The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

What's Happening

August 15, 2010

Survey says | Pasquerilla directors heed patrons' pleas for new season

Organizers at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center listened to patrons prior to booking their 2010-11 main stage lineup.

What they came up with was an extravagant array of music, dance, political satire, comedy and Broadway productions to entice audiences.

“We had patrons complete surveys about what they would like to see this coming season, and I think we hit a home run,” said Michael Bodolosky, arts center executive director. “This is probably the most diverse seasons we have ever offered.”

Bodolosky said one of the survey’s most repeated requests was to get more Broadway-style musicals.

“We worked hard to fulfill that demand,” he said.

The arts center also wants to encourage people to get tickets early to ensure a good seat.

Individual tickets, which go on sale Aug. 25, range in price from $20 to $39.

“Go anywhere else and these caliber of shows would cost $50 or more,” Bodolosky said. “It is a real steal.”

PPAC Flex Series tickets are on sale now.

The flex plan allows patrons to select four or more performances and receive a 20 percent discount off regular ticket prices.

“We understand that the economy is still struggling, so we came up with a plan where people can pick a seat and hold it until it’s paid in full,” said Bodolosky. “For lack of a better word, it’s a layaway plan. People can pay for a ticket a little at a time as long as it is paid in full prior to the performance.”

All main-stage shows begin at 7:30 p.m. except for the Sept. 25 production of Papa Doo Run Run, which begins at 8.

“The surf’s up in Johnstown, dude,” Bodolosky said of the first show. “These guys are the real deal because they have backed up The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean.”

This high energy, interactive show features classic rock hits from the ’60s and ’70s.

“It’s the perfect way to end the summer,” Bodolosky said.

“Rhythm of the Dance” will be presented Oct. 3. The show features the National Dance Company of Ireland, which incorporates a live band, three tenors and 22 dancers.

“If people liked ‘Lord of the Dance,’ they won’t want to miss this remarkable group of step dancers,” Bodolosky said.

The heavenly hit musical “Forever Plaid” opens Oct. 21.

Four members of an all-male singing group get a second chance to fulfill their dream of recording an album as they serenade the audience with some of the 1950s greatest hits, such as “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Chain Gang,” “Heart and Soul” and “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.”

Political insanity will reign supreme on Nov. 19 as Capitol Steps returns to the Pasquerilla for another season.

“This troupe’s members are still equal opportunity bashers as they pummel both sides of the political spectrum,” Bodolosky said. “They continuously update their material, to be current. The last time they were here, they literally were scanning a laptop for the latest news that they could incorporate into the show.”

A production brought back by popular demand is Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which will be staged Dec. 15.

The magic of “A Christmas Carol” will be performed by The Nebraska Theatre Caravan.

“This was the No. 1 requested show of our survey,” Bodolosky said. “It’s a wonderful way to discover the true meaning of Christmas.”

On Jan. 13,  the Pasquerilla stage will be rocking with two dozen hits from the King in “All Shook Up.”

“With over 24 Elvis hits, this rock ’n’ roll musical combines romance, comedy and music for one great time,” Bodolosky said. “Any fan of  musicals such as ‘Footloose,’ ‘Grease’ or the show ‘Happy Days’ won’t want to miss this.”

“The State Ballet Theatre of Russia – Swan Lake” will offer an unprecedented cultural event on Feb. 10.

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia, from the city of Voronezh, brings the world’s most beloved ballet to life. This company of distinguished dancers has showcased the unparalleled art of Russian ballet throughout the world.

Red Priest, an extraordinary acoustic foursome that has been described as outrageous yet compulsive, debuts Feb. 22.

“They are a classical group who are highly enlightened and completely wild,” Bodolosky said. “It’s a rock-chamber concert approach to Baroque music.”

Canceled by a blizzard last winter, River North Chicago Dance Company will take the stage Feb. 27.

“We certainly hope for better weather in order for our audience to discover the best modern dance company in the country,” Bodolosky said. “The program is jam-packed with new choreography and dazzling dancing.

“Cirque Mechanics: Boom Town” transports patrons to the 1865 mining town of Rosebud, where an unlikely discovery sets off a series of hilarious and unexpected events full of the lore, excitement and adventure of the Old West.

The show, scheduled for March 4, will feature outstanding acrobatics.

Gaelic Storm, with its dance tunes, haunting Celtic ballads and madcap humor, blows into Johnstown on March 19.

“The band is best known for its performance as the steerage musicians from the movie ‘Titanic,’ ” Bodolosky said. “This St. Patrick’s Day weekend show exhibits high energy and brash wit while presenting a rousing performance.”

Described as the perfect family show, Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theatre will take center stage March 31.

“He has a menagerie of performing pets and has appeared on ‘The Tonight Show,’ ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ and ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ” Bodolosky said. “Gregory Popovich’s show is direct from Las Vegas and is a blend of comedy, juggling and a display of the extraordinary talents of his animals.”

Viver Brasil will take audiences for an inspiring cultural journey through Brazil on April 8.

It features a dazzling program of Afro-Cuban rhythms, ceremonial celebrations, the Brazilian martial arts/dance form of capoeira and Carnaval.

Viver Brasil’s jubilant performances include live percussion and vocals and pushes choreographic boundaries, while exploring Brazil’s racial, social and political history.

Closing the season will be a show described as the perfect Broadway musical.

“The Music Man” will be staged April 26 and follows the antics of fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill.

He cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying musical instruments and uniforms for a boy’s band he vows to organize – despite the fact he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef.

“It features some of the greatest Broadway music ever produced,” Bodolosky said.

It includes such favorites as “Ya Got Trouble,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Goodnight My Someone” and “Gary, Indiana.”

“It also features ‘Till There Was You,’ which later became a big hit for The Beatles,” Bodolosky said. “ ‘The Music Man’ won five Tony Awards, including best musical.”

Entertainment for Winter Jazz, a benefit that supports the Blackington Endowment, has not been finalized.

Winter Jazz and Stage Door Series performances are not included in the Flex plan.

Flex tickets can be ordered by mail or by telephoning a credit card order to 269-7200,

(800) 846-2787 or visiting www.upjarts.org.

There is a $4 handling fee on mail and phone orders.

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