With generous programming support from local donors and from local, state and regional arts organizations, the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation announces the fall events of the 2020-2021 season.
The programming will bring national and international arts and entertainment to the DeSoto as the iconic historic theater promotes the arts while continuing successful renovation efforts.
“Our historic theater is a vibrant space that has been bringing our community together for generations,” said Jim Powell, HDTF president. “We want to present entertaining and educational shows that will impact children and adults, without the need to travel to Atlanta for a great show. We also want to serve as an economic engine and have our shows attract people from throughout Northwest Georgia to spend their money in downtown Rome’s restaurants, retail businesses and hotels.”
LIGHTWIRE: A BRILLIANT PUPPET SHOW
The season kicks off Oct. 17 with New Orleans-based Lightwire Theatre’s The Adventures of Tortoise and Hare: The Next Generation.
This electroluminescent puppetry show was a semi-finalist contestant in America’s Got Talent and travels nationally and internationally to great acclaim.
“We’ve wanted to bring this group to Rome for a long time,” says Michelle Picon, HDTF Development Director. “Because the show has music and dance but no language, it will captivate audiences of all ages, backgrounds, languages and physical abilities — audiences that otherwise may have a hard time following a show with words. And because the characters are animals, it is easy for children to relate to the story’s message.”
The puppet show begins with Aesop’s fable but jumps to a modern-day Tortoise Jr. and Lil’ Hare. Old man Tortoise and Big Daddy Hare must come together despite their differences to find and save their children. With dazzling visuals, poignant storytelling and the creative use of music from classical to pop, this production with life-size creatures blends puppetry, music, and technology, and brings this classic tale into a brilliant new light.
HDTF is looking to partner with individual sponsors, businesses or civic organizations that want to make it possible for families in need to attend. The performance will be funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, bringing great prestige for the DeSoto and leverage for future grants. And thanks to support from the Fox Theatre Institute’s Georgia Presenter booking consortium, four theatres, including the DeSoto, benefitted from special block rates to make the show more affordable for all.
THE BROADWAY BRADSHAWS
On Nov. 6, the DeSoto will present two concerts by The Broadway Bradshaws, sponsored by Karen and Gary Smith from Rome.
Lindsey and Jared Bradshaw are best known for their long runs on Broadway in “Wicked,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “Jersey Boys.” The shows are part of the extensive menu of tribute shows with nationwide talent offered by Buicentennial Productions and its founding producer Taylor Buice, a Shorter College graduate with ties to Rome. Also a Shorter College graduate, Jared Bradshaw recently performed A Bing Crosby Christmas in Rome.
The first concert, on Nov. 6 at 11 a.m., will have the whole family enjoying The Broadway Bradshaws — A Disney Concert. It will feature all of the kids’ favorites including hit songs from “Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and many more. Lindsey Bradshaw has been the understudy for Glinda in Wicked and will — quite literally — bring Broadway’s “Wicked” to the DeSoto stage.
The second concert, on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m., will have the couple performing The Broadway Bradshaws — From Hollywood to Broadway. They will delight audiences with a mix of standards, Broadway hits, and rock and roll classics, featuring songs from Broadway to Hollywood and from Frank Sinatra to Judy Garland.
Powell said the concert is a perfect excuse for a special night out in Rome with friends or for a special date. Folks can grab dinner and drinks at a restaurant downtown before the show, or can purchase VIP tickets for the pre-show meet-and-greet reception. The reception will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks and themed specialty cocktails.
Picon said that the Smith’s generous sponsorship of the Bradshaws concert is a tribute from Karen to her husband Gary and to Rome’s historic DeSoto. Gary performed as Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” the opening show for Rome Little Theatre’s first performance at the DeSoto in 1982.
As long-time owners of The Movies at Mt. Berry Square, the Smiths have an affinity to the DeSoto’s past as the first theatre for talkies in the South and want to help ensure its future as a modern, state-of-the-art arts venue.
Events returning to the calendar are the Pridemore-Cox Polar Express Pajama Party on Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m., and the free Holiday Hangout at the DeSoto on Dec. 18, with mixers at 6 p.m. and music at 7 p.m.
Tickets to Lightwire Theatre and to The Broadway Bradshaws concerts will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at www.thedesoto.org. Prices for general admission for the family shows are $12 for children and $15 for adults. For the Lightwire show, a Pre-Show Puppet Workshop and a Post-Show Meet-and-Greet with a photo- op will be available for an additional $12 each.
On Friday Nov. 5, the Bradshaws will be hosting acting and Broadway choreography workshops for interested area schools and individual students or groups. Details will be posted on the website as they become available. Prices for the evening performance of The Broadway Bradshaws range from $127 for VIP premier seating with reception, $77 for reserved seating, and $47 for general admission.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for businesses that want to market their services to DeSoto audiences. For additional information or to donate visit www.thedesoto.org, or follow the Historic DeSoto Theatre on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.
Donations can be mailed to HDTF, 530 Broad Street, Rome GA 30161. For information regarding sponsorships please contact Jim Powell or Michelle Picon at 706-591-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the safety of our guests, the DeSoto will adhere to Covid-19 safety measures. Although the DeSoto’s brand-new heat and air system will provide optimum circulation and air purification, seating will be limited and masks will be required for children and adults alike in an effort to limit the potential spread of the virus in an indoor setting. It is strongly encouraged that adult members of the audience be vaccinated. Guests experiencing fever or Covid-19 symptoms are asked to stay home.
Proceeds of all events benefit the preservation, restoration and operation of the Historic DeSoto Theatre. Built in 1929, the DeSoto Theatre was the first in the South built specifically for talkies.
It continues to be the home of resident community theatre group Rome Little Theatre, and the assembly area for Sunday services for Seven Hills Fellowship. Partnerships such as these and income from rentals and vibrant programming contribute to help keep the Jewel of Broad Street alive for future generations.