Posted on December 10, 2013
Originally published in the El Dorado News-Times on December 11, 2013.
The unveiling of the 2014 calendar of events Tuesday night heralded the jubilee celebration of the South Arkansas Arts Center.
Its benefactors were feted with a reception inside the center?s Merkle Gallery followed by a snapshot of the 2014 lineup, which is headlined by the collaborative staging of "Les Miserables.?
A co-production of the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and El Dorado High School Thespian Troupe #42, the performance at the El Dorado High School Theatre opens April 24, with additional showings the 25,27, 28 and 29.
Billed as the longest running Broadway show, the production will feature "Les Miserables? stalwart Craig Schulman wholly inhabiting the lead of Jean Valjean.
He?ll be proceeding along well-worn tracks, having portrayed Hugo?s regenerative convict almost 2,000 times on Broadway and around the world. He?ll also be directing.
George Maguire, the 50th Anniversary Celebration chairman, informed the audience that the community will underwrite the production and urged "complete community involvement,? inviting the community to lend financial support.
SAAC will pivot to lighter fare with its summer production of "9 to 5: The Musical,? running July 10-20. In October it will stage "Zinnias: "The Life of Clementine Hunter.? The one-act opera performed in homage to Hunter, the autodidactic African American folk artist whose work portrays plantation life during the early 20th Century, runs Oct. 23-28.
The season concludes Dec. 11-13 with "50 Years on Stage at the SAAC,? a retrospective of past performances.
Combining exhibitions of visual arts and a full calendar of special events with 2014?s four theatrical performances, the 50th season is consonant with the SAAC?s two-pronged mission, Maguire said.
"We?re here to educate and entertain,? he told the audience. "After we present to you this year?s lineup, I think you will all agree that we?ve done a good job of achieving both those objectives.?
According to a press release, the SAAC has hosted visual art exhibitions, locally produced theatre productions and provided fine arts education since 1964.
"The SAAC has a rich history of artistic education in the community, and we strive to continually present fresh experiences to our patrons, some of whom have been regular guests for fifty years,? said Jack Wilson, the SAAC?s executive director, in the press release.
2014 Visual arts exhibits:
? Jan. 1-Feb.8: Artists in education.
? Feb. 9-28: Children?s art exhibit.
? April 1-30: Membership exhibit.
? May 1-31: Showcase of local artists.
? June 1-30: Gulf Shores artists.
? July 1-31: Juried art show and competition.
? Aug. 2-31: SAAC permanent collection exhibit.
? Sept. 1-Oct. 31: Clementine Hunter exhibit.
? Nov. 1-Dec. 31: Carroll Cloar exhibit.
2014 theatre productions:
? April 24-25; 27-29: "Les Miserables,? presented at the El Dorado High School Theatre.
? July 10-20: "9 to 5: The Musical.?
? Oct. 23-28: "Zinnias: The Life of Clementine Hunter.?
? Dec. 11-13: "50 Years on Stage at the SAAC.?
2014 special events:
? Feb. 6: Artists in education reception.
? March 28-29: "SAAC Documentary Film.?
? May 5-9: SAAC lunch culinary revival (also repeated on the opening night of each theatrical production).
? May 23-24: Juilliard pianist Colton Peltier.
? June 2-6: Ballet workshop with Marilyn Russell.
? June and July: Summer art camp series.
? Sept.18-20: El Dorado Film Festival.
? Nov. 7-9: Johnie Walker Murphy Excellence in Art.
? Nov. 23: El Dorado Chorale?s annual holiday performance." "SAAC Presents Christmas Opera – Wednesday, December 11, 2013"