Author Archive | Karen Sampson

The Colonial Announces 2016-2017 Season

The Colonial Theatre is pleased to announce the diverse lineup of exciting performing arts experiences that will comprise its 2016–2017 season! Beginning in September of 2016, the new season will fulfill The Colonial’s mission of bringing the cultural and creative spirit of the community to life with world-class entertainment opportunities such as Broadway shows, popular music, dance and family shows, and student matinees in our historic theatre in downtown Keene, New Hampshire. The Colonial has been contributing significantly to the cultural vitality of the Monadnock region since its doors first opened in 1924, and its 2016–2017 season has something for everyone.

Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro

The Colonial will play host to a number of American legends in the coming season, including renowned writer and humorist Garrison Keillor (September 27), six-time GRAMMY Award winner Art Garfunkel (October 15), and visionary blues master Keb’ Mo’ (November 19). Musical genres of all styles are represented with the classic rock ’n’ roll of George Thorogood & The Destroyers (October 2); the modern ukulele-rock fusion of Jake Shimabukuro (November 11); the bluegrass sounds of Del & Dawg: Del McCoury and David Grisman (November 18); the UK’s number-one jive and swing band, The Jive Aces: Jump, Jive & Wail (March 24); the beloved favorites offered by One Night of Queen (April 1); and the folk-roots style and vocal harmonies of The Wailin’ Jennys (May 5).

Golden Dragon Cirque

Theatregoers of all ages will enjoy the comedy stylings of Brian Regan (October 20); the cherished holiday classic presented by Nebraska Theatre Caravan, A Christmas Carol (December 9); and the amazing tricks and comedy antics of Stunt Dog Experience (May 12)—a highly entertaining show featuring more than a dozen dogs that have been rescued from shelters. Family-friendly dance, movement and music performances take center stage with Rockin’ Road to Dublin (February 11), Russian National Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake (April 7) and the breathtaking Chinese acrobatics offered by Golden Dragon Cirque (April 14).

The Colonial is once again proud to partner with The Metropolitan Opera to present the Met Live in HD’s 2016–2017 season. Broadcast in high definition on the largest screen in the Monadnock region, Met Live performances offer awe-inspiring singing and orchestration, lavish costumes, and spectacular scenery.

In addition, five productions will be presented for local students as a part of The Colonial’s Student Matinee Series, which serves as a key part of The Colonial’s vision to excite, educate and challenge audiences of all ages. Serving more than 8,000 students each year, this educational outreach program introduces children to live theater while tying into curriculum-based topics such as literature, music, social studies, science and math.

The Colonial is grateful for the support of its 2016–2017 season underwriters: C&S Wholesale Grocers, Liberty Mutual Insurance & Safeco Insurance, Markem-Imaje and The Mountain, as well as its individual and corporate Colonial members. Like most nonprofit organizations, The Colonial Theatre relies on donations for part (40 percent) of its operating budget. Now more than ever, the support of members is crucial to the continued success of The Colonial.

Tickets for the Colonial’s 2016–2017 season will be available to new and renewing members from June 29 through July 11, and to the general public on July 12. New or renewing members or members who upgrade a full level during The Colonial’s Summer Membership Drive—which is taking place now through September 14—will be entered to win two free tickets to every 2016–2017 Colonial main-stage performance.

The Colonial Featured in Business Monadnock magazine

businessmonadnockThe Colonial is featured in the May 2016 issue of Business Monadnock magazine — and our very own Executive Director, Alec Doyle, is on the cover! In a special section titled “Businesses Over 30” profiling local businesses that have had lasting success, Doyle talks about The Colonial’s role in maintaining the vitality and vibrancy of the arts in the Monadnock region since 1924. “There’s no community you can find anywhere that has a strong business base that doesn’t also have a strong arts base,” he says. “Any community that’s vibrant and attracts businesses and families who want to work, live and play there is always going to have a strong arts base at its core.”

Doyle also cites several key factors that he believes are directly related to The Colonial’s longevity, including the creativity of the theatre’s small staff, the variety of programming the theatre offers for children and adults, and a distinct awareness of the need to stay current and be responsive to audiences and their needs. “Today, audience expectations are different,” says Doyle. “We’re talking about ways to create an experience before and after an event — that’s what people are yearning for. We need to do it while not losing the character that people really value by coming to an establishment like The Colonial.”

Read the full article here.

The Colonial Announces Senior Scholarship Program

Thanks to a generous grant from The Eppes-Jefferson Foundation, Inc., The Colonial Theatre is pleased to announce its Senior Scholarship Program — a new initiative that provides complimentary tickets to live Colonial events for low- to moderate-income senior citizens.

Arts and humanities advocate and well-known author, historian, and preservationist William David Eppes (1918–2009) established The Eppes-Jefferson Foundation to offer continued support of the arts, which he cherished during his lifetime. Passionately invested in the cultural health of the our community and committed to providing affordable opportunities for the underserved, The Colonial — which is always seeking and encouraging community partnerships — is an ideal conduit for carrying on Eppes’s legacy of artistic support.

Partnering with Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services (HCS), Keene Housing Authority, and Southwestern Community Services, The Colonial will identify seniors who are eligible for this exciting new program. Upcoming Colonial shows eligible for the Senior Scholarship Program include Cirque Zuma Zuma, a family-friendly cirque show celebrating African culture, which is taking place on Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. (10 tickets available per agency); and Rosanne Cash Duo, a musical journey through the historical landscape of the American south, which is taking place on Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m. (4 tickets available per agency). To find out how to enroll a senior in our Senior Scholarship Program, contact the agencies mentioned above.

Social service agencies interesting in being part of this program can contact Vicky Pittman, The Colonial’s Director of Education & Community Engagement, at 357-1233, ext. 109 or

This Is Melissa Etheridge

On Friday, June 17 at 8 PM, Academy Award- and GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge will take the stage for the final show of The Colonial’s 2015-2016 season!

Melissa Etheridge“A billion stars out in an endless sky, and I won’t be alone, won’t be alone, won’t be alone tonight . . .”

That resolute yearning, that longing for connection, for contact, for touch . . . These are the core forces that have powered Melissa Etheridge’s cherished songs throughout her singular career. But as the rousing chorus of “I Won’t Be Alone Tonight,” the opening song of her album This Is M.E., these words hold some new meaning, some new context.

With this album, her 12th collection of new material, she is not alone as a songwriter. For the vibrant collection, she teamed with some of the most creative, inventive figures on the music scene: Jerrod Bettis (Adele, One Republic, Eric Hutchinson, Gavin DeGraw), Jon Levine (Nelly Furtado, K’Naan, Selena Gomez), Jerry Wonda (GRAMMY Award-winning producer of the Fugees, Mary J. Blige, Akon) and Roccstar (Usher, Chris Brown) at the forefront. It was a very new way of doing things for the artist, who counts two GRAMMY Awards (and 17 nominations), an Academy Award (for “I Need to Wake Up” from the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame among her many accolades. Recording the new album proved an inspiring, electrifying experience for her, the best kind of challenge. And the resultant energy is clear in the songs. “I haven’t been this excited about making music and creating in ages,” Etheridge says. “Song after song was a great experience.”

Make no mistake, the album’s declarative title is fully fitting — not despite the collaborations, but because of them. The powerful lyrics and incomparable voice, the indelible melodies, the blazing guitars could be from no one else. The same can be said for the soulful joy and unbridled passion powering every note, from the big sing-along pop hooks of “A Little Hard Hearted” and “Do It Again” to the greasy, swampy sounds of “Ain’t That Bad” and “Stranger Road.”

These are songs right from her heart, the frisky flirtation of “Take My Number” and mystery-trip “Stranger Road” among those drawing on scenes and settings of her Kansas upbringing. And “Who Are You Waiting For” closes the album on the most intimate, emotional, personal, lump-in-the-throat note of her entire career. It’s the song she wrote for, and debuted at, her 2014 wedding to Linda Wallem.

“I opened a door to my inner little heart and wrote a song,” she says. “I sat down at the piano, started writing and the chorus came out, about how we were friends for years and years, and as we got closer it was ‘Who are you waiting for? I’m right here!’” She made a voice memo of what she’d written and sent it to Levine. “He went crazy over it, said, ‘You gotta warn me before playing something like that!’”

Levine put together the arrangement, including the organ that comes in toward the end. “That gets you,” Etheridge says. “The first time I heard that I burst into tears. I wasn’t there when he did it. It floored me.” And that was only the preview of the song’s profound debut. “I sang it at the wedding,” Etheridge says. “I was able to keep her from hearing it before. It was my vows.”

As the album title says, this is all Melissa Etheridge — ME.

A Country Music Legend

Clint Black 2

On Friday, May 13 at 8:00 PM, The Colonial will welcome country music legend Clint Black. A prolific singer-songwriter, Black has transcended genres to become one of the most successful artists in the music industry. An astounding one-third of his songs eligible for major single release also achieved hit-song status on country radio, and more than 20 million of his albums have been sold worldwide. While Black is well known as an accomplished singer and guitarist, he is also proficient on drums and harmonica.

MI0000608900Black’s continued success can be attributed in part to his deep sense of country music history and his humble gratitude in being an important part of it. The 1989 debut of his critically acclaimed fan favorite, the triple-platinum Killin’ Time, marked a shift in the industry with a return to the more traditional sounds of the genre. Country Music Television lists this album as one of the 100 Greatest Albums in Country Music. Released while Black was still an unknown Texas-based artist and writer, Killin’ Time boasted five #1 hits – unprecedented from a debut album in any genre – and won Black a collection of awards that included Country Music Association Horizon Award, Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year, American Music Awards Favorite New Male Country Artist, Academy of Country Music Best New Male Vocalist, Academy of Country Music Best Male Vocalist, Academy of Country Music Album of the Year, and Academy of Country Music Single of the Year (“A Better Man”).

For Black, Killin’ Time was only the beginning. Put Yourself in My Shoes followed in 1990, and quickly went triple platinum. Since then, Black has had nearly two dozen #1 hit singles, and almost as many Top 5 and Top 10 hits – all of them his original compositions, which is itself a notable rarity in popular music. The overall number of his awards, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, surpasses the number of his hit records, and he has performed for a staggering number of dedicated music fans in concerts through the years.

Clint Black 3With such a long and productive career, Black still keeps his output as fresh now as when he was a hungry, up-and-coming artist. When he felt that his music was in danger of becoming a bit repetitive in the late ’90s, Black took a brave risk and shook things up by leaving his label of more than a decade and taking a much-needed break to reevaluate where he wanted to take his career next. At that time, he and his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, decided to start a family. The birth of his daughter Lily Pearl subsequently gave Black a new perspective and vigor that affected not only his personal life, but his professional and creative sides as well.

Clearly, Black’s devotion to family was the best thing for his career. In 2003, he boldly founded Equity Music Group, an especially artist-friendly record company that became home to his own recordings, as well as those of other like-minded artists. It was his company that launched Little Big Town’s career with their platinum-selling album The Road to Here. Black’s highly anticipated debut album for the label, Spend My Time, received great critical acclaim, and the label went on to earn Billboard’s #2 Independent Imprint of the Year and #4 Independent Label of the Year across all genres in 2006.

Without a doubt, Clint Black has earned his place as one of the most successful artists in the history of American music but he has not stopped there. Black memorably flexed his acting chops with a cameo in 1994’s Maverick (alongside Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster), as well as with roles in films such as 1998’s Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack and Flicka 2 (with Patrick Warburton), 2000’s Going Home (with Jason Robards), and 2012’s Flicka, Country Pride (in which he co-starred with his wife and daughter). Black has also performed on TV shows including The Larry Sanders Show, King of the Hill and many others.

In addition to his established business ventures and various charity foundation efforts, Black branched out even further with an appearance on Donald Trump’s hit reality series Celebrity Apprentice. As a result of the friendship on the show between Black and fellow contestant and Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, the teammates are working to secure a total of one million dollars in matching fund donations for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF). Black currently serves as Honorary Chair for the IRSF’s “Research to Reality: Funding Progress” campaign, which helps to accelerate treatments and research to find a cure for the developmental disorder.