The Lerner grand opening week has been announced, and it’s going to be a fabulous week entertainment.

The week’s events are  free and open to the public, with one exception. Elkhart residents are able to get their tickets on May 18, and everyone else can get their tickets on May 19.  You can get tickets on line or by phone at 574.293.4469. The curtain rises on opening night, Thursday, June 16 with a 7:30 pm performance of Gershwin & Co. by the Elkhart Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Brian Groner.  The concert features two of Elkhart’s highly accomplished native sons, who will return home to open the Lerner Theatre:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano as guest conductor and nationally renowned pianist Nicholas Roth as guest soloist. The orchestra will perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue along with selected well-known works by Rossini, Schubert, and Mendelssohn. On Friday, June 17 at 7:30 pm, the Lerner’s theater in residence, Premier Arts, presents The Very Best of Broadway with over 100 singers and dancers performing songs from Wicked, Hairspray, Le Miz and more.  Also on the program, patriotic tunes from the 80-piece Elkhart Municipal Band, a musical revue featuring selections from The Wizard of Oz from the Elkhart Community Choir.

Saturday, June 18 begins with Morning Movie Madness for the kids.  Experience the DreamWorks animated classic How to Train Your Dragon on a really big screen that puts your HDTV to shame!  This is the way movies were meant to be seen – and the way many Elkhart area residents actually experienced them in the heyday of big cinematic blockbusters. The show starts at 9:30 am – and no, there won’t be all those ads and trailers!

On Saturday evening at 7, gospel, spiritual, and contemporary favorites fill the hall at Expect the Great:  A Gospel Music Extravaganza headlined by gospel music artist Rodnie Bryant, the 75-voice Elkhart Fellowship Choir, Hershel Williams & Friends and the sign language translator ensemble, Hands for Christ.

The fun continues on Sunday, June 19 from 11 am – 2 pm with a Father’s Day Jazz Brunch.  Treat dad to a relaxing brunch and entertainment by the Terry Lower Trio in the Crystal Ballroom overlooking the scenic RiverWalk.  This is the only paid event with tickets priced at $18 (Adults) and $10 (Children up to 12) to cover the cost of brunch.  Advance reservations required. Optional pre- and post-brunch Theatre tours will be available as part of the event.

The festivities conclude with a one-night-only performance of a national touring production of the Broadway classic, Fiddler on the Roof, at 7:45 pm on Tuesday, June 21.  The Tony® Award-winning musical features a timeless tale and a score of popular favorites including Tradition, If I Were a Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset and many more.