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That's entertainment -- 2016-17 season at Memorial Auditorium has diverse options

WORTHINGTON -- From the pop-rock hits of The Eagles to the plaintive tunes of John Denver to the harmonic croonings of the Andrews Sisters, Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC) promises a wide range of entertainment in the coming year.

“We have something for everybody,” assured Tammy Makram, MAPAC’s managing director.

“Honestly, I look at this season and believe you can’t get anything like it in the area without traveling all the way to the Twin Cities once a month.”

With the Friends of the Auditorium (FOTA) having recently unveiled MAPAC’s 2016-17 calendar, Makram urges Tri-State residents to do two things -- become contributing members of FOTA and buy tickets.

“When you are a FOTA member, you receive a discount on all tickets purchased,” noted Makram.

“And depending on your membership level, you may receive one or more complimentary tickets for shows. It’s definitely smart to become a member prior to buying tickets so you can take advantage of that discount.”

A newly designed FOTA website (friendsoftheauditorium.com) makes it a snap to check out the options and either order tickets or complete membership data online.

“It’s the same web address but the entire site has been re-done,” clarified Makram. “It’s easier to access information and look at the different shows coming up, as well as find out which weekly movies are being shown.”

The 2016-17 season kicks off in a hurry; the Dakota Players Children’s Theatre is in town this week working with at least 30 local kids to mount a production of “The Superhero Show.”

“A musical performance of ‘The Superhero Show’ is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, and the public is welcome to come and see what these kids can do in just five days,” recommended Makram.

At 7 p.m. Sept. 10, the popular act “The Fabulous Armadillos: Tribute to the Eagles” will take the stage.

“They were a sell-out when they played here in the fall of 2014, and they’ve been our most requested show,” observed Makram.

“It took us this long to get them back because they’ve basically been booked solid for close to two years; they’re definitely the hot ticket in the region, and we’ve already sold about 300 seats for this show, so people should get their tickets fast or risk being disappointed.”

Later in the month, local talent will entertain at the Sept. 24 “Corn off the Cob” fundraising performance.

“Corn off the Cob will have lots of great music, comedy and dance,” guaranteed Makram.

In October, a one-of-a-kind performance dubbed “From My Backyard” will occur when famed photographer/photo-journalist Jim Brandenburg, along with Worthington native and celebrated musician Noah Hoehn, join forces with Michael Monroe.

“This is a huge event for Worthington,” said Makram of the Oct. 15 date. “It will be a very unique multi-media performance featuring Jim Brandenburg’s photography accompanied by the live music of Michael Monroe and Noah Hoehn.”

Monroe and Hoehn have previously worked together, Makram explained, and Brandenburg and Monroe have collaborated, but it will be a first for the three to share the same stage.

“Worthington is, of course, close to the hearts and homes of both Jim and Noah, and this will also be a wonderful way for the auditorium to demonstrate its new surround-sound and projection system,” said Makram.

A group anointed by the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, as well as being twice featured at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual convention, will return to Worthington on Dec. 10.

“Monroe Crossing was here several years ago, and they’re one of the best bluegrass groups that exist,” said Makram. “They perform worldwide, and they’re going to present a holiday concert this December.”

On New Year’s Eve, Makram has booked a two-person Twin Cities-based act which will offer “Theatre of Fools: A New Year’s Eve of Serious Nonsense.”

“It’s a comedy show with a story intertwined, delivered in an old-fashioned vaudeville style,” described Makram.

With the new year comes the Shapiro & Smith Dance Company and their “Flappers and Suffragettes” program.


“They’ll work with local dance studios and incorporate some local students into their show,” said Makram of the Jan. 21 event.

A seven-piece band, Dennis Curley & Friends, will share a tribute to the songs of John Denver on March 4.

“The whole night is devoted to John Denver’s music,” said Makram, “and this group has sold out every show they’ve put on at the metro area’s Plymouth Playhouse in the past year.

“We’re really fortunate they were able to fit us into their schedule.”

“Gone Country,” another local talent feature focusing on country western music, is slated for March 25, while a decidedly professional collection of musicians will deliver “Cash, Perkins, Elvis & Lewis: One Night in Memphis” on April 8.

“This commemorates one night in December 1956 when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley all got together for a jam session in Memphis,” detailed Makram.

“Some of the same performers who were involved with the fantastic ‘Winter Dance Party’ show here last season are part of this, plus a few more.”

And on April 29, the Minnesota History Theatre’s acclaimed traveling performance of “The Andrews Sisters: Sisters of Swing” is set to sing.

“That will be incredible,” assured Makram. “It’s the story of the Andrews Sisters, and over 20 of their hit songs are included.”

Makram is delighted to present a well-rounded season of entertainment at MAPAC, and she hopes the public will respond enthusiastically to the lineup.

“The more people who attend the shows, and the more memberships we receive, the more we can do to continue improving the auditorium,” she said.

“And the more improvements we make, the higher the caliber of shows we can attract. Ultimately, more attendees and more memberships mean we can make it bigger and better each year.”

The Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center’s box office, 714 13th St., Worthington, is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phone 507-376-9101, “like” Memorial Auditorium on Facebook, email thememorialauditorium@gmail.com, or visit friendsoftheauditorium.com for more information about memberships and 2016-17 shows.