The upcoming season of diverse music, live theater, dance, educational partnerships and more for the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center should be a smash, according to BPACC director Michael Bollinger.
“I believe we have an exceptional season in store to entertain and enlighten audiences,” he said. “I am personally excited to announce BPACC’s coming 2017-18 Performing Arts Series. First, because I think it is a good strong and attractive season! Second, it marks the first season I have composed as director of BPACC.”
The season will roll out more shows, greater diversity in genres (including jazz and blues) and a tremendously expanded family series, he said. And to ensure that the new season is particularly fresh and exciting, Bollinger worked to find performing artists who will be making their debuts at the center.
“To my knowledge, every single artist that’s performing in this coming season will be new to BPACC,” he said. “They have never performed here before.”
Bollinger is also passionate about starting the new Arts in Education program with Bartlett City Schools, offering family-friendly performances. For example, there will be a public performance of “Lamb Chop” on a Sunday, with a slightly different show on Monday, “Lamb Chop Loves America,” emphasizing U.S. history. The two performances on Monday will be exclusively for BCS students who will be bussed in and will attend for free.
Bollinger said many children haven’t seen live theater with professional actors before, and each event will have an educational component.
He presented highlights of the season at the May 23 city board meeting and provided more information on May 25 about each event.
Previous season ticket holders get first dibs on early ticket sales, but season ticket packages will open up to the public on June 26. Season tickets are sold either via mail or in person at the BPACC box office.
Single-event tickets will go on sale July 10 at the box office, by phone and online at bpacc.org.
A new dedicated box office line also will go into effect on June 5 for ticket sales: (901) 385-5588 on weekdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The old number, (901) 385-6440, will remain in use for all other BPACC contacts.
A new subscription discount program lets patrons buy five or more shows (excluding those in the “Headliners” category) to save 25 percent.
The center is at 3663 Appling Road.
Jim Messina: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20. Headliner show. This talented singer, songwriter, musician was an influential figure in California’s budding country rock scene, and he was a member of Buffalo Springfield with legendary musicians Neil Young and Stephen Stills. He and Richie Furay founded POCO, recording “Crazy Love.” He also co-founded Loggins & Messina with Kenny Loggins, making “Your Mamma Don’t Dance” a hit.
Lorrie Morgan: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28. Headliner show. Morgan is one of the most eloquently emotive country vocalists of modern times. She was the first woman in her genre to begin her career with three consecutive platinum albums and has more than 15 top 10 hits. She sings her hits “Out of Your Shoes,” “Five Minutes” and “What Part of No,” and more.
Michael Martin Murphy: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7. With 33 albums and 46 charted singles, MMM takes center stage. This multiple Grammy Award nominee performs his hits, “Carolina in the Pines,” “What’s Forever For,” “A Long Line of Love” and of course “Wildfire.”
Roberta Gambarini: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13. Feature show. This stunning native of Italy won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocalist of the Year. She sings in the breathtaking style of jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.
Hotel California – A Salute to the Eagles: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Feature show. As exceptional musicians, The Hotel California Band has been delighting audiences for 30 years. You’ll savor Eagles hits like “Best of my Love,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take It Easy,” “New Kid in Town,” “Witchy Woman,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Desperado.”
Pinkalicious: 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22. Family show. Based on the popular book of the same name, Pinkalicious can’t stop eating pink cupcakes. Her pink indulgence lands her with a case of Pinkititis, an affliction that turns her pink from head to toe! Only Pinkalicious can figure out a way to get out of this predicament. Musical fun for all.
“Smoke on the Mountain”: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3-4 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 5. Live Theatre show. The year is 1938. Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe wants to bring his tiny congregation into “the modern world” with two dozen rousing folk and bluegrass gospel songs performed by the Sanders Family. One thing after another goes comically awry. By the evening’s end, the Sanders Family has endeared themselves to all.
We’ve Only Just Begun – Carpenters Remembered: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18. Feature show. The definitive concert show celebrating the music of one of the most successful recording acts of all time. You’ll relish songs like “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Close to You,” “Top of the World” and “Merry Christmas Darling.”
Super Scientific Circus: 2:30 p.m. Nov. 19. Family show. Super Scientific Circus proves that science can be fun and funny. They use astounding circus skill, bubbles and magic to introduce the principles of friction, inertia, aerodynamics, centripetal force, sonic booms, air pressure and ultraviolet light.
Snowkus Pokus: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1. Family show. Think Cirque meets The Nutcracker! Young Brianna is whisked to an enchanted place where colorful characters inhabit a winter wonderland. Dazzling cirque, ballet and incredible acrobatics will amaze, inspire and enchant your imagination.
Lamb Chop: 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Family show. Bring the whole family for a humorous hour with the children’s icon — the adorable Lamb Chop. Kids will fall in love with Lamb Chop, twenty-something’s will remember Lamb Chop’s Play Along, and grown-ups will love revisiting their youth. Lamb Chop means family fun.
Elisabeth Von Trapp: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9. Feature show. For Elisabeth von Trapp, “the sounds of music” are part of her memories. Elisabeth is the granddaughter of the legendary “Maria and Baron von Trapp,” of “The Sound of Music.” She has enthralled audiences worldwide. A great show to enjoy just before the holidays.
The Night Owls: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19. Showcase show. The Night Owls are an energetic band out of Austin, Texas. It’s as if they found grandma’s secret recipe … mix in a little bit of funk with a little soul and a whole lotta rhythm and blues, and you get a delicious musical treat.
Gary Morris: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27. Headliner show. His music spans country, adult contemporary and Broadway — playing Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.” His song book includes “Why Lady Who,” “Lasso the Moon,” “100% Chance of Rain” and his biggest solo hit, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Tenore: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10. Feature show. Together, Tenore unleashes a stunning vocal talent creating glorious sound that breaks down musical barriers, draws cultures together, and celebrates a repertoire of lyrical sweetness and dramatic strength. They enjoy a special chemistry that audiences love.
Frederick Douglass: 2:30 p.m. Feb. 11. Showcase show. Nathan Richardson captures completely the physical and spiritual essence of Frederick Douglass. He tells of his escape from slavery and his rise as a great writer, orator and abolitionist. Douglass will recite his famous speeches. Concluding the program is an unscripted question-and-answer session between Douglass and the audience.
Stephanie Adlington: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Showcase show. We call her style of music, “Jazzicana” – Old school jazz, plus American roots, equals compositions of vintage soul. Stephanie brings with her an atmosphere from another time. Think Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Sultry, timeless – savor the Siren of the South.
The High Kings: 7:30 p.m. March 2. Feature show. In honor of St. Patrick, this Irish band will knock your socks off. Ten years ago four Irish singer/songwriters took a risk and formed The High Kings. To say they are charting a new course for Irish music – equal parts rousing and reflective, energetic and insightful – is an understatement. They are forging a new path with magnificent music.
TheatreKidz “Godspell”: 7 p.m. March 9-10 and 2:30 p.m. March 11. The popular BPACC TheatreKidz returns with a tale of friendship, loyalty and love based on the hit Broadway musical. In Godspell, Jesus Christ’s parables are told through song, dance and a good dose of comic timing. Dissolving into the Last Supper and Resurrection, messages of kindness and tolerance come to life. Songs include “Save the People,” “Day by Day,” “Oh Bless the Lord My Soul,” “All Good Gifts,” “Prepare” and “Light of the World.”
Joe Louis Walker with opening act Eli Cook: 7:30 p.m. March 16. Feature show. Walker is one of the best electric blues guitarists around today. This Blues Hall of Fame inductee has won four Blues Music Awards and in 2017 was nominated for a Grammy. Get a shot of the blues with this unique fierce gritty singer, prolific songwriter and true powerhouse guitar virtuoso. According to “Blues Matters Magazine,” Eli Cook is “among the top 3 solo blues artists world-wide.”
Tayla Lynn & Eric Tingstad: 7:30 p.m. April 6. Showcase show. The spunky granddaughter of country music icon Loretta Lynn has been hitting the road with her “Meemaw” since she was two. Tayla will perform some of Loretta’s greatest hits, plus many other tunes in her unique lovely voice. Her partner on stage is Eric Tingstad, a Grammy-winning guitarist.
Bartlett Community Concert Band: 7 p.m. April 7. Family show. The BCCB’s concert features musical arrangements of great range and soaring beauty, played by Bartlett’s own talented concert band under the direction of Dr. Rhendle Millen.
An Evening With Melba Moore: 7:30 p.m. April 14. Headliner show. Moore began her career as a singer for Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick. This Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee charted 18 top 20 R&B hits, like “I Am His Lady,” “Falling” and “Read My Lips.” She was on Broadway in “Hair,” “Les Miserables” and “Brooklyn.” She is an incredible singer with a multi-octave range.
Everly Brothers Experience: 7:30 p.m. April 22: Showcase show. The Bird Dogs bring a youthful Everly Brothers to life. When guitars became electric, the Everly Brothers bridged the gap between country, rock ’n’ roll and R&B. They created hits like “Hello Little Susie,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Cathy’s Clown” and “Bye Bye Love.” The Everly Brothers inspired bands like Buddy Holly, Simon & Garfunkel and the Beatles.
First Baptist of Ivy Gap: 7:30 p.m. April 27-28 and 2:30 p.m. April 29. Live theater show. First and foremost a comedy, this is the touching story of six women gathering to roll WWII bandages, plan the church’s anniversary and gossip about their joys and worries. Twenty-five years later, during the Vietnam War, the “First Baptist Six” gather again. Among the unique characters are Edith, the pastor’s wisecracking wife; Luby, whose son is fighting in the Pacific; Mae Ellen, the church’s rebellious organist; Olene, who dreams of a career in Hollywood; Vera, a very well-to-do and influential member; and Sammy, a shy newcomer. With humor and pathos, these six very different women through laughs and tears, find comfort and forgiveness in each other.
Ed McCain: 7:30 p.m. May 10. Headliner show. Edwin’s been called the “great American romantic.” His hit songs, spirit and sense of humor keep fans coming back for nights that feel more like parties with old friends than rock concerts. He recorded two of the biggest love songs in the history of pop music, “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask for More.”
CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.