Grammy winners, multi-platinum artists headline DeWitt Series

HAMLET — The DeWitt Performing Arts Series will feature two multi-platinum recording artists this season, as well as a Grammy-winning Broadway musical revue and many more attractions at the Robert L. and Elizabeth S. Cole Auditorium on the campus of Richmond Community College

Smokey Joes“America’s Band,” The Beach Boys, will carry summer into November with a performance at the Cole on Nov. 5, while 1990s country hit-maker Collin Raye will wrap up the series with a show April 17. Other features throughout the six-show season include Grammy-winning “Smokey Joe’s Café,” a piano battle, Rhythm of the Dance and a performance by folk family royalty Livingston Taylor and Tom Chapin.

The shows

The season will open Oct. 21 with “Smokey Joe’s Café,” the longest running musical revue in Broadway history. The two-act performance showcases 39 pop music standards, including hit songs recorded by Elvis, The Coasters, The Drifters and Aretha Franklin. Headlining the show will be super group, The Coasters, who will bring to life some of the most recognizable songs of the 1950s and ’60s from the songwriting team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller.

The sounds of the ’60s roll on in November as The Beach Boys bring their catalogue of hits to the Cole. The group has had more than 80 songs chart worldwide, 36 of which cracked the U.S. Top 40, the most by an American rock band. Four of The Beach Boys’ singles – “I Get Around,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Good Vibrations” and “Kokomo” – all reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

Folk icons Livingston Taylor and Tom Chapin will headline the Dec. 4 show at the Cole, which will include songs celebrating Christmas. In a career that spans five decades, 24 albums and three Grammy awards, the multi-talented singer-songwriter-guitarist Tom Chapin has traveled two long and productive parallel musical paths, both as a treasured contemporary folk artist and as a pioneer in the field of children’s music. Both he and Taylor bring their own unique sound and repertoire to the stage and then blend their talent together, presenting a memorable evening of song and superior musicianship.

Beach BoysFollowing a holiday hiatus, the DeWitt Performing Arts Series will return in February with a battle of pianos on Feb. 10. Audience participation is a hallmark of this interactive exhibition that pits two pianists vying for the crowd’s approval. The brainchild of internationally accomplished pianists Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis, the Piano Battle features the duo charming and enchanting the audience with a variety of classical pieces. The two artists, with distinctly different performance styles, take turns performing pieces by composers such as Chopin, Liszt and Debussy.

The following month will be a St. Patrick’s Day celebration as Rhythm of the Dance relives the history of Celtic dance and features the National Dance Company of Ireland. This will be the first international DeWitt Series performance in several years. The show features talented and energetic dancers in a two-hour extravaganza, showcasing a wealth of talent derived from all areas of Irish life. Showcasing the arts of dance and music and infusing theatrical elements, this richly costumed show marries the contemporary, the ancient and the entertaining.

The DeWitt series will conclude in April with a performance by classic country artist Collin Raye, whose show includes a tribute to Glenn Campbell.

Raye, who charted several Top Ten hits in the 1990s and early 2000s, recorded four No. 1 singles – “Love, Me,” “In This Life,” “My Kind of Girl” and “I Can Still Feel You.” More recently, Raye has released an album of inspirational songs dedicated to the memory of his late granddaughter and featuring gospels standards, and “Still on the Line,” a tribute to country legend Glenn Campbell.

Ticket information

Season tickets holders from the 2013-2014 season are given first opportunity to renew the seats they had for the past season. After that, new subscribers are assigned seats.

Season ticket prices range from $115 to $145 per seat and include reserved-seating tickets for all six shows. Although individual show tickets may be available, purchasing season tickets affords patrons a large cost savings and guarantees seats for the shows.

“Our season ticket prices are cheaper than what you will find for comparable season line-ups in other cities in large part thanks to the support of the DeWitt family, who has help with financial support since the facility opened in 1999,” said Cole Auditorium Director Joey Bennett.

Request for seats are filled based on the order they are received.

Cole Auditorium staff will be offering patrons who purchase season tickets the opportunity to join ‘The Director’s Circle.” This optional membership-giving program supports the RCC Foundation and offers special privileges for members, including a meet and greet with the performers.

A full season brochure can be viewed on the auditorium’s website at www.richmondcc.edu/cole-auditorium.

The box office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also call the box office at 910-410-1691. Information is also available on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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