Amanda Horton and Wendy Sparks about the upcoming season at Reynolds Performance Hall

Podcast: Season 2; Episode 12: Amanda Horton and Wendy Sparks of Reynolds Performance Hall.

Today on the Weekly podcast, we talk to Amanda Horton and Wendy Sparks from Reynolds Performance Hall about the upcoming 2022-2023 season.

SHOW NOTES

Wendy Sparks
Amanda Horton

Music by Joystick – https://www.joystock.org


Transcript

The transcript is generated automatically and may contain inconsistencies.

00:00.37

tejones

Hey, everyone, welcome to the weekly Conway scene. My name is Todd Jones I’m your host and today we have our guests we have None guests from the Reynolds Performance Hall Amanda Horton and Wendy Sparks and actually just a couple weeks ago I was invited to and got to go to their debut where they reveal the upcoming season and really enjoyed looking forward to the season coming up and I have asked them to come on the show. So if you would mind ladies introducing yourself and tell us just a little bit about what you do for Reynolds.

 

00:43.70

Amanda Horton

Great. Thank you for having us on the show today. My name is Amanda Horton as you said I’m the director of Reynolds Performance Hall I have been um, with Uca in this position for 9 years I was formally a so. Student at uca in the 90 s I actually graduated from Uca with a bachelor’s degree in 95 so when I came back to Reynolds Performance Hall it it felt a little bit like coming home. But of course the conway scene had definitely changed a lot from the 90’s until you know what? it’s like current day. Yes, again, thank you for having us. I’m Wendy Sparks. I’m the director of marketing and finance for Reynolds. I’ve been here for about 4 years now. I originally was with a facility in Texas and then came up to Arkansas and was with Russellville. Center for the arts for several years and then stepped on board over here in 11 it’s a great place to be with wonderful entertainment.

 

03:22.21

tejones

Are both of you Arkansas born and bred?

 

02:48.30

Amanda Horton

No I am not. I am originally from East Texas. I came up here about thirteen fourteen years ago with my spouse at the time and I have continued to love it.

 

03:57.23

tejones

Um, wasn’t.

 

03:19.81

Amanda Horton

I was born and bred Arkansan and I am originally from stuttgart. However, Wendy and I share this common link. My father is from east Texas. We’ve actually lived in the same small east Texas town. But ah I was only in East Texas for about 5 years the majority of my life I’ve been right here in Arkansas.

 

04:36.85

tejones

Yeah, so I’m born in Arkansas as well. I grew up in Batesville so most of us made our way to Conway at some point. Ah.

 

04:07.11

Amanda Horton

Yeah I love it right? Batesville’s a unique city right there that’s where lion college is and cool.

 

05:12.10

tejones

Ah, yeah, lying in University Of Arkansas Community College Batesville which is like the one in Morrilton so they didn’t have that when I was a kid it was called gateway votec and they’ve transformed it since then it’s pretty impressive campus for you know.

 

04:41.97

Amanda Horton

Okay, yeah.

 

05:51.83

tejones

Formerly being a votech is’ much different it was when I was a kid so and I think they have some kind of auditorium as well and have some performances of some kind there and so yeah, it’s ah, an and course line was there as well and that was Arkansas college when I was a kid.

 

05:11.13

Amanda Horton

Who.

 

06:26.55

tejones

And they changed it to Lyon college so they’re doing some good things there as well lot of ah Batesville conway connections I can probably point to people who live in conway now who grew up in the area. So it’s just kind of interesting. Ah.

 

05:49.19

Amanda Horton

Yeah, yeah.

 

06:03.43

Amanda Horton

Um, Conway is an interesting town and a lot of people come to college here. My husband is that way. He’s originally from stuckart two. We married later in life actually nine years ago when I came to Conway we married but he um.

 

06:59.83

tejones

E.

 

06:37.75

Amanda Horton

He graduated from Uca and he never left Conway and you hear that story over and over again of people who you know once they came to this town and went to college. There was so much opportunity here that they just stayed so that’s a great thing about our city.

 

07:48.93

tejones

Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that story over and over and ah you know and and I’ve been here since 2010 so you chin, especially with me I hang out in coffee shops a lot so who have I met and coffee shops college students right? Yeah, they don’t all stay around but many of them do and.

 

07:26.43

Amanda Horton

And.

 

08:26.95

tejones

So it’s been interesting to watch them grow up in the conway area and start families and that kind of thing. So yeah, it is a really neat town though I agree.

 

08:02.21

Amanda Horton

A ton of economic development has happened from the 90 s until this current day and you can see that everywhere especially in what we’re talking about today arts and entertainment when I was a student here Reynolds Performance Hall was a parking lot. It was a gravel parking lot as a matter of fact and now it’s this. Beautiful performing art center that brings in these national and international touring artists for our community and is supported by our college and our community.

 

09:39.90

tejones

So let’s talk about when Reynolds was built and open to the public.

 

09:09.67

Amanda Horton

We opened in 2000 we celebrated in fact, our None anniversary back in our season of 1920 which was the you know year that the the pandemic started and so we didn’t even get to finish as we close that year in March but that was actually our None

 

10:29.53

tejones

Okay.

 

09:48.91

Amanda Horton

Season we had a fun show in February where we had ah a big party that celebrated our anniversary literally in February and come March thankfully we had planned that for February because come March we had to shut the.

 

11:05.87

tejones

Um, was that the one that Comedy Symphony Orchestra Um, the position year. Yes, yes yeah.

 

10:24.53

Amanda Horton

Theater down so that was.

 

10:35.77

Amanda Horton

No, no, we oh they just did a tribute to Reynolds right? No yeah, they just did that last month I believe yes yeah, that was great so they’re moving some of their performances. We’ve always been their performance house. Um, where you know they are.

 

11:49.41

tejones

Um, right.

 

11:14.75

Amanda Horton

Utilize us for all their shows but with the wingate center being built. There’s an ah, None seat performance hall there that’s a little better suited for some of their performances so they’ll be moving some of their performances there. I know that because I’m on the comedy symphony orchestra board and you know we’ve.

 

12:27.93

tejones

There you go.



11:49.83

Amanda Horton

We’ve also booked Reynolds with them for next year they’re going to continue to have their larger shows here like their Christmas show is always very popular and draws in a lot of people so that will continue to be at Reynolds but some of their performances will be moving to the windgate center as it should. It’s just a better space for what they do.

 

13:02.35

tejones

So now in 2000 whenever they opened Reynolds were they having performances similar to the ones that you know you’ve had the last few years or did it take a little while to get to that point.

 

12:36.19

Amanda Horton

Um, oh yeah oh no they opened with Ray Charles right off the batth. He was the none artist to be here when they opened up and you know that went through a little bit of a change where there weren’t as many productions. It wasn’t as large of productions that we have done really in the last few years when Amanda came on board. She increased some of the shows that were coming and how many shows as well as types of shows. Ah, really probably the last None to None ars It has grown more into what it is now they typically would have around None to 10 performances a year and in the first ten years and then Jerry Bivishamimmer actually who was the the director before me um, was. Challenged and given a little bit more programming money to bring in more acts and so he did that. But since I’ve been here the last nine years we’ve brought in different series. We’ve brought in a huge mainstage education series. It brings children to the theater. So yes, it’s.

 

15:28.65

tejones

Are.

 

14:52.77

Amanda Horton

Definitely continue to grow over the last twenty years

 

15:39.55

tejones

So this is the first full season since the pandemic I’m guessing is that correct.

 

15:08.79

Amanda Horton

Well last season we just ended our first full season since the pandemic. So yeah in 1920 in March we did have to shut down for a couple of months but by the summer we were back up and running we actually.

 

16:03.45

tejones

Okay, okay, so yeah.

 

15:43.25

Amanda Horton

Um, got on board pretty quickly with the Arkansas State Department Of Health . In fact I believe we were the none performing arts center in the state of Arkansas to be allowed to open up because when the pandemic hit if you were a public organization. You had to apply to have events and so we put in an application. Um, with the department health and by July that was approved and by the fall we were having events in Reynolds. It looked different. It felt different so our None seat theater then became really a 300 seat theater because you had to do so six feet spatial distance between every party.

 

17:19.83

tejones

Yeah. A.

 

17:02.90

Amanda Horton

So it really reduced our capacity but we still had performances that year we had Sandy Patty the Texas tenor the midtown man we brought in groups that were smaller and that traveled with smaller backup bands and did not. Required a lot of our crew to load them in because we were forced to try to spatially distance and they weren’t as complicated. You know they were still great shows. Um, but we did and we did and we maybe what did we have that year seven I want me have least I was like say None to None performances that year for sure that was and then. That was the year 2021 and then this year what we just completed was our 21 22 performance and we were really back up to speed with we were at back at full capacity so we could sell out our hall which is None seats if you’re interested in that just under None and um. We had 3 or 4 performances out of the None cancel on us. But we were really able to go ahead and execute a full season.

 

19:44.75

tejones

  1. Okay, for some reason I thought that it wasn’t quite a full season. But I guess I was wrong on that so we try to ah a post you know whenever you put out a press release about a performance or something like that I would try to keep that.

 

19:22.65

Amanda Horton

Yeah, the way.




19:37.67

Amanda Horton

Sure. Yes, thank you so much and then we did have some things like, for instance, an officer and a gentleman which was on a big Broadway tour a week before they were to be here. The cast had an outbreak of covid so they had to completely cancel on us and.

 

20:49.31

tejones

And.

 

20:17.90

Amanda Horton

And then we had an ah show that was Yamato. That’s Japanese drummers and Japan would not allow them to come to the United States so they canceled on us so we had you know every cancellation we had was because of covid you know there’s no doubt about it. It was all covid contributed but. Wisher hated to get those notifications in but we’re we’re pretty good at it now I hate to say that if a show cancels we know immediately what to do? how to contact our patrons. How to do our refunds, how to communicate with those people that need to know, but you know we’re just praying and. Hoping for the best for next season so that we’re not gonna have to cancel any show right.

 

22:28.11

tejones

Let’s talk about the dates for the tickets and that kind of thing before we get into some of the performances go ahead.

 

21:49.77

Amanda Horton

Yeah, sure, well well I was just gonna say you know you came to our debut party where we of course announce our entire season. Well that night also is huge for our season ticket holders. Because they get special access to go ahead and renew their tickets that night, so they are right now in the process of doing that in our box office. They’ll be doing season renewal packages up until June seventeenth and that’ll be the last day that you can renew your package. Ah, because on June twentieth all of our season shows are on sale for new season packages if you want to be a Broadway or a pops or we even have a pick six option to buy with a $100 donation or more they can pick 6 different shows for a discount. So that is the time that people who aren’t already seasoned package holders can start purchasing a package and then in july we have our big kickoff for our single ticket shows that will happen on july twenty fifth that’s when all of our shows go on sale this season. The only one that will not go on sale then will be the blue man group that will actually not go on sale until September the thirteenth and then we also have. The week before our single tickets this is another perk for season package holders. Whether you’re renewing or a new holder. We have what we call a courtesy week and that is none through the twenty second during that week those season package holders if they want to come back in and add some tickets. Ah to their package for say friends or family, some guests they want to bring to some shows they can purchase them that week before they go on sale to the general public.

 

26:20.49

tejones

So the new ones don’t have you. You don’t have an option until what you say June twentieth or something like yeah, okay and then the single ticket ones are in July one of the things I noticed um.

 

25:52.19

Amanda Horton

June Twentieth right new it’s curse that’s yeah July Twenty fifth

 

26:59.21

tejones

Certainly when I was prepping the press release. But I’ve noticed it previously with other press releases is that you have what is a 4 or 5 series that you would call them and they all seem to have like I mean not really ah like a theme but kind of you know, kind of a theme.

 

26:34.39

Amanda Horton

Yes, we do we.

 

26:51.47

Amanda Horton

Yeah.

 

27:38.81

tejones

You know, like okay so you have the Broadway series and I’m guessing these are like off-broadway top shows is that correct.

 

27:06.63

Amanda Horton

Yes, the Broadway series typically tours national tours that are coming out of New York city most of the shows have been on Broadway. Um. Occasionally, we’ll bring one in that is a musical but not might not have been on Broadway but every one of the shows that we have coming this year has either is currently on Broadway in New York or has been on Broadway in New York

 

28:44.13

tejones

And of course the blue man group is one of the most popular somebody mentioned that this morning the blue man group and that’s in February of next year um

 

28:08.77

Amanda Horton

Ah, yes. Yes, and it’s a revamped show. So if you’ve seen a blue man greet before and you think ah I’ve done that I’ve been there. You don’t think that because this is a completely new show with new antics and new images. It’s a completely different act so people need to. To come to it. It’s gonna be a ton of fun and I expect it will sell out pretty quickly as well. They did, yes that is one that we did have to delay a ticket sale on in september.

 

29:46.53

tejones

And that doesn’t go until September. Now does that mean the one off purchases don’t go and sell to September I’m I’m assuming that she’s the ticket holders get options now.

 

29:32.99

Amanda Horton

They yeah, they can buy their tickets now subscriptions can buy now. But if you’re wanting to buy just singles. You will have to wait until september.

 

30:27.31

tejones

Got you? Yeah and that’s like a but kind of a multisensory topic experience correct.

 

29:57.43

Amanda Horton

It sure is ah we had a blue man group at Reynolds um in 2016 maybe it’s been many years ago and we sold out None performances of that particular show this year we’re only going to have one performance. So we know that it’ll be a popular one. But yes, it’s digital and of course there’s the actual blueian but they also it’s a percussion show. They use a lot of drums. They use a lot of in the same vein as stomp a lot of nontraditional type instruments. But it is. They have their own original music and it’s really just fun. It’s lighthearted and it’s very comedic.

 

32:09.73

tejones

And you have and they’re 3 they’re four I guess in that series the other one I wanted to make a quick note about based on your debut is the Spamilton um, that seemed like that was a little bit of everything with some humor mixed in.

 

31:45.79

Amanda Horton

Yes.

 

31:57.39

Amanda Horton

Another comedy. Absolutely we’re trying to bring people to the theater and make them laugh. This year we are not covering a lot of heavy topics because our life has been so very heavy over the last couple of years but Spamilton is kind of a crash course of your favorite Broadway hits. However, it um, it has a very Hamilton feel the costumes do There’s a lot of wrapping throughout it in the same way that that spilton utilizes that style of music very hip hop and but they do they do make fun of celebrities. There’s some pop culture in there. But. For the person who knows what really it’s gonna be fun for everyone I saw this in Chicago and I took my daughter and my mother and my daughter loves Broadway shows. She’s seen so many and my mother has seen just a few but and they both laughed throughout the whole show. So um, but the ones who do know. Broadway Broadway history they’re really going to be entertained by this.

 

34:43.65

tejones

Ah, next is the night out series and I’m not sure exactly what the theme I mean I guess is like a date night out kind of thing is that.

 

34:19.65

Amanda Horton

Well yes I think that we did not create these various groupings and have been at rentals much longer than Wendy and I have but what I always say about night out is it’s an eclectic series. It’s everything that doesn’t fit into Broadway or pops.

 

35:29.51

tejones

New.

 

34:58.63

Amanda Horton

We’ll go into night out and you’re right? It can be just a fun date night. A great night out and so that’s where we put um preacher Lawson who’s a comedian often. We’ll put comedians there, sometimes we’ll do circ or dance shows there. This year we have this zany group called menozzle brass. From Austria that we’re putting there is a brass group and they’re musical but they also have a ton of hysterical antics. They’re known as the Monty Python of the music world. Yeah.

 

36:39.29

tejones

Oh wow okay I did notice and and you I think you use the theme a little bit at the the debut not is the the Lucy loves Desy um, and then of course a Charlie Brown Christmas which I think everybody likes that maybe I don’t know.

 

36:16.77

Amanda Horton

Yes.

 

36:30.97

Amanda Horton

And you know Lucy loves Desi would not fit in Broadway because this is a different style theater show. It’s a radio style theater show and with you being I mean I know this is podcasts but and similar to radio I think you would appreciate this.

 

37:17.55

tejones

Ah.

 

37:27.91

tejones

Um, ah.

 

37:04.99

Amanda Horton

Even have a foley artist on stage that you can watch and all of the actors will be behind microphones in radio style theater but let me tell you what radio style theater does to your mind as an audience member. It forces you to really get immersed into the storytelling. Versus the costumes and the the sets and the acting it’s it’s a very different experience but to me I always feel like I walk away really understanding and knowing more of the story because that’s what you’re listening to the whole time and I love watching a foley artist work I mean that’s just amazing to watch them work. So it’ll be a lot. It’ll be a different experience but None that everyone should participate in. Well you know we had one of these for the first time a few years ago. A few seasons ago we did steel magnolias this way and we had a large crowd there for that show. Yeah, and it’s just. Was amazing to see how people were so engrossed in the story like you said for this show and they left there just amazed because they had never experienced a radio style show before and they just couldn’t believe how good it was and how entertaining they really are. We have a lot of people excited about this Lucy show and are planning to come to this and I think it is because of that experience. They finally got with Steel Magnolia’s. It’s really really good and of course everybody loves Lucy but you’re right? The fact that everybody also loves Charlie Brown Christmas and you know one of the golden.

 

40:39.93

tejones

Yeah.

 

40:13.27

Amanda Horton

Pieces of this for me when the agent called me about this show was the timing of it. We are getting a Saturday which is kind of unheard of because it’s really kind of hard to get Saturdays typically theaters and.

 

41:08.90

tejones

M.

 

40:38.39

Amanda Horton

Larger cities will grab onto full weekends of things but it just so happened that the tour of this route was going to hit right in conway on a Saturday night and that is going to be perfect for families to come out right right? and it’s a great show to introduce.

 

41:39.19

tejones

Yeah, like two weeks from christmas.

 

41:12.89

Amanda Horton

Children go to the theater because it is very similar to the traditional Christmas show television show that they watch every year with the same story told but live actors scenery full costumes and just so much fun. So I would encourage parents to think about this and be a great. Christmas gift and you know something we don’t always talk about but I do think it’s an important part of what Reynolds does with trying to to bring kids into our our theater is we have discounted tickets for children and they’re only $10 you do have to call or come to the box office to get them. But um, you can’t buy them online but you can get a $10 discounted ticket right here at Reynolds performance hall and I challenge you to find any theaters that have nationally touring artists coming through that are offering children’s tickets. They’re just not out there. That’s kind of part of our mission.

 

43:46.61

tejones

That’s a yeah oh I want to get to that in just a moment real quick on the pop series and you do have Amy Grant Neil Mccoy and in 2 I guess tribute type performances.

 

43:25.87

Amanda Horton

Concert experiences is a work called what we call them. But yes, they’re tribute well respect of course is an awesome concert experience Aretha Franklin but this. Show is not a broadway show but it is like a broadway show and has even been. Yeah, it was um broadway producers producing this performance. So. It’s going to be top notch. The cost teams are going to be amazing. The choreography will be really tight. It’ll be a great show and it’s like full band and just everything for this so that show is not really like a a tribute tribute coming out. It is going to be and and that’s how they bill it is a huge concert. Experience and of course Floyd nation now this show if you haven’t seen this this is going to be amazing for everybody who’s of course a pink Floyd fan. But even if you’re just a music fan and enjoy watching a good laser light show. This show is all. Massive laser lights and wonderful of course music from Pete Floyd so that that is going to be a huge experience and then of course Amy Grant and Nell Mccoy those will be wonderful concerts. Amy of course is None just a multitude of a None grammy. Oh yeah, 2026 worths and you know she’s considered to be. You know one of the biggest singer songwriters in pop christian music. So she’ll be fabulous and Neil Mccoy you can’t get much better than him as an entertainer he puts on a fabulous show. He throws a little bit of everything in it including rap and yeah, some pop stuff. But of course he’s a country artist at heart and he’s such a patriot and and he really is all about. The us and and our troops and he’s gone on like None uso tours and he’s just amazing to listen to and hear speak as well as sing so that’ll be a great night as well.

 

48:35.13

tejones

Yeah, and 3 of those are all before the end of the year so they’re actually fairly quickly with Amy being September Thirtieth Neil in November and None and then the respect show just a couple days later November Twelfth so I have to wait a little while to list the Floyd nation.

 

48:02.53

Amanda Horton

Right? yes.

 

48:27.10

Amanda Horton

Yeah I know that’s just the way the season fell together. You know I’m sure you understand how we operate but we have to get on tours and so we have to find the right spot in the tour and sometimes that means it shows.

 

49:14.79

tejones

But those other 3 are really quick. So yeah.

 

49:36.55

tejones

Got you.

 

49:04.85

Amanda Horton

All closer together than we would like but we really wanted Neil Mccoy and we really wanted respect and they just happened to be coming near Arkansas within two days of each other.

 

50:07.85

tejones

That’s pretty cool. So the next thing I wanted to go over and you do have the distinguished speaker students tour and I don’t really want to glance over that too much but I did want to talk about the main stage education.

49:36.37

Amanda Horton

Yes.

 

50:39.81

tejones

And the benefits for mainstage education because this was something I didn’t really realize until the night that you launched a debut. How much you do to help children in the area get to the theater and you have these particular events specifically.

 

50:20.33

Amanda Horton

Okay, here I have.

 

50:34.35

Amanda Horton

Yes.

 

51:19.17

tejones

For that and you were telling about how schools would bring children from you know I think you said somewhere in South Arkansas was one of the furthest away. Yeah.

 

50:55.75

Amanda Horton

Phillips County and then as north is Izard County some of these kids are driving None to 3 hours not the kids but the school best drivers are driving None and that’s simply because there’s no access to the arts in their own communities.

 

51:51.69

tejones

Right.

 

51:26.81

Amanda Horton

Which gives us the opportunity to market to those areas and still be able to offer performing arts to the children and to their curriculum. It’s a pretty amazing program we started um seven years ago but we’ve really only been able to run the program six years because covid did not one full year out of the main stage because the schools were not allowing the children to go on any field trips. They weren’t allowing them to leave school so but in 6 years we’ve served over None students and 50 different school districts. Um and 26 different counties.

 

52:46.90

tejones

Yeah.

 

52:40.39

Amanda Horton

So we’ve really touched all over the state and we’re so proud of that. One thing that we do with that program is every group that we bring in, we require the group to have some educational curriculum. If they don’t we’re not even going to look at booking it. So with this educational study guide curriculum. Whatever you want to call it. We put that on our website and it’s accessible to the teachers and they can take that and introduce the content to the children in the classroom before they come.

 

54:19.17

tejones

Um.

 

53:40.61

Amanda Horton

And learn all about what they’re going to see and then they get here and it all comes to life on stage and it’s really quite an impressive project and if you could see the children. You would be inspired by it especially when they’re leaving. They’re so excited. They love it. And um, our heart is really into this program. So we raised 100% of the funds for the program and we’ve been able to successfully do that. In fact, we’ve done it so well that we started worrying about the future of the program and we started an endowment fund for that program where we’ve racked to date. We’ve raised around $55000.

 

55:18.67

tejones

A.

 

54:49.47

Amanda Horton

We need to get to None to fill it to fully fund that endowment where we would not have to raise money , but you know it’s a start. We’ve started so we’re really excited. We want to just make sure that generations to come way past Wendy and I ever be in here but generations to come. They’ll have this.

 

55:51.87

tejones

Yeah.

 

55:28.31

Amanda Horton

Program and the children will be exposed.

 

56:15.19

tejones

I’m thinking you said something about that. You know some of the children have grown up and come to school at UCA Maybe even sparked their love for theater.

 

55:53.89

Amanda Horton

Yes, well, there’s a couple of purposes for mainstage 1 of course is to introduce these children to performing arts and hopefully plant a seed for future arts lovers or future artists. But something else there is that.

 

56:41.31

tejones

As a child coming to watch some of these shows.

 

56:31.19

Amanda Horton

Many of the children that arrive on the uc campus and get off of this They’ve never been exposed to a college campus. They’ve never been on a college campus so get them here. Have them participate in our programming. Maybe it will open up their minds. And their thought processes to want to go to college here. Hopefully be a Uca bear someday or if not here just go to college somewhere from the positive experiences that they have.

 

57:55.41

tejones

Yeah, yeah, I mean if you have a child on your campus and you give them a good experience. It’s certainly don’t think it’s positive for them to possibly choose Uca or just to go to school. Yeah.

 

57:40.45

Amanda Horton

Right? right? It’s a great recruitment tool. Absolutely.

 

58:33.67

tejones

Well yeah, and I when I grew up I did a lot of sports so you know you might do some sports like a track meet or something at ah, a university and and you know that makes you think about you know hey I might possibly go to that school one day or whatever. So um, the shows in the.

 

58:03.11

Amanda Horton

The hit.

 

59:12.15

tejones

Benefits for main stage education is that that’s part of raising money for the main education series.

 

58:30.90

Amanda Horton

Yes. Right? right? That’s right, we bring in performances that will either split the box office with us or um, have a low enough fee to where we can definitely make some money off of the performances and those are our benefit performances and all of the funds. That we receive in the box office will go towards all the profits that we get from the box office go directly towards our main stage education series and this year we’ve got the purple piano which is absolutely amazing. He is the ah endorsed by the prince family but he’s the. Prince in Las Vegas has a big Las Vegas residency show. Wendy’s actually seen I have. He is just amazing. He is traveling with this purple piano tour because of the last couple years of Prince’s life when he was out on tour. He was doing solo piano shows.

 

01:01:08.35

tejones

M.

 

01:00:31.13

Amanda Horton

So that inspired him to do this even though he does have a group called the purple experience that he actually started with one of the band members of Prince’s band he is from Minneapolis. He has worked with Princes, he has done things with Prince back in and the day of course. But. He is traveling. This is not really a tribute show. It is more like another experience celebrating the music of Prince. He’ll have videos of pictures showing different shows and things like that. He talks a lot about Princes but he just happens to look and maneuver himself just like him. He is a brilliant pianist and he performs all of these songs solo and adds a little bit of his own twist to a lot of them. It is definitely a night for anyone. I’m a fan of Prince’s music. He will really put on the show. And speaking of good music too. Then we roll into tapestry the Carol King songbook and I have seen this show as well. This last year it is an incredible group of performers with the lady who just does. Such good work to promote Carol King and her music they perform the songs from songbook but then they also perform a lot of her other hits from the 70 s some 80 s and again they do a lot of talking about Carole King her story what some of the music means it’s her and her band and that’ll be a great night as well. The males I have celtic angels. Yeah, yeah, celtic angels that’s right and they’ve kind of become a regular at Reynolds We had them this year for celtic angels Christmas and this past season and this season we’re going forward with a March show.

 

01:04:20.99

tejones

And Celtic angels.

 

01:04:08.65

Amanda Horton

Which is perfect. Um, because it’s right around St Patrick’s day. Our show is gonna be on March Fourteenth celtic angels Ireland but they are a steady seller for us people love them. They ask us every time we have them to pre. Please bring them back so we’ve got kind of a good partnership with them bringing them in and.

 

01:04:51.45

tejones

Um, ah yep.

 

01:04:45.57

Amanda Horton

And its quality. All of the entertainers are Irish born and really really talented. Well and they also bring with them the celtic night dancers and people get such a kick out of watching them literally kick.

 

01:05:47.27

tejones

Are.

 

01:05:16.21

Amanda Horton

Um, they are fantastic. Dancers. It just is amazing to see them on the stage. Most of them are from Ireland as well. But there have been some american guys who have toured with them before and you would never know one the last time they came it was a fireman out of New York was touring with them. So it’s really really neat and people really enjoyed it. It’s something to see as well and then our main stage series that we’re bringing in for the children also has some night performances and the couple that are going to offer night performances or day performances are.

 

01:06:46.47

tejones

Um, it’s ah.

 

01:06:29.70

Amanda Horton

Um, the magic of Kevin Spencer which will actually be a sensory friendly performance and then the G Gruffalo will have an afternoon Sunday afternoon performance and then wizard of oz will have an afternoon performance for evening. It’s around six o’clock um but we’re all set breaking in Dr. Kabom who is presenting the science su santa. It’s a science based show and in the magic school bus which is also lost in the solar system also kind of science based but um, people can actually buy tickets. We talk about school and public performances. But really, if someone’s if there’s a homeschool mom out there listening or dad out there listening. We will sell you a ticket to a day show. They’re open to the public as well.

 

01:08:36.94

tejones

Yeah, it looks like most of those have actually 2 performances on the same day. So the wizard vases got 3 So um, yeah I was wondering about that if somebody in the community wanted to go watch one of those or you know maybe a grandmother wants to take.

 

01:08:04.61

Amanda Horton

Her message.

 

01:09:14.60

tejones

Grandchildren to watch 1 of them or something like that. Yeah.

 

01:08:37.27

Amanda Horton

That’s right many people have transitioned into homeschooling and it gives their schedule some flexibility and we’re great with that. They just need to come and buy a ticket. So now we’re not endorsing checking your child out of school to bring them but ah, but we won’t ask that either. So.

 

01:09:46.55

tejones

Ah, here. Well they’re still learning though right? Yeah yeah, oh well, we’ve got a stacked ah performance. Yeah again this year I mean this is just stellar.

 

01:09:14.50

Amanda Horton

That’s right, they’re all educational a hundred percent

 

01:10:26.13

tejones

Even and let’s back up just go to the distinguished speakers real quick because I did kind of move over that and the Frank Warren ah post secret mental health um have have either of you seen that show. Yeah.

 

01:09:48.71

Amanda Horton

Um, sure yes.

 

01:10:09.85

Amanda Horton

The post secret show. So we we actually had the post secret show. It was a theatrical show here maybe six or seven years ago and it was fabulous. It was based off of Frank Warren’s work. But this time we’re actually bringing Frank Warren in to. Speak about the post secret project and it’s so interesting and so intriguing he will actually he’ll bring a ton of slides of some of the most inspirational secrets you know some of the most probably heartbreaking secrets but the ones that have touched people’s lives. You know he’s written. None books is that right? Wendy right? 1 is a New York Times bestseller um that have ah have ah gone over all of the secrets or have you know and sure so has a ted talk too or he’s gotten oh gosh None or more views on that he’s raced. Um. Um, over a million dollars for suicide awareness. But if people are not familiar with post secret. You really should Google it’s quite intriguing. You know he had people anonymously send him artistic cards that represented a secret that they have in their life. There’s a Facebook page for it. There’s a website for it. Some of the secrets some of the postcards he received that he posts will make you laugh some will make you cry some will make you blush some. You’ll think gosh I thought that way but I didn’t think anybody else did but it’s really just an interesting um social project. And then we’re gonna have Steve Burns we’re so excited about him and yeah, we know our students are just going to go crazy when they realize he’s coming to campus because our students grew up on him. He was the first host of the tv show blues clues and our college. Yeah, our college kids were little.

 

01:14:20.59

tejones

As far as Blues Clues. Yeah.

 

01:13:52.70

Amanda Horton

You know they were toddlers and preschool age when he was hosting the show.

 

01:14:36.85

tejones

Yeah, yeah, I Even watched it a little bit back at the end. I think you know my nephew nieces were in that age group and so you know got introduced to it through them.

 

01:14:09.45

Amanda Horton

Is it.

 

01:15:07.97

tejones

And so yeah, he’s the original and it would be really interesting to hear what? What’s up with Steve? What happened to Steve?

 

01:14:35.39

Amanda Horton

Yeah, yeah, Steve had some struggles. I don’t know if you saw it but last year and I would encourage everybody to Google this to last year he had a viral video go out where he came out as Steve and he talked to. People about what he’d experienced in life. What he’d been through and how times had been tough but he’s still really connected with his audience. It’s a sweet sweet video. But um Steve when he left the show and went to college he struggled. He struggled a lot with mental health and with issues and he’s going to talk about that that night but how he’s.

 

01:16:18.71

tejones

Yeah.

 

01:15:48.37

Amanda Horton

Persevered through that and he’s an amazing man doing great things Now he’s a um, he’s a musician. He’s still an actor. He’s a writer . He’s very interesting.

 

01:16:56.37

tejones

Well I think you got a really good lineup again and so if someone is new to the conway area and they’re like hey what is all this I’d like to go to one of these shows. Ah, you know what they can expect going to one of these shows.

 

01:16:47.89

Amanda Horton

Well, we’re the one thing they can expect this year is we’re bringing back concessions. We did not have concessions the last two years but um what they can expect is really a unique experience and an intimate experience. Our theater is. Ah, little less than None seats and a none people may sound like a lot of people to you but in comparison to other venues. It absolutely is not. It’s a smaller venue. Every seat in the house is a good seat, even the back row of the balcony is still a really great seat where you can see the whole stage. And you feel close enough to the artists because of the limited number of seats. Um, and we just come in and we have a good time, you know and we typically get down to business. I’ll say that we are artists. We don’t have any opening acts. So when you come see Amy Grant Occasionally they’ll bring an opening act that’ll make him out for. 10 minutes but typically you don’t you know I’ll go one and introduce the show and Amy’s gonna come out right? then and start the performance and a lot of people like that because they don’t want to wait til none or eleven o’clock at night for the you know for the premier act to come out. So um, course Broadway shows do last a little bit longer than our concerts do but it’s.

 

01:19:40.71

tejones

A.

 

01:19:20.35

Amanda Horton

Ah, great personal theater people know Wendy and I were out in the the lobby taking care of people taking care of ticketing issues. You’re just going to get some really intimate customer intimate theater experience and intimate customer service here as well, right? right? I mean it’s it’s so neat being in such a. You know a smaller community I hear all the time we we get out in the community. We go to a lot of the expos and ah teacher fares and business fairs and things like that. So we talk to people a lot and people are always so complimentary and they are so amazed at the type of. Talent and the quality of shows that we get to bring to our community. You know they think oh that only happens in little rock or that only happens you know in and the big cities and they just they they can’t believe that we can get stuff like that right here in Conway and like Amanda said in a place that is so intimate for the show. It makes it. So much more enjoyable. We have great dinner options for them and then they can come to a great show. So thankfully you know a lot of people in our community are appreciative of it and they do enjoy it. But we also hear from people that think oh my gosh I had no idea we have this kind of stuff right here. So coming to our facility is a great intimate like she said customer service oriented type facility to come to Preco. We also and our artists would often come out after shows and interact with the audience people get a real kick out of that cause you don’t get that. Experience a lot in large venues now that we had that happen. One time this year popovich pet comedy theater brought some of his cats out and interacted with the audience. But since covid you know and I respect that with our artists who are are turing across the United States they don’t want to get sick so they’re trying to. Put themselves in somewhat of a bubble but you know in the next two or three years hopefully that’ll change and we’ll get that artist interacting with our audience right? so.

 

01:24:07.90

tejones

Yeah, that is always and I was gonna that was something I was gonna ask you about because of a smaller theater setting and I’ve been to some in brands and that kind of thing and that’s typically what you can get. You can actually usually hang around right and talk to the crowd and which has always been really nice and.

 

01:23:52.81

Amanda Horton

Right? A lot of times you can. That’s right, it is.

 

01:24:47.10

tejones

And so I was wondering if that would happen and so it sounds like maybe not this year but maybe sometime in the next couple years. They’ll start doing that.

 

01:24:14.99

Amanda Horton

sure sure yeah maybe not this year but I definitely think that’ll be coming back. A lot of these artists enjoy getting 1 on one with you know their fans and the crowd so they love to visit. This has been really hard on them. Um, you know they’re.

 

01:25:30.97

tejones

A.

 

01:24:54.17

Amanda Horton

Forming has been cut back. But also when they do get to go not to be able to interact with even the staff as much has been hard on them. You know they enjoy a lot of that interaction, some of them that don’t but for the most part, a lot of the artists do enjoy actually getting to interact with them.

 

01:25:47.45

tejones

Again.

 

01:25:28.45

Amanda Horton

The venue, the people, the venue, the community and the people that come out to see them. They really appreciate it. So hopefully that’s coming back.

 

01:26:25.87

tejones

Well as we begin to wrap this up. Let me ask you to? Um, what are you most looking forward to this year

 

01:26:03.83

Amanda Horton

Oh my goodness. Well I tell you None thing I’m really looking forward to especially with this season being so fun. Upbeat happy shows that we’ve got going on. I am looking forward to getting our bigger crowds back. Having the roar of the crowd. They’re smiling. They’re happy. They’re laughing. They’re clapping. They’re standing up and cheering. You know there’s nothing that can beat that in the entertainment world seeing all that happiness and experiencing it as a large crowd. You know you don’t get that when you’re seeing it on Tv or stuff like that and. I’m looking forward to the big crowds coming to these great shows. Absolutely, we ended our season with a stomp in South Pacific and the stomp was completely sold out. South Pacific was about eighty five ninety percent sold out and we had that kind of audience back and yeah, great. It. It just literally breathed new life back into it because you know we. We have been so cautious and afraid of not being afraid but cautious and and careful for our audiences. Yeah, and we’re certainly thrilled to be able to provide a safe environment for them to come back to the theater. And when they came back and drove for those last two shows and were so excited about it. It was wonderful. It was wonderful and you know we even started off with a good show last season with a huge almost sold out crowd of 38 special yeah and bringing them in. This place was rocking. People were loving that show. It was great. But seeing highs and lows of covid you know also brought attendance issues for us. But we’re hoping that we can keep covid numbers relatively low in the next year and bring back these big audiences and mine is very similar to Wendy’s but mine is more surrounding the mainstage education series. We. We had a few. Large groups like oh yeah, right? But we want to build that audience back in and have you know that none of the kids watch the magic school that is wonderful and it’s just exhilarating to have that kind of audience and excited children and knowing that we’re making a difference and an impact in their life. They’re doing something that day. Haven’t ever done and might not do for a while. So.

 

01:31:12.47

tejones

Well very good ladies I Really appreciate you coming on and talking with me about the Reynolds Performance Hall and the upcoming season I’m just I’m. I’m just happy that you were able to do that.

 

01:30:55.57

Amanda Horton

Well thank you, Thank you? It was great. We want to come back? Yes, we do yeah any test. Fun.

 

01:31:47.11

tejones

Yeah I think you know this could become an annual thing never know. Yeah, well yeah yeah, if you haven’t been to the Reynolds performance. All.

 

01:31:15.91

Amanda Horton

Yeah, we’d love that we would. We won’t know what they’ve got right here in their backyard.

 

01:32:25.13

tejones

Got to check it out. It is really a nice eater that that is for sure. Thanks for being on the show today ladies.

 

01:31:47.89

Amanda Horton

Thank you for appreciating all that. Thank you so much. Yes, have a great day.



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