John Mellencamp, Patti LaBelle highlight Kirby Center’s 2016-17 schedule

Gene Axton - [email protected] | May 25th, 2016 5:07 pm - updated: 5:19 pm.

WILKES-BARRE — As the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts enters its 30th year, Anne Rodella can sum up her feelings about the venue’s next season in one word: “Excited.”

John Mellencamp, Patti LaBelle, Joe Walsh and 3 Doors Down highlight the Performing Arts’ 2016-17 schedule, which was announced Tuesday.

“We’re really proud of this season and how it came together, how diverse it is,”said Rodella, the Kirby Center’s director of sales and marketing. “Every time I talk about this season, I find something new I’m excited about.”

According to Rodella, events marking the Wilkes-Barre theater’s 30th anniversary include a free July 15 show with fusion act Project Grand Slam and the continuation of the W. Curtis Montz Film Series, which screens independent and award-winning films on select Wednesdays. The new season will also feature the introduction of Lobby for the Arts, a series of performing arts programming hosted inside the center’s art deco lobby.

“I think we’re just excited to give a space to shows that we really believe in artistically but maybe couldn’t fill the 1,800-seat theater,” Rodella said. “We get to experiment and find the audience for that kind of series. It’s exciting. We love when the Jerry Seinfelds and Ringo Starrs come to the theater, but we’re the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts — we’re excited to put a focus on that.”

The Kirby Center’s 2016-17 Broadway Series lineup includes performances of “MAMMA MIA!” on Jan. 8, 2017, and continues with “STOMP,” “Annie” and “42nd Street.”

“I really think it’s a strong broadway this year,” said Rodella of the schedule.

The 2016-17 season follows up a 2015-16 season that saw the venue grow its Live at the Chandelier Lobby series, host a December Holiday Art Market and present acts like Alice Cooper, Pat Benatar and Ace Frehley on its main stage. Events left before the current season concludes include June 2’s Travis Tritt concert, June 14’s visit from Ringo Starr & his All-Star Band and June 24’s performance by comedian Kevin James. This season’s Live at the Chandelier Lobby series concludes May 27, with an acoustic set by singer/songwriter Jesse Terry.

Here’s a look at next season’s lineup:

  • New Riders of the Purple Sage, July 1, (Live from the Chandelier Lobby)
  • Project Grand Slam, July 15 (Live from the Chandelier Lobby, free show)
  • Joe Walsh, Aug. 4
  • Space Oddity: The Ultimate David Bowie Experience, Aug. 9
  • Celtic Thunder, Aug. 30
  • 3 Doors Down & Pop Evil, Sept. 7
  • Cory Branan, Sept. 9 (Live from the Chandelier Lobby)
  • The Fab Faux, Sept. 10
  • Adam Ferrara, Sept. 16 (Live from the Chandelier Lobby)
  • God Save the Queen, Sept. 24
  • Brian Regan, Sept. 25
  • Gavin DeGraw & Andy Grammer, Oct. 6
  • Hunkappella, Oct. 7
  • The Second City: Free Speech! (While Supplies Last), Oct. 9
  • John Mellencamp, Oct. 14
  • Foreigner, Oct. 21
  • Patti LaBelle, Oct. 28
  • Stand Bac & The Idol Kings, Nov. 5
  • U.S. Army Field Band & Soldiers’ Chorus, Nov. 15
  • Octonauts Live!, Nov. 16
  • Jake Shimabukuro, Nov. 18
  • A Christmas Carol, Dec. 14
  • MAMMA MIA!, Jan. 8, 2017
  • Elvis Lives, Feb. 1
  • I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson’s Life in His Own Words & Song, Feb. 11 (Lobby for the Arts)
  • Cirque Zuma Zuma, Feb. 16 (Lobby for the Arts)
  • The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Feb. 17
  • Annie, Feb. 23
  • STOMP, March 15-16
  • Odd Squad Live!, March 24
  • Red Hot Chilli Pipers, March 25
  • 42nd Street, March 29
  • Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, April 1 (Lobby for the Arts)

Young People’s Theater Series:

  • Doktor Kaboom Live Wire! The Electricity Tour, Jan. 12
  • I Have A Dream, Feb. 9
  • Bill Blagg’s Science of Magic, Feb. 13
  • Story Pirates, April 7
  • The Hit Men: Time Travel Tour, April 28
  • Feet Don’t Fail Me Now! Rhythmic Circus, April 30
  • Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!, May 16

W. Curtis Montz Film Series 2016:

  • Carol (2015) – June 22 – R, 118 min
  • Mediterranea (2015) – June 29 – NR, 107 min
  • 45 Years (2015) – July 6 – R, 95 min
  • The Assassin (2015) – July 20 – NR, 105 min
  • Racing Extinction (2015) – July 27 – NR, 94 min
  • The Lobster (2015) – Aug. 3 – R, 118 min
  • He Named Me Malala (2015) – Aug. 10 – PG-13, 88 min
  • Son of Saul (2015) – Aug. 17 – R, 107min
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015) – Aug. 24 – R, 121 min
  • Guantanamo’s Child (2015) – Aug. 31 – NR, 80 min
  • Anomalisa (2015), Sept. 14 – R, 90 min
The F.M. Kirby Center Box Office will begin selling tickets for the theater’s 2016-17 season at 10 a.m. June 17. Kirby Center members can purchase tickets starting t 10 a.m. June 7 before they are available to the general public. F.M. Kirby Center Box Office will begin selling tickets for the theater’s 2016-17 season at 10 a.m. June 17. Kirby Center members can purchase tickets starting t 10 a.m. June 7 before they are available to the general public. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
3 Doors Down, MAMMA MIA! also featured during Kirby’s 30th season, along with new and returning programs

Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts