Monthly Archives

August 2018

Event Preview: Southern Fried Chicks’ “Cage-Free Comedy Tour”

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Three funny ladies known as the Southern Fried Chicks bust out of the hen house next month, arriving in Livermore for a night of fun with their new show called the “Cage-Free Comedy Tour!” This multimedia show consists of free-range comedy, stories, music, singing, and dancing. Keep reading if you’re at all interested in “blue-collar comedy hour with better hair and bigger attitude.”

Since they made their debut on Country Music Television, the Southern Fried Chicks have packed venues across the country, poking fun at life and love in the USA. Let’s take a closer look at each of the chicks.

Etta May

Etta, once named the American Comedy Award’s “Comic of the Year,” has been described as “Minnie Pearl with a migraine.” Not only is Etta a regular on CMT, but she’s also been seen on “Oprah,” “Comic Strip Live,” and “Comedy Stage.” Etta is even an audience favorite on XM/Sirius Radio Comedy Channels and the syndicated radio show “The Bob and Tom Show.”

Karen Mills

Karen finds the funny in everyday life in a style that’s clean, clever, and relatable. The Tennessee native is a regular on Sirius/XM Blue Collar Radio and Laugh USA. Known for her “Menopause Rap,” a top download on iTunes and her “Hot Flash Mob” video on YouTube, she has toured with Joan Rivers, Ron White, and Jon Stewart.

Sonya White

Originally from Virginia and now a resident of Chicago, Sonya combines southern charm with big city street smarts to deliver dead-on impersonations and cartoon voices from the Cartoon Network. Sonya played a major role in “Girls Behaving Badly,” “Comedy Spotlight,” and “The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.” She has also appeared on “Nightshift” and “Big Brother Jake.”

Comedy Shows in Livermore

The Southern Fried Chicks’ “Cage-Free Comedy Tour” is just the start of a season filled with great opportunities to enjoy comedy at the Bankhead. The famed San Francisco Comedy Competition, known for helping launch the careers of such legends as Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, and Ellen DeGeneres, makes its annual semifinal circuit stop on September 21.

One of the top comedic voices in the country, Tom Papa makes a welcome return to Livermore on October 25. Then laugh through the holidays with Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “Ultimate Christmas Show,” the tongue-in-cheek post-Valentine’s Day show “It’s Not Your, It’s Me” with Chicago’s The Second City, and Late Night Catechism’s Easter show, “Will My Bunny Go to Heaven?” The annual return of The Capitol Steps with their timely, razor-sharp political satire closes the season in May.

Stand-up comedy also lights up the Bothwell Arts Center with the return of last year’s sold-out show “One Night, Three Women, Too Funny,” starring local comedians Regina Stoops, Stacey Gustafson, and Margaret Zhao on September 29, 2018.

The performance

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is excited to welcome the Southern Fried Chicks for one night only on Saturday, September 1 at 8 p.m. All tickets for this relaxed night of fun are just $40 with $20 tickets available for students and active military personnel.

Two Firsts for the Bankhead

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We’re marking two major firsts this fall with our brand new production of the compelling Tony Award-winning play “Red” by John Logan. The two-man play captures a pivotal period in the tumultuous career of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. This will be the FIRST show fully produced by Livermore Performing Arts Center and also the FIRST production at the Bankhead in a “stage on stage” setting.  Both the set and audience will be positioned directly on the stage.

While the Bankhead Theater has welcomed theatrical productions since it opened in 2007, most have been single performances of small-scale touring plays. More complex plays and musicals are difficult to mount for a single performance. In looking to add more theatrical productions, LVPAC’s Executive Director Scott Kenison found that a small “stage-on-stage” approach could be as cost effective as a touring show. For “Red,” the set and audience will be positioned between the fire curtain and the rear wall.  As Scott said, the raw, industrial sense of the space will help create an appropriate visual backdrop for Rothko’s New York Bowery studio and the intimate, stage-on-stage setting will enhance the emotional connection between the audience and the work’s dramatic action.

He initially discussed staging the project with other local organizations, however many are busy during their fall season. Bringing the project inside also provided other benefits, as Scott believes it is the nature of people involved in the creative arts to seek and be inspired by opportunities to broaden their horizons and use their skills. We’ve established a reputation for presenting great artists and for supporting local groups through our resident company program and educational outreach. Now with ‘Red’ we can build on that, leveraging the creative energy, production skills, and administrative strengths we already have in place to produce, as well as present, great works.

The project is underwritten in part by the LVPAC Producer’s Fund, which was established to support projects or guest artists that expand and stretch the organization’s artistic efforts. The natural connection between LVPAC’s involvement in both the performing arts and the visual arts, at the Bankhead Theater and at the Bothwell Arts Center, yields exciting opportunities to experience both.  On display in the Bankhead Gallery during “Red” will be “The Art of Drama,” an exhibit of works curated by the Bothwell that express the concept of drama as seen through the eyes of a variety of local artists. Look for other related events as well.

“Red” opens Thursday, October 18, 2018 for Five Performances

Click HERE to read more about the play

Or BUY tickets now!

Event Preview: Rockapella and The Company Men

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The Bankhead Theater is excited to welcome two male vocal groups whose sleek harmonies and full band sound create pure music ranging from doo-wop and classic jazz to modern rock and hip hop. Making their third visit to Livermore, Rockapella is known for creating an astonishing full-band sound with a capella grace. The Company Men bring a contemporary spin and vocal style to inventive compilations of music, seamlessly mixing vintage songs with today’s chart-topping hits.

Keep reading to learn more about these groups, as well as the event itself.

About Rockapella

Awarded the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, Rockapella members are masters of the vocal art form. Although current interest in a cappella largely dates back to the success of the television show “Glee” and the film “Pitch Perfect,” Rockapella’s sleek vocals have been drawing fans old and new for nearly three decades. The group got their start as an enthusiastic a cappella quartet of Brown University graduates singing on street corners in 1986.

It wasn’t long before the group became regulars on “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” They also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and on stage with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Rockapella’s rich, resonant sound comes from just five guys with no microphones, no instruments, no tracks, and no mirrors.

Says Scott Leonard, the group’s chief songwriter and arranger, “People have a hard time believing it’s just us making all of that music: percussion, bass, melody, and harmonies.”

About The Company Men

The Company Men features seasoned performers who have appeared on The Voice, the Emmy-Award winning NBC mini series The Temptations and in numerous Broadway and national touring productions. In addition to shows in venues from performing arts centers, to casinos and festivals, they have been artists-in-residence on Norwegian Cruise Line’s flagship The Escape in the Caribbean and will soon set sail for Hawaii. They have shared the stage with various artists, including Mariah Carey, Colbie Caillat, Natalie Bole, Sheena Easton, and Billy Idol.

The Company Men are known for their uniquely interwoven blend of popular songs covering six decades of music, ranging from The Four Tops, The Temptations, Sam Cooke, The Eagles, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, and Prince, to Sam Smith, Katy Perry, Adele, The Weekend, Meghan Trainor, Bruno Mars, Michael Buble, Nick Jonas, and others.

The performance

Rockapella and The Company Men are set to take the stage for what should be an incredible afternoon. The performance takes place Sunday, August 12 at 3 p.m. in the Bankhead Theater. Ticket prices range from $20 to $70.

Please note the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center offers both student and military tickets for this performance. If you need student, military, or ADA tickets, please contact the box office. Keep in mind that every audience member, regardless of age, must have their own ticket to enter the Bankhead Theater.

The Bankhead Presents series

Vocal magic fills the 2018-19 Bankhead Presents season as two other groups also make a welcome return with their smooth harmony singing. In December, The Doo Wop Project returns with a special holiday-themed show lending their voices, fresh from Broadway’s hit shows, to the music of an earlier era. Just a few months later, Masters of Soul brings back the look, choreography, style, and sound that defined the legendary music of Motown in a night of familiar fun.

The Bankhead Theater

Never been to the Bankhead Theater. Now is a great time to check it out. For more than a decade, the Bankhead has welcomed various artists and audiences, bringing them together to share the rich experience of live performance. The aforementioned LVPAC Presents series includes more than 40 exceptional performances throughout the year.

Exposure to the arts has the potential to transform lives. Believe it or not, a single performance can ignite a child’s imagination and fuel creativity for the rest of their lives. Not to mention, LVPAC strives to make each performance affordable and accessible to everyone.

We hope to see you for Rockapella and The Company Men, as well as other upcoming performances. We are proud to be the premier performing arts center in the Tri-Valley area. Book your tickets today or contact us with questions.

“Psychedelic Summer” Concert to Feature Local Band LunaFish

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A local favorite, Livermore-based LunaFish will bring the authentic psychedelic rock music of the late 1960s and early 1970s to a special community concert in the Bankhead Theater. LunaFish will treat those in attendance to a hot summer night of music, filled with timeless hits. Keep reading to learn more about the group, as well as the event.

About LunaFish

LunaFish fans know all about their classic rock style and vocal harmonies. The group reimagines music from what’s been called the most innovative period of rock and roll, feature top hits from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, and Jefferson Airplane.

So how did LunaFish get started? Well, it all goes back to founders Jeff Fish and Chris Gattuso-Fish. Interestingly, the two musicians were playing in completely separate projects before joining together.

The duo made their debut 10 years ago at Livermore’s “Tuesday Tunes” outdoor concerts in the center of downtown. They were joined in their passion for classic rock by fellow musicians Bill Ziegler on drums, Michael Fine on bass, and Don Bott on the keyboard. Greg Sutton joined the group two years later.

Part of what makes LunaFish unique is that, unlike other bands, the group sees one another as a family. They strive to be inclusive of everyone, wrapping their audiences up in a sense of togetherness and encouraging them to feel part of the group. Whether it’s singing, dancing, or just tapping their toes, audiences feel as if they’re on stage with LunaFish.

Says Gattuso-Fish, “Music is one of the few things that bring all sorts of people together for a unique experience of commonality and reminds us of our humanity and community.”

It hasn’t all been easy for this local favorite. Seven years ago, Jeff Fish suffered a brain injury from a medical accident. Although one of the group’s founders continues to improve and is learning to walk again, the injury significantly affected his timing, balance, and coordination.

Unfortunately, he has not been able to play the guitar since the accident. Despite such a major obstacle, LunaFish continues to persevere. New additions Kurt Stahl and Tom Rose have become a formidable guitar duo.

Fish continues to be the heartbeat of LunaFish. He serves as the band’s leader, inspiration, and principal motivator. Group members continue to rely on Fish for setlists, arrangement suggestions, and expert feedback.

Says Gattuso-Fish, “Music has helped Jeff heal and persevere through the tough times of recovery, and we hope to help lift others with the music we play and the good times we provide.”

The performance

LunaFish captures your imagination and your memories, interpreting music from what’s been called the most innovative period of rock and roll. The group is set to appear at the Bankhead Theater this coming Friday (August 3) at 8 p.m. General admission seating is $20.

As a reminder, the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center offers both student and active military prices for all performances. Wheelchair spaces and companion seats are also available upon request. Please visit or call the box office to book any of these tickets.

Our performing arts center

Livermore is home to a wealth of talent from the prize-winning student musicians featured each spring by the Livermore-Amador Symphony, to world-renowned jazz vocalist Karen Marguth and more. Resident companies of the Bankhead regularly showcase local musicians, singers, dancers, and actors.

“As the leading performing arts venue in the Tri-Valley, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is committed to supporting local groups and artists by putting them on stage and sharing their talents with the community,” says Executive Director Scott Kenison. “‘Psychedelic Summer’ is just the first of what we hope will become a series of community concerts celebrating all our local artists we have to offer.”

LVPAC is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit offering program that provides access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. We strive to ensure that everyone can enjoy the arts, whether it’s a marquee performance or any of our family-friendly events.

The Bankhead Theater, together with the Bothwell Arts Center, is home to eight resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors.      

We hope to see you for “Psychedelic Summer” with LunaFish & Friends!    

Upcoming Events

Thu 18

“Red” by John Logan

Thu, October 18 @ 7:30 pm
Fri 19

“Red” by John Logan

Fri, October 19 @ 8:00 pm
Sat 20

Art & Wine Intertwined

Sat, October 20 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Sat 20

“Red” by John Logan

Sat, October 20 @ 8:00 pm

Call 925.373.6800 or email websales@livermoreperformingarts.org for tickets and information