Charlie Daniels Band kicks off Clayton Center’s season six-pack

Local actors combined to present Stephen Sondheim’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” for the festival audience.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Local actors combined to present Stephen Sondheim’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” for the festival audience.

The 2011-12 season at the Clayton Center for the Arts has half the number of shows folks saw during the facility’s inaugural season, but planners say the community is responding well to the six acts coming to Maryville, especially the season opening show.

Cheri Compton, director of marketing, said season ticket sales have been good. “We’ve sold probably three times as many season tickets as last year. Last year we had a huge season with 12 shows. This year we have six shows, but sales have been great,” she said. “Single ticket sales for Charlie Daniels have sold out. That is a great thing.”

The Charlie Daniels Band is set to perform at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30.

“Everybody seemed really thrilled to be starting off with Charlie Daniels Band, which is a well-known name,” Compton said. “He’s a legend, an icon, and that bumped things up and got us off to good start.”

Following the opener, a more family-oriented show will take the stage on Oct. 13 with The Imago Theatre Zoo/Zoo.

“Imago Theater Zoo/Zoo is a perfect family show. For anyone who saw the Aluminum Show last year, they will love Imago,” he said. “It is all about acrobats and actors in animal costumes,” she said. “The perfect visuals are the penguins playing musical chairs and the hippos with insomnia.”

“In the Heights” will come to the Clayton Center at 8 p.m., on Nov. 19.

“Our third show is in November and is the Broadway musical ‘In the Heights,’ which won four Tony Awards and the 2008 Grammy for Best Musical Album,” Compton said. “Single tickets for that show went on sale this week, and it has been busy. Hopefully, we’ll continue with the Charlie Daniels ‘sold out’ theme.”

American Spiritual Ensemble will return at 8 p.m., Jan. 14, 2012.

“We’re bringing back the American Spiritual Ensemble in January for Martin Luther King, Jr., week,” Compton said. “It was almost a sell-out last year, and I anticipate a sellout this year.”

Southern Fried Chicks will drop by at 8 p.m., Jan. 28, 2012.

“We’re going to offer a comedy with Southern Fried Chicks. They have been seen on Country Music Television,” Compton said. “We wanted a comedy act, so what could be better than three Southern women?”

Ronnie Milsap will take the stage for the last of the season shows at 8 p.m., March 24, 2012.

“We’ll end with Ronnie Milsap, another legend. In addition to playing his hits, he has a fairly new Gospel album, and he’ll be performing songs from that album,” Compton said.

In addition to the official season shows, there are always things going on at the Clayton Center. The cult classic movie “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is set to show at the Clayton Center for the Arts just in time for Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 29. A pre-show party will be held at 9 p.m., and the movie will start at 11 p.m. “This is an opportunity to reach out and bring folks in who love this show,” Compton said. “We’ll have a rock opera band and a shadow cast who will teach the time warp.”

A $25 ticket will get guests into the pre-party and a reserved seat for the movie. Tickets to the movie only are $10. “We have a limited number of reserved seats. There is also a list of approved and unapproved props, and we’ll be selling prop kits the evening of the movie,” Compton said.

In the spirit of trying new things at Maryville’s new venue, this summer saw a Community Theater Festival make its debut at the Clayton Center. The Clayton Center for the Arts hosted the inaugural Community Theater Festival in early August. “We had over 2,000 people come for that weekend and a lot of people saw all five shows,” Compton said. “It was a really good experience for all the theaters who came and produced shows and for the audiences. The groups have all indicated they will come back next year. We’re planning on the last weekend in July for the Community Theater Festival in 2012 and at the Clayton Center for the Arts. We’re hoping to make it an annual event.”

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