Fans of Broadway musicals, theatre, concerts, dance, comedy and even children's educational entertainment will find something to spark their interest as the diverse line-up of top quality performances is announced for the 2011-2012 season of the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas. The center's Season Unveiling was held on July 27 and amidst food, fun and fanfare the crowd cheered as the curtain rose revealing as list of 34 crowd-pleasing events scheduled for this year's exciting season of entertainment.
"Our Performing Arts Center's second season is extraordinary," said Dr. Gregg L. Andrews, dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State Tuscarawas. "We carefully assembled an outstanding 34-event schedule featuring well-known Broadway shows such as MAMMA MIA!, Riverdance and Rain, comedy, dance, music, family programming and a variety series that includes acrobats and magicians. Highlighting the concerts for the 2011-2012 season are phenomenal entertainers such as Darius Rucker, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, John Tesh and Wynonna Judd, to name just a few. People who love swing music will want to be sure to attend the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert that pays tribute to Cab Calloway. One event from our dance series is Ballroom With a Twist, a national tour spinoff of Dancing With the Stars, American Idol and High School Musical. Our spectacular theatre is the perfect venue for all of these events. Our stage is the optimum size to present these large productions and includes the high-tech infrastructure to handle the national tours of Broadway shows. Our 1,100-seat-theatre can accommodate the high demand for tickets that we have been experiencing."
The Inaugural Season ran November 2010 through May 2011. Many of the 23 shows had sellout or near sellout crowds.
"We are very grateful for the overwhelming support we received for our inaugural season," added Andrews. "Clearly, last season was a great success. Many of our patrons shared their own wish list of events they would like for us to bring to the Performing Arts Center. And we tried to follow up on those suggestions MAMMA MIA! and Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles are examples of patron suggestions."
The new schedule begins Aug. 27 with ventriloquist and comedian, Kevin Johnson and ends May 13, 2012 with the Tony and Grammy award winning Broadway musical, In the Heights.
Additional Broadway shows are Blast!, Monty Python's Spamalot and The Pirates of Penzance. Along with Kevin Johnson, the Comedy Series features Nobodies of Comedy, Sinbad, John Caparulo, The Complete World of Sports (abridged) and Cocktails with Larry Miller.
"Natalie MacMaster, an award-winning fiddler, will present a holiday show, Christmas in Cape Breton," said Mike Morelli, general manager of the Performing Arts Center. "We also have concerts by The Official Blues Brothers Revue and The Blanks, who are also known as "Ted's Band" from the TV show Scrubs."
Five of this year's events are also part of the Class Acts series, featuring a total of six daytime, educational performances for students in grades K-12. Zabapago, John Tartagllia's ImaginOcean, Freedom Bound, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Rainforest Reptile Shows will also have evening performances with special children's ticket prices of $10.
"Garry Krinsky, Toying with Science" is also part of our Class Acts series but will not be offered as an evening performance," commented Morelli. "Garry delivers a fast-paced and dynamic performance exploring the principles of gravity, leverage, fulcrums and simple machines."
Other productions for 2011-2012 include magician and illusionist Mike Super, acrobats and martial artists Chi of Shaolin, Soul Street Dance, the ballet Romeo and Juliet, Craig Karges presenting Experience the Extraordinary, and Tony Award winning Proof which is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Ohio Arts Council, General Mills Foundation and Land O'Lakes Foundations.
As part the Season Unveiling festivities, more than 270 attendees participated in a unique game where they compiled clues to discover the names of the various performances and presentations for the new schedule. "The game was designed as a creative means to add fun to the introduction of our second season," Morelli explained. "It creates some fanfare to a casual evening and helps everyone understand the concept of each performance. The couple who correctly identified the most events won a spectacular prize, two free tickets to every show on the current schedule."
The Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas is at just about an hours drive from almost anywhere in the valley and features an amazing variety of top quality performances. It is easy to access from US 250 and there is plenty of nearby parking for the patrons. Once inside, the spacious lobby and balcony provide a beautiful venue to relax before shows and during intermissions and as Morelli likes to brag, "There's' not a bad seat in the house," as the intimate surroundings provide a fan friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy watching the show.
Ticket sales for packages officially began Aug. 1. Tickets prices, which vary per event, range from $16 to $77 and can be purchased by mail, in person at the Performing Arts Center box office, by calling 330-308-6400 or online at . The box office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.