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Clay Center to kick off 2014 with Hendrix tribute

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Clay Center's spring 2014 season will feature some folk-rock titans, one of the stars of progressive bluegrass and a who's-who-of-the-blues tribute to Jimi Hendrix.

The season officially begins at 8 p.m. March 19 with Experience Hendrix, a tribute to the rock star with a star-studded lineup featuring Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and many others.

On March 23, the Punch Brothers perform with Chris Thile.

On April 3, the Clay Center brings Ballroom with a Twist, a dance show featuring finalists from "Dancing with the Stars," "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

The season closes May 15 with rock and swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, performing such hits as "Go Daddy-O," "You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight," plus songs from its latest album, "Rattle Them Bones."

All these shows are at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to the regular season, the Clay Center also has a number of add-on shows, including three concerts: Crosby, Stills & Nash, at 8 p.m. March 7; 1980s R&B superstars Boyz II Men, at 7:30 p.m. April 30; and contemporary Christian titans MercyMe, at 8 p.m. May 9.

Also, the Clay Center and Jam Theatricals will present workout guru and motivational spokeswoman Jillian Michaels, best known for her appearances on "The Biggest Loser," at 7 p.m. March 16.

Clay Center director of theater and sales Rob Rosano said the center's staff believes they've come up with their best season yet and acknowledged that they continue to reach out beyond what they consider their core audience.

He said, "A lot of it comes from our members, what they tell us they want. But sure, we're always trying to step out a little further to bring people in."

He cited Boyz II Men and MercyMe as examples. Bringing in Jillian Michaels, though, was in line with the Clay Center's mission, he said.

"We're an arts and science center," he said. "Health is a core principle of what we promote here, and obesity -- poor health -- is epidemic in West Virginia."

Rosano added that additional shows are at various points of development, and while he couldn't absolutely say there would be any additional add-on shows, he felt like it was likely.

"I'd say at least one, probably."

Season tickets are on sale now. Prices are $95, $137 and $172. Current season ticket holders have until 5 p.m. Dec. 22 to renew and receive seating priority.

Tickets for Crosby, Stills & Nash ($45, $79, $89 and $99), Boyz II Men ($39, $49, $59 and $69), MercyMe ($25, $35, $45 and $60) and Jillian Michaels ($25, $52.75, $74 and $149.75. The premium price includes a photo op with Michaels after the show) also are on sale now to subscribers.

Single tickets for all Clay Center Presents spring 2014 performances go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Jan. 25. Clay Center members and donors with performance benefits can buy tickets during a special presale beginning 10 a.m. Jan. 22.

Rosano encouraged people to purchase tickets to Crosby, Stills & Nash early because the show seemed like a certain sell-out.

In a news release, the Clay Center encouraged patrons to purchase tickets in person, online at www.theclaycenter.org or by phone at 304-561-3570. It warned against getting tickets from third-party vendors, which it said could be fraudulent or priced above face value.

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


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