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Worth the drive: Classics of all kinds will highlight MSU Riley Center season

 

Jefferson Starship opens the MSU Riley Center's season April 14 in Meridian. Season performers also include Herman's Hermits, Moscow Festival Ballet, Pat Benatar and Old Crow Medicine Show, among others.

Jefferson Starship opens the MSU Riley Center's season April 14 in Meridian. Season performers also include Herman's Hermits, Moscow Festival Ballet, Pat Benatar and Old Crow Medicine Show, among others. Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

Special to The Dispatch

 

 

MERIDIAN -- Classics will rule the stage as the MSU Riley Center presents its 2018 Spring/Summer Performing Arts Series, starting April 14 with a concert by the powerhouse rock band Jefferson Starship. 

 

Classic rock and soul, classic American roots music, a renowned classical ballet and even a family-oriented musical version of a classic fairy tale make up the Spring/Summer Series. The nine-show season runs through Aug. 18.  

 

"Each of our performers and productions in the Spring/Summer Series has, in some exceptional way, stood the test of time," said Dennis Sankovich, the Riley Center's executive director. "What better fit could we have for our Victorian gem of a theater? It made its grand debut in 1890, regained its youthful vigor in 2006, thanks to a loving restoration, and has since inspired the ongoing revival of Meridian's historic downtown." 

 

 

 

The lineup 

 

Seven of the nine Spring/Summer Series shows are musical concerts, starting with Jefferson Starship April 14. The band, which grew out of the 1960s psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane, reached its apogee as a critical and commercial success from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s. 

 

The Moscow Festival Ballet returns to Meridian April 19 with Tchaikovsky's romantic tour de force, "Swan Lake." 

 

What if the Big Bad Wolf wasn't actually bad, just a well-meaning klutz? That's the premise of the musical "Three Little Pigs" by Virginia Rep on Tour April 27.  

 

Old Crow Medicine Show will play old favorites plus songs from its new album "Volunteer" on May 4. 

 

Marc Cohn, with guests The Blind Boys of Alabama, perform May 17, bringing Cohn's original songs and the Blind Boys' passionate style of gospel. 

 

On June 1, Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone revive the band's classic hits of the '60s and other favorite oldies from the era of pop music's British Invasion. 

 

A Grammy winner last year, William Bell brings his "Tribute to Memphis Soul Revue" to Meridian June 14. 

 

Rock icon Pat Benatar and producer, guitarist and songwriter Neil Giraldo take the stage July 17. During their nearly four-decade career, they have won an unprecedented four consecutive Grammy awards, as well as three American Music Awards.  

 

The conclusion of the series, on Aug. 18, also harks back to the 1970s. Disco superstars KC and the Sunshine Band will bring a full stage show, complete with horn section and dancers.  

 

"With each of our shows, we'll be bringing back a lot of great memories," Sankovich said. "And the timeless beauty of our theater always guarantees a memorable evening." 

 

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., except "Three Little Pigs," which starts at 7 p.m.  

 

Season tickets go on sale to new buyers Monday, March 5. "Build Your Own" mini season ticket packages of three or more shows become available Monday, March 12. Individual event tickets will be available March 19. 

 

Get tickets at msurileycenter.com or 601-696-2200. 

 

The MSU Riley Center thanks The Riley Foundation and Mississippi State University for their invaluable continuing support. The Riley Center is also grateful to the Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival for its support of the 2018 Spring/Summer Performing Arts Series.

 

 

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