By MELISSA HEARD MUNDS/The Lufkin News
The Pines Theater has an exciting lineup of entertainment for 2015, and tickets are on sale now! This year marks the third season for “The Pines Presents” series, with a theme of “Timeless Classics and New Favorites.”
“Whether people are new to our performing arts events or continuing patrons, we are happy to have them as our guests in the historic theater,” said Tara Watson-Watkins, artistic director for The Pines Theatre. “The Pines Theater is a gem in our community, and we are honored to be a part of a generous community that is centered around the arts.”
When Watson-Watkins books the shows each year, she always tries to find a little something for everyone.
“This season will feature everything from country music singer, John Berry, to Grammy-featured vocalist and soul singer, Mike Farris,” she said. “You definitely won’t want to miss February’s mesmerizing and unique show, ‘Spencers: Theatre of Illusion,’ and we are happy to welcome American Idol finalist Michael Lynche in March. Join us in October for The Unexpected Boys — a tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons! If you love the ‘50s and ‘60s, be sure to get your tickets to see the doo-wop quartet, The Diamonds, in September. We are thrilled to be welcoming these acts to the stage, and we hope to see you there. Help us kick off the new season on Jan. 22 with The Pines Presents: John Berry.”
Tickets range from $25-$35, and are still available for each show.
“The Pines continues to be a community gathering spot where past memories of the theater thrive, and new, lasting memories are created,” Watson-Watkins said. “I really encourage everyone to come and see the acts, even if you are not familiar with them. I promise you will not be disappointed. Mark your calendar, bring your friends and come enjoy a night in downtown Lufkin!”
Melissa Heard Munds’ email address is email@example.com.
John Berry • Jan. 22, 7 p.m.
Signed to Capitol Records in 1992, John Berry is a name known by almost any country music lover for his strong vocal skills. His string of hits with Capitol Records include “I Think About it All the Time,” “Your Love Amazes Me,” “Kiss Me in the Car” and “Change My Mind,” to name a few. Berry shares that through the years, he has grown in his walk with Christ and “feels called to share God’s love with his audience.” Come enjoy Berry’s heart-warming tenor voice for a night of hymns, love songs and his chart-topping hits!
Spencer: Theater of Illusion • February 17-19, 7 p.m.
A unique fusion of illusion and magic, mystery and humor and personality and persona, the Spencers’ production blends the theatrical elements of Broadway-style productions with the energy of a rock concert. The artists take the audience on a spell-binding journey to “the brink of impossibility, and back again.”
Cinema Toast • March 5, 7 p.m.
Celebrate classic musical memories with three of Broadway’s top vocalists. The singers will salute songs from Titanic, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Way We Were, The Wizard of Oz, The Graduate and many other unforgettable films that serve as “the soundtrack to our lives.”
Michael Lynche • April 9, 7 p.m.
Love and second chances — these two things have defined Michael Lynche’s life. Devoted family man and Florida native, Lynche’s rise from obscurity was documented on American Idol, where the judges famously “saved” him — giving him another chance to stay in the competition. Known as “Big Mike,” Lynche wowed millions of fans on the show with his powerful and comforting voice. He has completed his debut album, with his first single “Who’s Gonna Love You More” steadily rising on the Urban Adult Contemporary Charts. Performing with his 15-piece band, Lynche delivers an unforgettable performance that you don’t want to miss!
Mike Farris • Aug. 13, 7 p.m.
A musical renaissance man, Mike Farris has toured as a lead singer for southern rock band Cheetah Wheelies. Following the passing of blues/rock legend Stevie Ray Vaughn, he became the lead singer for Double Trouble, the incomparable blues band. While pursuing his solo career, Farris began to reinterpret and rediscover black spiritual music — adding his own blend of vintage southern soul. This led him to earn the prestigious Americana Music Award for “Best New and Emerging Artist,” along with a Dove Award for “Best Traditional Gospel Album of the Year.” He was invited in 2011 to be a featured performer in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 16th Annual American Masters concert, where he performed alongside Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill, Ronald Isley and Cissy Houston.
The Diamonds • Sept. 14, 7 p.m.
It was 1957 when The Diamonds released an instant hit called Little Darlin’, selling to millions. Even to this day, the song continues to sell around the world, and has been named the “National Anthem of Rock and Roll.” According to the Pines Theater website, through the years The Diamonds have learned one important lesson: “the durability of this classic rock and roll music is as much about the future as it is about the past.” Come enjoy the group’s musical review of Bandstand Boogie as they perform many classic hits from the rock and roll era, including “Splish Splash,” “Blue Moon,” “You’ve Lost that Love and Feeling” and many more. The Pines Theater invites you to “Jump, Jive and Wale the night away with The Diamonds!”
Unexpected Boys • Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
The Unexpected Boys have, over the past three years, amazed crowds with their award-winning and laudable tribute to Frankie Vallie and The Four Season/Jersey Boys. The group has opened for celebrities like Chubby, Dionne Warwick and Diana Ross, while also landing headlining gigs all over the world. They were recently featured in the season finale of The Real Housewives of New York. Expect a show full of playful New Jersey “wise guy” antics, a Rat Pack repartee and a tongue and cheek love story scenario all set the music from the legendary group, Four Seasons. Broadway veterans will sing hits such as “Walk Like a Man,” “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
Duwende • Nov. 10, 7 p.m.
Six-person accapella band, Duwende (Doo-WEN-day), is best known for its “fiercely original bass and beat box driven funk/pop style of music.” In 2011, the group released “Remember: The Music of Michael Jackson,” gaining widespread acclaim and leading to performances for the Bill Clinton Global Initiative, the United Nations and a World AIDS Day Event in Amsterdam, to name a few. The group has more than 4 million YouTube views and counting, with a growing fan base from all over the world. Duwende’s music and arrangements have also been used internationally on television shows.
Linda Eder • Dec. 8, 7 p.m.
Named one of the “greatest contemporary voices of our time,” Linda Eder exhibits a diverse repertoire, with elements of jazz, pop, Broadway, standards and country. Playing the tragic character of “Lucy” in the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde, Eder wowed audiences of New York’s Plymouth Theatre every night, belting out signature songs like “Someone Like You” and “A New Life.” According to the Pines’ website, her Broadway debut sent her “already rapidly rising star blazing across the sky, securing her spot as one of America’s most beloved singers and dynamic live performers.” In 2013, Eder released her album, “Christmas Where You Are,” a follow-up to her critically-acclaimed and best-selling work, “Christmas Stays the Same.” Eder provides a perfect show to celebrate the holidays.