TPAC: 20 years of arts on the Shore

Record Observer - - Arts & Entertainment -

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.

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