Swinging time at WTA’s Gateway

The ACME Swing Mfg. Co, an ecstatically fun band, will return to WTA’s Gateway with its unique version of hot swing on Saturday, Jan. 18. Noted for their “jazz music that you can dance to!” ACME’s powerhouse lineup will provide the best hot jazz combo this side of The Cotton Club.

Acme Swing Band 4“The Acme is one of our most popular musical ensembles,” said Clair Myers, WTA’s Executive Director. “ We are so happy to have them back for an 8:00 pm performance.”

According to those who know, the best description of ACME Swing Mfg Co. is “the love child of Wile E. Coyote and Cab Calloway.” The group has a wide repertoire of pre-war tunes to make an audience swing to a hot jazz standard, swoon over an old-time ballad, or get on down with the occasional gritty blues. ACME is not ‘sit-on-your-can-and-listen-music.” Their infectious beat and enthusiasm makes any crowd move! From acoustic background mood music to an all-out amped-up swingin’ experience, they satisfy. “Once you hear them, man alive, you’ll swear someone’s spinning a ’78 record,” said one of their fans. WTA’s Gateway is the ideal space to enjoy ACME. The intimate jazz club environment, excellent acoustics, and welcoming atmosphere will make the January 18th evening an experience to remember.

The Saturday, January 18th performance is sponsored by Gayle and Frank Mapstone.

Advanced tickets for ACME Swing Mfg. Co. are $10 and are available online at www.wtagateway.com or by calling the box office at 540-943-9999. Remaining tickets will be at the box office on the night of performance for $12. Seating is limited.

WTA’s Gateway is located at 329 West Main in downtown Waynesboro. Opened in August of 2011, the space has earned awards for its ambiance and excellent acoustics as well as raves from the many performers who have graced it stage. WTA’s Gateway will close in June when the Alliance prepares for the opening of the renovated Wayne Theatre as a performing arts/conference center in December 2014.

Gateway changes schedule for River City Radio Hour

After seven years, the River City Radio Hour performance beginning with the Friday, Jan. 17 edition of the Radio Hour.

river-city-radio-hourThe change, said producer and host Clair Myers, was motivated by the growth in downtown Waynesboro. “When the Radio Hour started in 2006, there wasn’t much going on in downtown. Now with the increase in restaurants and other shops, Waynesboro has come alive at night.” The new format will also make going to the show easier for the audience and the performers. “Having two shows with little time between them made it difficult for us to prepare for our second show and serve the audience in the way that they have come to expect at WTA’s Gateway,” Myers said. “Having a longer show also allows us to give more time to the boogie kings and to bring at least two guest musicians to the show.”

The new River City Radio will be at 7:30 pm on the third Friday of the month. In January that means Friday, January 11. Doors will open at 7. The show will last approximately 90 minutes with intermission.

The January performance will feature the River City Radio Hour regulars, the Boogie Kings: Richard Adams, J. T. Fauber,and the keyboard genius William Hayes and comedian Marsha Howard. They have been members of the Radio Hour since its inception in October 2007. The River City Players will also continue to bring their own brand of radio drama with The Radio Hour Foley Team.

Joining the regulars for the January 11th performance will be John Emil, an accomplished singer/songwriter, guitarist, and a master of slide guitar. Emil is noted for his show- stopping performances at major music festivals like the Telluride Blues and Brews Fest, the Lake Occonee Music Fest, the Florida and South Florida Folk Festivals, the Decatur Blues and Bluegrass Festival, the 2012 Bangor on Dee Blues Festival in the UK and the 2012 Zoetemeer Blues Festival in the Netherlands. Equally adept with the acoustic Hawaiian lap steel guitar and dobro, he integrates country, blues, folk, bluegrass and lush Hawaiian sounds into his wide-ranging repertoire. Emil is also a composer of note having supplied music for a number of tv shows including “Dateline,” Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” CMT’s “Cribs,” and several international wildlife and nature documentaries.

Lorie Strother, the Dreaded Blues Lady, will make a departure from her usual repertory for the January Radio Hour. She will join the boogie kings in some soulful renderings of blues as only she can do. Strother is also the host of WTA’s Gateway monthly Talent Night that brings new performers to the attention of Valley audiences. She will host the finale of the Talent Nights with the eight finalists on Saturday, June 7, 2014.

Since September 2013, the River City Radio Hour has had a delayed broadcast on wsva (550 am) on the last Sunday of the month at 9 am.

Advanced tickets for the 7:30 performance of the Radio Hour continue to be $10 and may be purchased online(www.wtagateway.com) or by calling the box office (540-943-9999). Remaining tickets are available at the door on the night of performance for $12.

Custin Jazz Series to present the John D’earth Band at Gateway in Waynesboro

WTA’s Gateway will present its first performance of the Custin Jazz Series on Saturday, Jan 11. Featured will be trumpeter John D’earth and his band. The performance is at 8 pm at what was voted “the best intimate music venue in the Valley”. WTA’s Gateway is at 329 West Main in downtown Waynesboro.

John D'earthJohn D’earth is based in Charlottesville, but has a national reputation as a performer and composer. He toured with Bruce Hornsby, recorded with Miles Davis/Quincy Jones and has written music for Dave Matthews, the Kronos String Quartet, and assorted symphony orchestras. He and his band have brought their unique sound to venues like the Bakersfield Jazz Festival, Chateau Morrissette Music Festival, Starr Hill Music Hall in Charlottesville, VA, Blues Alley in Washington D.C. and the Flint Michigan Jazz Festival, among many others. John D’earth is one of the best jazz trumpet players on the scene and a composer of visionary music by publications like Jazz- The Rough Guide and Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz.

John and his band combine imaginative songwriting with the intensity of jazz, the deep grooves of rock, funk, and Latin music, and the exploratory abandon of Miles Davis’ “lost quintet.” The result is jam-based music that is completely unique. They cross genres with ease, and they have each distinguished themselves as jazz artists through the strength and originality of their playing. Brilliant songs and lively instrumentals provide a space which invites creative musicians into the music.

“I’ve known John D’earth for a long time, says Dave Matthews. “John is first rate. He’s a great spirit, a great friend, and a great teacher…one of a kind.”

The Custin Jazz Series is a sponsored program of national and regional jazz artists. The generosity of the donor makes it possible for WTA to provide intimate performances in a jazz club setting. Also coming in 2014 will be Kathy Kosins with “Live By Request” on April 26 and Stephanie Nakasian and the Hod O’Brien Trio on June 14. “We are so fortunate to have a sponsor who loves jazz and the American Songbook and wants to share that music with our community,” said Clair Myers, producer of WTA’s Gateway. “It doesn’t get better than that.”

Family Night at the Richard Adams Show in Waynesboro

To celebrate the New Year, Richard Adams has collected a host of talent for his Jan. 4 Variety Show. Performing on this one-time event will be The Harrington Family, The Alexander Sisters, the Bonos and students from the Shenandoah Valley Governors School’ production of Pippin. Richard promises you will be amazed and delighted by the talented collection.

richard adamsRichard Adam’s Variety Show for January is just that “a variety” of talents. The Harrington Family is headed by Jim Harrington, a member of the popular Valley band, The Rhythm Road. Joining him are his daughters, Constance and Kate Harrington. The Alexander Sisters take us back to the days of vaudeville when trios of talented youngsters combine skills into one package. In this case, the trio plays, sings and has puppetry. The Bonos are another team ready for the circuit. Natalie Bono is a singer/composer and her big sister Rebecka is a dancer. Expect new songs and fresh choreography.

The Jan. 4 performance will also include members of the cast of Pippin presented by the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School in association with ShenanArts. The Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School Theatre program serves approximately 30 gifted and talented 11th and 12th grade students from Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro. The SVGS theatre program is designed to give highly motivated theatre students the opportunity for intensive theatre study both in the classroom and alongside community partners such as ShenanArts and our professional guest artists.

Once again Richard and his co-host Bill Martin will encourage the audience to take part in Richard’s segments that highlight the audience’s special talents.

The Jan. 4 Richard Adams Variety Show is at 7:30pm at WTA’s Gateway, 329 West Main in downtown Waynesboro. Doors open at 7 pm. Tickets are $9.99 in advance and $12 on the day of performance. They may be purchased online at www.wtagateway or by calling the box office 540-943-9999. Remaining tickets will be available on the night of the performance.

Home for the Holidays with Earl Hamner’s Homecoming

The Earl Hamner Theatre will present a new version of its popular The Homecoming at WTA’s Gateway on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27 and 28.  The new adaptation will premiere at WTA’s Gateway before moving on to Charlottesville’s First Night.  Both performances are at 7:30 pm.

One of Earl Hamner, Jr’s strongest childhood memories was of Christmas in his Nelson County home.  He turned to a particular one of those memories when he wrote his short novella The Homecoming.  The plot revolves around a family waiting for the return of their father from his Christmas Eve shift at the DuPont plant in Waynesboro.  A snowstorm has made the trip over Afton Mountain nearly impossible.  Without a phone, there was no way for the family to know if the bus was going to make the treacherous trip over the icy, snow-covered roads.  Hamner took the search for information of their father’s return as an opportunity to highlight the characters that were their Nelson County community, from the African-American congregations to the maiden ladies who prepared ‘father’s recipe.’  It was soon realized that the novella was an ideal source for a film and when the film became a success, it was clear that the story of the family and their community in the Blue Ridge Mountains had the makings of a TV show.  Thus was born the very successful, long-running series The Walton.

When the Earl Hamner Jr. Theatre opened in Nellysford, the co-artistic directors, Peter Coy and Boomie Pedersen decided to ask permission to adapt the novella for the stage.  Soon after the stage version of The Homecoming became a holiday staple of the Theatre.

With the closing of the Nellysford venue, the Company sought another outlet for the play.  That’s when WTA’s Gateway opened its doors.  “It seemed right that a play that had its genesis in the struggle of a father to get over the mountain from Waynesboro should find a performance home in Waynesboro,” said Clair Myers, WTA’s Executive Director.  “We are fortunate that the Hamner was going to revive The Homecoming for presentations at Charlottesville’s First Night and was looking for a place to rehearse and premiere the 2013 version.”

The new adaptation of The Homecoming will be presented for two nights at WTA’s Gateway at 329 W. Main Street, downtown Waynesboro on Friday and Saturday, December 27 and 28 at 7:30 pm.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.  Children are half price.

Radio Hour Christmas Special at WTA’s Gateway

river-city-radio-hourThe Gateway hosts a special dessert version of the River City Radio Hour to celebrate the season.  The performances will feature some of the Radio Hour’s favorite performers.  The Boogie Kings will be joined by singers Hank Fitzgerald and Chrystal McKee.  Singer/composer John Tracy will showcase his new Christmas CD.  Marsha Howard and the River City Players round out the evening of song, comedy, and theatre on Friday and Saturday, December 20 and 21 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, December 22 at 3 pm.

Richard Adams has promised that the Boogie Kings will give William Hayes and J. T. Fauber plenty of time to demonstrate their musical skills. The trio will back up Hank Fitzgerald and Chrystal McKee in renditions of holiday songs to make the heart glow.

John Tracy also returns to the Radio Hour.  The songs by this Texas native have been described as music for real people living real life. He says they are born of a desire to bring hope and encouragement to his listeners.  This is especially true of his new Christmas CD, Christmas Tree Shine which has some of John’s own compositions as well as his Christmas favorites.

Marsha Howard has been naughty and nice and says Santa is rewarding her with a bag full of new jokes.

Bill Martin and Dustin Roadcap will add to the evening’s drama with two original Christmas stories written exclusively for the Radio Hour.   Jim Gustafson’s The Gift of the Magpie returns to the Flattened Fauna Grill while The Basic City Boys by Richard Adams recreates two boys’ best Christmas ever.

Advanced tickets are $15 and may be purchased online (www.wtagateway.com) or by calling the box office (540-943-9999).  Tickets are also available at the box office on the night of performance for $18.  Tickets include performance and dessert and coffee/tea.  All seats are reserved.

WTA’s Gateway is located at 329 W. Main St., Waynesboro, Va.

The Concise Dickens’ Christmas Carol at WTA’s Gateway Theatre in Waynesboro

D  D  Delaney as ScroogeWTA’s Gateway in Waynesboro will bring The Concise Dickens’ Christmas Carol as part of WTA’s Holiday entertainment. The Seasonal Favorite of Hampton Roads’ audiences will be presented on Friday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m

The acting troupe of Ebenezer Scrooge and Company—in the single person of actor/writer D.D. Delaney, who plays 22 roles—will appear in Mr. Delaney’s critically acclaimed adaptation of the beloved Charles Dickens’ tale, A Christmas Carol.  Delaney adapted the original novella for its first performance Norfolk’s 40th Street Stage in 2006.  It continued at that venue through 2008 when the theater closed.  In 2009, it was revived by The Norfolk’s Venue on 35th and continues its annual public performance.

Delaney also performs The Concise Dickens’ Christmas Carol at private venues, including retirement facilities, churches, historical societies, and parties. “It’s very adaptable,” he says, “and can be shrunk to play in a living room or expanded to encompass a social hall. The main thing is the story. And, of course, the wonderful array of Dickens characters.”

When asked why a “concise” Christmas Carol, Delaney said, “Dickens’ story is about one old man’s journey through his own darkness of fear and greed to an awakening of how much happier he could be if he opened his heart to other people. I felt that too many stage productions and films I’ve seen and participated in lose that simple message in their attempts to make a longer entertainment than is necessary for a modern audience. Even the novella is too wordy!”

Patti Wray, producer at Norfolk’s The Venue on 35th said, “I never tire of the story because Delaney’s amazing performance always engages and enchants me from start to finish.”

Advanced tickets for The Concise Dickens’ Christmas Carol are available for $5 for children under 12 and $10 for adults.  Remaining tickets will be available at the box office at $6 for children and $12 for adults on the night of the performance.

To make reservations go to www.wtagateway.com or call 943-9999.

Becca and the Cherokee Revival at WTA’s Gateway Saturday, Dec. 7

gatewayMusic impresario Gary Kirby has arranged for a special performance of Becca and the Cherokee Revival at WTA’s Gateway at 8 pm on Saturday, Dec. 7.

“Becca has the power behind the vocals to deliver a song that will send cold chills down your spine and with Cherokee Revival creates a sound not to be forgotten,” says Kirby. “Holly has a refreshingly authentic and distinctive Americana sound — the kind that, when you hear it for the first time, you can’t help asking the person next to you, Who is that?”

The evening is one of those rare opportunities to catch young musicians before they move on to the national stage.

Rebecca “Becca” Gogue has already established herself as a songbird who can belt out any song with a voice that is both powerful and unique.  Becca is a regular on Virginia Dreams Center Stage which airs nationally on RFD TV.  She has shared the stage with national talents such as Collin Raye and Ronnie McDowell, and most recently Doug Stone.

Becca has also been a guest performer with local talents such as the Brothers of Caleb, the Grass Addix, Gypsy Town, and The Travelin’ Hillbillies.

Joining Becca is The Cherokee Revival. The group is streamlined with the guitar picking of the Garst brothers, Ryan and Shay, long-fingered bass plucking of Jesse Gordon and the steady drum beats of Tyson Crawley.  They provide the right backing for Becca’s country and blues renderings.

Guesting with Becca and The Cherokee Revival is Holly Renee Allen.  Allen has been described as “Lucinda Williams meets Janis Joplin.”  She is a fiery, country/blues siren who moves effortlessly between country, blues and gospel like Bonnie Raitt in her prime.

Advanced tickets are $10.  Remaining tickets are available at the door for $12.

Reservations for the December 7th performance are available online at www.wtagateway.com or by calling 540-943-9999.

Capricious Capers at WTA’s Gateway

gatewayWhat:  “Capricious Caper at the Club Ritz”
When:  Friday and Saturday, November 22-23 at 6:30pm
Where: 329 W. Main St., Waynesboro
Admission: $45/person, advance reservations required
To make reservations: Call 540-943-9999

WTA’s Gateway mounts it first murder mystery dinner theatre on Nov. 22-23. Directed by Boomie Pedersen, artistic director of the Earl Hamner Jr. Theatre, Capricious Caper at the Club Ritz is an interactive theatre production.  The audience is as much a participant as a viewer in the merriment and mayhem.

The evening is Don Carlo’s 60th Birthday Party and the audience is invited to join Don Carlo’s family and friends for the celebration at the Club Ritz. Rosa and the Rosettes will entertain and everyone will be there – including some guests who weren’t expecting. In all the hubbub, a dastardly deed is done and Officer Maloney will need help to solve the crime.

Capricious Caper at the Club Ritz is a full service entertainment – eat, drink and play detective!   If you wear your 1930′s best, you many win a prize.

Tickets for the event are $45 each.  Group rates for eight or more are $40 each. Seating is limited.

Doors open at 6:00pm, performance and meal starts at 6:30pm.

History of medicine in Waynesboro subject of Gateway Theatre lecture

Dr. Stephen Howlett will present his research on the history of medicine in Waynesboro at WTA’s Gateway on Thursday, November 21 at 7 pm.  Dr. Howlett will trace the changes that have come to medicine in general and specifically to Waynesboro.   His research has uncovered the temporary hospitals in the Civil War to the Waynesboro Weems Watkins Hospital which was followed by the Waynesboro General Hospital on West Main.  He has also uncovered lost footage of an interview with the pioneer of modern medicine in Waynesboro.

Dr. Howlett is a retired board certified gastroenterologist.  A graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, he moved to Waynesboro with his family after completing his residency in Florida.  Dr. Howlett became interested in the topic of history in Waynesboro after attending one of the monthly history lectures at WTA’s Gateway.  That began the research journey that will result in this own lecture on medicine in Waynesboro.

The monthly history lectures are a joint project of the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation and the Wayne Theatre Alliance.  “This joint project is in keeping with both our organizations’ mission to promote the arts and culture of Waynesboro,” said Dr. Clair Myers, Executive Director of the Wayne Theatre Alliance.  “The monthly history lectures are fascinating glimpses of the past and its influence on the present.”

There is no admission fee to the monthly history lectures, but donations of at least $5 are suggested.  The theatre is located at 329 West Main in downtown Waynesboro.  The doors open at 6:30pm.