The Axeman Cometh

This year, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band will be touring America celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band’s landmark album Trouble Is… by playing the album in its entirety. Known for its blues-infused rock n’ roll sound, the platinum-selling album holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts and went on to produce some of the band’s biggest radio hits like “Blue on Black” and “Slow Ride.” On Thursday, May 5, 2022, The Lincoln Center is proud to be one of only 23 scheduled stops on this special anniversary tour.

Some may say Kenny Wayne Shepherd was simply born to play the guitar and his amazing talent has almost certainly proven that. His name is practically synonymous with blues rock guitar and the entire musical genre yet, amazingly, Shepherd is completely self-taught and does not read music.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1977, Shepherd first began playing guitar at age seven. Shepherd’s father, Ken Shepherd, was a local DJ/radio personality who also helped promote concerts. In 1984, Shepherd was able to watch the late guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan perform at one of his father’s self-promoted concerts. After the show, Shepherd met Vaughan and that moment had a huge impact on the then seven-year-old. From that day forward, Shepherd wanted to play guitar with all the fire, passion and intensity that he felt when he watched Vaughan play.   

Shepherd began studying the works of Vaughan, Billy Gibbons, Jimi Hendrix and others trying to figure out how they created their sound. He also dedicated himself to understanding the history of rock n’ roll and the blues.

With hard work and dedication, Shepherd taught himself how to play so well that he caught the attention of Giant Records chief Irving Azoff who signed Shepherd to a multiple album record deal. When he burst onto the music scene with his debut album Ledbetter Heights in 1995, he was just 16 years old. In his first album outing, the young blues rock guitarist proved his talents were way beyond his years.

With his sophomore album, Trouble is…, the maturing axeman proved once and for all that he was no flash in the pan. His meteoric rise to fame was well deserved, proving he could match lick for lick the guitar greats that he scrutinized and emulated while learning his craft.

Now, 25 years and nine albums later, Shepherd is heralded as one of the most talented guitarists of his generation. He has since gone on to sell millions of albums worldwide and has received five GRAMMY® nominations. Over his career, Shepherd has garnered two Billboard Music Awards and two Blues Music Awards. At just 45 years of age, you can bet the end of the accolades for this talented artist are nowhere in sight.

You can catch the exclusive limited engagement of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s Trouble Is… 25th Anniversary Tour on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at The Lincoln Center. Tickets start at just $20 and are available at or by calling 970-221-6730.

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month!

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and here at The Lincoln Center, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our incredible volunteers! We are so thankful to this dedicated crew who serve our community in so many ways through their work at The Lincoln Center.

In celebration of this month, we asked our volunteers to share stories and memories of their favorite times at The Lincoln Center. Enjoy!

Will Geiger

I’ve been volunteering at The LC for over 15 years. I guess that makes me an “old-timer”, but I don’t feel that way. My view is that my main job is to do my best to help patrons have an enjoyable time.

When I first started and didn’t have my own nametag, I used one of the “generic” ones that said “DOCENT”. A patron walked up to me and closely inspected my nametag and asked: “Is that a German name?” Wasn’t sure what to say without embarrassing the patron, so I think I just told them it meant volunteer.

I usually try to wear a necktie that is “show-appropriate”—I have a “symphony” tie with an orchestra/opera theme on it. For kids shows, maybe something else—for the Nutcracker I usually wear a crown and a mouse nose, and when I get that quizzical look, tell them I’m the Rat King. That usually gets a good laugh.

For one kids’ “circus” show, I wore an elephant nose—about a 4” long trunk. After the show, a mother came up to me and said her son (my guess –  4 years old) had a question. With a very sad face and quivering voice, he asked me “Do you have a nose under there?” I showed him I did.

The Performance Hall Orchestra seating numbering used to be non-consecutive skipping every other number. Occasionally, if a young couple appeared to be on a first date or something like that, I’d look at their tickets and say something like “you’re in seat 17, and she’s in seat 19 – who’s sitting between you?” It generally resulted in an amusing encounter between us.

I was a ticket-taker at a Symphony performance. A middle-aged couple approached me with their tickets. He looked into the Performance Hall, saw that it was set up for a symphony, and said “You tricked me!” to his wife. She had told him it was a play because he hated the Symphony. When they came out at intermission, I offered him earplugs. He laughed and admitted he was having a good time.

Marie Maderal

I have met all kinds of wonderful people volunteering at The Lincoln Center.  So many wonderful events and the appreciation of the patrons coming back in after COVID has been fabulous! The “princesses” that came to see the Disney show a few weeks ago were priceless. I was lucky enough to be up at the stage during the break to make sure everyone was safe when one of the moms taking pictures shared with me that she was so glad they were able to be there because her daughter was on her way to her Make a Wish trip to Disney. She was just out of the hospital and the whole family was able to enjoy the show! The smiles are the best!  I was also able to answer questions from the young ones who had never been to our space before and they appreciated being “in the know” about where the actors went after leaving the stage.

Kristy Clark

After the CATS production, I stood out near the wall watching the crowd disperse. A young couple was leaning against the wall and I checked in with them. They were in such a state of bliss that they weren’t ready to leave; thanked me profusely for the evening. I understood their feeling, being somewhat overwhelmed myself. I realized that one of our tasks is receiving the beautiful response of those who have deeply appreciated what was offered.

Claudia Arbaugh

I believe I started volunteering for The Lincoln Center around ’07 or ’08 when I saw a notice online that The LC was in need of volunteers. I was so grateful to get the interview and to have been chosen as a volunteer back then, and still am to this day! When I go away, which I do travel out of state, and/or country sometimes, no matter what I am doing to enjoy my time away, I truly miss my time at The Lincoln Center. It is so enjoyable to be a part of the performance attendees’ enjoyment! Especially after all that we all have been through the past couple of years. As well as other things happening in the world that can bring one down vs. up in all of our lives. Live performances are so needed for all of us—which definitely includes me! And I am glad and grateful to be a part of that for The Lincoln Center! I truly feel an obligation with no hesitation to cater to the audiences when/as needed to make sure they have the best time with their experiences at The Lincoln Center. And, if need be, take care of any concerns they may have at times too. Thank you Lincoln Center for being there for your patrons, volunteers, staff and entertainers!

Joanne Wilson, Volunteer since September of 2011

My favorite experience while volunteering was when I was asked to go onstage during the performance of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in 2019.  They are amazing dancers.  The show was awesome and quite fun.  It was an honor to hand the Prima Ballerina a bouquet of flowers and I was tickled to be on stage!

Martha “Chip” McMahan

While volunteering at a child-friendly holiday show in December, I found a small stuffed animal near one of the theater entrances shortly after the show started. I took it to the office and placed it in the Lost and Found. After the show, it dawned on me that the child who belonged to the fluffy toy would certainly recognize it if it were on display while leaving the theater. So I retrieved it from the office and cradled it in my hands while standing near the entrance where I first encountered it. Sure enough, a woman carrying a small 2-or-so-year-old girl, said to her, “Look, there’s your bear!”. Reuniting the child with her stuffed animal made my night!

Noriko Garofalo

I recently helped a lady with a cane. Her seat was in the middle of row P of Right Orchestra where the seats aren’t bolted to the floor. I asked her, ‘Would you like a shortcut?’ and pulled back her reserved chair so that she didn’t need to walk to the end of the row to get to her seat. She was amused by it and really appreciated it.

Your Golden Ticket to Laughter

From Blanche’s romantic escapades to Rose’s ludicrous stories from St. Olaf’s, The Golden Girls has captured the hearts of America for almost four decades. This beloved sitcom received critical acclaim throughout most of its seven-season run, winning two Emmys and three Golden Globes while ranking in the top ten six times in the Nielsen ratings. Whether you watched the primetime broadcasts or caught the show in its very popular syndication, The Golden Girls remains a cultural phenomenon today. And now you can experience all the hilarity and hijinks of the sitcom in a whole new way with That Golden Girls Show! – A Puppet Parody on April 24 at The Lincoln Center.

“We have such a huge fanbase for our show and The Golden Girls in general,” says Samantha Lee Mason, the puppeteer portraying Rose in the upcoming performance. “It’s just been mind-blowing with how much people are obsessed with these characters, and with these storylines. It’s amazing to be able to bring the show to life for them.”

The Golden Girls may have first aired in 1985, but Mason thinks that there is so much to love in the show today. “I think the show was very ahead of its time,” says Mason. “The characters and everything they are facing in their everyday lives, they’re still issues that people can relate to today. I think that above everything else, the show is about relationships. It’s about these four people who really love each other.”

Mason goes on to say, “Our show is 100% a love letter to the original show. Our story is told in three episodes. It’s an amalgamation of all your favorite lines from the show, but it’s also very funny for people who have never seen an episode of The Golden Girls. I think right off the bat, you can understand the characters’ relationships with each other, even if you’ve never seen an episode. If you have seen the show or are very familiar with the show, those Easter egg moments are really going to pop.”

While half the fun is reliving the greatest moments of The Golden Girls, the other half is the life the puppets breathe into the beloved characters. “The thing about puppets is that you can live in somewhat of an elevated world,” says Mason. “So a lot of things that the characters can do as puppets is a little more heightened than what a real human character can do. There’s lots of physical comedy that I think is fun to experience with the audience.”

Both a veteran of musical theatre and a seasoned puppeteer, it’s hard for Mason to choose which she loves to perform best. However, her heart and soul is in playing Rose right now. “When people experience my portrayal of Rose, I want them to be looking first and foremost at the puppet. Because I can also be seen on stage, the audience melds my expressions and physicality into Rose and together I form this whole character of Rose.”

The show, however, does not just rely on the puppet’s antics to entertain. The show emulates the experience of a live taping, complete with commercials between each “episode.”

“Part of why I do this for a living is to make people laugh,” says Mason. “I just love that feeling. Especially with this show, people do not stop laughing. It’s quite literally 75 minutes of just laughter.”

Which character does Mason love the most? Why, Rose, of course. Played in the series by the comedic icon Betty White, Rose was known for her naivety and her humorously peculiar stories of life growing up in her hometown of St. Olaf, Minnesota. “I’m a little bit biased, but Rose is definitely my favorite. I identify with her the most, even before I was cast to play her. I like how good she is. And I like her sense of optimism. I think that even though she’s a little bit naive, she’s a lot smarter than everyone gives her credit for.”

But it’s not just Rose she is fascinated by. “Betty White’s comedic timing is so amazing,” says Mason. “Any chance I get to try and emulate that, it’s just the most fun.”

The passing of Betty White had a very deep impact on Mason. “I tried to consume as much Betty White material as I could before performing. I was in the middle of the tour when she passed away, and it hit me really hard because I felt like I knew her through exploring her work and her character. I think everyone feels that way. They felt like they knew her.”

That Golden Girls Show will be a perfect time to celebrate not just Betty White’s portrayal of Rose, but all of the amazing cast of characters that so many people have come to adore. “Audiences can look forward to a really wonderful time at the theater where they just get to relax and have fun and spend time with these characters that they know and love.” says Mason. “Especially in the times we live in, it’s so important to be able to go to the theater and just laugh.”

Grab your golden ticket to catch all the hysterics and hijinks live at The Lincoln Center on Sunday, April 24. Seats from $20 at