TPAC: 20 years of arts on the Shore
WYE MILLS — Since opening in 1996, the Rufus M. and Loraine Hall Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College has entertained more than 100,000 people with performances here on the Eastern Shore.
For 20 years, the center has provided arts entertainment for audiences of all ages. Dance, musical theater, live music and drama are part of the show season each year. The 900-seat facility recently installed a state-of-the-art Bose sound system.
“The installation of the new BOSE Room Array System places the technical infrastructure of the TPAC among the best in the region, said TPAC executive director Richard Peterson. “We can provide incredible sound reinforcement and production for local, college, and touring attractions. The new audio system is one of the larger installations of this type on the Upper Eastern Shore.”
In addition to performances aimed at adult patrons, TPAC has offered programming for younger audiences. Area children have developed an appreciation of the arts by attending more than 210 shows offering a variety of entertainment, including acrobats from China and performers from the John F. Kennedy Center’s touring program.
“It’s wonderful to see children grow with our programming, and then return for graduations or other events. We now have patrons who first came here as children to see our school day performances, now bring their own children here to see shows,” said program director Linda Zaragoza.
Zaragoza said she books shows that offer the perfect blend of entertainment and education. Area school children have seen favorite book characters like “Rainbow Fish” and “The Little Princess” come to life, and learned about Anne Frank and Harriett Tubman through live theater.
“TPAC plays a critical role in providing a vibrant cultural life for the citizens on the Eastern Shore,” said Gary Blackman, managing director of the nationally touring company ArtsPower. “For 20 years, Linda Zaragoza has embodied TPAC’s mission with professionalism, determination, and an uncompromising dedication to making the lives of her surrounding communities better.”
The Schoolday Series brings a variety of shows to compliment the K-12 curriculum of the local school systems. The series has become a regular field trip for schools across the Mid-Shore. The show lineup changes each year but always features beloved stories, historical figures and favorite characters.
Bonnie Lease, a teacher at Greensboro Elementar y School, said of the Schoolday Series, “A valuable experience that encourages students to read and have fun learning! Our students and parents look for ward to this trip ever y year.”
The 2016-17 TPAC Season opened Oct. 20 with the Women’s One-Act Pay Festival, presented by the Peake Players and running through Oct. 27.
A murder mystery dinner theater, “Till Death Do us Part,” is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.
TPAC will celebrate 20 years on Saturday, Nov. 19, with a reprise of “Always, Patsy Cline,” which opened the theater’s first season in November of996. This musical play, complete with a live band, features Cline hits “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces,” with 27 songs in all.
Peterson is directing the production, which will feature some local performers.
“I am especially proud of the support from the college to attempt a new direction with theater production, producing ‘Always, Patsy Cline,’” Peterson said. “We have excellent musicians from the region, actors from the community and the college all coming together to celebrate our 20 years and the music of Patsy Cline; we are producing the show as a commemorative of 20 years and celebrating continued success.”
Holiday favorite “Sleigh Ride Around the World” will return to TPAC on Friday, Dec. 16. Showonly and dinner-show packages are available.
Kim and Reggie Harris will bring “Songs of Hope and Freedom” at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.
The nationally touring show “Shadows of the 60s — A Tribute to Motown” will come to TPAC at 8 p.m. Friday, March 3. With vocalists and a live band, the show features hits from Motown legends such as the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Gladys Knight and the Pips.
The Theatre for Young People Series this year will include favorites such as “Berenstain Bears” on Jan. 27, “Rainbow Fish” on March 30 and “Biscuit” on May 4.
The Chesapeake College Peake Players will present “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” from April 7 to 9.
Enjoy a musical evening with vocalist Ruth Capobianco and pianist Fred Hughes at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22.
In the 20 years since its opening, the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College has hosted performances entertaining more than 100,000 people on the Mid-Shore.