By Steve Raymond
News Report Staff
Whether it’s rock, country or Christian music.
Or maybe an orchestra or a group singing Celtic songs.
Or it could even be comedians, acrobats, a sing-along, and, yes, even some Shakespeare.
The 2018-19 schedule of entertainment for the ninth year at the Effingham Performance Center includes something for everyone.
“I am really pleased with our lineup for the upcoming year,” Rich Jorn, Executive Director at EPC, admitted. “We have good balance. There really is something for everybody and that’s a tricky thing to do.”
Jorn said it was a “9 to 10-month process” to put the lineup together. That lineup includes more than 50 shows that will all be presented on the EPC stage, beginning with the Happy Together Tour on August 8.
Jorn attends multiple events during the year in search of the type of talent that will attract customers to the 1,500-seat Midland States Bank Auditorium. Those include the Arts Midwest Booking Conference in Indianapolis and one sponsored by the International Entertainment Buyers Association in Nashville, Tennessee.
“That’s where we really start the process for the following season,” Jorn explained. “We’re already thinking about what shows we’ll bring in for the 2019-2020 season.”
Jorn said the potential list for a season starts with about 500 possibilities before getting narrowed down. He does a lot of research, talks to agents, confers with his staff, reads plenty of reviews and seeks opinions from local customers – all in an attempt to assemble a lineup that will not only draw people to the theater, but provide them an entertaining and satisfying experience that will keep them coming back.
Some acts are signed quickly.
“When I went to the IEBA event last October, one of the people I wanted to see was Don Felder (a former member of the Eagles),” Jorn noted. “He was one of the showcase performers. He played magnificently, sang great and was spot on. It was like hearing the Eagles. I booked him that night for a show that would be a year later.”
Felder is scheduled to perform at the EPC on Friday, Nov. 2.
Signing Dwight Yoakam and Lou Gramm didn’t happen as quickly. Jorn indicated he had tried to sign both the past couple years, but the timing just wasn’t right.
“We are a secondary market and a smaller venue,” Jorn said. “We have to grab them when they’re available. For us, a lot of it is all about opportunity.”
Like with every season, there are some acts that will be making their inaugural appearance in Effingham.
Jorn is excited about Siro: A Techno Circus, Plain White T’s, Buckcherry, Meat Loaf’s official band featuring Caleb Johnson, the musical parody of the hit TV show Friends and the fast-paced, funny Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
“We have a lot of different acts this year,” Jorn noted. “We also try to space them out so we don’t have too much rock or too much country all at once. We try hard to mix it up.”
The Effingham Performance Center is coming off a successful 2017-2018 season.
“It exceeded our expectations,” Jorn admitted. “There were a few shows that for the life of me, I thought would do better. But that’s going to happen once in a while. Overall, we had a lot of terrific shows that did really well for us. We’re confident our upcoming season will also be a huge success.”
Tickets are now on sale for the 2018-2019 season. Individual tickets can be purchased by visiting www.ticketmaster.com/epc, calling 800-745-3000 or contacting the box office in person or by phone at 217-540-2788. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; expanded to 6 p.m. on Wednesday; and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The EPC is currently offering a 10 percent discount for tickets to three or more shows. Tickets must be purchased before September 26.
For a limited time, the “Opening Act” promotion allows ticket buyers to receive a 15 percent discount on purchases of six or more shows if purchased before August 25. Contact the EPC Box Office at 217-540-2788 for more information.
Here are the shows scheduled for the 2018-2019 season.
Fri., Oct. 19 – Plain White T’s
Sat., Oct. 20 – Lou Gramm: “The Juke Box Hero”
Fri., Nov. 2 – Don Felder, Formerly of the Eagles
Sat., Nov. 3 – Jackyl
Sat., Feb. 23 – 6 String Summit
Sat., Mar. 2 – “Back Out of Hell” the Concert w/ Meat Loaf’s Official Band Ft. Caleb Johnson
Sat., Mar. 16 – Buckcherry
Sat., Sep. 29 – Dwight Yoakam
Fri., Oct. 12 – David Church
Fri., Oct. 26 – Sawyer Brown
Sat., Feb. 16 – Moe Bandy
Sat., Apr. 13 – Tanya Tucker
Fri., May 17 – Trace Adkins
Wed., Oct. 10 – Professor Gizmo’s Fun & Science Show
Wed., Feb. 27 – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Wed., Mar. 27 – Junie B. Jones
Wed., Aug. 8 – Happy Together Tour 2018
Sep. 7-8, Sep. 14-15 – The Foreigner – Three Chicks & a Stage
Thu. Sep. 27 – Siro-A: Techno Circus
Thu., Oct. 18 – Chinese Warriors of Peking
Sat., Dec. 29 – Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
Fri., Feb. 8 – Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Fri., Mar. 1 – Songs of Ireland: A Celtic Celebration
Sat., Mar. 9 – The Drifters
Fri., Mar. 22 – ARTRAGEOUS: The Interactive Art & Music Experience
Wed., Apr. 3 – United States Air Force Band of Mid-America
Fri., Apr. 12 – Glenn Miller Orchestra
Sat., Nov. 10 – Ozark Jubilee presents A Branson Country Christmas
Dec. 1-2 – Miracle on 34th St. – Three Chicks & a Stage
Sat., Dec. 8 – The Texas Tenors: Deep in the Heart of Christmas
Fri., Dec. 14 – The Prophecy: A Tribute to Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Sat., Dec. 15 – Scott Wattles Christmas
Thu., Dec. 20 – David Phelps: A Classic Christmas
Fri., Sep. 21 – Ron White
Sat., Oct. 27 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Sat., Nov. 17 – Gallagher and Artie Fletcher: The Joke’s on You Tour
Sat., Feb. 9 – My Funny Valentine
Sat., Apr. 6 – FRIENDS! The Musical Parody
Fri., May 3 – Reduced Shakespeare Company: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]
Thu., Oct. 25 – Together in Concert: Matt Maher and Zach Williams
Thu., Mar. 28 – Church Basement Ladies: Rise Up, O Men
Fri., Mar. 29 – Ernie Haase and Signature Sound