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Friday Giveaway: Enter to Win a Pair of Tickets to Merle Haggard, Plus a $50 Restaurant Gift Card!

May 29, 2015

Merle Haggard, one of country music’s most gifted and influential songwriters, will be performing at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center on June 30, 2015! Get excited, because you could win two tickets to see the legend himself, plus dinner at BlackFinn American Saloon before the show! This giveaway includes two tickets to Merle Haggard and a $50 gift card to BlackFinn.

Merle Haggard, the country legend, comes to Belk Theater on June 30.

Merle Haggard, the country legend, comes to Belk Theater on June 30.

At the age of 78, the veteran singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and bandleader is still making some of the most compelling music of his long and storied career. It almost goes without saying that Haggard is widely regarded as one of country music’s greatest living recording artists with hit songs like “Mama Tried” and “Okie from Muskogee.”

A rugged individualist who simultaneously embodies and transcends the genre, Haggard is a seminal superstar and an unrepentant outsider. Over the course of a remarkably prolific five-decade career, he has consistently shown himself to be an uncompromising creative force, far more concerned with pursuing his iconoclastic vision than with meeting the expectations of the music-industry establishment. Join us as the country music legend takes the stage in Charlotte’s Belk Theater!


Enter to win this Friday Giveaway package deal by emailing and telling us your favorite Merle Haggard song and why you want to see him live. Use the subject line: Merle Haggard Giveaway! PLEASE NOTE: The gift card must be picked up from Spirit Square in uptown (345 N. College St.) and will not be mailed. A winner will be selected at noon on Tuesday, June 2, and notified via email.

Click here to buy tickets to this show now. Great seats are still available.

Have the Time of Your Life at Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage

May 28, 2015
Dirty Dancing-The Classic Story On Stage plays Belk Theater June 16-21. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage plays Belk Theater June 16-21. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Attention all Dirty Dancing fans! Your favorite tunes from the movie — including “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” “Come Here Lover Boy,” “Be My Baby” and more — will be performed right before your eyes at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center next month. Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage is almost here! The celebration of the original film with all of the famous lines, scenes and characters audiences know and love plays June 16-21. Dirty Dancing is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing. Sounds pretty great, right?

Exciting Things You Need to Know About the Production

  • More than 25 new songs not previously featured in the film are included in the tour.
  • The stage production features a richer story canvas, including 20 new scenes, such as Baby and Johnny exploring their romance, the relationship between Dr. and Mrs. Houseman, and the motivation of Neil Kellerman.
  • The music in the stage production is a combination of live music and original masters.
  • The performance is closer to an evening of dance than your average musical, and the choreography is intoxicating.

Because there are so many Dirty Dancing lovers around here, tickets are selling fast. Hurry and get yours before you miss the chance to see this classic story on stage!

Purchase tickets today. Visit for a list of other upcoming shows.

Kristin Chenoweth Heading to Belk Theater Jan. 31

May 27, 2015
Kristin Chenoweth is coming to Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Jan. 31, 2016.

Kristin Chenoweth is coming to Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Jan. 31, 2016.

Mark your calendars because Broadway’s original Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked will be bringing warmth to Charlotte this winter. The Emmy- and Tony Award©-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will be performing at Belk Theater on Jan. 31, 2016.

Fans may have a hard time choosing Chenoweth’s most famous roles because she has held such a variety of roles in musicals, plays, television shows and movies. Earlier this year, she worked alongside Jennifer Lopez in the film The Boy Next Door. She also completed production on the indie teen drama titled Hard Sell and will be seen in the Disney Channel movie Descendants, in which she will play the classic Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent. Chenoweth was also nominated for two Emmy Awards and a People’s Choice Award in the category of Favorite TV Guest Star for her appearance on the show “Glee.”

She is currently appearing on Broadway, playing the glamorous film star Lily Garland in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s On the Twentieth Century, which has received rave reviews and earned her a Tony Award nomination for best leading actress. In addition, Chenoweth will be hosting the 2015 Tony Awards with Alan Cumming Sunday, June 7, on CBS. You can attend our 11th annual Tony Awards Viewing Party to watch the awards live on a big screen in McGlohon Theater with other Broadway fans.


Kristin Chenoweth, left, as Glinda the Good Witch, performs alongside Idina Menzel as Elphaba

CLICK HERE to get the latest and greatest news about Chenoweth. In addition, make sure to enter to win a signed copy of the On the Twentieth Century cast album.

For more information about Chenoweth’s performance at Belk Theater in Charlotte, visit Tickets go on sale to the public Monday, June 8, at 10 a.m. Prices begin at $39.50.

Friday Giveaway! Enter to Win a Pair of Tickets to Charlotte Squawks: The 11th Glower on June 5!

May 22, 2015


I think it’s safe to say that many of us Charlotteans look forward to this time of year for one reason – it’s time for another Charlotte Squawks in Booth Playhouse at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center! The brilliant creative duo, Mike Collins and Brain Kahn, have once again teamed up to bring you another ridiculously funny edition of the show we all love. Charlotte Squawks: The 11th Glower is sure to entertain and we know you’re just as excited as we are! To make your Memorial Day weekend extra special, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to the show! Feeling lucky?

IML_3593For those of you who haven’t discovered this never-to-be-missed event, here’s a little more information. What is Charlotte Squawks? It’s Saturday Night Live meets Broadway meets our beloved Queen City! Celebrating the eleventh edition of Squawks, the creative team of Collins and Kahn collaborate with the area’s most talented performers to make fun of pop-culture, sports, life and politics both local and national. We could tell you what you should expect, but part of the fun of the show is anticipating who and what will be squawked!


Email to tell us why you would love to win this Friday Giveaway! Use the subject line: Charlotte Squawks Giveaway! A winner will be selected at noon Tuesday, May 26, and notified via email.

Congratulations to the 4th Annual Blumey Award Winners!

May 20, 2015
Students perform opening number on Belk Theater stage on May 17.

Students perform opening number on Belk Theater stage at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center on May 17.

The fourth annual Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards culminated Sunday, May 17, at a gala award celebration where winners in 12 categories were announced and nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress and Wells Fargo Best Musical performed live on stage at the Belk Theater. The Blumey Awards were presented by Wells Fargo.

Best Actor Justin Norwood gives it his all during the Best Actor Medley.

Best Actor Justin Norwood gives it his all during the Best Actor Medley.

Kings Mountain High School from Cleveland County won the Tier 1 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Little Shop of Horrors. Ardrey Kell High School from Mecklenburg County won the Tier 2 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of 42nd Street. Lauren Hunkele of Northwest Cabarrus High School won Best Actress for her portrayal of “Jo March” in Little Women. Justin Norwood of South Pointe High School won Best Actor for his portrayal of “Radames” in Aida. Maureen O’Boyle, anchor for WBTV, emceed the black-tie celebration.

Best Actress Lauren Hunkele performs "Astonishing" from Little Women.

Best Actress Lauren Hunkele performs “Astonishing” from Little Women.

Hunkele and Norwood, the students named Best Actress and Best Actor at The Blumey Awards, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip and weeklong stay in New York City where they will train and compete with other regional winners in the National High School Musical Theater Awards. The national show and ceremony, known as The Jimmy Awards (named after famed Broadway producer, James M. Nederlander), takes place in New York on June 29, 2015.

Twenty-one different high schools within the Charlotte region were nominated for Blumey Awards in at least one of the 12 categories, and another six counties had students recognized in the Top 20 in the Best Actor or Best Actress category. Counties represented included Cabarrus, Cleveland Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York.

Twelve student critics also participated in the Student Critic Program in association with the 4th Annual Blumey Awards presented by Wells Fargo.  The Student Critic Program is a part of The Blumey Awards with support from The Charlotte Observer. Of these twelve Student Critics, Helen Coats from Northwestern High School was awarded “The Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award” at The Blumey Awards, chosen by the editors at The Charlotte Observer.

“Congratulations to everyone from the 39 schools who participated in the 4th Annual Blumey Awards Ceremony,” said Tom Gabbard, Blumenthal President and CEO.  “I’m so proud of the incredible talent we saw on our stage tonight, and for the hard work at each of those schools who produced a musical at their school. The opportunity for these students to perform to a sold out house at Belk Theater, just as our Broadway touring shows do, is an exhilarating experience and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

Ardrey Kell High School from Mecklenburg County won the Tier 2 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of 42nd Street.

Ardrey Kell High School from Mecklenburg County won the Tier 2 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of 42nd Street.

Among the award presenters and special guests were Reginald Bean (Coca-Cola Bottling Company), Amy Blumenthal, Jonzi D. (Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention), Tom Gabbard (President and CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts), Barbara Meeks (Wells Fargo), Christine Nelson (WBTV), and Rick Thames (Charlotte Observer).

This year’s winners for The Blumey Awards included:

Wells Fargo Best Musical – Tier 1 (Musical production budget of under $10,000)

Kings Mountain High School – Little Shop of Horrors


Wells Fargo Best Musical – Tier 2 (Musical production budget of $10,000 and greater)

Ardrey Kell High School – 42nd Street


Best Actor

South Pointe High School – Justin Norwood as Radames (Aida)


Best Actress

Northwest Cabarrus High School – Lauren Hunkele as Jo March (Little Women)


Best Supporting Actor

Northwest School of the Arts – Noah Rosario as Slightly (Peter Pan)


Best Supporting Actress

Southlake Christian Academy – Haley Conway as Ado Annie (Oklahoma!)


Best Featured Performer

Kings Mountain High School – Austin Willis as Orin (Little Shop of Horrors)


Best Overall Direction

Ardrey Kell High School – 42nd Street


Best Ensemble/Chorus

Ardrey Kell High School – 42nd Street


Best Choreography Execution

Northwest School of the Arts – Peter Pan


Best Student Orchestra

Ardrey Kell High School – 42nd Street


Best Costume Creation

Northwest School of the Arts – Peter Pan


Best Set Construction

Ardrey Kell High School – 42nd Street


Kings Mountain High School from Cleveland County won the Tier 1 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Kings Mountain High School from Cleveland County won the Tier 1 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Along with The Blumey Awards themselves, The Doctor Family Foundation awarded a $10,000 annually renewable scholarship to two area students.  This year, The Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship was awarded to Javontre Booker, Northwest School of the Arts, and Erynn Vickery, Forestview High School. A special scholarship committee chose these winners. The scholarship recipients were awarded the scholarships live on May 17 during The Blumey Awards Ceremony.

Blumenthal recently announced The Gordon Hay Scholarship, an endowed scholarship for a Charlotte-area high school senior planning to pursue a non-performing career in the performing arts field. Each year the Gordon Hay Scholarship Committee will select one exceptional high school senior to receive a one-time award in the amount of $5,000. This year, the scholarship was awarded to Aslan Freidline of Davidson Day School.

The gala celebration was the highlight of the competition, which started in January when local schools began presenting their annual musical theater productions. Each school’s musical was viewed and evaluated by a panel of three judges, who awarded points according to detailed guidelines.

The Blumey Awards is produced by Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Education Department and is presented by Wells Fargo.  American Airlines, The Doctor Family Foundation and The Leon Levine Foundation provide additional support. Charlotte joins more than 40 other cities, including Pittsburgh, Houston and Atlanta, in hosting annual high school musical theater awards programs.

Closing number 3“Wells Fargo has been the presenting sponsor of the Blumey Awards four years in a row,” said Jay Everette, Community Affairs Manager for Wells Fargo. “We are always excited to see which outstanding young adults are selected to move on to the Jimmy Awards experience in New York City and we are particularly proud of this year’s deserving winners.”

Like the Tony Awards, The Blumey Awards Ceremony featured live performances by the six finalists for Wells Fargo Best Musical:  Ardrey Kell High School, 42nd Street; Charlotte Latin School, The Secret Garden; Kings Mountain High School, Little Shop of Horrors; Lake Norman High School, The Drowsy Chaperone; North Lincoln High School, Into the Woods; Northwest School of the Arts, Peter Pan.

David Dabbon, a New York-based music director, conductor, orchestrator and composer arranged all of the music, led an orchestra of local professional musicians that accompanied the competing schools, and wrote the closing number. He has conducted shows and concerts throughout the country.

The Blumey Awards Ceremony also featured a medley of performances by the six finalists for Best Actor and Best Actress.  Additionally, two students from each participating school’s productions were featured in opening and closing musical numbers choreographed by Linda Booth, a professional choreographer. Booth holds a BFA in dance performance from UNC-Greensboro and has choreographed over 100 productions in regional and educational theatre.  Recent credits include Hairspray, Chicago, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Drowsy Chaperone and Charlotte Squawks.

The 39 schools that competed in the Blumey Awards program were: A.L. Brown High School, Ardrey Kell High School, Butler High School, Cannon School, Carmel Christian School, Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Central Cabarrus High School, cfa Academy, Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte Latin School, Covenant Day School, Cuthbertson High School, Davidson Day School, East Gaston High School, Hickory Ridge High School, Highland School of Technology, Hough High School, Independence High School, Jay M. Robinson High School, Kings Mountain High School, Lake Norman High School, Lincolnton High School, Marvin Ridge High School, Mountain Island Charter School, Nation Ford High School, North Lincoln High School, Northwest Cabarrus High School, Northwest School of the Arts, Northwestern High School, Parkwood High School, Providence Day School, Providence High School, South Mecklenburg High School, South Pointe High School, Southlake Christian Academy, Stuart W. Cramer High School, Sun Valley High School, Weddington High School.


Two Music Legends Headed to Charlotte!

May 19, 2015

It’s not every day that a music legend performs in your city. We recently announced that two of music’s most legendary living artists will be performing in Charlotte later this year. Each respected and reputable in very different ways, country music singer and songwriter Merle Haggard comes to Belk Theater this summer, and classic crooner Tony Bennett plays Ovens Auditorium this fall.

merle300Country music legend Merle Haggard is often called “the poet of the common man.” It’s a tribute to his incredible success and to the lasting mark he has made, not just on country music, but on American music as a whole.

The term imposes an aura of loftiness that’s totally at odds with the grit and heart of Haggard’s songs. “I’d be more comfortable with something like ‘professor,’ ” he once told a reporter, and the description suits him. Studying and observing life around him, Haggard relays what he sees, hears and feels through his songs. The lyrics are simple, the music is exceptionally listenable. Others who have lived through those same situations recognize the truth in the stories he tells. But Haggard’s real gift is that anyone who hears his songs recognizes the truth in them.

When a Merle Haggard song plays, it can make an innocent-as-apple-pie grandma understand the stark loneliness and self-loathing of a prisoner on death row; a rich kid who never wanted for any material possession get a feel for the pain of wondering where the next meal will come from; a tee-totaling pillar of the community sympathize with the poor heartbroken guy downing shots at the local bar.

As a result, Haggard found his songs at the top of the charts on a regular basis. Immediately embraced by country fans, he also earned the respect of his peers. In addition to the 40 No. 1 hits included here, Haggard charted scores of Top 10 songs. He won just about every music award imaginable, both as a performer and as a songwriter, and in 1994 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Merle Haggard performs in Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, June 30, at 7:30 p.m. Get tickets and more info.

TonyBennett_300With millions of records sold worldwide and platinum and gold albums to his credit, Tony Bennett has received 18 Grammy Awards—including a 1995 Grammy for Record of the Year for his “MTV Unplugged” CD, which introduced this American master to a whole new generation—and the Grammy Lifetime Award. His initial successes came via a string of Columbia singles in the early 1950’s, including  “Because of You,” “Rags to Riches,” and a remake of Hank Williams “Cold, Cold Heart,” proving that Bennett has dabbled in country music himself.

He had 24 songs in the Top 40, including “I Wanna Be Around,” “The Good Life,” “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” and his signature song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” which garnered him two Grammy Awards. Bennett is one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in every decade since the 50’s. He has introduced a multitude of songs into the Great American Songbook that have since become standards for pop music. He was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2005.

In celebration of his 85th birthday in 2011, the release of Bennett’s highly anticipated “Duets II” featured Tony performing with a new roster of celebrated artists including the late Amy Winehouse (her last recording was their duet of “Body and Soul”), Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, and many others. 2014 saw the release of his collaboration with Lady Gaga titled “Cheek to Cheek,” proving that Bennett’s voice knows no generation boundaries. He beat his own record when, at age 88, the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album charts.

Tony Bennett performs at Ovens Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 8 p.m. Ticket are selling fast, so don’t wait. Get tickets and more info.

We hope to see you in the theater as we celebrate these two living legends! For a full list of upcoming concerts, click here.

Friday Giveaway! Enter to Win Two Tickets to See Chris Botti on June 6!

May 15, 2015

Chris Botti is the best selling jazz instrumental artist in the U.S. today, and his success has crossed over to pop audiences. He’s headed to Charlotte for one night only in June to play at Belk Theater!

A popular PBS artist, Botti has worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sting, Paul Simon, Michael Bublé, Joni Mitchell and Andrea Bocelli. Hear why he and his trumpet hold multiple Grammys, gold and platinum records and the hearts of millions of music lovers.

Check him out in the video below from a couple of months ago when he was at the Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia!

This is a show you don’t want to miss. Why not try your luck at this week’s Friday Giveaway!


Email to tell us why you would love to win this Friday Giveaway! Use the subject line: Chris Botti Giveaway! A winner will be selected at noon Tuesday, May 19, and notified via email.


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