Goal for 2013-14: 'Something for everyone'
Effingham Performance Center has full schedule
You can't please all the people all the time, but the Effingham Performance Center is taking a good stab at it.
The upcoming 2013-14 season has classic rock, country, comedy, live theater and children's shows.
Among the acts who will perform: country music star Trace Adkins; country legend Merle Haggard; the Oak Ridge Boys; Champaign favorite REO Speedwagon; and the Gaither Vocal Band.
Besides the big-name acts, there are $5 local act nights.
"We want to serve the people of Effingham County — all the people — so we try to have something for everyone," said Rich Jorn, the director of operations at Effingham Performance Center. "That includes showcasing local artists."
The center has 1,523 seats, and Jorn says he wants them filled with "children, adults and grandparents" for a variety of musical and stage acts.
Formerly the Rosebud, the center has operated since 2010, the year Jorn joined the operation. It's owned by Arts Connection of central Illinois, a not-for-profit organization established for the citizens of Effingham County and its environs to showcase arts and entertainment. The center's mission statement is "to encourage interaction with and appreciation of live performance, to endorse the educational process and to enhance the quality of life and cultural vitality of the region."
So you can enhance the quality of your life with Merle Haggard. Or the Oak Ridge Boys, who will be at the center on April 25.
"The Hag" is still at it at 76, singing "Okie From Muskogee" and "Mama Tried." He'll play Oct. 30 in Effingham.
The season kicks off with a tribute to an Outlaw buddy of Haggard's: the Broadway production of "Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash" on Sept. 25.
Adkins is scheduled for Nov. 15. The Gaither Vocal Band will perform March 28. And REO Speedwagon will travel south from its homeland of Champaign on Feb. 8.
Jorn, who did lighting work for major rock acts when he lived in New England, is particularly fired up by The Winery Dogs on Oct. 19.
The supergroup of metal bands formed last year and just put out its self-titled debut album.
"These are guys who are seasoned, major performers coming together," Jorn said.
The band includes vocalist and guitarist Richie Kotzen from Poison and Mr. Big. Billy Sheehan, who played with Steve Vai and David Lee Roth, has won the "Best Rock Bass Player" readers' poll from Guitar Player Magazine five times. Drummer Mike Portnoy was the co-founder of progressive metal band Dream Theater.
Winery Dogs "did a little tour in Japan, then South America, and they're now hitting the States, so for most people, this will be the first chance to see them," Jorn said.
For comedy fans, there's Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff Davis and Chip Esten from CW's "Whose Line is it Anyway," Nov. 1.
The Irish Comedy Tour is March 12; The Legend Continues, a tribute to Red Skelton, is Feb. 15; and Bill Engvall of The Blue Collar Comedy Tour will offer two shows on May 3.
Family programs include two performances on Nov. 23 of "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells"; "The Five Little Monkeys" play adaptation from the series of books by Eileen Christelow, April 12; and "Jack Hanna's Into the Wild LIVE," May 10.
Also featured in the 2013-14 season is an evening in the church basement: "A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement," the fourth installment in the Church Basement Ladies saga, twice on April 1.
Holiday shows will include Branson on the Road Christmas Style, in two performances Nov. 22. Three Chicks and a Stage will perform "It's A Wonderful Life" on Dec. 7-8. And "Home for the Holidays — American Big Band," will be offered Dec. 19.
The Ash Brothers' New Year's Eve show, starting at 8 p.m. Dec. 31, will be a tribute to the band Alabama.
Jorn said there may be some surprises as the season goes on.
"There are some things we're looking at we're not ready to set dates for," he said. "Once bands decide they're ready to tour, that changes the name of the game."
For more details, call or visit the Effingham Performance Center box office at 1325 Outer Belt West, at Exit 160 at the crossing of Interstates 57 and 70, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. Or call 540-2788 for the box office. Tickets also may be ordered at http://www.theEPC.org or http://www.Ticketmaster.com.