Last week, area residents and art enthusiasts gathered at the Wilcox Theater in Grand Rapids for an annual tradition; the unveiling of the upcoming season line-up for the Reif Performing Arts Center.
“We were very excited to announce our new season, which we are calling our ’19 to 2020 Vision, via a 50-minute video of highlights,” said Reif Marketing Director Paul M. Gregersen. “Our line-up of entertainment is chalk-full of artists from all genres and creative mediums. From local independent musicians to national touring acts, we’ve got it all.”
The new season kicks off with Grand Jam 2019, an outdoor concert taking place Saturday, July 13 at the Itasca County Fairgrounds Midway. The event features local country band We Ain’t Cowboys, country/classic rock party band Coyote Wild, and country superstars Little Texas.
“Grand Jam is a great way for the Reif Arts Council to kick off our 2019-2020 season,” said Gregersen. “We’ve been looking to do an event at the fairgrounds for quite a while and are finally able to do so this year.”
Following Grand Jam is the Bonfire Chamber Music Festival, taking place July 24-26. In its third season at the Reif, this year’s festival features the artistry of the acclaimed Artaria String Quartet, as well as a premiere performance of the newly-formed 2 Sisters Trio.
Returning this season are local favorites including the holiday spectacular, “Rock & Roll Christmas” and numerous Reif Company Dance performances. Also returning this year is the immensely popular CenterStage MN series, hosted by the Reif in collaboration with KAXE Radio. This year’s season includes musical performances by Dave Simonett, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Trampled by Turtles; Feeding Leroy; Jillian Rae; Early Eyes; and more. Also returning this year is the popular Indies on Tuesday film series, hosted in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Area Library.
Highlights of the upcoming season include a Native Pride Dancers performance by Larry Yazzie in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Yazzie is an actor, two-time World Champion Fancy Dancer, an Eagle Dancer, and is from the Meskwaki Nation in Tama, Iowa. His repertoire includes performances at the Olympics, The Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institute.
Everyone’s favorite game show is also on its way to audiences, along with the chance to win a share of the more than $10 million in cash and fabulous prizes given away, in The Price is Right, Live!, which comes to the Reif in November. Alongside a celebrity host, randomly-selected contestants play everyone’s favorite games like Plinko™, Cliffhangers, The Big Wheel and even the fabulous Showcase. Lucky audience members can even win prizes right from their seat.
Also taking the stage this season is The Office - A Musical Parody, a hilarious parody of the hit TV show, “The Office,” as well as Miss Lillian - A Life of Service. Lillian Carter was much more than President Jimmy Carter’s mother, she was a social activist, great humanitarian, nurse, peanut farmer and nurturer. This one-woman docudrama introduces audiences to this woman who refused to bow to the attitudes of her southern surroundings.
Audiences can also look forward to a number of other unique concerts and performances, including Feelin’ Alright, an entertaining musical variety show that pays tribute to Woodstock 1969 - a historic event that defined a culture but could never be duplicated. This concert is performed by the award-winning band, Pat and Donna Surface and American Pie, and includes humor, compelling video and a Woodstock Trivia segment with prizes. Also coming to audiences this season is What’s Going On? - Songs from the Vietnam War Era, a concert experience that incorporates live music, narration and video to provide the audience a multimedia deep dive into the 1960s and early ‘70s and the Vietnam War.
Also performing this year are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Steve Fossen and Michael Derosier, original Heart band members who are now touring as Heart By Heart. Their mission is to perform the classic Heart music as faithfully as they can. The band features vocalist Somar Macek, guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Lizzy Daymont and guitarist Chad Quist. Queen Machine, often hailed as one of the best tribute bands in Europe, will also grace the Reif stage to present Queen’s universe in a tribute show that is both highly entertaining and authentic. Other tribute bands performing this season include Rumours - A Fleetwood Mac Tribute; Transit Authority, a Chicago tribute band; The Legendary Ladies of Country, celebrating the music of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton; Dean Z - Elvis Tribute; and more.
As usual, this season will also include a wealth of theater opportunities for area youth, with performances by Doktor Kaboom, Santa’s Circus, Magic School Bus, Dinosaur World Live, The Rainbow Fish and more.
“We are proud of our ’19-2020 vision and guarantee the public will really enjoy the line-up,” said Gregersen. “It is diverse, exciting and covers all the bases. We encourage everybody to buy tickets when they go on sale.”
Tickets for all performances will go on sale Monday, July 1 at reifcenter.org and at the Reif Box Office, 218-327-5780.