Season tickets will be available until July 31 for Season of Entertainment 32, the annual entertainment extravaganza at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith that packages national touring shows with concerts and productions offered by UAFS drama and music students.
Stacey Jones of Fort Smith, associate vice chancellor for campus and community events, said it took about six months to put this year’s Season of Entertainment slate together.
“These shows represent the best in Broadway and stage entertainment available to our market,” Jones said, “from the avant-garde ‘Blue Man Group’ to ’80s rock with ‘Rock of Ages’ to the ’60s music from the men of ‘Jersey Boys’ performing in ‘The Midtown Men’ to the five current stars from Broadway coming back to town with ‘102 Years of Broadway.’”
Jones said his office is taking calls to reserve tickets, which he expects to go quickly. Season tickets are $185. Individual show tickets go on sale Aug. 1.
“The response of our students, community, patrons and the sponsors is overwhelming,” he said. “We are very blessed to have such rock solid support for our Season of Entertainment.”
The theatrical touring production by “Blue Man Group,” slated for Sept. 15 and 16, will include three bald and blue characters in the midst of a multi-media experience. A live band with haunting tribal rhythms adds to the mix, with the video design centering around a proscenium-sized LED curtain and high-resolution screen. The group has performed across the United States and abroad.
“The Midtown Men” on Oct. 8 celebrates the music that defined the 1960s, including some of the hits from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Temptations, the Jackson 5, Motown, The Four Seasons and others. During their time in the “Jersey Boys,” these four artists shared the stage for more than 1,000 performances and delighted television audiences with appearances on “The Today Show,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.”
Five Broadway stars and an all-star New York band come to Fort Smith for the March 5 touring show, “102 Years of Broadway.” The production showcases music from hit shows in which the vocalists starred, including “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “CATS,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Jekyll and Hyde.”
“Rock of Ages” on April 30 is a feel-good love story told through the hit songs of iconic rockers. It is set in 1987 on the Sunset Strip when a small-town girl meets a big-city dreamer and, in the most legendary rock club in Los Angeles, they fall in love to the songs of the 1980s. “Rock of Ages” is a five-time Tony nominated musical, now a motion picture as well, that takes the audience back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos and sporting even bigger hair. Some of the costumes, dancing and language may not be appropriate for children under the age of 14.
Jones is also enthusiastic about the UAFS concerts and productions.
“The bar continues to get higher each year with the UAFS presentations,” he said. “UAFS concerts include two jazz concerts, two Symphonic Band concerts and two choral concerts, with the Season’s Greetings concert featuring multiple groups. Theatre @ UAFS is also on the Season schedule for two productions. It’s going to be a great year.”
Theatre @ UAFS will present “Nine,” which is a working title, in October and “Lend Me a Tenor” in March. Theatre director Bob Stevenson expects “Nine” to be another in the line of award-winning original movement productions. This particular show features nine different lives, colliding, intertwining and changing through a series of coincidences. Stevenson calls “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig “one of the funniest shows ever written.”
UAFS choral ensembles will present “The Poetry of Life: An Expression of Gratitude” in October and “Choral Glory: An Evening of Remembrance” in April. The fall concert features music that focuses on experiences in life that have helped through sad times, as well as those that depict mountain-top experiences. Dr. Rager Moore II, choral director, said the spring concert will include a professional chamber orchestra and will feature the “Requiem” by Maurice Durufle.
The October and April concerts of the UAFS Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Alexandra Zacharella, will include classic wind band repertoire as well as contemporary compositions. In the 50-piece group of musicians are music majors and non-majors.
High-energy jazz is the focus of both the November and March concerts of the UAFS Jazz Band and vocal ensemble Jazz Catz. Special guest for the spring concert is Dallas-based Rosana Eckert, internationally recognized jazz vocalist, songwriter, arranger and educator.
The Symphonic Band, choral ensembles and Jazz Catz, along with a few special guests, join together for the annual Season’s Greetings Concert in November, kicking off the holiday season with seasonal favorites.
The complete Season 32 calendar includes:
Sept. 15-16: National touring event -- “Blue Man Group.”
Oct. 8: National touring event -- “The Midtown Men.”
Oct. 16: UAFS choral concert.
Oct. 18-20, 22-23: UAFS theatre production, “Nine.”
Oct. 30: UAFS Symphonic Band concert.
Nov. 13: UAFS jazz concert.
Nov. 27: Season’s Greetings Concert.
March 5: National Touring event -- “102 Years of Broadway.”
March 7-9, 11-12: UAFS theatre production, “Lend Me a Tenor.”
March 29: UAFS jazz concert.
April 16: UAFS Symphonic Band concert.
April 26: UAFS choral concert.
April 30: National touring event -- “Rock of Ages.”
Curtain time for national touring shows and for UAFS vocal and instrumental music concerts is 7:30 p.m. at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. 7th St., with the exception of an added 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, performance for “Blue Man Group.”
The Season’s Greetings Concert begins at 7 p.m. in Stubblefield Center. Drama productions are in Breedlove Auditorium at UAFS.
For more information or to reserve tickets, contact the Box Office at 479-788-7300.