PORT ARTHUR —
Its been more than three decades since Orange’s Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts first opened its doors with a sold out performance by Liberace, and now, nearly 35 years later, the theater is still booking shows to packed houses.
Next year’s lineup during the theater’s 35th anniversary year promises to be just as exciting with a full slate of Broadway, musicals and dance shows.
“It will be a year to remember, with a great lineup,” Lynae Sanford, Lutcher Theater marketing manager, said Thursday while speaking to a group of Port Arthur Rotarians.
The coming year’s theme is “Celebrate.” Though the season officially starts with a performance by Lyle Lovett and His Large Band on Tuesday, Sept. 9, Sanford said she couldn’t help but mention the much-anticipated Bill Cosby appearance slated for two performances on July 24 and 25.
At press time Thursday, only about 20 tickets remained for the July 24 show, which was added after tickets for the July 25 performance sold out the first day.
Sanford said the show sold out so fast that Lutcher Theater personnel asked Cosby’s agent if the comedian could do a second show.
“The agent said he’d have to ask Bill, and Bill said he’d have to check with his wife,” Sanford said.
She must have said yes, because the agent called back and said he could do it on the 24th, Sanford said.
This will be Lovett’s second performance at the Lutcher Theater.
“He presents an amazing show,” Sanford said. “He was recently named Texas State Musician, and is a great storyteller.”
In all, the coming season features a lineup of 13 shows from September 9 through June 17.
“Nice Work If You Can Get It,” scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 3, is a musical production set in the Roaring Twenties, boasts a cast of outrageous characters gathered in New York to celebrate the wedding of a wealthy playboy.
The production is full of extravagant dance numbers and music set to the backdrop of Gershwin tunes from the 20s, Sanford said.
Smokey Joe’s Cafe, on Thursday, Oct. 16, features The Coasters. The Tony Award-nominated and Grammy award-winning musical revue salute to legendary songwriters Leiber and Stoller.
Another Broadway production, “Anything Goes,” is a Tony Award winner set on a shipliner in World War II, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 26.
“It is a tap-dancing extravaganza,” Sanford said.
On Saturday, Nov. 8, the big Broadway musical “Sister Act,” is set for a performance in Orange.
“Sister Act,” depicts the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a turn after she witnesses a crime. For her protection, the cops hide her in a convent, where Cartier and the nuns forge a friendship over their vastly different music.
Country singer Kathy Mattea is scheduled for a holiday Christmas performance on Saturday, Dec. 6.
With close to thirty Top 40 country hits, the twice named Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year and Grammy award winner will perform old favorites and new songs from her holiday albums.
“Pull out your leg warmers and tear up your clothes.” Flashdance is coming Sunday, Jan. 4, Sanford said.
“Flashdance - The Musical,” features a score that includes the biggest hit songs from the 30-year-old movie, including the Academy Award-winning title song "Flashdance - What a Feeling," "Maniac," "Gloria," "Manhunt," and "I Love Rock & Roll."
“Guys and Dolls,” said to be the perfect Broadway musical show with lots of great dancing and music, is set for Friday, Feb. 6.
For a change of pace, celebrate Valentines Day, Saturday, Feb. 14, by taking your sweetheart for a special performance of Rioult Dance. The sensual, articulate and exquisitely musical modern dance performance showcases the works of Pascal Rioult, a former principal Martha Graham dancer.
On Monday, Feb. 23, “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” takes the Orange stage.
The Rock-n-roll musical features tells the true story of Buddy Holly through his short yet spectacular career, and features the classic songs "That'll be the Day," "Peggy Sue," "Oh Boy," "Everyday," "Not Fade Away," "Heartbeat," "True Love Ways," "Rave On," The Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace," Ritchie Valens' "LaBamba," and many more!
Jack Hanna, America’s favorite zookeeper is scheduled for a performance at the Lutcher Theater on Friday, Feb. 27.
“It’s a great family show,” Sanford said.
“Jack Hanna: Into The Wild LIVE,” will introduce some of the world's most spectacular animals. Jungle Jack will also share humorous stories and amazing exclusive footage from his worldwide adventures.
Montana Repertory Theatre continues to tell America's great stories with its production of F. Scott Fitzgerald's “The Great Gatsby,” set for one big performance Friday, March 6 in Orange.
“I Love Lucy Live” is the brand-new hit stage show sweeping the country. Adapted from the popular television comedy set in 1952, the tribute to the iconic program is scheduled for two performances, Tuesday, April 28, and Wednesday, April 29.
In each, the audience will be transported back to 1952, where the behind-the-scenes filming of two hilarious episodes takes place.
Rounding out the season is “Mamma Mia!” scheduled for Wednesday, June 17.
“If you love the music of Abba, you’ll love this. Everybody leaves clapping and doesn’t want to go home,” Sanford said.
The tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.
For more information or price of tickets, visit www.lutcher.org.