THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND (January 13th, 2017)
I am going to get down to the “nitty gritty” about the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s performance at the PAC.They are still kickin’ up a lot of dirt as they got down and dirty to such tunes as “Mr. Bojangles” (a remake version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s) to “Fishin In The Dark” to “Long Hard Road” with the latter 2 topping the country charts.
Their songs brought back so many good memories from way back when. Appears that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been having themselves a blast celebrating hittin’ the BIG 50 Year mark (September of 2015) in the biz. (There have been 19 members in that 50 years and an extensive catalog of albums). The PAC didn’t have to go ” Fishin In The Dark” very long to reel in such a GREAT act! (and to answer the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s burning question: “Will The Circle Go Unbroken?” You will have to listen to their song for your answer).
MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER (December 15th, 2016)
Christmas came to the Kent State Performing Arts Center stage Thursday night. The Mannheim Steamroller brought the holiday to life as blue, purple, red and green lights danced on the faces of a mesmerized audience.
The performance featured a long list of traditional pieces including: ‘The Little Drummer Boy,’ ‘Deck the Halls,’ and ‘Silent Night.’
The full house sat in a trance like that of a child on Christmas morning. Watching as the multi-talented artists went from one instrument to the next, performing songs everyone recognized.
Videos of warm, glowing fireplaces; children sled riding and families decorating Christmas trees set the scene of what Mannheim Steamroller is all about. Added theatrics included snowflakes floating down from the rafters onto the crowd.
Audience members were blown away:
“It was outstanding. A show for all ages.”
“Everything you hear about Mannheim Steamroller is true.”
“Mannheim Steamroller is Christmas.”
A musical performance with just the right blend of classical and rock to leave the crowd impressed and in the holiday spirit.
LIGHTWIRE THEATER’S A VERY ELECTRIC CHRISTMAS (DECEMBER 13, 2016)
If you haven’t been to the Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas, you don’t know what you are missing! There is not a bad seat in the house, friendly and helpful staff are in abundance, and then there are the shows! The PAC has something for everyone – from comedy to drama, musicals to theater, adult and family – they have it all!
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending “A Very Electric Christmas.” Lightwire Theater truly captured the holiday spirit with a story about a little bird named Max, who loses his family during a trip south. While speaking lines are limited, the entrancing story captures even the youngest of hearts. Filled with classic Christmas music, and sprinkled in with some entertaining Top-40 hits, this show had not only myself, but my two children toe-tapping and singing the whole performance.
The highlight of this show is that it is one of the most unique that I have ever seen. Imagine a completely dark stage, with only characters and props shining bright through the darkness. It truly was electric. The music, dancing and colorful lights all make a great combination for a magical evening. Audience members were drawn into the story of young Max, and rejoiced along with the cast as the story brings about the perfect Christmas miracle!
If you have a chance to see this production in person – do it! Children love it, and it truly brings out the magic of Christmas every adult’s heart.
LONESTAR CONCERT (November 5th, 2016)
I attended the Lonestar concert at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas. As the group sang many of their top ten hits from the past 24 years like “NO NEWS”, “I’M ALL READY THERE” and one of my all time favorites “AMAZED” it became quite clear why their new CD is called “NEVER ENDERS” because the hits are never ending. The group joked with the audience and were quite entertaining. Lonestar’s performance proved to be a truly a great country concert.
BROADWAYS NEXT HIT MUSICAL (SEPTEMBER 30, 2016)
I attended the performance of Broadway’s Next Hit Musical at the Kent State University Performing Arts Center on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. This was a highly entertaining show, and I found myself In awe that the entire show is all improvised! No script! Even the music accompaniment from a very talented piano player was all improvised. The show opens with an MC, who’s wit was quick and delightful. He talked about how the show would run, and even did a bit of a stand up routine, highlighting the many sights and sounds from our area in his jokes. He even told a few jokes about the hot topic of our upcoming Presidential Election, which had the audience erupting in laughter!
One by one, we met each of the actors/characters on stage. Each was introduced separately, and pulled from a giant glass bowl a topic, theme or comment that was written by audience members and randomly placed in this bowl before the show. Each actor then would read that comment aloud and began to develop and act out an entire scene, completely unscripted and centered around what it was that was written on the piece of paper they drew from the bowl. The central theme was they were all nominees for their version of the Tony Awards, which they called the “Phony Awards”. They sang and acted off the cuff, taking the audience on a crazy ride filled with laughter. We watched and laughed as each cast member performed their “Phony Award” nominated song and scene. Then, it was time for audience participation! It was up to us to vote for our favorite scene that we had watched. Once a favorite was chosen, the cast prepared an entire performance all together, as if we were watching an entire play. Again, all unscripted! The way each of the cast members read each other and took cues from each other was impressive! Even during times when they were singing together, you would never have known that the entire performance was being made up as they went! They sang and harmonized together like true professionals. During the finale of the performance, I found myself laughing until my sides hurt! This was definitely a unique, one of a kind show that I would recommend anyone be sure and see, if the opportunity arises!
THE FAB FOUR- THE ULTIMATE TRIBUTE (SEPTEMBER 15, 2016)
The PAC came through once again with an exceptional performance by the Fab Four-The Ultimate Tribute. From the start of the show going back in time to the Beatles and their music being introduced by Ed Sullivan (spot-on tribute by a very talented George Trullinger) on his television show to 3 changes of costumes depicting each era of the Beatles. The audience was on their feet to “Twist and Shout” twisting & clapping to the rhythm of the music. The Fab Four ended the evening with an audience sing a long to “Hey Jude”. It was a trip down memory lane “Yesterday”, “Here Comes The Sun” to “Strawberry Fields”. “Help”! “She Loves You”! “Get Back”! “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. “A Hard Day’s Night” it was not! It was an easy, relaxing, enjoyable kind of night spent at the PAC! “Imagine” that!
LATE NIGHT CATECHISM (APR 1)
The PAC brought in another great act with Late Night Catechism starring Sister (Mary Beth Burns). It was comedy at its best and tastefully done! I am Catholic, although did not attend Catholic school, but did grow up with Nuns teaching our Saturday morning catechism classes.
From the ruler in Sister’s hand to some “students” in her “classroom” being told to spit out their gum, to ladies making modesty panels by using tissues Sister supplied to them and being instructed to cover up their low cut necklines. It was pretty much continuous side splitting laughter for the entire evening! I’m 99.9% positive that most attending could relate to it all!
Toward the end of the show, the Sister asked who had gotten whacked with a ruler in their Catholic school classroom and what they did to deserve it.
It was a great show and if in the area again, I would definitely go see it!
THE OAK RIDGE BOYS (MAR 5)
The Oak Ridge Boys has performed to a large fan base for decades. Their performance at the Performing Arts Center Saturday sure didn’t disappoint the large full house crowd that came out to see them. It’s amazing how many hits they have had over the years as you listen to them sing song after song and featuring each one of the guy’s vocals in their perspective hits. This proved to be a most enjoyable concert. By the comments around me during the concert, it appeared I was not the only one that enjoyed the show. Thank you to the folks at the Performing Arts Center for once again featuring a Classic Country Music Act on the stage of this beautiful facility…..TWO THUMBS UP!
CIRQUE ZIVA (FEB 19)
“Cirque Ziva” performed by the Golden Dragon Acrobats was high energy and a fast paced evening of entertainment for all ages. A centuries old Chinese art form, the troupe tours year round in the US and the PAC selected them to come to T-County thus once again coming through with a brilliant performance for its patrons!
From the colorful costumes, flowery umbrellas, lighted diabolos (hour-glass-shaped spools), chairs, tables, jump ropes, seatless unicycles, hat juggling, flips, back flips, jumping through hoops, to the music that molded to their every movement made with mindful precision. The unbelievable balance and agility, the contortions, concentric circles, back bends forming towers by layering bodies was absolutely amazing!
The jaw dropping, breathtaking moment was when one of the male acrobats did a one handed handstand towering atop a platform that had numerous chairs stacked and angled above it making the stunt more complex. The tips of his toes almost touched the stage curtain. (the announcer reminded the audience not to try this at home…). It brought into check a wee bit of “daredevil” in all of us eyeing the audacious act!
AUSTRALIAN BEE GEES (JAN 25)
“How Deep Is Your Love” for the Bee Gees & disco fever music of the late 60’s & 70’s?!?!??? It ran deep for the huge crowd that attended the Australian Bee Gees performance at the PAC! What an amazing tribute to the Bee Gees who fueled disco fever in the U.S. and created quite a legacy. The Aussie Bee Gees have mastered the look, sound & personality of the iconic trio. They have earned the reputation as the world’s leading Bee Gee’s tribute group.
JOSEPH AND THE TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (JAN 19)
WOW! My wife and I went to see Joseph & the Technicolor Dreamcoat and it was amazing! The signing and choreography were excellent! The lighting was dynamic and really made the play! My wife is in a wheelchair and the PAC staff made sure we were taken care of and seated in a great location. Actually, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. To have this type of facility in Tuscarawas county is unbelievable. You would have to go to a major metropolitan area to have something like the PAC. If you have not been there, you need to go!
LARRY GATLIN & THE GATLIN BROTHERS (JAN 12)
“All The Gold In California” or All the Cold in Tuscarawas County could not have kept me from attending the Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers performance at the Performing Arts Center. Country music’s chart topping legend & his brothers, Rudy & Steve joked around with the “very mature” audience and said they should know all their big hit songs and be applauding them. They started off with such big hits as Broken Lady, Houston, I Just Wish You Were Someone I Loved and All The Gold In California, to name a few.
Larry shared stories about Johnny & June and sang a great song he wrote in 10 minutes on the back of a place mat in a restaurant called “Johnny Cash Is Dead & His House Burned Down”. He also spoke of how Johnny called him and said June wasn’t doing well & how she wanted them to sing her favorite song of theirs (“Help Me”) at her funeral. They also sang it at Johnny’s funeral just months later. (Larry & his wife gave their son the middle name of “Cash”). He told how his friend, the great, late Roger Miller called him Laurenzo & how Roger would sing a line to a potential song he was working on (that he had tucked away in a shoe box) and how something would just pop out of Gatlin’s mouth for the next line, thus their song: “If I Ever See Utah Again”.
The Gatlin Brothers ended with an amazing performance of “An American with a Remington” that Larry and Billy Dean wrote of their strong feelings about the terrorists that have been all over the news. He said, “These gutless, worthless terrorist cowards are attacking innocent people, and we as a nation won’t stand for it”. (They just hope the song “delivers a message to the bad guys”).
What an incredible performance of harmonization between three brothers, united with the aesthetic sounds emanating from an the acoustic guitar of “a brother from another mother”, fellow band member Steve Smith! Another great performance and show at the Performing Arts Center!