December 12, 2018

Local Entrepreneur Benny Cenac Donates To The Oh La La Theater Series to Nicholls State

Local Entrepreneur Benny Cenac Donates To The Oh La La Theater Series to Nicholls State

The “Oh Là Là” theater series will behosted by Nicholls this school yearthanks to private donor and philanthropist Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr.  Cenachas always been a major proponent for the arts and education and jumped at theopportunity to help make that a reality for his community.  

The donations went toward several funds and projects necessary to make the show a reality, including renovations on the Mary and Al Danos Theater totaling upwards of $9.6 Million.  According to Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls President, the name Oh Là Là is an homage to Al Danos, who enjoyed conversing in French. The Danos family, whose parents donated $1 million toward the theater’s renovation, released a statement in support of Nicholls’ upcoming series.  “Mom and Dad would have loved this and attended every show,” The Danos family said. “Oh Là Là is exactly what Dad had in mind when he started raising money for the theater.”

In August the university hosted donors, lifetime alumni members and Nicholls Foundation board members at the newly renovated theater for a special preview and an opportunity to purchase season tickets, and spectators were blown away by its beauty, functionality and charm. Monique Crochet, Nicholls’ acting director of advancement, said the upgrades to the Danos Theater were the cornerstone and missing piece that made the theater series possible. Crochet said the improved theater allows Nicholls to bring high-quality, high-demand shows to Thibodaux, enriching the community by increasing exposure to the arts.  “We noticed other universities were doing it. We thought it would be a great idea to bring this to our local area,” Crochet said. She said revenues from sponsorships and ticket sales will go toward maintenance of the theater and the purchasing of future shows.

The first show featured at “Oh Là Là” was back in September. Touring for over seven years and featuring six vocalists and dancers, the Frankie Valli tribute show “Let’s Hang On!” entails a live band that performs all the hits from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” “December,” “Who Loves You” and “My Eyes Adored You,” among others.

In November, a Christmas show by the Dutton Experience, a 15-member family band that has been playing together since 1991, made its debut bringing a variety of genres from bluegrass to classical music to the Danos Theater.  The next act to be featured will be the New Orleans-based Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra on Feb. 15. Formed the very same year as the Dutton Experience, the LPO is the oldest full-time musician-governed and collaboratively-operated professional symphony in the nation. After that in March, the acrobat troupe The Golden Dragon Acrobats will bring their aerial excellence to Thibodaux.  This 50 year old Chinese act is recognized as the premier Chinese acrobatic company in the United States, according to Nicholls’ press release announcing the shows.

“Oh Là Là” finishes by  featuring the timeless songs of the Fab Four. A Grammy-nominated Beatles tribute band featuring four musicians handpicked by George Harrison’s sister will feature vintage instruments and iconic costumes from the Beatles’ collection.  Crochet said she thinks the wide range of music brings a good diversity of performances, and she expects Nicholls to find different acts in the future. She said the university will start working on its booking efforts for the 2018-19 season in January when acts start revealing their schedules. Dr. Murphy attributed “Oh Là Là” as an important step toward successfully reaching the university’s goals.  “Here at Nicholls, our vision is to be the intellectual, economic and cultural heart of the Bayou Region. The diversity of world-renowned acts coming to our campus as part of the Oh Là Là series fits perfectly with what we’re trying to accomplish,” Murphy said.

Season tickets are now available to purchase. To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, call Tammy Toups at (985) 448-4134 or email [email protected]

For more on Oh La La, click here.

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