GAAC season begins Sept. 24

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Camellia City will play host to &uot;the hardest working cast in Branson&uot;, a magic show that’s &uot;a complete evening of entertainment&uot;, a hilarious depiction of late southern humorist Lewis Grizzard, and a hit Broadway musical in the upcoming months. It’s all part of the Greenville Area Arts Council’s (GAAC) 2004-2005 season, and Membership Chair &uot;Miss&uot; Bobbie Gamble says you won’t want to miss a single family-friendly performance.

&uot;We have four fabulous shows lined up. We originally offered four productions in the arts council’s early days, but spiraling production costs eventually forced us to cut back to three,&uot; said Gamble.

A scheduling conflict for the upcoming season prevented the GAAC from offering the two Broadway musicals it typically brings to the Ritz.

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&uot;Since we were unable to book the two Broadway shows we had planned for this season, we are once again offering four productions – which makes the season ticket a real bargain this year,&uot; Gamble emphasized.

Something for everyone

The season kicks off in high gear on Sept. 28 with &uot;Red, Hot…and Blue!&uot; Direct from the Grand Country Music Hall in Branson, Missouri, this song-and-dance troupe promises to take the audience on a nostalgic musical journey through the decades, from ragtime to rock and roll.

The show has consistently been voted &uot;Best A.M. Show&uot;, &uot;Best Costumes&uot; and &uot;Best Vocal and Dance Group&uot; since opening on July 4, 1996. &uot;Red, White…And Blue!&uot; bills itself as a family show for everyone &uot;from babies to boomers and beyond.&uot;

On October 19, Kevin and Cindy Spencer bring their special brand of magic to town with &uot;Theatre of Illusion&uot;. The duo has received numerous accolades from their peers, including being named &uot;Performing Arts Entertainer of the Year&uot; an unprecedented six times in a row. The Spencers were also awarded for &uot;Best Major Performance&uot; and &uot;Best Touring Production&uot;.

&uot;Theatre of Illusion&uot; is said to offer a heady mix of scenery, music, lighting and special effects that provide a unique and powerful experience.

&uot;This is a first for our arts council – I think it will be hit with all ages,&uot; Gamble said.

All those who loved the wit and wisdom of the late newspaper columnist and author Lewis Grizzard will be delighted with the one-man show coming to the Ritz on November 15. &uot;Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words&uot; features acclaimed stage actor Bill

Oberst, Jr.’s uncanny impression of the Georgia-born humorist. The show, which has the seal of approval of the Lewis Grizzard Estate, has been called &uot; a fast-paced and funny reminder of how much Grizzard is missed by his legions of fans and readers.&uot;

The show already has the seal of approval of the GAAC. &uot;Several of our members had seen Oberst’s performances in other cities and they said it would be a perfect show for our city,&uot; said Gamble.

The GAAC season ends with a belated Valentine gift to the city, as the hit Broadway musical &uot;Seven Brides for Seven Brothers&uot; comes to the Ritz Theatre stage on February 15. The musical, mounted by the same company that produced last season’s very popular &uot;Copacabana&uot;, will once again offer a live orchestra for the performance, Gamble said.

Show your support

Bringing quality productions to the Ritz isn’t an inexpensive proposition, and the financial support of the local community is always needed. &uot;We encourage support through GAAC membership in order to pay the artistic fees…the donations are tax-free and you have the satisfaction of knowing you are strengthening the community through your support of the arts,&uot; explained Gamble.

Memberships are in addition to the cost of season tickets and start at $25 for sponsor level. Members are recognized in each production programs, receive invitations to lavish post-production parties along with the gala and silent auction held in the spring.

Season tickets are once again only $30 each for adults and $20 for students (normal per-show ticket prices are $20 and $15 respectively).

Gamble stresses all season ticket purchases and membership donations must be made no later than September 5.

&uot;Our season starts early this year, so our membership drive period is much shorter than usual – so get those checks in the mail, folks…we need your support,&uot; she said.

For more information, call Gamble at 382-3414 or e-mail her at