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Kent State Tuscarawas unveils the Performing Arts Center 2016-2017 Season

| May 23, 2016

42ndStreet_289NEW PHILADELPHIA – On Sept. 10, Kent State University at Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center 2016-17 season launches with “Resurrection – A Journey Tribute”, the first of 21 diverse and high-quality performances. The season will also feature comedy, dance, Broadway shows, and additional concerts.

“We have four outstanding Broadway shows on this year’s schedule,” said Dr. Brad Bielski, dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Tuscarawas. “David Mitchell, our general manager, applied his extensive theatre and Broadway show background to carefully choose “42nd Street”, “Saturday Night Fever”, “Riverdance” and “Once” for this upcoming season. The series will appeal to broad audiences.”

According to Mitchell, “The quintessential backstage musical comedy, “42nd Street” is the song and dance fable of Broadway with an American dream story.” Many of the songs from this musical have become classic hits, such as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “Dames,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “42nd Street.”

“Saturday Night Fever”, which has a large following, is based on the hit film featuring songs by The Bee Gees. “Once” is the winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards® including Best Musical.

“‘Once’ tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs,” said Mitchell. “During my career, I’ve worked on more than 130 Broadway show engagements and the musical “Once” is in my top five that I’ve seen and worked with. It should be the “don’t miss” show of the season. There will be an actual Irish pub on stage which audience members can visit prior to the show and at intermission. Do I need to say anything more?”

Due to popular demand, the international Irish dance phenomenon “Riverdance” is returning to the Kent State Tuscarawas stage for the second time, with three performances scheduled over three days, March 14 -16. “Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour” will feature new costumes, new lighting, new projections and a new number, Anna Livia, featuring the female members of the Irish dance troupe in an a cappella hard-shoe number.

GroundWorks Dance Theater explores the nuances of the human experience through unique and adventurous choreography. This exciting, eclectic work brings audiences face-to-face with fresh, fascinating performances of passion, intellect and humor.

Mitchell selected GroundWorks to be able to invite community participation in the show.

“In coming to Kent State Tuscarawas, one of my goals for the Performing Arts Center was to increase community involvement,” said Mitchell. “With Groundworks Dance Theater, we’ve commissioned them to create a dance piece specifically for local dancers. Auditions will be held and this piece will be incorporated into the show.”

Headlining the diverse Music Series are country favorites Lonestar and the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Beatles tribute show “The Fab-Four – The Ultimate Tribute”, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the nationally recognized pop quartet Under the Streetlamp and the a cappella group VoicePlay.

“Another goal I have set for the PAC is to get artists into the schools to work with local high school students,” said Mitchell. “We’re bringing the a cappella group VoicePlay in three days prior to their show to enable them to go into the schools and work with students. Some of those students will have the extraordinary opportunity to perform with VoicePlay during the concert at the PAC on Saturday evening, Oct. 15.”

Memorable holiday performances will include Mannheim Steamroller, who are returning for the second time and will perform two shows; and “Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas”, which includes timeless holiday hits by Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and Tchaikovsky.

Adding to the rich variety of the season’s shows are: “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Live!”, based on the award-winning PBS television series, it is a fun and heartwarming musical that shares the importance of volunteering in your community; “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical”, the hysterical, improvised and unscripted theatrical awards show; and “Men are From Mars/Women are From Venus LIVE!”, a light-hearted theatrical comedy based on the New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray.

The Cabaret Series features performances by the Paul Ferguson Sextet, The Blue Drivers, Honeybucket and returning by popular demand is Kristine Jackson and Austin Walkin’ Cane. The cabaret tickets are $45 and include dinner.

“For the second year, Michael Taylor Insurance & Financial, Inc., will sponsor the upcoming season,” said Bielski. “We are also grateful for the second consecutive year sponsorships of AquaBlue Inc. for the Cabaret Series and the Tuscarawas County Community Foundation’s sponsorship of our Broadway Series. And new this year is Alonovus who is sponsoring our Music Series. These partnerships enable us to keep our PAC ticket prices affordable and accessible to those who want to attend our shows.”

A complete list of performances and ticket prices are online at www.kent.edu/tusc/pac. PAC members will be able to purchase tickets to the 2016-17 season from May 20 to June 5. Pre-sale packages, four shows or more, can be purchased June 6 – 12. Single show ticket sales begin June 13. Tickets can be purchased by mail, in person at the Performing Arts Center box office, by calling 330-308-6400 or online at www.kent.edu/tusc/pac. The box office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Free and convenient parking is available for all shows. The Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas is located at 330 University Dr. NE, in New Philadelphia.

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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