For its 51st year, Alexander City Arts, Inc., will launch an entertaining season of music, laughs and education for the 2019-2020 season. The organization will present five family-friendly shows from September to March and kick off the fun with an Alabama Bicentennial event performed by well-known storyteller Dolores Hydock.
“We had the possibility of bringing Dolores Hydock this year and received an endorsement from the Bicentennial Commission to be an Alabama 200 event. We’re really excited about that,” said Mary Wood Perry, president of Alex City Arts.
Hydock will perform a one-woman show about the story of Audrey Williams, wife of Hank Williams, and the controversy behind the events in her life. Taking Sides: A New Look at the Life of Audrey Williams will be held at The Mill Two Eighty on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.
“We needed a more intimate venue to host this particular event than the auditorium we usually use,” said Perry.
The songwriters’ showcase, Heart Behind the Music, will return again this year and spotlight John Berry, Mo Pitney and Deborah Allen on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Benjamin Russell High School Auditorium. The event highlights musicians and composers who tell the stories behind their song lyrics.
John Berry rose to stardom on the country charts in the 1990s and has earned gold and platinum records, along with a Grammy. Mo Pitney represents a classic country sound and has been dubbed “the next Randy Travis.” Deborah Allen is a singer, songwriter and producer who has received Grammy nominations.
On Nov. 21, Capitol Sounds Concert Band will take the stage at the auditorium at 7 p.m. and perform a wide variety of music, including marches, classical, patriotic, show tunes, jazz and swing. Band Director John Jackson has conducted the all-volunteer, nonprofit organization for 17 years.
“It’s a good group of bi-vocational musicians who come together from different walks of life. They’ve performed for us in the past, and they’re very entertaining,” said Perry.
Concertgoers can warm up to the tunes of The Beach Boys tribute band, Sail On, in the cooler days. On Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. in the BRHS Auditorium, Sail On will perform all the group’s classic hits, plus some treasures from The Beach Boys’ extended catalogue. The retro-group based out of Nashville will be sure to re-create the feel of surfing, dancing and dreaming.
To close out the season, Jim Stafford will perform March 12 at 7 p.m., also at the BRHS Auditorium. As a favorite in live entertainment, Stafford has been sharing his hilariously clever tunes with incredible guitar-playing skill for more than 20 years.
“He’s just a fun musician and an excellent guitarist. It’s just unique music, and I think people will really enjoy him,” Perry said. "His shows at his theater in Branson, Missouri, always sell out as he is quite a favorite entertainer out there. We were able to book him while he is on hiatus from his normal performances."
All tickets are between $15 and $20 and can be purchased at the door or online at brownpapertickets.com. Students and children are admitted for free. To be a patron, $75 includes a ticket to each performance, along with pre-show patron parties at local venues with heavy hors d’oeuvres.
For the first time, Alex City Arts is soliciting corporate sponsorships to help offset the cost of the season.
“The cost of shows continues to increase, and we want to keep our ticket prices affordable for all. We are expanding our programs to include advertisements for sponsors of individual shows and for the entire season. We appreciate the expression of corporate support for our efforts, and we’re delighted to be able to bring these shows to the community for entertainment and cultural enrichment,” Perry said.