Focusing on three different avenues of entertainment, Paxton Theatre owner Tim Koehl has announced the 2017 schedule for the Bainbridge icon.
“After three years of renovation, experimentation and preparation, this year’s schedule is jam-packed with what you asked for – quality, community-based shows, plays, concerts, workshops, presentations, vintage movies, youth theatre camp and presentation of ‘Shrek The Musical,’” Koehl said in a news release.
“It’s not about us, it’s about the theatre,” he added. “You might have a title to a place like the Paxton, but in reality we’re only caretakers for a short period of time. The theatre has been here for 108 years.”
The three avenues of entertainment include the Paint Valley Jamboree, which originated in 1964 and is the oldest venue of its kind in the state, according to Koehl; the Local & Live Series; and the Spotlight Theatre Series.
Up first at the theatre is the opening of this year’s Jamboree on Saturday, Feb. 4 with a show featuring Donna Cunningham and Brett Snively at 7 p.m. Other Jamboree performances will follow on the first and third Saturdays of the month, February through May and September through December.
This year’s Jamboree will be led by Shawn Adkins and band leader Jim Bristley and will feature improved stage sound and upgraded lighting, Koehl said.
Other Jamboree headliners will include Doug Jones on Feb. 18, LeighAnne Cooper on March 4, Bobby Blanton on March 18, Herb Day on April 1, Audie Wykle on April 15 and Riddle Call on May 20.
Single tickets are $10 at the door and season tickets are available through the box office at 740-634-3333 or online at PaxtonTheatre.com.
The theatre will also host another Paint Valley Jamboree Sings competition this year where potential Jamboree performers audition and compete in a reality TV style contest.
Auditions will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 and nine performers will be selected to perform at the Paxton later in front of a live audience. Three will perform with the Jamboree on March 4, three on March 18 and three on April 1. One winner will be chosen each of those evenings and the three finalists will perform with the Jamboree on April 15. The final winner will headline their own Jamboree show on May 6.
The Live & Local Series will open on Friday, Feb. 10 when The Van-Dells take the stage at 7 p.m.
“Every Van-Dells performance is an entertaining tribute to the ’50s and ’60s. Their upbeat shows are packed with comedy, choreography and all the greatest hits from doo-wop favorites to Motown classics and everything in between,” the news release said.
Other Live & Local Series performances include Tim Priest’s Branded Country band on Feb. 25, The Richard Lynch Band on March 25, McGuffey Lane on April 22, Aron Jones & The Kool Kats on March 27 and bluegrass bands Almost There and New Again on June 3.
The Spotlight Theatre Series starts later in the year, opening with the Children’s Theatre Camp starting June 19. Campers and families can check the theatre website on March 1 for information and registration.
Koehl said a complete season schedule of plays and musicals will also be announced on March 1.
This year will mark Koehl’s third full season with the theatre. He said that at the conclusion of almost every show he and his wife greet patrons as they leave and ask if they enjoyed the show and what other attractions they’d like to see.
“The key measure is not the number of tickets sold,” he said. “It’s are we creating an environment that attracts well-meaning, talented individuals that want to provide something positive for the community?”
Koehl said that in 2016 approximately 420 volunteers performed on the Paxton stage or helped with a production, and that 113 performers, contractors and staff members were paid.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.