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Carson's Broadway Series offers familiar in 2014-15

BY LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

"Tried and true" could well be the motto for the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center's upcoming Broadway Series.

The five shows in the 2014-2015 season mark a return to more familiar territory for the performing arts center, which features classic musicals and productions based on popular films, Executive Director Brian Laczko said.

"I think we need to have things on the season that are easily identifiable. And as we can afford to, we'll continue to bring in quality productions that people may not be aware of," Laczko said.

The previous season took a gamble with newer Broadway shows such as "Memphis," which debuted in 2009. Audience response was lukewarm, Laczko said, so he took a different approach to this year's shows.

Three shows - "Sister Act," "Guys and Dolls," and "Flashdance" - make up the Broadway Series' basic package. Subscribers can choose to add "Mamma Mia," "Stomp" or both to their subscription. Laczko said the center is banking on the appeal of the classic and the two movie adaptations to draw crowds.

"I think it's going to be a fun season, one that will be appealing to a broad range of attendees," said Laczko, adding that he's personally excited to see "Guys and Dolls."

"I think the music in it is some of the best, and (it has) some great one-liners," he admitted.

The performing arts center has also returned to a single-night showing of these selections, as attendance numbers couldn't support last year's two-night runs, Laczko said. Performances begin at 7:15 p.m.

The season kicks off with "Mamma Mia!," the feel-good musical featuring ABBA's greatest hits, on Oct. 15.

"Sister Act," which boasts a score by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken, follows on Oct. 22. The musical tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva who witnesses a crime and must go into hiding in a convent.

The new year starts with "Guys and Dolls," the oddball romantic comedy set in New York City. It rolls on stage January 13, 2015.

The story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and bar dancer by night, comes to life in "Flashdance," scheduled for Feb. 9.

The season concludes March 18 with "Stomp," an inventive stage show that incorporates dance, music and theatrical performance.

The Carson Center will begin accepting subscription renewals 10 a.m. this Thursday. For more information, visit thecarsoncenter.org or call the box office at 270-450-4444. The box office is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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