands can equal. This year, Head East will be celebrating their 50th anniversary by performing most cuts off their iconic record “Flat As A Pancake.”

The George E. McCammon Memorial Distinguished Speaker Series includes the following:

Oct. 10, 7 p.m.: The Science of Stuck with Britt Frank focuses on the mental health myths that keep us stuck, stressed and burned out. Learn how, with just a few key pieces of information about the brain, the capacity for choice returns and allows you to get back into the driver’s seat of your own life.

April 9, 7 p.m.: What’s Your MVP? with Donnie Campbell shows you how to define your core values while forming your mission, values and plan. Donnie Campbell is a high school basketball coach and real-life inspiration for the wise and ever-so-cheerful lead character of the Emmy Award-winning show Ted Lasso. His colorful keynote provides valuable leadership lessons that can be seen on the court, but more importantly, applied in the workplace.

The Discovery Series performances include the following acts:

March 10, 3 p.m.: Old Time Radio Show with the Masterworks Chorale is an ensemble of auditioned singers who enrich the cultural environment of the Metro East with outstanding performances of significant choral literature. The membership represents a seven-county area in Illinois and Missouri and includes a wide variety of professionals and musical backgrounds.

April 5, 7:30 p.m.: The Arcadia Dance Orchestra is an authentic, 11-piece 1920s-style jazz band based in St. Louis. Named after the once-famous Arcadia Ballroom (“On Olive, near Grand”), the group consists of incredible musicians playing era-correct instruments with red-hot energy and keen historical accuracy.

April 28, 3 p.m.: The St. Louis Brass Band and Academy Brass Band consists of thirty professional brass and percussion performers whose mission is to spread the repertoire of the traditional brass band through many high-quality performances in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan area.

Visit for more information about these shows and the student performances from McKendree Theatre and the Department of Music.