Paramount kicks off full slate
It has been a little over a decade since the final restorations were done on the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.
The historic theater was built in the early 1930s and served as a movie house for many years. Despite its beauty and wonderful Art Deco murals, the theater closed in the 1970s and its future looked bleak.
In the following years, however, work was done on the building at various times, and eventually it was designated as a Kentucky Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Finally, in 2001, the theater was back to its old glory, and since then, the house has hosted many top-shelf concerts, movies and stage shows. From traveling Broadway productions to bluegrass concerts, from special events and rock concerts to yearly visits by orchestras from Russia and Poland, the Paramount has become a big part of the arts scene in the Tri-State.
The upcoming slate of shows scheduled for the Paramount stage begins with a visit by the legendary Temptations on Saturday, April 20. The music of the Temptations is timeless. The group's first hits on the Motown record label were a fine example of R & B music in an era when the genre was morphing into soul music. Beginning with the 1964 hit, "The Way You Do The Things You Do," the group would follow that up with other classic standards such as "My Girl," "Since I Lost My Baby," "Too Proud To Beg," "Get Ready" and "I Wish I Would Rain."
But, as the 1960s progressed, the groove changed. Eventually, soul music evolved into funk and the Temptations responded in kind. With producing legend Norman Whitfield onboard, the Temptations ruled the airwaves and the record tables with funky hits such as "Cloud Nine," "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" and the off-the-hook "Psychedelic Shack." The Temptations will bring those songs and more to life at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $29, $39 and $49.
As springtime moves forward, the Paramount will host many different types of shows that will appeal to a variety of tastes.
On the jazz side of things, the Mike Tracy Sextet will perform Wednesday, April 24, and on May 18, West Virginia's Jazz Ambassador Bob Thompson will bring his swinging group to Ashland. Other artists to be featured in the theater's "Jazz Alley" series include Jeff Flannagan and the Sweet Lipzz Jazz Band on June 21 and Steve Snyder and Friends on July 5.
Tickets for the Jazz Alley series, which will also include late summer dates with John Eric and Trio as well as Northside Jazz Band, are $138 for the entire series or $15 students and $25 adults for individual shows.
Country and bluegrass music will be well represented in the coming months at the venue. Country Music Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn is scheduled to bring her tried and true hits to the Paramount on Friday, April 26.
Lynn was born in nearby Butcher Hollow, near Paintsville, Ky., and she is a part of the Country Music Highway that follows U.S. 23 through the eastern part of the Bluegrass State. Her hits include "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Don't Come Home a Drinking (With Loving on Your Mind)," and "You Ain't Woman Enough." Tickets range from $35 to $50.
The Kentucky Music Trail will bring three major country acts to the Paramount this summer. Another popular country artist to hail from eastern Kentucky is Dwight Yoakam, who will be performing as part of the KMT on June 8. Beginning in the 1980s, Yoakam had a string of nine Gold-selling albums, and last year he bounced back strong with the acclaimed recording called "3 Pears."
And, yet another native son of eastern Kentucky comes to Ashland when the future hall of famer Ricky Skaggs brings his legendary bluegrass music to town as part of the KMT on July 27. Skaggs has had successful careers in both the country music genre as well as bluegrass, and his latest album is called "Music to My Ears." That project features a fun new song called "You Can't Hurt Ham," based on a comment about the durability of unrefrigerated ham by the Father of Bluegrass Music, Bill Monroe.
The KMT concert series will conclude on Aug. 18 with Lee Brice.
Contemporary Christian artists David Phelps (June 7) and Mandisa (Aug. 30) also have shows booked at the venue.
If a nationally-touring stage show is more to your liking, check out "Stomp" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25. Tickets range from $25 to $55.
For more information about the upcoming lineup or to purchase tickets for any of the shows, call the box office at 606-324-3175, go online at www.paramountartscenter.com or stop by the Paramount, located at 1300 Winchester Ave., between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If You Go:
WHAT: The Temptations, the legendary Motown group celebrating more than 50 years of R&B music history
WHERE: Paramount Arts Center in downtown Ashland
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20
HOW MUCH: $29, $39 and $49
GET TICKETS: Call the box office at 606-324-3175 or buy online www.paramountartscenter.com
DID YOU KNOW? Otis Williams, who still tours with the band, founded the group in 1961. The Temptations had their first #1 hit and tour in 1964-1965.
ON THE WEB: www.paramountartscenter.com
ON DECK @ THE PAC:
Friday, April 19: Becca Kloha and Ryan Strand are bringing "A Sound of Yesteryear." Hometown girl Becca Kloha, direct from Broadway's "Wicked," brings husband, Ryan Strand of "Jersey Boys" sing classics such as "Beyond the Sea," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Moondance" and more. Tickets are $15, $24 main floor (includes a reception) and $10 students.
Wednesday, April 24: Jazz Alley with the Mike Tracy Brazilian Ensemble. Tickets are $25 adults, $15 students or buy the whole series of 6 shows for $138.
Thursday, April 25: At 8 p.m., Broadway's "Stomp, " the international percussion sensation. $25, $35, $40, $45, $50 and $55.
Friday, April 26: American music legend and Johnson County, Ky., native Loretta Lynn in concert. At 8 p.m. Tickets are $35, $40, $45 and $50.
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