FTS Preview: 2014-15 Collins Center for the Arts

CCAWhat’s that, you say?  The School of Performing Arts Fall Preview wasn’t enough for you?  Really?  Well keep back, you culture-hungry hordes…  We’ve got more for you.  That’s right, it’s the return of the Collins Center for the Arts Preview!  The greater Bangor area is growing each year with music and performance options, but the Collins Center is the O.G. in central Maine’s performing arts scene, and, as always, FTS has the highlights for you here.  Keep in mind that, if you’re a full-time UMaine student, you get two free tickets each semester!  I mean…  Take advantage, Black Bears!  OK.  Hold on to your seats.  Lots of ground to cover.


September 20, 8PM.  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

This is going to hold a special place in the hearts of Black Bear alums of a certain age (read: yours truly), given that the pinnacle of BBVD’s career was during my late high school and early UMaine years.  This SoCal swing revival group has stayed busy since the late 90s, though, recently releasing an album of Cab Calloway’s hits.  They’re a fun live band, as well, so this is recommended, whether you’re a 30-something child of the Swingers era or not.



September 25, 7PM.  Chris Isaak.

It’s like they’re building this schedule just for 20-year-old me.  Wicked Game is one of those amazing slow jams you can’t shake – it’s a timeless song, and its enormity obscures Isaak’s vast talent that exists beyond that one tune.  Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing is a terrific song, as well – and Isaak recently also released an album of some of Sun Records best known hits, including those from Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, which just sounds phenomenal.  Go see this one.  I mean, if you like music.



October 4, 8PM.  Bob Marley.

We won’t get too far into this one, since we’ve actually covered this ground before, but one of Maine’s foremost comedians is returning to the CCA, and it’ll be funny.  Period.


October 14, 8PM.  Kevin James.

Perhaps you know him from Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens, or Paul Blart, Mall Cop.  I know him as the second-best wrestler at Ward Melville High School in Long Island.  Mick Foley is the first.  Sorry, Mr. James.  But really, Kevin James is one of the biggest names in comedy today, and if you think you’re getting out of this one without laughing, well, you’re wrong.  You’re just wrong.



October 16, 7PM.  Boz Scaggs.

Ladies and gentlemen, MR. BOZ SCAGGS!  I dunno – here’s a Wikipedia entry for Boz Scaggs.


November 16, 3PM.  The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon.

For the kids.  Or the kids at heart, too – this book’s been around for more than 50 years, so it surely has lots of fans of all ages.  Enchantment Theatre’s touring show brings this classic book to life as Harold and his magic purple Crayola visit outer space, the circus, and a dragon.  Life-sized puppets, music, masks, and stagecraft galore will make this one a visual delight.


November 18, 7PM.  Dancing Pros Live! Hosted by Alan Thicke.

If you’re like vast swathes of the American population, you probably spend some time watching network TV’s dance competitions – Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and others have captured evening TV with their Pasa Dobles, Quick Steps, and Rumbas.  And on November 18, you don’t just watch – you get to participate as part of the audience voting.  You – along with celeb judges Kym Johnson and Edyta Sliwinska will determine who wins the night!  Plus, there’s Alan Thicke, so that’s cool.



December 20, 2PM & 7PM; December 21, 3PM.  The Nutcracker.

Come on, who doesn’t need some of that good Christmas spirit??  And by Christmas spirit, I mean some egg nog, and pretending you’re listening to the Home Alone soundtrack…  I kid, I kid!  Mostly.


January 16, 8PM.  Sister Act National Broadway Tour.

My wife is totally NOT making me write this.  This is a totally great show, which you should absolutely go see.  I mean, the New York Post calls it “ridiculously fun,” and who am I to argue with the New York Post?  And the music?  Wow.  Tony/Oscar Winner Alan Menken?  He wrote the music to Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, which I totally DON’T hear nonstop at home with an almost-four-year-old.  Totally.


(If you have deciphered my code by now, you know that I’m being held at knifepoint and can’t tell you that I actually don’t have much interest here.  But if you do, then by all means: go!  But please send help first.  Please.)


April 7, 7PM.  Celtic Thunder.

Are you a PBS viewer?  Then you know this crew.  Their specials are constantly trotted out during public TV pledge drives, and do you know why?  (Tip from a former insider, here…)  THEY MAKE A TON OF DOUGH!  Audiences love this stuff.  And I’ll tell you something else – I get it.  I get sucked into these things like crazy.  They are talented, charismatic, and dramatic performers of traditional Irish and Scottish songs, done with a modern flair (I mean, they’re no Celtic Women, but still…)  There must be some sort of devilish subliminal messaging or something, here.


April 23, 7PM.  Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

It’s exactly what it sounds like.  No drums.  No violins.  No trumpets or pianos.  And don’t even think about bringing that guitar over here.  Ukuleles only, please.  Mix that with a little bit of vocal performance on songs from Tchaikovsky to David Bowie to Nirvana, and there you have it.  I think you’re going to have to have a sense of humor with this one.  Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:




April 28, 7PM.  Memphis National Broadway Tour.

Now this is more my speed when it comes to a touring Broadway show – old school rock & roll and R&B telling a true-life story of a radio DJ who shocked the world by playing music by African Americans.  Lots of 1950’s racial themes in this one, but if you like Hairspray, you’d definitely like Memphis.  This is a high-energy show, and it’s a great one to close out the CCA’s 2014-15 calendar


OK, we did it.  We’re at the end.  Thing is, though…  Those are just the highlights – there are many, many more performances from A Streetcar Named Desire to the Moscow City Ballet’s Swan Lake and more.  Check the whole lineup HERE.  See you at the CCA!






Photo credit: Ruth Clark, Bright Lights Dark Room


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