When Stacey Jones looks back at the past 38 years, he sees an arts and entertainment landscape that has changed more drastically than he could ever have imagined. Now associate vice chancellor for Campus and Community Events at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Jones created the Season of Entertainment series in a world where the Tulsa Performing Arts Center was just 3 years old, and the Walton Arts Center wasn't even a gleam in Fayetteville's eye.
But his goal hasn't changed all that much.
This year’s seventh season at the Blue Lion promises to be “a season all will want to see,” Stacey Jones says. “You don’t want to miss any of these powerhouse shows.”
Sept. 26 — Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (pictured), a dynamic bluegrass band with an unmatched following and a direct, soulful sound that demands to be played loud.
Oct. 23 — Matt Andersen, a powerhouse performer with a giant, soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence.
Jan. 30 — UAFS faculty members will display their talents at the Music Faculty Showcase concert.
Feb. 18 — Ann Hampton Callaway, a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer — and a champion of the great American Songbook — in “Jazz Goes to the Movies.”
Blue Lion season tickets cost $50, and only 250 tickets are available per performance. Individual show tickets went on sale Aug. 1.
"We do look at what is hot off Broadway, and we look at what we think will appeal to our audience," he says. "Another part of our mission is our students: We want them to experience the performing arts."
This year, in Season 39, that will include music, touring musical theater, national headliners and local talents.
"We are getting a lot of early interest in the Broadway shows, and 'Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story' seems to have a lot of fans. And Neil Berg does great job, and with five Broadway singers in his cast, 'Neil Berg's 50 years of Rock & Roll' will be a treat for audiences of all ages," Jones says. "I like all we are offering this year. 'The Color Purple' is getting a lot of talk as well as 'Finding Neverland. And I feel the Blue Lion shows will be winners for us as well. All the shows are different but are very entertaining.
"We are very blessed to have a community that wants the arts to succeed."
The Season of Entertainment 39 includes:
Sept. 26-Oct. 1 -- "Sideman" by Theatre@UAFS, 7:30 p.m., Breedlove Auditorium.
Oct. 3 -- "Neil Berg's 50 years of Rock & Roll," 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
"This show will feature the music of Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Motown, The Who, Woodstock, Simon and Garfunkel, Journey and many others. Don't miss this one," Jones says.
Oct. 21 -- UAFS Choral and Symphonic Band, 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
Oct. 29 -- UAFS Wind Ensemble Concert, 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
Nov. 11 -- "The Color Purple," 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center. The 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical will bring a soul-raising, Grammy Award-winning score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues to Fort Smith, Jones says.
Nov. 19 -- UAFS Jazz Band and Jazz Catz, 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
Dec. 3 -- Season's Greetings Concert, 7 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
Feb. 5 -- "Finding Neverland," 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
"Finding Neverland," the Broadway musical that tells the story of how Peter became Pan, was based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name, then brought to life by the team behind "Shakespeare in Love," "Chicago" and "Pippin." It will make its Fort Smith debut.
Feb. 20-25 -- "August: Osage County" by Theatre@UAFS, 7:30 p.m., Breedlove Auditorium.
April 1 -- "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
The story of Buddy Holly through his short yet spectacular career features the classic songs "Peggy Sue," "That'll Be The Day," "Not Fade Away," "Oh Boy" and many more.
April 7 -- UAFS Wind Ensemble Concert, 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
April 21 -- UAFS Jazz Band and Jazz Catz, 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
April 29 -- A Grand Night For Singing, 7:30 p.m., ArcBest Performing Arts Center.
Season tickets are available by calling 788-7300.
NAN What's Up on 08/04/2019