In a normal year, the St. Joseph Performing Arts Association would be bringing Broadway-caliber artists to St. Joseph. In a year like this one, it will be taking them directly to viewers’ homes.
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Hosting the virtual concert “Broadway & Beyond” featuring performers J. Mark McVey and Christy Tarr-McVey, PAA will be giving local audiences a new show that won’t require people to leave their homes.
“Even though live is best, virtual is safer right now,” Beth Sharp, executive director of PAA, said.
The concert will feature the McVeys performing hit songs from productions they’ve been part of, like “Les Miserables,” as well as tunes from the American Songbook, with a backing symphony to accompany them. It will be streamed live from the Rhinehart Music Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, and will be available for unlimited streams for 30 days to all purchasers.
For PAA faithful and Broadway buffs, the name J. Mark McVey should sound familiar. He has made a name for himself in New York, playing Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” as well as performing in live productions of The Who’s “Tommy,” “Chess” and “Hey Love” and appearing on shows like “America’s Got Talent.” He’s also previously performed in St. Joseph.
“We had J. Mark McVey here in January of 2018 with Ernie Haase & The Signature Sound. I knew that was going to be a good show. And I was like, ‘Let’s just try it,’” Sharp said.
People can buy a virtual ticket to the show at performingarts-saintjoseph.org. Once a ticket is purchased, streaming instructions and a unique code will be given to the buyer to stream from their device for up to 30 days.
“If you can’t make that show time, you have up to a month to watch it. And if you like it and you want to hear a song again, you can play it again,” Sharp said.
The show will stream for $22, which Sharp sees as a deal for people in need of entertainment who won’t be able to see a live performance in St. Joseph in the foreseeable future.
“It’s only $22 to see this show that normally, if we had brought that here people would have had to pay $60 per ticket. So this is a really good chance and it’s just $22 and your whole family comes,” Sharp said.
As PAA explores options to continue to bring entertainment to St. Joseph, booking a talented act people have seen before seemed like the safest option. With health restrictions in place, as well as caring for the health of its audience, Sharp said booking a show at the Missouri Theater wouldn’t make financial or logistical sense.
For PAA, the purchase of a ticket is also a vote of confidence that virtual shows like this one can be a viable option until it can book live performances again.
“I think we always have to think of ways how we can adjust the way we’re living, whatever life throws at us, whether it’s a pandemic or or any other kind of situation. You just have to figure out a way how to keep moving, how to keep going,” she said.
Tickets are $22 per streaming device and can be purchased through the Performing Arts office in St. Joseph either by calling 816-279-1225 or online at www.performingarts-saintjoseph.org. The show is appropriate for all ages.