Executive director Jennifer Allen says the Angelina Arts Alliance will bounce back stronger this year after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the 2020 season.
Allen unveiled jam-packed seasons for both the Temple and Pines theaters during the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday luncheon.
“There were approximately 35 total performances impacted by COVID beginning in March 2020 through April 2021,” Allen said. “Needless to say, we are beyond thrilled to resume a full season of performances.”
Allen said cancellations touched each of the alliance’s programs — The Pines Presents Series, Temple Theater Performing Arts Series, Schooltime Series, Discovery Series and outreach activities.
And like most small businesses, the alliance was hurt by this loss in revenue. But the generosity of the community kept it moving forward in a season in which 90% of its revenue went away.
“So many people stepped up and it is only because of them that we are able to launch a new season,” she said.
“We are also proud of the fact that we were still able to present small performances, outdoor performances and keep our mission alive during a global pandemic. To be able to launch this new season is extra special and even more meaningful this year.”
Most performances in the 2020-21 seasons were rescheduled, some multiple times, and there were a few cancellations, “but most of the shows we have confirmed new performance dates during the 2021-22 season,” Allen said.
Some of the well-known performers coming to Lufkin that East Texans may be familiar with include the Blue Man Group, Renée Elise Goldsberry and BritBeat — “America’s Premier (Beatles) Tribute Band.”
“I am truly excited about all of them. It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child,” she said.
“But, if you had to press me, I am most excited about Renee Elise Goldsberry, the Broadway star from the hit musical ‘Hamilton.’ She is such an immense talent, so to have the ability to bring her to Lufkin to perform at the Temple Theater is exciting and remarkable.”
Though things have begun to return to normal, Allen said masks are encouraged at shows for safety and the comfort of guests. Angelina College also made a point to install a new air filtration system in the Temple Theater, she said.
“I am not an expert on how it works, but it is proven to filter out airborne viruses,” she said. “I think that will make a big difference and should provide some peace of mind to our patrons.”
The alliance is looking forward to the upcoming year and the role it will play in Lufkin’s cultural development.
Marty Stewart & His Fabulous Superlatives
The season begins in September with Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives.
American country music singer-songwriter Marty Stuart is known for both his traditional style and eclectic merging of rockabilly, honky-tonk and traditional country music, for which he has won multiple Grammy Awards.
He played in supporting bands for Lester Flatt and Johnny Cash before embarking on a solo career. He also has collaborated with Dwight Yoakum, Travis Tritt, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Steve Earle and B.B. King, among others.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Temple Theater.
Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass
The upcoming Pines Presents Series opens with Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, a group reflecting the diversity of men and women in “American culture.” The group is made up of the country’s top large brass ensemble.
The New Orleans-based ensemble hopes to reach the world’s youth “to inspire them to reach for their dreams.”
The show starts at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at The Pines Theater.
Rhonda Vincent and The Rage
Rhonda Vincent and The Rage will bring their Grammy Award-winning bluegrass album to Lufkin in October along her 2021 tour. Other stops in her tour include places like the Opry in Nashville, the North Carolina State Bluegrass Festival and the Mansion Theater in Branson, Missouri. Vincent was a longtime friend to Elton John, Bernie Taupin and Dolly Parton.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at The Pines Theater.
The Steep Canyon Rangers
The Steep Canyon Rangers, a bluegrass band made up of six guys who use their talents to fuse the sounds of bluegrass, pop, country and folk-rock, will dominate the stage in October.
The Grammy Award-winning band is celebrated as one of the most versatile bands on the contemporary music scene, having topped the Billboard charts and collaborated with actor/banjoist Steve Martin. The group has released nine solo albums and two collaborations with Martin.
The group’s new album, ‘‘Be Still Moses,’’ features a collaboration with the Asheville Symphony and ‘‘just a pinch of 1990s-era Philly soul’’ with Boyz II Men.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Temple Theater.
Three-time Grammy nominee Ruthie Foster, who has worked the stage with Bonnie Raitt, the Allman Brothers and Susan Tedeschi, will bring her blues to The Pines Theater in mid-November. Her music has earned her seven Blues Music Awards, three Austin Music Awards and the Grand Prix du Disque award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France among several others.
Her latest album, ‘‘Live at the Paramount,’’ released in May 2020, brings back the swing of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at The Pines Theater.
Straight No Chaser
The now decade-old band Straight No Chaser grew from a collegiate a cappella group at Indiana University into a band that is now touring the world after a 1998 clip of them singing “The 12 Days of Christmas” went viral in 2006.
The band is known for its interpretations of hits from more than 16 genres. They’ve collaborated with Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Dolly Parton among others. The band’s website said they have sold more than 1.6 million albums in the United States and garnered more than 100 million YouTube views.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Temple Theater.
‘A Christmas Carol’
Ebenezer Scrooge and ‘‘A Christmas Carol’’ will stop by for a spell in December. The classic tale by Charles Dickens shares the story about a greedy businessman who lacks kindness, compassion and charity. A series of ghosts take an elderly Scrooge through his dark holiday memories, which sets him on his heartwarming path to redemption.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Temple Theater.
Celtic Angels Christmas
The Celtic Angels Christmas will bless The Pines Theater with family friendly tunes just in time for Christmas. A vocal quintet hailing from Ireland will belt out Irish favorites, vocal and instrumental songs and showcase “world class champion Irish dancing.”
The show starts at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at The Pines Theater.
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live
The Discovery Series will ring in the new season by bringing in a live dinosaur zoo, meant to take families on a tour beginning in prehistoric Australia. Families will watch, meet and interact with life-like dinosaurs in a theatrical performance to entertain children while stimulating their imaginations, the organization’s website states.
A skilled team of performers and puppeteers work with dinosaurs designed by paleontologists to make them look extremely realistic.
The show starts at 2 and 5 p.m. Jan. 23, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
BritBeat, “America’s Premier Tribute Band,” tells the story of the Beatles from their start at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and through the events which brought the world renown band to fame. In nine acts, the band will cover everything from the band’s debut on the ‘‘Ed Sullivan Show’’ to the experimental era of the late 1960sto their break up in 1970.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Jan. 29, 2022, at The Pines Theater.
My Funny Valentine
Comedians Pat Hazell, an original writer for NBC’s ‘‘Seinfeld,’’ and Karen Morgan, a finalist in Nick at Nite’s ‘‘Search for the Funniest Mom in America,’’ aim to bring some heartwarming standup comedy to The Pines Theater in time for Valentine’s Day.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Feb. 10, 2022, at The Pines Theater.
Croce Plays Croce
A.J. Croce will spend the evening performing a complete set of classics by the late Jim Croce, known for his songs: “Operator,” “You don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Time in a Bottle,” “Rapid Roy” and “Lovers Cross.” Croce will tell the story of living and working with his father to create an image of his family, his father’s artistry and their shared memories.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
Bella Gaia will show the audience what it’s like to be an astronaut. The performance features NASA satellite imagery of earth, time-lapse nature photography and live world music and dance on the stage.
Kids will love the chance to experience the effect of space flight that was created by using NASA supercomputer data-visualizations with melodic and rhythmic soundscapes.
The show starts at 2 p.m. March 6, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
Parsons Dance Company
The Parsons Dance Company, an international touring company based out of New York, is known for its athleticism and ensemble work in the modern dance genre. The company said its mission is to “deliver life-affirming, inspiring performances to audiences worldwide and, through education and outreach programs, to sustain an appreciation for the art form.”
“The arts are a powerful tool for self-expression and communications,” David Parson, the director of the company said on the company’s website. “My goal is to provide opportunities for more people to experience the wonders of dance.”
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. March 19, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
The Malpass Brothers
The Malpass Brothers aim to bring the kind of crowd ready to enjoy some cornbread and hushpuppies while listening to works reminiscent of the Louvin Brothers, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Hank Williams Sr. and more. The brothers have sung on stages from the Shetland Islands to the Grand Ole Opry.
The show starts at 7 p.m. March 24, 2022, at The Pines Theater.
The Queen’s Cartoonists
This ensemble combines classic music, jazz and cartoons to create a show meant to exemplify mayhem and comedy. The group aims to teach attendees the stories behind the cartoons and their composers. The group has performed in more than 20 states across the U.S. and has even opened for the New York Philharmonic.
The show starts at 7 p.m. April 16, 2022, at The Pines Theater.
'An Evening with Renée Elise Goldsberry'
Broadway fans can enjoy "An Evening with Renée Elise Goldsberry" in April. Goldsberry won a Tony Award in 2016 for her performance in ‘‘Hamilton.’’
She’s also won a Grammy Award, Drama Desk award and the Lucille Lortel Award for her performances.
Goldsberry will take the stage with a four-piece band and three backup singers in her show “Revive,” which will feature high-energy, foot-stomping renditions of Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers and classic Broadway songs.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. April 30, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
The Underwater Bubble Show
The Underwater Bubble Show follows the story of Mr. B in Bubblelandia, who finds himself in a colorful underwater world after being transported by magic from a life filled with meetings and deadlines. The show, influenced by Cirque du Soleil for its rich stage effects, encourages people to slow down, dream, listen, watch, savor and to marvel and teaches them how to do it with Mr. B.
The show starts at 5 p.m. April 3, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
This Cuban ensemble will bring soulful mambo in reminiscence of the works byBenny Moré, Pérez Prado and the “Banda Gigante” from the 1940s and ’50s. Some of Cuba’s finest players bring “ferocious and pediegreed wind and rhythms sections,” according to the ensemble’s website.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. May 12, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
'Beautiful — The Carole King Musical'
"Beautiful — The Carole King Musical" brings the story of chart-topping music legend Carol King to Lufkin in March.
The musical will feature beloved King songs, including “I Feel the Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “Natural Woman” and “Beautiful.” The musical is the story of King’s road to success and, ultimately, the hard times that pushed her to create some of the world’s most iconic songs.
The story begins at a time when she was fighting her way into the record business as a teen and follows her flourishing songwriting career in her 20s. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally found her true voice.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. June 9, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
'Madagascar — The Musical'
‘‘Madagascar — The Musical,’’ based on the DreamWorks Animation movie, will close out the Discovery Series in June.
Audiences will get to watch as beloved characters Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and the famous, innovative penguins escape from the New York Central Park Zoo and journey to the island kingdom of Madagascar, ruled by the zany King Julien.
The show starts at 2 p.m. June 12, 2022, at the Temple Theater.
Blue Man Group
To close out its 21st season, the Blue Man Group will take the Temple Theater stage for two performances in the summer of 2022.
Blue Man Group is an American performance art company formed in 1987 by friends Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Its first public appearance was a celebration of the end of the 1980s. The three wore blue masks and led a street procession that included the burning of a Rambo doll and a piece of the Berlin Wall.
Since then, the group has grown in size and fame and they now have tours across the world, but remain primarily in major U.S. cities and Berlin. Cirque du Soleil bought Blue Man Group in July 2017 and announced they would expand the concept.
The performances include drumming, colorful movements, creativity and comedy. The pulsing, original music made by custom-made instruments are set to shock the audience. Their surprise audience interactions and absurdity make the performance enjoyable for all ages.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. June 14 and 15, 2022.