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Clay Center's spring lineup aims to please

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Country legend Kenny Rogers headlines the Clay Center's 2013 spring season.

On Tuesday, the arts and sciences center announced the season, which they called a continuation of the "Bright Lights and Big Stars" theme it had in the fall. As with the Clay Center's previous announcement, what is considered "big" might be relative, but the lineup is certainly diverse.

"I see what we're doing as a continuation of our mission," said Rob Rosano, the Clay Center's director of theater and sales. "We really are trying to put together a schedule with something that appeals to everyone."

The season opens Feb. 17 with the return of the Walnut Street Theatre. The Philadelphia company will perform Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days."

On March 6, the Clay Center welcomes Grammy Award winner and occasional actor Kenny Rogers. The 74-year-old singer's career spans almost 60 years and has included a slew of memorable hits including "The Gambler," "Lady" and "Buy Me A Rose."

Jazz bassist Ben Williams and Sound Effect perform March 23. Williams is a versatile musician who combines jazz, R&B, hip-hop and classical genres. He is considered a musician to watch and was recently featured on NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts."

On April 17, the Capitol Steps return with more political satire and comedy. The troupe's slogan is "We put the MOCK in democracy!"

Jack Hanna's "Into the Wild -- Live!" comes to the Clay Center April 19. Rosano said the well-known Columbus, Ohio, zookeeper will be bringing a bunch of animals for people to see. He expects some stage cleanup will be needed afterward.

In addition to the regular season, the Clay Center will also offer two add-on shows. The first is 10th season "American Idol" winner and country singer Scotty McCreery on Feb. 23. The second will be blues legend Buddy Guy with young music sensation Jonny Lang on Feb. 24.

Noticeably absent from the Clay Center's spring schedule are 1970s and 1980s pop acts, which have been a staple of Clay Center schedules for years.

Rosano said they weren't consciously avoiding booking the popular retro acts. It's just that they hadn't locked in one they felt was a good fit for the Clay Center. He said they expect to have at least one '80s act to announce in the next few months.

Season-ticket packages are on sale now. Based on seating, they are $89.25 for area C, $126.75 for area B or $160.75 for area A.

Current season ticketholders have until 5 p.m. Jan. 20 to renew and receive priority seating. They also have the opportunity to buy tickets to Scotty McCreery and Buddy Guy/Jonny Lang before they go on sale to the general public.

Tickets for Scotty McCreery are $30, $35 and $40 with premier seating, located in the orchestra pit, for $45. Tickets for Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang are $30, $45 and $55 with premier seating available for $75.

Single tickets for all performances go on sale Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. Prices have not yet been announced.

For more information, call 304-561-3570 or visit www.theclaycenter.org.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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