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GAAC announces upcoming season

A Tony Award-winning musical paying tribute to a bygone American era. A celebration of the music of a native son and country songbird, both legends in the music world. An interactive concert celebrating the songs of one of the most beloved British bands ever.

All these experiences can be enjoyed at the Ritz Theatre, right in the heart of the Camellia City, thanks to the Greenville Area Arts Council (GAAC).

“We have three wonderful shows for our 29th season,” said GAAC executive director Nancy Idland. “We are offering a little bit of country, a little bit of rock and roll and a Broadway musical – truly, there is something for everyone!”

The season will kick off on September 13 with “Country Royalty,” Jason Petty’s newest show. Petty is a familiar face to audiences from previous appearances on the Ritz stage with his off-Broadway hit “Hank Williams: The Lost Highway” along with “Hank and the Honky Tonk Heroes.”

“Jason’s current show teams him with Carolyn Martin, an incredible talent, who will be performing Patsy Cline’s songs while Jason brings us more of Hank’s wonderful music,” Idland said.

On October 11, “Yesterday and Today,” featuring the music of the Beatles, will bring a unique experience to audience members, says Idland.

“Prior to the show and at intermission, attendees will be able to fill out a request for certain Beatles songs to be played and to tell why those songs are meaningful to them.

The audience actually controls the band’s playlist, so it is a different performance each and every time,” Idland explained.

Unlike other tribute performances, the “Yesterday and Today” band members don’t put on fake British accents, Beatle wigs or costumes. “The focus is on the music itself,” Idland said.

The season finale comes marching in with trombones – 76 of them, in fact – with the arrival of Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, “The Music Man” is the story of a smooth-talking traveling salesman who cons a small Iowa town circa 1912 into shelling out money for band instruments and uniforms. His plans to skip town with the loot are waylaid by the lovely town librarian with comic chaos ensuing.

Season tickets are now available for $40 for adults and $30 for students, “a real bargain,” says Idland (single ticket prices are $20 for adults and $15 for children).

Ticket sales alone, however, won’t cover the costs of bringing these professional productions to town.

“Our programs are made possible through our annual musical fundraisers and through memberships in the GAAC. Our season wouldn’t be possible otherwise,” Idland said.

Members receive special recognition in each full-color show program for the season, and get invitations to each gala after-party, where they can rub shoulders with the performers and re-live their show experience. Memberships start at $25 for individuals.

With the season getting off to an early start this year, Idland encourages everyone to send in those season ticket orders and membership forms before August 15.

For more information, visit www.gaac-ritz.com or contact Nancy Idland at 354-2802 or 382-8729.