Springfield Arts Council to bring ‘Showtime!’ series back

Season will offer holiday cheer, soul, a Thriller and Broadway at Clark State Performing Arts Center.

Following a successful Summer Arts Festival return, the Springfield Arts Council (SAC) is prepared to shine the spotlight back on indoor stage performances with its “Showtime!” series, consisting of three shows and a season extra show.

The 43rd “Showtime!” season will offer holiday cheer, soul, a Thriller and Broadway at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

“We want to bring people back to the Performing Arts Center for a great experience for a price that’s fiscally responsible,” said Tim Rowe, SAC executive director.

The season will begin a little later to ring in the holiday season with “Christmas with the Celts” on Dec. 11. The show gained notice through a popular PBS special by adding a cultural twist on seasonal music.

“We haven’t done a Celtic show in several years and in (Summer Arts shows) they’ve always been well received,” said Rowe. “There will be some traditional and some international songs with Celtic instrumentation.”

As an added bit of local flavor, members of the SAC’s Youth Arts Ambassadors will accompany the group on a special arrangement of John Lennon’s classic “Happy Christmas (War is Over).”

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The new year will bring in the music that defined an era known as the Motown Sound with Masters of Soul on Jan. 22. This follows the series’ tradition of presenting tributes to familiar, popular music that crosses generations.

The show captures the greats — Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Supremes, Barry White, James Brown and others.

Back by popular demand is a special tribute to another legend who gave audiences a Thriller of a show a few seasons ago.

“MJ Live! Michael Jackson Tribute Concert” will bring back the energy, dance and music of the top Jackson tribute performer in Las Vegas, Jalles Franca on April 22, taking on everything from early Jackson 5 hits to the King of Pop’s solo smashes.

“This was a near-sellout for us before. There were kids dressed as Michael, this type of show reaches a lot of different generations,” Rowe said.

Another performer who made that show memorable was the opening act, comedian Jonathan Burns, who has appeared on “America’s Got Talent.” He’ll return to display his skills as a contortionist and magician, making for unpredictable fun.

While the lights of Broadway were dimmed over the pandemic, Seth Rudetsky, known as Sirius/XM Radio’s “Voice of Broadway Across America” kept the spirit going along with popular YouTube videos. Now he’s going live with “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Show” on Feb. 19 in cooperation with Clark State.

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He’ll take on Broadway divas and performers in video and audio clips with humor and appreciation. Rudetsky played a sold-out show in the Turner Studio Theater a decade ago.

While the season may have a somewhat smaller feel, it’s by design coming out of the pandemic and anticipating what the guidelines may be in order to schedule shows, according to Rowe.

“We were making plans for a reduced series to make sure we could gather in the theater and be mindful of not overextending ourselves at the expense of presenting these shows if they were canceled,” he said.

While it’s uncertain what health guidelines may be in place by the first show, Rowe said the SAC will follow the health recommendations set by the Clark County Combined Health District and State of Ohio to help audiences stay safe and protected.

All shows will begin at 8 p.m. Season tickets will go on sale Sept. 7 and single tickets on Sept. 14. Go to the SAC webpage or social media for more information.

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