BY RUTH RICE
The new season at Richland Performing Arts Center in Richland Township will feature a variety of student productions as well as professional national touring presentations.
The season’s nine productions will cover the genres of Broadway, great American song, classical, dance, jazz, new artists, new sounds and theater.
“The 2012-13 season is sure to challenge, stimulate and entertain,” said Scott D. Miller, arts center executive director. “We invite everyone to join us frequently by becoming a subscriber to the new season.”
The first concert of the season will hit close to home when Jimmy Fortune, a former member of the Statler Brothers, performs at 7 p.m. Saturday in memory of Richland student Kiersten Robertson, who was killed in a two-vehicle accident in March 2011.
Fortune is finding success as a solo artist with his recent Christian country national No. 1 hit, “In God We Trust.”
“He will perform hits from when he was in The Statler Brothers,” Miller said. “Country will be the big genre of the evening.”
Proceeds will benefit the Kiersten Robertson Memorial Scholarship.
“The Unexpected Surfer Boys” will bring the Beach Boys and Broadway to the area at 7 p.m. Oct. 27.
This rollicking musical will feature classic hits such as “Surfin’ USA,” “California Girls,” “Good Vibrations” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.”
The story line follows the groom and his three friends at a bachelor party they will never forget.
“This is a fun show,” Miller said. “The actors who are coming have been on Broadway in shows like ‘Phantom’ and ‘Wicked.’
“They’re coming in a day early to do a master class with the students. They also will be able to see the rehearsal the afternoon of the show.”
“It Was A Very Good Year,” a tribute to Frank Sinatra starring Tony Sands, will be presented at 2 p.m. Nov. 18.
The musical tribute to the late entertainer will feature video, photos and graphics.
“There will be a video montage, and the backdrops will be electronic,” Miller said. “It’s very high-tech.”
The multimedia show will take fans from Sinatra’s early days with Tommy Dorsey to the bright lights of New York City and the silver screen of Hollywood, leading up to his “main event” comeback.
“A Christmas Story” will put the young actors of the Richland High School Drama Club, in grades 9-12, center stage at 7 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9.
“We’re one of 50 schools in the country who have exclusive rights,” Miller said. “We’ve started rehearsals and set building.
“The kids are excited because they grew up with this movie like we grew up with ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ The stage version is so funny.”
The story chronicles young Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, a Red Ryder BB gun.
Richland students will be “On the Town” for their high school musical, which will be presented at 7 p.m. March 1-2 and 2 p.m. March 3.
This classic American musical, composed by Leonard Bernstein, is set in New York during World War II, with three young sailors hitting the town for a day’s leave in the big city.
Through the course of the day, they encounter three young women, and adventures ensue.
“Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly were two of the original stars,” Miller said. “It’s fast paced and happy-go-lucky and very technical in singing and acting.
“This is a big one, and it’s a challenge for high school students, but we have the students to perform it.”
The Recessionals Jazz Band will perform at 7 p.m. March 23.
The ensemble from New York City focuses on traditional jazz music, including New Orleans standards, gospel, spirituals and early New York City/Tin Pan Alley standards.
“They play what everyone can recognize,” Miller said. “The group formed while they were at NYU, then they went on a nationwide tour and called us to get into our facility.”
Richland’s junior high students will present “School House Rock - Live!” at 7 p.m. April 26-27.
The story follows a teacher nervous about his first day of teaching who tries to relax by watching TV when various characters emerge from the set and show him how to win his students over with imagination and music.
“We thought this would be a fun show for that age group,” Miller said.
Miller said “Way Off Broadway: A Musical Tribute to Broadway Live in Concert” will be the final exam when it is presented at 7 p.m. May 19.
Richland Performing Arts students in grades 7-12 will present a musical tribute to Broadway’s greatest shows.
“Any student who’s been in a production this year can audition,” he said. “We’ll pick the Top 24.
“The kids are excited. They’ll have a pit orchestra for the two-hour show. We do this every couple of years,” Miller said.
“Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.” will be performed for the summer performing arts academy at 7 p.m. June 28-29.
“This has been on Broadway and was adapted for a performing arts camp,” Miller said. “It will be for ages 11 to 18 and will feature kids from all different schools, not just Richland,” Miller said.
“We do this in cooperation with The Learning Lamp.”
Hit songs will include “Part of Your World,” “She’s in Love” and “Under the Sea.”
Season tickets are available in a director’s series, which includes all nine shows at a discounted rate. There also is a flex series in which selected shows may be chosen.
Season tickets are available online at www.richlandpac.com, by phone at 269-0300 or on a new mobile app called Walletini.
“We wanted to give some options,” Miller said.
“Tickets will be available at the shows, but we want to push season tickets because there’s a discount.”
Individual tickets for the professional Broadway shows will be $22 for students and senior citizens and $24 for adults.
Proceeds from these shows will benefit Richland Theater Boosters.
Single tickets for the student productions are $8 for students and senior citizens and $9 for adults.
The lineup for Richland Performing Arts Center’s 2012-13 season:
Saturday: Jimmy Fortune and Trio.
Oct. 27: The Unexpected Surfer Boys.
Nov. 18: “It Was a Very Good Year,” tribute to Frank Sinatra.
Dec. 7-9: “A Christmas Story.”
March 1-3: “On the Town.”
March 23: The Recessionals Jazz Band.
April 26-27: “School House Rock – Live!”
May 19: “Way Off Broadway.”
June 28-29: “Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.”
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