2015-16 Distinguished Guest Series Announced

Posted on 09/03/2015

August 24, 2015


For additional information, contact:
Carolynn Lee, Program Director
(920) 458-1972

Distinguished Guest Series Goes Back to its Roots and Explores new Genres

KOHLER, Wis. – August 24, 2015 – The Distinguished Guest Series began in 1944 as a lecture series held in the historic Waelderhaus in the Village of Kohler. In 2015, the Series welcomes actor, author, and literacy advocate LeVar Burton as the most recent in its pantheon of lecturers, (which includes most recently Dr. Maya Angelou in 2008). The second Distinguished Guest of the 2015-16 season is actually a rotating group of musicians and vocalists known as Postmodern Jukebox, and they are taking over the internet with their jazz, ragtime, and swing versions of modern pop hits. Finally, the Empress of Soul herself, Gladys Knight, will be the final act of the 2015-16 Distinguished Guest Series.  Kohler Foundation program director Carolynn Lee reflects, “The beauty of the Distinguished Guest Series is that it provides once-in-a-lifetime performances, right in our own backyard, for reasonable prices. We craft each season with an eye toward the most unique, most talented, and most renowned artists. We hope the community is as excited as we are to see these special performances.”

 LeVar Burton

Friday, October 16, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Launching his acting career in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series ROOTS, LeVar Burton found himself on the cover of Time Magazine at 19 years old. Shortly thereafter, he achieved further global acclaim as Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge in the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION television series and feature films. From 1983 until 2009, Burton was host and producer of the beloved Peabody Award-winning PBS children’s series READING RAINBOW.  He recently reimagined the iconic series through his company RRKidz with the commitment of bringing the next generation of children the finest reading and enrichment experiences. Burton was at the helm of the 2014 record-breaking Kickstarter campaign to make the enormously successful Reading Rainbow App available to every child with Internet access. One year later, Burton fulfilled the Kickstarter promise with the launch of SKYBRARY -- an online portal to Reading Rainbow’s digital library of children’s books and educational video field trips. He is an internationally recognized education advocate with a passionate voice, often called upon to keynote major conferences. Burton is the recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy and five NAACP Image Awards and continues to produce, act and direct.

In addition to the ticketed keynote lecture on Friday, October 16, which will include a public Q&A after his speech and autograph signing, Burton will also appear on Saturday, October 17 at 10:00 a.m. at Bookworm Gardens, to read from his own children’s book The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm. This event will be free and open the public, will include a book signing, and will take place rain or shine.

 Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox

Friday, January 22, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox is a genre-busting, rotating cadre of musicians and vocalists that reimagine modern pop hits in the style of jazz, ragtime, and swing classics of the 1920’s-1950’s. Pianist, composer, and arranger Scott Bradlee has assembled a multi-talented group of musicians who join him for re-worked versions of popular songs; the music videos of these collaborative covers have become viral sensations with millions of views on YouTube. An act that crosses musical boundaries and generations, Postmodern Jukebox has developed a niche all its own, and performs a live show unlike any other.

 Gladys Knight            

Friday, March 11, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
This seven-time Grammy winner has enjoyed #1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R&B and Adult Contemporary, and in the New Year she will guest on Lee Daniels and FOX TV’s new series “Empire” opposite Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. Georgia-born, Knight began performing gospel music at age four in the Mount Mariah Baptist Church and sang as a guest soloist with the Morris Brown College Choir.  Three years later, she won the grand prize on television’s “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,” and the following year, her mother Elizabeth Knight created the Gladys Knight and the Pips. The group debuted their first album in 1960, when Knight was just sixteen.  With Knight singing lead and The Pips providing lush harmonies and graceful choreography, the group went on to achieve icon status, having recorded some of the most memorable songs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  All told, Knight has recorded more than 38 albums over the years. In 1995, Knight earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the next year, Gladys Knight & The Pips were inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame for their myriad achievements, including the #1 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

Ticket Prices and Ordering Information

Tickets are currently on sale. Season Tickets are available, providing a savings of 15%, in addition to tickets for individual performances. (Prices listed do not reflect sales tax or minimal service fees.)

Season Tickets: Save $15%

Adult/Student A Seat- $110/55
Adult/Student B Seat- $90/45

Individual Tickets:

LeVar Burton
Adult/Student A Seat- $25/15
Adult/Student B Seat- $20/10

Postmodern Jukebox
Adult/Student A Seat- $40/20
Adult/Student- $32/16

Gladys Knight
Adult/Student A Seat- $65/32
Adult/Student B Seat- $55/27

The Kohler Foundation is a non-profit, private foundation that supports arts, education, and art preservation initiatives in Wisconsin.Student tickets are intended for high school age and younger. Order tickets online and choose your own seat, at or order over the phone by calling (920) 458-1972 (between the hours of 8:00am-5:00pm, M-F). All events will be held at the Kohler Memorial Theatre, 260 School St., Kohler, Wisconsin, unless otherwise noted.