GAAC to kick off season in September

Published 5:04 pm Thursday, August 26, 2010

It has showcased local talent and brought the best of Broadway and beyond to the Camellia City.

The Greenville Area Arts Council (GAAC) is getting ready to kick off its season in September, and executive director Nancy Idland promises productions to please a plethora of tastes in 2010-2011.

Idland brought along one of the newest Ritz Players, Vicki Russell, who entertained the audience at the Greenville Rotary Club on Thursday.

Performing two up-tempo country songs, Russell also shared her experience auditioning for American Idol in New Orleans. After spending long hours waiting to get a bracelet to allow her into the auditions, more hours were spent getting to know fellow hopefuls and catching peeks of AI host Ryan Seacrest, Russell said.

Ultimately, the hometown talent wasn’t chosen, but she is glad she auditioned anyway.

“I was scared to death and didn’t know what to expect, but it was so much fun,” Russell said.

“I am glad I did it, because now I won’t have to wonder how it would be if I could have made it. I’m kind of glad I didn’t, it would have been hard.”

Idland referred to Russell as one of the Camellia City’s Idols, saying, “Can you see why I am so excited about this girl?”

Idland reminded the audience Russell is just one of many talented performers from the area who put on a big musical fundraiser each spring for the GAAC.

“This group is near and dear to my heart. We spend three to four months together every spring . . . I am proud to say I have discovered a lot of local talent right in Greenville,” Idland said.

Along with encouraging those listening to make plans to attend the 2011 edition of the “Putting on the Ritz” fundraiser, the GAAC director also promoted the upcoming season, which kicks off on September 13 with “Country Royalty,” featuring the music of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline.

“I feel this show is likely to be a sellout. We have a lot of people here who are big Hank fans and Jason Petty, who is a Tony award-winning performer, is certain to put on a fabulous show,” Idland said.

On October 11, “The Beatles: Yesterday and Today” arrives, bringing an interactive production allowing audience members to put in requests for their favorite Beatles tunes to be performed that night.

The season will end February 7 with the acclaimed Broadway musical “The Music Man.”

“I encourage you to consider season tickets. They are just $40 per person and that averages out to $13.33 per show. You can hardly go to a movie and buy popcorn these days for that . . . ‘The Music Man’ will also be performed in Montgomery that same week, but we’ll have the very same production here and for a much lower price,” Idland said.

For more information on the upcoming season, contact Nancy Idland at (334) 354-2802.