Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 15, 2018

Center announces 2017-18 Artist Series

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jul 20, 2017
STOMP! will perform Jan. 25.

The Fairfield Arts & Convention Center has released the acts that will perform during its 2017-18 Artist Series.

Eighteen performances ranging from musicians to magicians to acrobats will grace the Sondheim stage from the opening act on Sept. 15 until the final show May 18.

The theme of this year’s series is “Cheers to 10 Years,” a nod to the center’s decade in operation. To celebrate the occasion, youth and student ticket prices have been reduced from $15 to $10.

Rustin Lippincott, executive director of the center, said he lowered the ticket price because he wants more people to experience the thrill of a stage production.

“Our mission is to bring live entertainment to small-town Iowa,” he said.

Tickets to artist series shows range from $28 to $49. They go on sale to donors and sponsors Monday, and to the general public July 31. The center will offer once again its “pick packages” that provide discounts for buying tickets to multiple shows.

Lippincott said the convention center was relatively unknown when he took the reins as its director in 2009. Since then, he has built relationships in the industry and rubbed shoulders with the major booking agencies in the country.

“We’ve earned a reputation for providing a full audience, and the performers respond to that,” he said.

The center’s notoriety has allowed it to attract big-name acts, the kind normally seen at much larger auditoriums like the Des Moines Civic Center or Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. The Fairfield Arts & Convention Center is no longer a secret.

“In 2009, less than 10 percent of our audience was coming from outside the county, and now it’s 60 percent,” Lippincott said.

Through ticket sales and customer surveys, Lippincott has learned what acts the public wants to see at the center. Broadway shows are the most popular, followed by country music. Illusionists, acrobats and kids’ shows are tied for third. Lippincott made sure there was a little of everything in this year’s artist series.

The following is a list of the artist series shows, including a description supplied by the convention center.


2017-18 Artist Series

• “An Evening with Blues Traveler’s John Popper: The Hits, The Stories, The Experience of the Harmonica Wielding Front Man,” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15.

John Popper, the iconic, charismatic lead singer of Blues Traveler, the popular rock and jam band from the 1990s celebrating their 30th anniversary this fall, brings his harmonica and bandmate Ben Wilson, on piano, to share an evening at the Sondheim.

• “Flip FabriQue: Catch Me!” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29.

Experience soaring acrobats, trampoline superstars, mesmerizing hula-hoopers, daring diabolos and spellbinding jugglers — wrapped in humor and joy. “Flip Fabrique,” the exciting new faces of Canadian circus, bring a party like you’ve never seen to the Sondheim and you’re on the invite list.

• “A Night with Janis Joplin: The Events That Made the Woman. The Woman Who Made the Music. The Music that Changed History,” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5.

Share an evening with the woman and her musical influences in the Tony-nominated Broadway hit. “A Night with Janis Joplin” is a musical journey celebrating the inspirations of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest legends. Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock ‘n’ roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort, made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock.

• “Martial Artists and Acrobats of Tianjin, People’s Republic of China,” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14.

For the first time in North America, the “Martial Artists and Acrobats of Tianjin, People’s Republic of China,” perform a new show highlighting their award winning superior skill with thrilling acrobatics, circus acts, illusion and mesmerizing martial arts. Lippincott said the Chinese acrobatic acts he’s gotten have been sell outs every year.

• John Anderson, Unplugged: at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27.

John Anderson is a country music treasure with 40 hits, including seven No. 1 songs. He is one of the greatest country music singers ever to step up to the microphone, possessing one of the most instantly recognizable vocal instruments in the history of Nashville music. He sold out the Sondheim when he performed there in 2012.

• Lonestar: 20th anniversary tour, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11.

Known for merging their country roots with strong melodies and rich vocals, Lonestar has amassed 10 million albums sold since their national rise to stardom in 1995. Back with lead singer Richie McDonald and all original bandmates, Lonestar’s career achievements consists of 10 No. 1 hits including “Smile,” “What About Now,” “I’m Already There,” “My Front Porch Looking In,” “Mr. Mom,” “Tell Her,” “Let’s Be Us Again,” “No News,” “Come Crying To Me,” and their crossover smash “Amazed,” which was also No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

• “The Mac King Comedy Magic Show,” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18.

Mac King has been named the Las Vegas “Entertainer of the Year” and the “No. 1 family show in Vegas.” He is known as the “magician’s magician,” and was named “Magician of the Year,” by the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

• “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live! On Stage,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 7.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the Emmy and Peabody award-winning story by Charles M. Schulz, has warmed the hearts of millions of fans since it first aired on television over 50 years ago. Now the classic animated television special comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation featuring all of your favorite characters and classic Vince Guaraldi score.

• “The Wizard of Oz,” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4.

There truly is no place like home as the greatest family musical of all time, the wonderful “Wizard of Oz,” twists its way to the Sondheim Theater. The entire family will be captivated as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road and beyond with Dorothy, Toto and their friends the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in this lavish production, featuring breathtaking special effects, dazzling choreography and classic songs.

• “STOMP! The International Percussion Sensation,” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25.

STOMP! is explosive, provocative, sophisticated, sexy, utterly unique and appeals to audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered an armful of awards, rave reviews and appearances on national television shows.

• “Edge of Illusion,” featuring award-winning master illusionist Reza, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9.

Intriguing. Engaging. Captivating. You will cross over a threshold of disbelief moments after REZA takes the Sondheim stage by storm. With breathtaking spectacle, mind-blowing sleight of hand and endearing charm, acclaimed master illusionist Reza will captivate you with this astonishing “Edge of Illusion.”

• “Gobsmacked!” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22

This next-generation a cappella show redefines the limits of the human voice. Featuring the reigning world champion beatboxer Ball-Zee and an international cast of world-class vocalists, “Gobsmacked!” weaves stories through all forms of a cappella from traditional street corner harmonies to cutting edge, multitrack live looping. Fairfield High School’s Vox a cappella choir shares the stage for this heart-stopping and jaw-dropping break out show.

• “Amazing Grace: The Song the World Knows. The Story it Doesn’t,” at 7:30 p.m. March 9.

“Amazing Grace,” coming off its 2015 Broadway run, is an original musical based on the awe-inspiring true story behind the world’s most beloved song. A captivating tale of romance, rebellion and redemption, this radiant production follows one man whose incredible journey ignited a historic wave of change.

• John Conlee, country music legend, at 7:30 p.m. March 24.

He’s been called the “man with the golden voice.” Country music icon and Grand Ole Opry member John Conlee, who’s chartered 32 singles and eight No. 1 hits, has used his voice and pen to champion the working class, since he hit Nashville in 1982.

• “Tao: Drum Heart,” at 7:30 p.m. April 5.

With explosive taiko drumming and innovative, acrobatic choreography, “Tao: Drum Heart” offers a breathtaking, vibrantly modern twist on the ancient art of Japanese drumming and a visual and sonic tour de force. This modern production captures the best of TAO’S extraordinary precision, energy and stamina.

• “Cabaret,” at 7:30 p.m. April 27.

Welcome to the infamous Kit Kat Klub, where the Emcee, Sally Bowles and a raucous ensemble take the stage nightly to tantalize the crowd — and to leave their troubles outside. But as life in pre-WWII Germany grows more and more uncertain, will the decadent allure of Berlin night life be enough to get them through their dangerous times?

• “The Hit Men: Time Travel Tour,” at 7:30 p.m. May 12.

The Hit Men feature founding member Jimmy Ryan of Fairfield and many who performed with Frankie Valli, Elton John, Carole King, Cat Stevens and more. Want to feel like you’re 23 years old again? Time travel through the most magnificent years of rock ‘n’ roll with the Hit Men.

• “MJ Live! Tribute to the King of Pop — Michael Jackson,” at 7:30 p.m. May 18.

Michael Jackson’s legacy of music, dance, love and unity will moonwalk across the Sondheim stage. Witness the distinct music and pure joy of the legendary King of Pop and relive the energy, excitement and spectacle that is MJ. Performing nightly at the Stratosphere, MJ LIVE features the No. 1 Las Vegas impersonator, capturing the essence of MJ, singing and triple-spinning his way through Michael’s catalog complete with the MJ LIVE band, backup singers, dancers and dazzling choreography ... just like the King of Pop.

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