Following a tumultuous year, the MSU Riley Center is proud to announce its Spring/Summer Performing Arts Series and welcome guests back into one of the most beautiful venues in the South.
“We’re thrilled to deliver live music, laughter and good food – all essential for our overall quality of life and sense of well-being,” said Dr. Dan Barnard, DMA, the Riley Center’s executive director. “Gathering together to share an arts experience connects us to our inner selves, to each other and to the community at large. We on the Riley Center staff have greatly missed it, and we know our patrons have, too. We can hardly wait to welcome folks back to this stunning venue to enjoy quality performances and unique experiences.”
Country music fans get a double treat: Chris Janson, a rising star with four No. 1 hits, and seasoned veterans Sawyer Brown will perform April 16 and June 3, respectively.
Stopping in Meridian on May 6 as part of her national tour, Leanne Morgan will bring some much-needed comic relief. Her unfailing ability to poke fun at the ordinary is drenched in Southern charm and relatable storytelling.
Finally, the Charleston, South Carolina-based jazz quintet and 2020 Grammy Award winner Ranky Tanky will mix Low Country traditions and soulful songs of the Gullah culture with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B on June 25. Celebrity chef and Charleston native Carlos Brown, known for his shrimp and grits, will be on hand to create delicious Gullah-inspired cuisine as part of a special pre-show dinner, making the final show in the series a truly exceptional evening.
The MSU Riley Center has policies and procedures in place to allow patrons to enter and exit the venue safely. It will operate at a reduced capacity to allow for social distance inside the historic theater, and masks will be required. Safety protocols will be updated and ticket holders informed as things develop.
“Safety for our guests takes precedence over everything else,” said Barnard. “We continually fine-tune our protocols in line with the latest medical information, loosening restrictions as soon as we can responsibly do so. We’ll continue to update our website with the latest COVID-19 procedures and requirements.”
More information about the artists is available below and online at www.msurileycenter.com.
Friday, April 16
This breakout country star and high-octane entertainer hit the top of the charts with multiple No. 1 singles, including “Done” and “Good Vibes.” With other hits like “Drunk Girl” and “Buy Me a Boat,” he’s a platinum-selling multi-instrumentalist and a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Rolling Stone magazine calls him a “live legacy in the making.” This show is presented in conjunction with the Jimmie Rodgers Festival.
Thursday, May 6
A born storyteller, this Southern charmer finds comedy gold in the craziness of everyday life. She has appeared in comedy clubs, performing arts centers and theaters all over the United States. She has a comedy special currently streaming on VidAngel called “So Yummy,” and her videos on Dry Bar Comedy have gotten more than 50 million views. The MSU Riley Center is proud to be a part of her “Big Panty Tour.”
Thursday, June 3
They shot to stardom by winning a TV series competition. More than 4,500 shows later, they’re still bringing audiences to their feet with country-pop hits like “Some Girls Do,” “Step That Step” and “Thank God for You.” They never plan out a setlist in advance – they just read the crowd’s mood and go with the flow.
Optional Pre-Show Dinner by Celebrity Chef Carlos Brown
Friday, June 25
In the Gullah dialect of their native South Carolina, this quintet’s name means “work it!” or “get funky!” And do they ever! Most people know Gullah music from traditional folk songs like “Kumbaya.” This group kicks up the energy, with plenty of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. They take you from heartbreak to ecstasy, with an irresistible beat that gets the whole house moving. Make the evening even more special with an optional pre-show dinner of delicious Gullah cuisine, prepared by celebrity chef Carlos Brown.
Carlos Brown grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, watching his mother in the kitchen and learning, as he puts it, “the importance of cooking with your soul.” As a chef who believes in “food that makes you smile,” he has built a strong Charleston following with Shrimp & Grits Cafe and the Gullah on the Go food truck. He has won many awards, made many TV appearances and served such notable clients as Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis, Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg and Michelle Obama. Now Riley Center patrons can join that list by purchasing pre-show dinner tickets along with their tickets to the show.