After 18 months of what Ed Cambron, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the Kimmel Cultural Campus calls “an extended intermission,” the exciting 2021/2022 entertainment season kicks off with a grand reopening celebration on Sept. 18.

The Campus will celebrate the region’s return of in-person performing arts by featuring hundreds of performing arts organizations from around the region and free performances on the Campus’ Commonwealth Plaza.

“There are not enough words to describe how elated we are to welcome our guests back to stand-up comedy, Broadway, jazz, family and classical events,” he continues.

Frances Egler, Senior Director of Programming and Presentations, echoes Cambron’s words. “Coming back after all these months is exciting, but it’s also challenging,” she says.”Everyone is facing a huge responsibility to make this all possible, and, of course, along with presenting wonderful events, safety is our number one responsibility.”

Since the pandemic first hit, Egler says “more than 1,100 events had to be cancelled. But since announcing the reopening, audiences are obviously thrilled to be getting back to enjoying live theater once again, and ticket sales are soaring.”

Along with Tony award-winning Broadway productions, the season includes the return of fan-favorite shows in the Family Discovery Series, powerhouse musicians for the jazz season, a star-studded array of one-night only events and all new material from renowned performers.

Some of the highlights of the much anticipated 2021-2022 season features events and artists spanning genre and mass appeal, including the multi-award winning “Hamilton” (Oct. 20-Nov. 28), “Stomp” (Dec. 28-Jan. 2), Dianne Reeves (Jan. 20), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Jan. 28-30), “A Tribute to Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul” (March 18), “Jazz in the Key of Ellison (April 14), and many, many more.

According to Egler, The Kimmel Cultural Campus includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music, and the Merriam Theater.

“We are also home to eight esteemed resident companies, which are The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly Pops, Philadanco, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Curtis Institute of Music,” she explains.

“The hardest part of these past 18 months has been being unable to present live performances,” Egler continues. “And not being able to connect with people. Also having to constantly postpone all the acts that were scheduled and not knowing when we would be coming back.

“Also, the impact it had on all our staff, many of us being furloughed and not knowing if and when we’d ever be coming back. But of course we all worked very hard to ensure that the Center would survive. And on the audience level, it was not having some sort of entertainment to connect with.”

But now that they’re about to open, Egler says she’s looking forward to “the live shows, a live audience and hearing that audience react to amazing performances. That kind of connection is what I’m most excited about. I think when that happens it’ll all be pretty cathartic and emotional for all of us.”

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