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Reynolds expands lineup, celebrates 15 years

Posted: August 29, 2014 - 5:03pm

Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall, in its 15 years as a performing arts venue in central Arkansas, has snagged some of the top names in the entertainment industry. Amanda Horton, University of Central Arkansas Public Appearances director, said Reynolds’ anniversary year will not be any different.

“Overall, we’ve sold more season passes than we have in the past,” Horton said.

She also said the introduction of the “Best of Reynolds” series brings the return of previously popular shows.

Nineteen shows are planned, though Horton said Reynolds will soon announce a 20th act for spring 2015.

Though declining to give a name for the performance, she provided a hint that might appeal to fans of other upcoming music-centered shows.

“For those interested in Ricky Skaggs and the Harlem Gospel Choir, this would be an event that would appeal to both of those groups,” Horton said.

The 2014-15 lineup includes Broadway, pops, lectures, family shows and anniversary celebration events.

The “Best of Reynolds” series welcomes back country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs, a capella group Straight No Chaser and comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.

Straight No Chaser, which sold out on the first day of ticket sales, returns for its third consecutive year. “An Evening with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood” first appeared in April 2011 on UCA’s campus. Skaggs has performed twice at Reynolds in 2001 and 2004.

Straight No Chaser performs at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29. Mochrie and Sherwood, stars of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15. Skaggs returns to UCA at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24, 2015.

Horton called this season “record-breaking” as a result of ticket sales from an expanded lineup.

About 10,798 tickets have been sold this season compared to 8,404 at the same time last year. Horton said Reynolds has sold an average of 569 tickets per show compared to 525 during the 2013-14 season.

Horton said an additional $74,000 was budgeted this year for the “Best of Reynolds” series.

Season tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 11 for the public and at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 for additional student tickets.

As a result of increasing the number of performances each year, Horton said the performance hall has an expanded budget, maintains a greater ability to draw higher quality performers and has developed prominence in central Arkansas as one of the top venues for the arts.

“It’s a goal of Reynolds to become the performing arts center in central Arkansas,” she said, emphasizing that UCA’s arts center is capable of besting other similar venues in the region.

Horton said Reynolds offers a unique venue where the community can celebrate the arts and become educated about a new art form.

Blue Man Group, sponsored by the Log Cabin Democrat, is one of the performers of main interest apart from the “Best of Reynolds” series.

“Blue Man Group is the largest performance we’ve ever done,” Horton said.

The act will require six trailer trucks to transport the necessary equipment for the performances at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 and 4. Blue Man Group was originally scheduled for only one night, Nov. 3.

“There was such excitement and hype that we added another show,” Horton said.

About 30 tickets for the Nov. 3 performance are available with about 200 on sale for Nov. 4.

Horton said students are most excited about Blue Man Group and Straight No Chaser, as well as musicals she said are reminiscent of the younger generations’ childhood – “Sister Act” and “The Great Gatsby.”

Tre Sandlin, a senior at UCA and Reynolds box office employee, said Blue Man Group and musician Randy Newman are among his top picks.

“This is our biggest season we’ve ever had,” he said. “Were just upping everything and getting the bigger talent.”

For more information about the 2014-15 season, visit uca.edu/reynolds or call the Reynolds box office at (501) 450-3265.

(Staff writer Brandon Riddle can be reached by email at brandon.riddle@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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