Carson Center preps as new season nears

Steven Curtis Chapman (center) waves at the crowd during his performance at the Carson Center last February. With September nearly here, the performing arts center is well into its preparations for the new season.

Contributed photo

With September nearly here, the Carson Center staff is well into its preparations for the front half of their season, which they're hoping will be one for the books.

Of particular note to Mary Katz, the venue's executive director, is this year's Broadway series.

"I'm super excited about our Broadway season, specifically the fact that we have another tech coming," she said. "Last year, we teched a Broadway show for the first time in Carson Center history with 'White Christmas' and this year we'll have two weeks with a touring company that is coming straight off Broadway."

Tech is short for technical rehearsal. This means that a touring company, in this case "Once On This Island: The Musical," will be coming to Paducah to figure out exactly how their production is pulling off certain aspects of the show, such as lighting and sound cues, effects and wire work. After the company gets the show completely down, they will perform the first show of their tour on Oct. 12.

"This whole teching experience has really put us on the map with Broadway," Katz added. "The exciting part for me is getting to watch these professionals interact with and spend a lot of money in Paducah. They'll be buying equipment, staying in local hotels, eating at restaurants, renting cars and maybe visiting other arts organizations, as well."

Katz is also excited to bring all the area Parrotheads a treat when the performing arts center hosts a production of the jukebox musical "Escape to Margaritaville" on Nov. 4.

"Of course, everybody loves Jimmy Buffett," she said. "We're going to be doing a lot of extra little things with that show like margarita parties and things like that. Hopefully we can get just a lot of musical fans interested in coming in."

Also included in the Broadway slate will be a production of "Fiddler On The Roof" on Dec. 26.

The holiday programming will be in full swing by November, and Katz has planned a full slate of seasonal performances this year.

"We have a brand new musical that should delight kids of all ages and adults as well, because at this point we'll have all participated in this tradition in some way," Katz said. "We'll be bring 'The Elf on the Shelf' musical to the Carson Center Nov. 17. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I think kids will really gravitate towards that."

Other holiday-themed programming will include The Oak Ridge Boys Down Home Christmas Nov. 29; the return of the stunt-filled Cirque Dreams Holidaze show Dec. 1; the Paducah Symphony Orchestra's Christmas Celebration Dec. 7; and an all-secular Christmas concert from Australia's Ten Tenors Dec. 15.

Other events at the Carson Center in the first half of its season include:

• Reza -- Edge of Illusion, Sept. 19.

• The Pop 2000 Tour, featuring Lance Bass, O-Town, Aaron Carter, Ryan Cabrera and Tyler Hilton; Sept. 20.

• The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sept. 28.

• Jordan Feliz, Oct. 20.

• Josh Turner, Nov. 1.

• The Great Russian Nutcracker, Nov. 9.

• The Vienna Boys Choir, Nov. 11.

• Jeff Dunham, Nov. 15.

• Wild Kratts Live 2.0, Nov. 19.

For more information or to inquire about tickets, visit

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