In announcing the 2014-15 season of the Cowan Center, its executive director, Susan Thomae-Morphew stood in front of a crowd of media representatives and show sponsors assembled on the theater's stage and said, "Let's have some fun!"
If your idea of fun is seeing a hit Broadway musical, a comedy routine, a dance show or even a U.S. Supreme court justice share stories about his life, you'll love the season.
The lineup of entertainers – perhaps its most eclectic ever — ranging from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to country humorist Larry The "git er done'' Cable Guy.
Thomae-Morphew said the center has been working for years to have a sitting Supreme Court judge speak at its Distinguished Lecture Series. She thanked The University of Texas at Tyler President Rod Mabry for working to make it happen.
Thomas is the second African-American to serve on the nation's highest court. He recounts his childhood in the South in his book "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir."
The season will open on Sept. 13 with Larry the Cable Guy, who is known for his down-home brand of humor. He gained famed by touring with Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall on the popular Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He frequently appears on Comedy Central and is the voice of Mater in Pixar's "Cars" and "Cars 2" movies.
The season will include the inaugural Frances Cowan Gibson Musical Event, a concert featuring pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Leonidas Kavakos, who have performed together throughout the world.
Also taking the stage will be master magicians Penn & Teller, a jazz music show with Wynton Marsalis, Ballroom with a Twist 2, featuring some of the dancers on "Dancing with the Stars, " comedy troupe The Capitol Steps and the Broadway musicals "Smokey Joe's Caf￩," "Sister Act" and "Mama Mia!" The center will team with Young Audiences of Northeast Texas and Discovery Science Place to bring the children's shows "Skippyjon Jones" and Mathemagic!
In all, the season offers 17 shows, including one show yet to be announced that Thomae-Murphew promises will star a big-time artist.
The Cowan Center is located on The University of Texas at Tyler campus. Most shows begin at 7:30 p.m.
Various ticket packages and group discounts are available. To order tickets, check the center's website, cowancenter.org, or call the box office, 903-566-7424.