PAC unveils season of pure joy

PAC unveils season of pure joy

Image Credit: Michael Reese

David Mitchell, general manager of the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas in New Philadelphia, takes all requests for performers seriously.

“When anybody tells me about an artist, I will typically always pull out my phone, send myself an email with that artist’s name, and I will look into that artist,” Mitchell said. “I’ll always look into them because I don’t know every artist that’s out there.”

Mitchell also gets requests for repeat performances, and for anyone asking to see the Blue Man Group, Riverdance or the Oak Ridge Boys again, you’ll get your opportunity in the 2022-23 season.

The Blue Man Group will run for three shows Oct. 11-13, the 25th anniversary show of Riverdance also will include three shows from Feb. 28 through March 2 and the Oak Ridge Boys will perform March 19.

There is plenty more to be excited about too. Comedian Rob Schneider will open the season on Sept. 10. Richard Marx, who canceled his show last season, has rescheduled for Oct. 23. The Frontmen is a group made up of three former lead singers, Larry Stewart (Restless Heart), Richie McDonald (Lonestar) and Tim Rushlow (Little Texas). Together they have 30 No. 1 hits, which they will perform together on Oct. 29.

Beyond Glory, a show sponsored by the New Philadelphia VFW Post 1445 and the VFW Ohio Charities, which was canceled last season, will return Nov. 3. The event will be free for veterans and active-duty military and their families. Stephen Lang performs the stories of eight Medal of Honor recipients in a one-man show.

Just in time for Christmas, the voices of Celtic Women will bring more joy to the PAC on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Country music star Josh Turner is scheduled for Jan. 13, and the Guess Who will perform Jan. 26. An Ohio-based group and the only group ever to win “The Voice,” Girl Named Tom is scheduled for Thursday, March 16.

There were still some challenges with putting together the schedule. The pandemic is still having an impact on whether an artist is ready to go back out on tour.

“Every year there’s always one artist that waits until the last minute to confirm. A few years ago, it was Michael W. Smith. The brochure needs to go to the printer, and we needed an answer,” Mitchell said. “This year I was waiting on five until the last minute. It just seemed like everybody was just taking their time committing just because of the uncertainty in the air.”

Also a casualty of the uncertain environment was the Broadway show series. None are on the schedule this season. Dean Brad Bielski said the shows will return for the next 2023-24 season.

“We had a few shows that I’ll say were lined up and the schedule didn’t work out, or sometimes coming out of the pandemic, some of these shows are demanding a week’s minimum. And that’s just something we’re not ever going to be able to do is to say, ‘Sure, come here, and here’s your guaranteed price for seven days,’” Bielski said. “I think the industry will return to more normal here shortly. But part of it was scheduling, and part of it was how many shows that were insisting they would have to have guaranteed days in order for us to have them come.”

In preliminary discussions, one Broadway show said they would be here next season. In the meantime Bielski is looking forward to all the shows this season.

“We’ve got a fantastic lineup. We’ve got Rob Schneider as well, and he’s going to be great,” Bielski said. “I’m looking forward to so many shows. I will say my personal favorite is the Celtic Women because I have wanted to see that show for so many years and never had the opportunity to do so.”

In addition to the bigger names on the schedule, there are many other shows.

“My wife and I are really excited about That Arena Rock Show because that’s kind of the music of our era, for the most part. So we’ll have a good time there, and I suspect everyone else will too,” Bielski said. “We’re really looking forward to Riverdance again, and the 25th anniversary show is a good time to do that. And, of course, Blue Man Group — they’re fantastic. So kudos to Dave (Mitchell), just an exciting season all the way around.”

This season will add more signatures to the relatively new tradition of having artists sign the walls backstage at the PAC.

“It’s starting small, but in 10 years from now, 15 years from now, that’s going to be pretty impressive,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is looking forward to taking more artists into the schools this season as he enjoys seeing the power that music and the arts have on students. The PAC provides between eight to 12 sessions each year to students.

PAC show attendance was down about 20% last season as a result of the uncertainty of the pandemic. Safety of patrons is a top concern, and they have increased air filters and installed ionization technology, which will kill bacteria and the COVID virus.

As the PAC returns for the 2022-23 season, Mitchell said people will find the 27 shows on the schedule live up to their new season tagline: exhilarating. emotional. inspiring. pure. joy.

Sponsors remain committed to supporting the community through the PAC.

“Continuing partnerships with our sponsors are a testament to these organizations’ commitment to the arts and assisting us in enriching the lives of the community around us,” Bielski said. “We are excited for the Tuscarawas County Community Foundation to return as our full season sponsor. With the inclusion of Beyond Glory on the season, we thank the New Philadelphia VFW Post 1445 and VFW Ohio Charities for their generous show sponsorship.

“And we welcome our new platinum sponsor attorney Richard W. Hinig. In addition, we are grateful for the continued support of First Federal Community Bank and AloNovus as platinum sponsors and supporting sponsors AquaBlue Inc. and House of Stones. Western Reserve Public Media also continues as our official media partner for the season.”

A complete list of performances and ticket prices are online at www.kent.edu/tuscpac. PAC members will be able to purchase tickets to the 2022-23 season through June 22. Discounted tickets are available through presale packages of four shows or more and can be purchased beginning June 23.

Single-show ticket sales will begin June 27. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Performing Arts Center box office, by calling 330-308-6400 or online at www.kent.edu/tuscpac. The box office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Free parking is available for all shows. The Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas is located at 330 University Drive NE in New Philadelphia.