Few venues better showcase The Bend’s arts culture than the Morris Performing Arts Center.
Nationally recognized musical acts and theatrical productions regularly make the Morris one of their stops. And its location is ideal — positioned in the heart of downtown South Bend with several hotels, restaurants, bars and other attractions within walking (or biking!) distance.
On top of all that, it’s an historic venue. The Morris opened in 1922. Over the years it has maintained its vintage architectural look while modernizing to accommodate today’s acts and audiences. In 1985, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several major, headlining acts graced the Morris during its early years. Names like Houdini, Big Crosby, Elvis Presley and even Frank Sinatra.
Downturn in the 1950s gave way to a renaissance beginning the next decade. Consider some of the bands to roll through the Morris since then: Stevie Wonder, REO Speedwagon, The Eagles, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mack, B.B. King and more.
National theater productions to take up residence during recent years include Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and The Book of Mormon with more to come.
In short, the Morris is one of The Bend’s focal points. It pairs with a vibrant community theater to anchor a de facto arts and entertainment district.
Attending a show at the Morris can be the centerpiece of any visit here. Take a look at some signature events on the upcoming schedule:
Friday, Jan. 18 | Swan Lake
A first visit to the United States by the legendary National Ballet Theatre of Odessa brings to life this story based on Russian folklore and German legend. Watch as ballet performers from Russia move gracefully to the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, telling the story of a heroic young prince and he works to free the beautiful swan maiden from an evil spell.
Monday, Jan. 21 | South Bend Symphony Orchestra
SBSO presents a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration concert.
Friday, Jan. 25 to Sunday, Jan. 27 | Evita
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rags-to-riches tale of the First Lady of Argentina is slated for four shows. Evita follows Eva Duarte Peron on her journey from fatherless child to most powerful woman in Latin America and eventual saint-like figure after her death at age 33.
Thursday, Feb. 7 | John Mellencamp
Rock and roll legend (and Indiana’s native son) returns to The Bend to kick off another tour. Don’t miss another opportunity to hear classic hits like “Jack and Diane,” “Hurts So Good,” “Pink Houses,” “Small Town” and more.
Saturday, Feb. 16 | South Bend Symphony Orchestra
SBSO presents the Indiana Trust Pops Series.
Thursday, Feb. 21 | Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry Tour
Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco brings the comedy behind some of his wildly successful network specials to The Bend.
Friday, Feb. 22 | NEEDTOBREATHE with guest Matt Maeson
GRAMMY-nominated rock band NEEDTOBREATHE makes a stop in The Bend on its Acoustic Live Tour.
Sunday, Feb. 24 | STOMP
Sit back and listen as an eight-member cast creates wonderful sound and sharp humor with found objects — anything from push brooms to garbage cans to inner tubes. Household objects find a fresh use as musical instruments during this journey in sound.
Thursday, Feb. 28 | The Nyla Tour featuring Marsha Ambrosius
Sing-songwriter Marsha Ambrosius readies to take audiences on another journey in support of her sophomore album, “Friends.”
Saturday, March 2 | South Bend Symphony Orchestra
SBSO presents the Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Series – the Paganini Variations.
Wednesday, March 6 | Jim Gaffigan
Comedian Jim Gaffigan is making a stop in The Bend for his Quality Time Tour. Raised in nearby Chesterton, Ind., Gaffigan is known for hilarious observational stand up routines and has received GRAMMY nominations for past comedy specials.
Saturday, March 16 | The Deplorables
An uproarious comedy show for right-minded thinkers. Featured comices include Steve McGrew, Michael Loftus, Terrence Wiliams and the Deplorable Choir.
Tuesday, March 19 to Sunday, March 24| Les Misérables
Based on Victor Hugo’s novel, this wildly popular production tells the story of broken dreams in 19th century France. It’s sure to generate significant buzz as fans anticipate hearing its score of classic songs in person.
Saturday, April 13 | South Bend Symphony Orchestra
SBSO presents the Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Series — Beethoven 7
Wednesday, April 17 | Brit Floyd
The world’s greatest Pink Floyd tribute show returns to the stage with its most ambitious and best production yet, a special 40th anniversarty retrospective of Pink Floyd’s iconic rock opera “The Wall.”
Saturday, April 27 | South Bend Symphony Orchestra
SBSO presents the Indiana Trust Pops Series — Out-of-This-World: A Sci-Fi Spectacular!
Friday, May 3 to Sunday, May 5 | Finding Neverland
Winner of Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical, this classic tells the story behind one of the world’s most popular fictional characters — Peter Pan. The heartwarming journey follows J.M. Barrie, a playwright in search of inspiration until he meets for young brothers and their widowed mother.
Saturday, May 11 | South Bend Symphony Orchestra
SBSO presents the Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Series — Pictures at an Exhibition
Tuesday, May 14 | Derek Hough Live
EMMY award winner Derek Hough brings a live dance show to The Bend in his first ever solo tour.
Friday, June 14 | Pulse FM Summer Series
Contemporary Christian band Tenth Avenue North is joined by former “American Idol” contestant Danny Gokey.
Friday, July 12 | Pulse FM Summer Series
Crowder and We Are Messengers hit the stage for another Pulse FM Summer Series event in downtown South Bend.
Friday, Aug. 9 | Pulse FM Summer Series
Amy Grant, who burst onto the scene as a teenager then became the first artist in Christian music to have a platinum record, is joined by I Am They.