By Marilyn Delk
One of my fondest memories is of the great time I once had in a Chicago piano bar, happily having fun singing along with the performers and others in the crowd — sometimes to songs I didn’t even know! Therefore, I am eagerly looking forward to Darke County Center for the Arts upcoming Coffee House show at Union City’s Art Depot on Thursday, Feb. 24 when DCCA presents Heartland Productions’ artists performing music from the Great American Songbook and more in “piano-bar style.”
Vocalists Lisa Marie Gerstenkorn and David Bobay will perform songs from a playlist that includes Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World,” Carole King’s/James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” and, fittingly, Billy Joel’s signature tune “Piano Man.” The duo will be accompanied by multi-talented conductor, composer, teacher, and pianist Robert Nance, who is the President and Founding Artistic Director of Heartland Sings, Inc., a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based company of professional vocal artists and ensembles founded in 1997. Heartland Productions states its inspiring purpose as being “dedicated to changing lives through song.”
DCCA’s Coffee House presentations provide highly skilled professional artists performing in a comfortable intimate space where a real connection is made between performers and audience, providing a memorable experience for all concerned. The Arts Depot provides a delightful backdrop for this performance; this historical treasure, built in 1913, welcomed passengers traveling by rail for many years before being lovingly restored to house art exhibits and performances. The show from Heartland Productions, which sounds like a lot of fun for everyone, starts at 7 p.m.
And then, on Sunday, Feb. 27, DCCA will open its 2021-2022 Family Theatre Series at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville with Rapunzel’s Hairy Fairy Tale, a hilarious retelling of the classic story from The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. A cast of two incredibly talented actors will portray an array of characters in this fresh adaptation of a story first published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.
Fairy tales predate the written word, with stories passed down in the oral tradition for generations, eventually contributing to English language classics such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, as well as many Shakespearean plays. This version of Rapunzel features Jackson Hirt as Socrates, Sir Roderick, Edgar, and Lady Zaza, characters unknown to me but that I am looking forward to discovering, and Brandi Langford-Sherrill as “Forest Woman” as well as the title character. Once again, this sounds like a lot of fun that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.
And this show takes place in historic St. Clair Memorial Hall, the legacy of highly successful grocer Henry St. Clair who in 1910 bequeathed funds for erecting a grand building to be used for the “betterment of the public schools.” Completed in 1912, this impressive home of Greenville City School’s executive offices has seen hundreds of performances take place within the acoustically amazing auditorium, which over a century later continues to warmly welcome dazzled new audiences as well as seasoned returning patrons to its comfortable environs.
Tickets to these two fun-filled shows are available by contacting DCCA on-line at www.DarkeCountyArts.org, by mail at P.O. Box 718, Greenville, OH 45331, by calling 937-547-0908, or by making an appointment to visit DCCA’s office on the third floor of Greenville Public Library; office hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Tickets for the Coffee House concert by Heartland Productions are $10, and will also be available at the Arts Depot the night of the show. Tickets for Rapunzel’s Hairy Fairy Tale cost just $5 each, and will be available at the door or can be purchased at Greenville Public Library, 520 Sycamore Street, Readmore Hallmark in downtown Greenville, and at Versailles Public Library, 790 South Center Street. Or contact DCCA to purchase season tickets for the Family Theatre Series which includes Virginia Repertory Theatre’s Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad on Sunday, Mar. 13, and Mr. C’s Full Steam Ahead LIVE! on Sunday, Apr. 24. Admission to the entire season costs just $12 for all 3 shows — affordable fun for almost everyone.
Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.