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10:02 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Prescott-area entertainment venues have big plans for 2016

(Courtesy photos)

(Courtesy photos)

The holidays are over and the New Year has begun; it's officially 2016. Just like last year, there is plenty of entertainment lined up for quad-city citizens and out-of-towners from around the state and beyond to enjoy, whether it's from the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, 117 E. Gurley St.; Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St.; Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St.; or the Prescott Valley Event Center, 2401 N. Main St.

The Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center continues to bring a number of musical acts to Prescott, including tributes to Tom Jones, Billy Joel and Elton John, Reba McEntire and the music of the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour, as well as non-musical shows. Some acts are returning too, so those who missed shows such as "December 63," "The Beatles Experience" and Sharon Owens' tribute to Barbra Streisand have another chance to check them out. Magician Aaron Radatz is also scheduled to appear later in January and Bobby Hendricks' Original Drifters will show up in February. Shows at the Elks can be found online at www.prescottelkstheater.com. Tickets to shows can be purchased online as well or by calling 928-777-1370 or going to the box office an hour before showtime.

Plenty of entertainment is also coming to Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, from Brian Regan in February and "Women of Ireland," an all-female lineup of Irish stepdancers, in March, to Alton Brown's "Eat Your Science" tour in May and the rock band Jay and the Americans in January. For a complete schedule, visit www.ycpac.com.

When it comes to Prescott Center for the Arts, 2016 will see an effort to use more of the black box theater known as Stage Too. The summer will see a 24-hour play festival as well as the new Prescott Summer Rep, featuring adult actors in three well-known comedies, PCA Executive Director Jon Meyer said. The shows will be chosen in a few weeks, he said.

"We realized we were underutilizing Stage Too. it is both a business and an artistic decision. We started out in Stage Too with six shows and felt that that was too much within the nine-month general season," Meyer said. "We also realized that when we went down to four shows and even Readers Theater ... it's sitting there, basically not doing anything over the summer, so we're just paying rent and not bringing in any income. So this is a way to help balance that, help our overall finances, give our adults more stuff to do over the summer."

The Summer Rep will open in the second week of July and close on Aug. 21, with the play festival on July 39.

Also this year, the PCA is drawing from all around the state for this year's Young Playwright's Festival, though it is difficult to get plays from outside of Yavapai County, Meyer said. There are about 31 submissions from Bradshaw Mountain High School, though.

The PCA is also working on finding its next season, Meyer said. That's planned by three different committees: the Summer Rep Committee, the Artistic Direction and Play Selection Committee and the Stage Too/Readers Theater Committee.

"I think what most people don't consciously realize is that we're a business, we have a product, but it's not a widget," Meyer said. "We are putting out a new product every month, and they're all different. They don't fit a mold, so it's a constant evolution."

They are considering bringing a third musical to the PCA season, Meyer said. That may mean taking away one of the non-musicals or bringing back a dedicated Christmas show in December. It takes careful looking at the calendar and figuring out how to fit it all in without burning people out, he said.

When it comes to figuring out what to put into the PCA season, it's a combination of business and artistic decisions, Meyer said.

"We certainly have to make sure that we're making money so we keep the doors open, but we also need to meet the needs of what people want to see," Meyer said.

The next main stage show is Christopher Durang's "Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike," debuting on Thursday, Jan. 21. It's considered a "risk show," because it's uncertain it will sell tickets or not offend people, Meyer said. He noted Durang is known as an angry, anti-Catholic playwright, but stated Durang left that behind for this play, which is not presented with the usual fangs. It won a Tony Award in 2013 and starred David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver, Meyer said. Plus, the PCA's show stars veterans Melanie Sapecky, Linda Fine and Jonathan Perpich.

"I would encourage people to come out and try it and not block it off just because it's Christopher Durang," Meyer said.

To see the PCA's current schedule, visit www.pc-az.net.

Entertainment isn't just in Prescott though, as the Prescott Valley Event Center does have events going on this year too, such as the 38th Annual Yavapai County Contractors Association Home and Garden Show in May and the ELEVATE Music Festival in June. Find the event center at www.prescottvalleyeventcenter.com.

By Jason Wheeler. Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2037, or at 928-642-5277.