EKU Center for the Arts: Lineup heavy with tribute bands, Broadway

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EKU Center for the Arts: Lineup heavy with tribute bands, Broadway

Posted on: January 26th, 2014 by tommyj

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The second half of the season at the EKU Center for the Arts features a mixture of Broadway, classic rock tributes and kid-friendly productions.

This lineup, coupled with a few patron service changes, will give guests “a great experience from start to finish,” said Joel Aalberts, the center’s executive director.

Some performances will “hit people in that sentimental spot,” said Aalberts, with shows like The Pink Floyd Experience on March 5, One Night of Queen by Gary Mullen and The Works scheduled March 26 and Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles, slated for April 6.

Rain gives the audience a “full Beatles experience” as the band changes costumes to portray the Fab Four’s Ed Sullivan years, through Abby Road to Sgt. Pepper, he said.

If there was one band he would travel back in time to see, it would be Queen, said Aalberts, and Gary Mullen has “really captured the style and sound” of the rock band’s late front man Freddy Mercury.

Last year’s top-selling show, the all-female Irish musical ensemble Celtic Woman, returns March 11.

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder was added to the lineup this week for a performance on April 25; just in time for Eastern Kentucky University’s alumni weekend scheduled April 25-27.

“As far as I know, there has not been a bluegrass artist at the Center,” Aalberts said. “Skaggs is the king of the genre.”

Alumni who attended the university before the center was completed in 2011 may have their first chance to see the new facility, he said.

Aalberts said his own children are looking forward to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast scheduled for two shows on March 8.

A few changes have been made to improve the experience, not only for adults, but for the Center’s youngest patrons.

Drinks and snacks are now permitted inside the concert hall. Patrons may purchase a 12- or 16-ounce closed-lid cup for drinks. These cups also can be brought back for return visits to the theater and used again.

“I don’t want to see patrons guzzling their drinks at the end of intermission,” Aalberts said. “We want you to have your drink, sit down and enjoy the show.”

A variety of sweet and salty snacks can be purchased for $2 and under, he said. “We want it to be cheap.”

There also will be changes in ticket pricing, beginning with the Ricky Skaggs show and performances thereafter, Aalberts said.

Along with changes in seating zones and prices associated with them, there will be additional discounts for seniors, retired/active military, EKU students and those high school-age and younger.

Senior and military patrons will receive a $2 discount off the standard ticket price and youth will receive a 20 percent discount off all levels of seating.

“I think it’s really important to take kids to see shows in this setting. It’s a different experience from watching TV at home or going to a movie theater,” Aalberts said.

With discounted youth tickets, parents may be able to afford to go to more than one show a year, he added. He wants “nothing standing in the way of parents bringing their children to the Center.”

Also, Zone 3 seats, for $15, will always be available to EKU students for any show. 

Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more.

For details, visit ekucenter.com.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

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