Since its Gala Opening Performance with Liberace on Feb. 7, 1980, the Frances Ann Lutcher Theater has hosted the best in world-class entertainment. National touring productions like Riverdance, “Cats,” “Miss Saigon,” “Hairspray,” “The Wizard of Oz,” Blue Man Group and icons like Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Lyle Lovett, The Oak Ridge Boys, Clint Black and Trisha Yearwood have all performed at the Lutcher Theater.
The Lutcher is a 1,460-seat performing arts facility and hosts the largest Performing Arts Series from Houston to New Orleans with annual attendance of more than 30,000 adults and children. Lutcher Incredible Kids Events, sponsored by Printpack Inc., is one of the largest Performing Arts Series of touring companies for children in a four-state area comprising Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. These performances are scheduled for mornings and meet both Texas and Louisiana State learning criteria, making them ideal field trips for classes. Utilizing grants, and corporate and patron support, the Lutcher Theater underwrites the cost for the Incredible Kids Events Series, making it affordable for area children.
Entertainers including Willie Nelson have said how much they enjoy playing the Lutcher because of its wonderful acoustics, size and the friendliness of the local people.
The Lutcher is active in the Orange and neighboring communities through a number of programs. Each year, the Lutcher Theater provides tickets to area nonprofit organizations to support their programs in addition to participating in food drives, fundraisers and other charitable events.
If you have never visited the Lutcher Theater, or you would like to return, be sure to check out this year’s star-studded season and get your tickets right away so that you may see your favorite shows. Leading off this season is An Intimate Evening with Lindsey Buckingham on Sunday, Aug. 19, beginning at 8 p.m. See this one man and his arsenal of custom guitars. You might remember he earned a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the popular Fleetwood Mac, and he has won countless other awards and sold out venues around the world. Buckingham has helped define the sound of rock for the last three decades and has thrilled audiences with “Trouble,” “Go Insane” and “Holiday Road.”
Following on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. direct from Beijing is “Cirque Chinois,” The National Circus of the People’s Republic of China. Audiences will thrill to the international award-winning acrobats performing the Great Teeterboard, the Grand Flying Trapeze, Group Contortion and many more signature acts.
“Catch Me If You Can” is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 3, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Based on the hit Dream Works film and the incredible true story that inspired it, discover the high-flying, splashy new Broadway musical that tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale Jr. He runs away from home with nothing more than his boyish charm, a huge imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, and poses as a pilot, doctor and lawyer before catching the attention of the FBI.
Also in November, A Chorus Line comes to the Lutcher. This performance is Sunday, Nov. 25, at 3 p.m. Ending November will be The Midtown Men with four stars from the original cast of “Jersey Boys.” Two shows are scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 29, and Friday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m.
Christmas is celebrated on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. with A Christmas with Shoji Tabuchi. Enjoy the music of the season as well as Shoji favorites.
Many locals are excited about the Jan. 7, 2013, performance by William Shatner in a 90-minute, one-man show as only the television and movie legend can present. There will also be a VIP Post-Show Meet and Greet Charity Pass ($40) with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit The All Glory Project, a nonprofit campaign of consciousness to thank our wounded heroes and their families.
Other New Year’s excitement:
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 1, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 18, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 29, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 9, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
The kids in the family have not been forgotten. Scheduled for The Lutcher Incredible Kids Events are Clifford The Big Red Dog — Live!, “The Man Who Planted Trees,” “The Ugly Duckling & The Tortoise and the Hare,” “Guess How Much I love You” and “I Love My Little Storybook,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs,” and “ImaginOcean.”
To reserve your season tickets, for more information or to receive a brochure, call the theater box office. You may also visit the Web site at www.lutcher.org . Various packages are available including two Premiere Package options or the Spotlight Saver Package.
The Lutcher Theater is at 707 Main St. in downtown Orange. Call (409) 886-5535 for additional information about any of the programs.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.