Smoot kicks off new season

PARKERSBURG – The Smoot Theatre will be kicking off its 2013-2014 season in September, beginning with its popular Kids Club Series and the Live Entertainment Series.

The Smoot is located at 213 Fifth St. in downtown Parkersburg. Tickets and information about productions at the historic theater are available by calling 304-422-PLAY (7529) or online at www.

The first event of the Smoot’s Kids Club Series and the opening event of the season will be a “Happy Birthday, West Virginia” program at 7 p.m. Sept. 13.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for children.

Kids Club members can purchase tickets for the entire four-show season at $40 for adults and $28 for children.

The “Happy Birthday” program will feature acclaimed West Virginia storyteller and humorist Bill Lepp. He is a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, as well as an author and recording artist. Smoot associate Scott Cain will also be involved in the program, providing demonstrations of various Appalachian musical instruments, including the hammered dulcimer.

Following the program, the audience will be able to walk onto the Smoot stage to meet Lepp and Cain before going outside to the alley where birthday cake will be served.

The Live Entertainment Series series will begin on Sept. 28 with “A Tribute to Benny Goodman,” which recreates the historic 1938 Carnegie Hall performance, often called the world’s most famous jazz concert, a ground-breaking event that brought jazz into the mainstream.

In tribute to the historic moment in American music and culture, Ken Peplowski will join the Capitol Center Jazz Orchestra as they pay tribute to Goodman and that performance. Peplowski has appeared all over the U.S., Europe and Asia.

The rest of the shows in the Live Entertainment Series continue in October.

On the Border will present The Ultimate Eagles Tribute on Oct. 28 at the Smoot.

Based in Charlotte, N.C., the group is considered by many to be one of the most exciting and authentic tribute bands in the country. The show features all of the timeless hits from the 40-plus years of the Eagles.

On Nov. 21, the next Smoot Theatre performance will feature Mr. Jack Daniel’s Original Silver Cornet Band. The collection of melodies that makes up their repertoire comes from a simpler time, when small-town America took time to go to the park for the outdoor concerts.

After the start of the new year, “Love me Tender!” will be presented on Feb. 13, 2014, on the Smoot stage.

The show features Scott Bruce, portraying Elvis’s early years, and Mike Albert, as Elvis from the 1970s. Albert takes over the second half of the show with the Big E Band and back-up singers.

The final show in the Live Entertainment Series will be “California Dreamin'” on March 22, 2014, on the Smoot stage.

“California Dreamin'” is a family-friendly, musical journey through the California pop scene of the mid-’60s and early ’70s. It features songs from a variety of groups, including “I Get Around,” “Surfing U.S.A.,” “Wipeout,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Our House,” “Little GTO,” “Good Vibrations,” “What a Day for a Daydream” and “California Dreamin'”

Following the opening show in September, the Kids’ Club Series will return in November and continue through April 2014, with three more shows.

The next show will be “Skippyjon Jones,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 15. Tickets will be $12 for adults and $9 for children for the show.

Based on the bestselling children’s book by Judy Schachner, the musical will be presented by TheatreWorks USA. In the show, Skippyjon wants to be the best Chihuahua ever, even though he’s actually a Siamese cat. In his imagination, he becomes El Skippito Bandito, the greatest canine swordfighter in Mexico.

The other two Kids’ Club shows will take place in 2014, beginning with “Todd Green: Instruments of the World” at 7 p.m. March 22, 2014, at the Smoot.

Tickets will be $12 for adults and $9 for children for the show.

Green is a multi-instrumentalist who performs original music on over 30 acoustic string, flute and percussion instruments from around the world. His custom-built electronic system allows him to layer instruments as he performs, while talking about the various instruments and styles of music he is performing.

The final Kids Club Series show will be the 17th annual visit to the Smoot by the Missoula Children’s Theatre program. The MCT program provides a pair of directors and teachers who will work with up to 50 local children to rehearse and stage the story of “Pinocchio” on April 5, 2014.

Ticket prices to see the show will be $9 for adults and $5 for children.

For children interested in being in the show, not just watching it, auditions will be open to everyone from kindergarten through 12th grades. The auditions will be March 31, 2014. No preparation or prior experience will be necessary.