September signifies a renewed energy that pulsates through the city, in large part due to Louisville’s thriving arts scene. As theater companies, dance troupes and orchestras all announce and embark upon their new seasons, arts-and-culture lovers scramble to reserve their seats for performances that promise to inspire, enlighten and entertain.

Insider has compiled some highlights from our city’s dozens of performing arts organizations. We suggest you peruse the list, make notes and consult your calendar. It’s game day for the Louisville arts scene.

A scene from "Swan Lake" | Courtesy of Louisville Ballet
A scene from “Swan Lake” | Courtesy of Louisville Ballet

Louisville Ballet

A mix of innovation and classics, this season does not disappoint.

  • “Stars + Stripes” — Sept. 9-10
  • “Swan Lake” — Oct. 14-15
  • “The Brown-Forman Nutcracker” — Dec. 10-22
  • “Human Abstract” — Feb. 22-26
  • “The Sleeping Beauty” — April 7-8
An image from "Madame Butterfly" | Courtesy of Kentucky Opera
An image from “Madame Butterfly” | Courtesy of Kentucky Opera

Kentucky Opera

There are, indeed, some bold choices for their 65th season.

  • “Madame Butterfly” — Sept. 23 & 25
  • “The Abduction from the Seraglio” — Nov. 4 & 6
  • “The Mikado” — Feb. 10 & 12
Teddy Abrams | Photo by Frankie Steele
Teddy Abrams | Photo by Frankie Steele

Louisville Orchestra

Music director Teddy Abrams continues to inspire with this ambitious season, a cross-pollination of genres and styles.

Classics & Coffee Concerts

  • “Mahler Second” — Oct. 8
  • “All Dvorak” — Oct. 21-22
  • “Shakespeare in Music” — Nov. 18-19
  • “Brahms Second” — Jan. 13-14
  • “Rachmaninoff Third” — Jan. 27-28
  • “Classic Film & Music” — Feb. 25
  • “Sacred + Profane” — March 10-11
  • “Walton + Britten” — March 31-April 1
  • “Festival of American Music I” — April 15
  • Festival of American Music II” — April 28-29

Pops

  • “Ella + Louis: All That Jazz” — Sept. 17
  • “Star Wars & More: Music of John Williams” — Nov. 5
  • “Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular” — Nov. 26
  • “Music of David Bowie” — Jan. 7
  • “America” — Feb. 4
  • “Time for Three” — March 25

Family

  • “Halloween Spooktacular” — Oct. 1
  • “Home for the Holidays” — Nov. 26
  • “Carnival of the Animals” — Jan. 21
  • “Heroes and Villains” — March 18
A scene from "Dracula" | Courtesy of Actors Theatre
A scene from “Dracula” | Courtesy of Actors Theatre

Actors Theatre of Louisville

An eclectic mix of old and new, starting with an homage to Hitchcock.

  • “The 39 Steps” — Through Sept. 18
  • Fifth Third Bank’s “Dracula” — Sept. 9-Oct. 31
  • “Macbeth” — Oct. 4-26
  • “Detroit ’67” — Nov. 15-Dec. 11
  • Fifth Third Bank’s “A Christmas Carol” — Nov. 22-Dec. 23
  • “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” — Jan. 3-29
  • “Circle Mirror Transformation” — Jan. 24-Feb. 12
Pilobolus' "Shadowland" takes place Oct. 20. | Courtesy of Pilobolus
Pilobolus’ “Shadowland” takes place Oct. 20. | Courtesy of Pilobolus

Kentucky Center Presents

Comedy, dance, film and music … what more could you ask for?

  • Vince Gill — Sept. 15
  • Laughter N The Ville — Sept. 16
  • Zakir Hussain & Niladri Kumar — Oct. 7
  • Pilobolus: Shadowland — Oct. 20
  • Esperanza Spalding presents: Emily’s D+Evolution — Oct. 21
  • Gavin DeGraw & Andy Grammer — Oct. 23
  • Wendy Whelan – To the Point: A Conversation with Emily Bingham — Oct. 24
  • Jordan Smith — Oct. 25
  • Louisville Music Awards — Oct. 27
  • Bob Dylan & His Band — Nov. 1
  • “Stomp” — Nov. 11-12
  • The Temptations & The Four Tops — Nov. 20
  • Goo Goo Dolls — Nov. 29
  • Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs — Nov. 30
  • Ira Glass: Seven Things I’ve Learned — Dec. 3
  • Kathleen Madigan: The Mermaid Lady Tour — Dec. 8
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” — Dec. 17
  • Jackie Evancho — Dec. 18
  • Alonzo King Lines Ballet — Jan. 27
  • The Del McCoury Band — Jan. 28
  • The Dark Side of the Wall: Beyond the Wall — Feb. 18
  • Black Violin — Feb. 22
  • Get the Led Out — Feb. 23
  • “Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music” — March 3-5
  • Wendy Whelan, Brian Brooks, Brooklyn Rider: Some of a Thousand Words — March 8
  • One Woman Sex and the City: A Parody — March 29
"Kinky Boots" comes to town June 13-18. | Courtesy of Broadway Across America
“Kinky Boots” comes to town June 13-18. | Courtesy of Broadway Across America

PNC Broadway in Louisville

“Kinky Boots” makes its Louisville debut, as do a couple others, like “The Carole King Musical.”

  • “The Book of Mormon” — Nov. 29-Dec. 4
  • “The Sound of Music” — Jan. 17-22
  • “The Little Mermaid” — Feb. 14-19
  • “The Illusionists” — March 14-19
  • “Riverdance” — April 10-12
  • “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” — May 16-21
  • “Kinky Boots” — June 13-18
Kentucky Shakespeare will have a fall and winter production. | Courtesy of Kentucky Shakespeare
Kentucky Shakespeare will have a fall and winter production. | Courtesy of Kentucky Shakespeare

Kentucky Shakespeare

KY Shakes is adding fall and winter productions to their usual summer offerings.

  • “Titus Andronicus” — Oct. 3-31
  • “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead” — Jan. 3-8
Bunbury celebrates 30 years. | Courtesy of Bunbury Theatre
Bunbury celebrates 30 years. | Courtesy of Bunbury Theatre

Bunbury Theatre

The local theater company celebrates 30 years this season.

  • “On Golden Pond” — Oct. 7-23
  • “The Santaland Diaries” — Dec. 2-18
  • “Three Tall Women” — Feb. 17-March 5
  • “I Bet on the Nag” — April 7-23
  • “Stages of Bloom” — June 9-25
Pandora Productions offers theater with a message. | Courtesy of Pandora Productions
Pandora Productions offers theater with a message. | Courtesy of Pandora Productions

Pandora Productions

The company that celebrates diversity has quite a diverse lineup this season.

  • “Swingtime Canteen: The Star-Spangled American Hit” — Sept. 15-25
  • “Mothers and Sons” — Nov. 10-20
  • “My Big Gay Italian Mid-Life Crisis” — Jan. 12-22
  • “The Nance” — March 9-19
  • “Hedwig & The Angry Inch” — May 11-21
Last year CenterStage put on "Oliver!" | Courtesy of CenterStage
Last year CenterStage put on “Oliver!” | Courtesy of CenterStage

CenterStage @ JCC

Another ambitious and entertaining season for CenterStage.

  • “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” — Sept. 15-25
  • “Assassins” — Oct. 27-Nov. 13
  • “Funny Girl” — Jan. 26-Feb. 12
  • “Mary Poppins” — March 16-April 2
  • “Sondheim on Sondheim” — May 11-21
"Misses Strata" runs Oct. 13-23. | Courtesy of The Bard's Town
“Misses Strata” runs Oct. 13-23. | Courtesy of The Bard’s Town

The Bard’s Town Theatre

They’ll announce their 2017 season a bit later in the year, but there are a couple productions left in this season.

  • “The Ten-Tucky Festival” — Sept. 15-25
  • “Misses Strata” — Oct. 13-23
  • “The Kings of Christmas” — Dec. 8-23
UofL Theatre Arts Dept. put on "Betrayal" last season. | Courtesy of UofL Theatre Arts
UofL Theatre Arts Dept. put on “Betrayal” last season. | Courtesy of UofL Theatre Arts

UofL Theatre Arts Dept. & African-American Theatre Program

A salute to some classics as well as a nod to new material. 

  • “Fences” — Sept. 21-25
  • “King Lear” — Nov. 10-20
  • “Baltimore” — Feb. 2-12
  • “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” — March 1-5
  • “Antigone” — April 19-23
Earlier this year, Commonwealth Theatre put on "Failure: A Love Story." | Courtesy of Commonwealth Theatre Center
Earlier this year, Commonwealth Theatre put on “Failure: A Love Story.” | Courtesy of Commonwealth Theatre Center

Commonwealth Theatre Center (aka Walden Theatre)

The latest season from the partnership between Walden Theatre and Blue Apple Outreach.

  • “Tartuffe” — Sept. 22-Oct. 1
  • “A Bright Room Called Day” — Oct. 13-22
  • “King Lear” — Nov. 10-20
  • “Pinocchio” — Nov. 10-19
  • “Rhinoceros” — Dec. 9-17
  • “Cyrano de Bergerac” — Jan. 26-Feb. 4
  • “Young Playwrights Festival 2017” — Feb. 15-19
  • “Good Kids” — March 2-11
  • “Young American Shakespeare Festival” — May 11-21
"John Lennon & Me" runs Jan. 28-Feb. 11. | Courtesy of StageOne
“John Lennon & Me” runs Jan. 28-Feb. 11. | Courtesy of StageOne

StageOne Family Theatre

Fun theater for the whole family.

  • “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” — Sept. 10, 17, 24
  • “The Best Christmas Pageant” — Dec. 3, 10, 17
  • “John Lennon & Me” — Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11
  • “James and the Giant Peach” — March 25, April 1, 15
Looking for Lilith produced "Orlando" last season. | Courtesy of Looking for Lilith
Looking for Lilith produced “Orlando” last season. | Courtesy of Looking for Lilith

Looking for Lilith Theatre Co.

  • “Legacy of Light” — Oct. 27-Nov. 5
  • “Carefully Taught” — March 9-18
Savage Rose's production of "Commedia Cannon" | Courtesy of Savage Rose
Savage Rose’s production of “Commedia Cannon” | Courtesy of Savage Rose

Savage Rose Classical Theatre Co.

Savage Rose is Louisville’s classical theater company.

  • “Titus Andronicus: The Radio Play” — Sept. 23-24
  • “Words Words Words Play Reading Series: Double Falsehood” — Dec. 4
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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."