The front of the Beale Street Dinner Theater program reads “it takes a community to raise a theater,” and this is the vision of the Kingman Center for the Arts. With one show on March 30 and two shows on March 31, talented volunteers from Kingman performed musical numbers and a one-act comedy, “Take Five,” by Westley M. Pederson in a live dinner theater format at the Grand Events Center on Beale Street.
Dinner was catered by the Garlic Clove. Performers ranged in age from high school students to senior citizens. Shai Weaver performed selections from The Addams Family, Scarlett Perez performed “The Audition” from La La Land, Mollie and Rylie Taylor (twins) performed “For Good” from Wicked and Sarah Brody provided soothing vocals to Kent Simmons smooth guitar.
And that was just the warm-up. “Take Five” followed featuring Bob Blake, Shawn Fragassi, Matt Lambert, Adam Gatliff, Danielle Terry and Katie Barthlow. Kye Hill directed.
The MC for the night, Matt Hecht, explained the vision and plans for renovating the historic Beale Street Theater, as well as progress on the capital campaign and the benefits to the citizens of Kingman. All three performances were well attended. This event is just the beginning of tapping into the wealth of “hidden” talent in this city.
One of the highlights of the evening came when it was shared that Kingman’s Shai Weaver had qualified for an internship on Broadway, to study, learn from actors, directors, choreographers, theater professionals, attending live performances and audition for roles while there. The Kingman Center for the Performing Arts has awarded her a scholarship to help her get to New York and participate in this “chance of a lifetime” program.
The organization has two other goals: to open an education center offering classes for both adults and children in all of the arts disciplines. These will include visual 2d art, visual 3d art, crafts, drama, music, dance, and digital art. Furthermore, they plan to encourage arts-related development in historic downtown center of Kingman.
Multiple studies has shown when communities prioritize creating a vibrant arts scene including live performances, museums, galleries, and venues for individual artists, it draws people. All this will attract restaurants, breweries, locally owned specialty shops, which in turn create an even greater draw. Young people, as well as tourists, look for these qualities in a city, which can be a deciding factor in whether to stay or relocate.
(From their program: “Kingman Center for the Arts, which includes The Beale Street Theater, is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization committed to bringing more arts-related events and activities to the city of Kingman, Arizona.”)