Arts Council slates shows for season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 26, 2007

A new theatrical season, mingling classic country,

&#8220Nawlin's” jazz, topical humor and a clever twist on Broadway's best, is coming to the Camellia City this autumn, courtesy of the Greenville Area Arts Council (GAAC).

GAAC Executive Director Nancy Idland shared details of the organization's 26th season during a brown bag luncheon meeting of the group on Tuesday at the Ritz.

&#8220We have an exciting season planned with four professional shows to offer our patrons,” Idland said.

The season will kick off on October 2 at the Ritz with &#8220Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes,” a new show from the creator of the award-winning &#8220Lost Highway.”

&#8220I've had a chance to hear some of the music from this show, and it's not just Hank, it's also great country music from other artists, such as Allan Jackson. I think our local audience will truly enjoy it,” Idland said.

On October 16, the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans will take the stage.

The GAAC's Roberta Gamble said the band is currently touring the world to very receptive audiences.

&#8220I think the world's heart is open to New Orleans after Katrina. And the fact is, they are so, so good. This is certainly our most expensive show,” Gamble said.

&#8220Forbidden Broadway,” a long-running off-Broadway production, arrives on the Ritz stage January 7. 2008.

&#8220This show spoofs many of the big Broadway hits. It looks like a lot of fun, with just a touch of the risqu\u00E9,” Gamble said.

The GAAC season comes to an end February 26 with the arrival of &#8220The Capitol Steps.”

GAAC member Jill Stallworth saw the political spoof in Birmingham and said it was &#8220very, very funny.”

&#8220They basically make fun of both Democrats and Republicans, and the humor is kept updated. I thought it would be a great show for an election year, too,” Stallworth said.

With the new lineup announced, GAAC members

soon will be soliciting sponsors, with mailings going out to seek memberships

and season ticket sales for the coming season.

The cost of a season ticket will increase from $30 to $40 for the upcoming season.

&#8220However, when you think about the fact some of us recently paid $40 for a single ticket to see a show at the Shakespeare Festival, you can see that season ticket price is still a bargain - only $10 per show, folks,” Idland said. Individual ticket prices will remain $20 for adults and $15 for students.

Ads for the season's programs will remain $100 for four ads and membership levels, which begin at only $25, will also remain the same. Membership in the GAAC provided patrons with an invitation to all the gala after-show parties and a chance to mix and mingle with the performers.

In addition, plans are being made for a second splashy benefit show next spring to again feature local cast, musicians and crew.

&#8220Directing ‘Puttin' on the Ritz' (in April '07) was scary, fun – and one of the greatest experiences to be involved with,”

Idland said.

The benefit also proved to be a financial success for the GAAC.

The show netted the organization $14,000, a significant gain over the $8,000 to $9,000 typically netted from the group's silent auctions and galas in past years, Gamble said.

&#8220Next year's benefit show will be called ‘Encore' and will be similar to the format of this year's show. We want to bring all people from all walks of life together againŠ and get more children involved,” Idland said.

Plans are also in the works for a facade restoration project to the historic Art Deco theatre that is home to the GAAC, complete with new lighting, marquee, stucco, poster cabinets and a new box office.

&#8220We are looking forward to many exciting things to come for our arts council and the Ritz!” Idland said.

For more information on the upcoming GAAC season, contact Nancy Idland at (334) 354-2802 or 382-8729.