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Picture Yourself at The Grand in 2021-2022: BRAND NEW SHOWS ANNOUNCED!

Picture Yourself at The Grand in 2021-2022: BRAND NEW SHOWS ANNOUNCED! 2550 1650 Julia Rubens

BRAND NEW SHOWS ANNOUNCED!

Picture yourself at The Grand: You belong here. Get date nights all year or grab a group with Movie Passes and Cabaret Packages for $20-30. Set up a private film screening or party in a grand atmosphere. Enjoy captivating shows of all genres with the best touring performers in the country. Give the gift of memories at The Grand Opera House.

Here’s a lineup of all our new performances. Tickets are on sale now – go to thegrandmacon.com anytime or buy at our box office 10 AM-5 PM by calling 478-301-5470.

9/20/2021 – BROADWAY DOES PRIDE
Cabaret
$10 6:30 and 8:30 PM

Broadway Does Pride is an upbeat cabaret-style performance blending Broadway-inspired vocal stylings with the eclectic atmosphere of an intimate lounge show in downtown Macon. “I feel pretty, and witty, and gay!” And so will you with an energetic revue that will revisit musical theatre and pop classics that resonate with the LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time, the cabaret will partner with Theatre Macon and Macon Little Theatre to show that the entire local theatre community supports Pride, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit Macon Pride, in a production co-directed by Jim Crisp and Julia Rubens with music direction by McKinley Starks. Kicking off Pride Week, the special Monday showing will also be designated Service Industry Night to honor service employees. Supported by the Linda Harriet Lane Fund.

 

10/15/2021 – HOCUS POCUS
Film
$5 7 PM

When a curious teenage boy accidently resurrects a trio of ancient witches, Halloween in Salem becomes a lot more interesting. A cult classic that perfectly balances spook and hilarious hijinks, Hocus Pocus kicks off our 2021-2022 film series and is a great way to celebrate the Halloween season and look back on ‘90’s nostalgia. Hosts Yutoya Avaze Leon and Christina Leon will get witchy with you.

 

10/23/2021-10/24/2021 – MACON ART EXPLOSION (MAX)
Special Event – Art and Performance Festival
$5 Adults, Kids under 12 FREE

Macon Art Explosion (MAX) wants to push the envelope in an all-day weekend extreme art festival. Maker Merchant Booths will showcase artists’ wares and offer interactive art activities. There will be Stage Shout-Out Spots where you get a peek at what’s going on with performances, creators, and classes in the region. Finally, in Guerrilla Grand Spaces you get to explore the hidden spaces of the historic Grand, where you will discover mini-concerts, gallery shows, plays, and interactive performances. Macon Art Explosion is a radically inclusive, family-friendly day of weird, wacky, and wonderful ideas by local artists. Supported by a grant from the Community Foundation of Central GA.

 

10/30/2021 – THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Film
$5 9 PM

Come out to The Grand for a classic Halloween tradition – The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Brad and Janet, a very square engaged couple, stumble upon Dr. Frank-n-Furter’s castle full of enigmatic and loud characters engaging in sinful delights. Rocky Horror is an interactive musical experience like no other that will leave you doing the Time Warp all the way home! Wesleyan College’s Cosplay Club will join hosts Yutoya Avaze Leon and Christina Leon in dressing to impress – join them in your best getup and have the opportunity to win our costume contest!

 

11/13/2021 – BROADWAY DOES HOLIDAY
Cabaret
$10 6:30 and 8:30 PM

Broadway Does Holiday is an upbeat cabaret-style performance blending Broadway-inspired vocal stylings with the eclectic atmosphere of an intimate lounge show in downtown Macon. Come be a part of a joyful night of music, because it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and we’re not waiting until December to celebrate! You’ll feel the holiday spirit with performances of classic holiday songs, including some of your favorite Broadway numbers. The Great White Way will lead you into dreaming of a white Christmas, with jingle bells that sound a lot like showtunes. Supported by the Linda Harriet Lane Fund.

 

11/20/2021 – THE TRIBE MACON PRESENTS LUX
Special Event – Drag Show
$15 8 PM

The Tribe’s largest show yet! Join us as we showcase the epic power of these queens – with so many tricks and effects up our sleeves, you’re sure to have the time of your life. Including incredible performers and tantalizing music, LUX will surprise you. Starring Coco Iman Starr, Akasha Giselle Vidalle, Yutoya Avaze Leon, Pynk Dime, and more. Hosted by Christina Leon.

 

12/17/2021 – THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Film
$5 7 PM

Westley and Buttercup’s epic story of love and revenge hits the big screen at The Grand this December. Laugh and let out an ‘aww’ as you watch one of the greatest love stories of all time and a family classic. With kooky characters, some absurd comedy, and a great journey, it’s “inconceivable” that the combination of The Princess Bride and the Christmas light show in downtown Macon won’t make a great heartwarming holiday evening.

 

12/18/2021 – A SILVER ANNIVERSARY CHRISTMAS WITH JOHN BERRY
Concert
$40 7:30 PM

Returning to The Grand for the 25th year, John’s special take on the Christmas season has become a Macon tradition, mixing such Berry classic hits as “Your Love Amazes Me” and “Standing On The Edge Of Goodbye,” and “I Think About It All The Time” with holiday favorites, including his always-standing-ovation performance of “O Holy Night.” No one moves an audience quite the way this platinum-selling vocalist does, and this December Grand appearance is sure to be the hottest holiday ticket in town.

 

1/14/2022 – FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF
Film
$5 7 PM

Slacker teen Ferris Bueller ropes his girlfriend and best friend into a day of exploring the city. The truant teens take the time to enjoy the cultural hub they live in because, as Ferris himself says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Directed by John Hughes and starring Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a love letter to the culture and spirit of Chicago.

 

2/15/2022 – ABBA MANIA
Concert
$35-49 7:30 PM

They’re back… now let’s party! ABBA MANIA, the original tribute from London’s West End, takes you back in time by recreating one of the world’s finest pop groups in a live stage performance. This highly polished and professional production has been delighting audiences since 1999, re-creating the ABBA phenomenon for fans all over the world. “From beginning to end, ABBA MANIA keeps the party going, jumping, bouncing, twirling and dancing tirelessly” –WBSM New Bedford.

 

2/25/2022 – MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL
Film
$5 7 PM

Monty Python and the Holy Grail turns the classical legend of King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail into a highly quotable farcical comedy, starring the British jesters that have been beloved for generations. Arthur and his knights embark on a poorly funded and incredibly silly search and encounter a multitude of truly ridiculous obstacles like terrifying rabbits and the Knights Who Say “Ni!” This classic comedy will have you leaving the theatre in stitches.

 

3/11/2022 – THE TEN TENORS
Concert
$35-45 7:30 PM

The TEN Tenors are an Australian music ensemble that has toured extensively nationally and internationally and released more than 20 albums. Since The TEN Tenors was first formed in 1995, the group has performed extensively in Australia, overseas and on television, and their signature brand of music featuring 10-part harmonies has been enjoyed by more than 90 million people. They have headlined more than 2,000 concerts around the world, sold more than 3.5 million concert tickets and become renowned for their dynamic, choreographed performances and skillful ability to seamlessly transition from operatic arias to soulful ballads through to chart-topping pop and rock songs.

 

3/18/2022 – BROADWAY DOES THE ‘80S
Cabaret
$10 6:30 and 8:30 PM

Broadway Does the 80s is an upbeat cabaret-style performance blending Broadway-inspired vocal stylings with the eclectic atmosphere of an intimate lounge show in downtown Macon. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” for a night and experience your favorite 80s songs, both Broadway and otherwise, on the big stage! From Dreamgirls and Into The Woodsto Cyndi Lauper and Wham, the energy and passion of 80s music will raise the roof. Supported by the Linda Harriet Lane Fund.

 

3/24/2022 – KENNY ENDO TAIKO ENSEMBLE
Concert
$20-25 7:30 PM

The beat of the drum thrums through your body. Soon your heart and the drummer are in synch and excitement fills your body. In celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival, we are fortunate to welcome Kenny Endo, the first Westerner to be granted a license to perform traditional Japanese taiko drumming, as he celebrates 45 years practicing an art that is both bombastic and subtle. The evening will include traditional taiko drumming as well as contemporary works where jazz vibraphone, electric violin, Hawaiian ‘ukulele and traditional Japanese instruments are played with a rock and jazz energy.

 

4/8/2022-4/9/2022 – HEALING A HAUNTED HOUSE
Special Event – Interactive Play
$10, $5 Mercer ID 7:30 PM

The echo inside faded walls. There are nearly 4,000 blighted structures in Bibb County that are no longer occupied by a soul (Source: The Telegraph). But what if they still had a voice? This multimedia community-wide exploration process worked directly with citizens of Macon-Bibb County to gather five stories of homes that were once vibrant in Pleasant Hill, presenting them as examples to ask what our civic body can do to restore and heal. A co-creation of lead artists Nancy Cleveland, Julia Rubens, and DSTO Moore along with a host of ensemble voices, partnering The Grand with Historic Macon Foundation and Mercer Players. Supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly and with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

4/16/2022 – THE BRAT PACK DOUBLE FEATURE (Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo’s Fire)
Film
$5 7 PM

April will bring you back to the ‘80s at The Grand with the double feature of two classic Brat Pack films, St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink. These both tells the story of struggling to find who you are and who you want to be – in a world that can change between life, love, and death in an instant. In these two heartfelt films, first feel for high schooler Andie (Molly Ringwald) as she attempts to balance the unstable nature of social cliques and following your heart, then follow an ensemble of recent college graduates (led by Rob Lowe) trying to navigate their wild twentysomething paths while staying friends.

 

4/22/2022 – MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL
Broadway
$45-60 Adult, $30 Kids under 12 7:30 PM

Great for families! Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and, of course, those hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound out of the zoo and onto the stage in this musical spectacular. Based on the smash DreamWorks animated motion picture, Madagascar The Musical follows all of your favorite crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar. Sponsored by Atrium Health Navicent.

 

5/6/2022 – BROADWAY DOES SOUL
Cabaret
$10 6:30 and 8:30 PM

Broadway Does Soul is an upbeat cabaret-style performance blending Broadway-inspired vocal stylings with the eclectic atmosphere of an intimate lounge show in downtown Macon. Connect with the deep emotions and truths of soul music from local Macon music heritage, classic songs from shows such as Memphis and The Wiz, and the sounds of Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye in this night of soulful tunes. Supported by the Linda Harriet Lane Fund.

Introducing Macon Art eXplosion

Introducing Macon Art eXplosion 4050 1484 Julia Rubens

an art and performance festival

OCTOBER 23-24

Picture yourself at The Grand this fall: Envision a colorful cultural celebration with interactive activities, an opportunity to see a brand new type of performance, find classes for arts education, buy homemade decor, and experience a true explosion of creative energy from all different corners and perspectives in our community. This is Macon Art eXplosion (MAX).

So what is Macon Art eXplosion?

Macon Art eXplosion (MAX) is an all-weekend, radically inclusive artist-centered cultural celebration with interactive family activities and demos, a craft market, exhibitions on the main stage, and exciting site-specific micro-performances and installations on October 23 and 24. MAX was created by artists, for artists, and submissions to the festival will be juried by a council of practicing artists from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.

Anyone can submit to MAX and an artist can submit multiple entries for different ideas. There are no table fees or application fees – we want this to be open and available to everyone from the most reputable professional painter to the nine-year-old prodigy singer that currently headlines her living room voice recitals. We also want to encourage risky and experimental ideas that artists may not have felt supported to show before.

Our aim is to explode the venue with arts and cultural activities from Macon’s eclectic creative community that are open to everyone and where audiences will learn something new.

How will it work?

We were inspired by open submission art festivals and Fringe festivals in other cities. With that in mind, we will open up the space at The Grand as wide as possible over the weekend for art.

There will be three different ways to engage and explore Macon Art eXplosion:

  1. Maker Merchant Spaces: These are table/booth spaces to both showcase your wares and to perform interactive art activities (we love the idea of ones that are family friendly!). As an example, while Dushawn may be selling his screen-printed t-shirts and gifts at his booth, Katie might be leading a chalk-art demo for kids at hers. YOU set your prices 100% for Maker-Merchant tables and there are ZERO application fees – being a participating maker or artisan is totally free upfront. The Grand will take a 15% commission on items sold to cover the cost of your participation. We accept local (to Middle Georgia) and handmade goods, items, and activities. We’d love to encourage activities that make art and creative activities appealing for youth and booths that have a variety of price points for accessibility, but most importantly we want you to sell and present the work that you do. These spaces will be available in the lobby, CenterState and Encore rooms, and in front of the Grand on the sidewalk. APPLY TO MAKER MERCHANT SPACES NOW
  2. Stage Shout-Out Spots: Give a sneak peek to what you perform, create, or teach with these slots onstage – approximately 15-20 minutes long. Do you have a creative business bringing art to parties? Do you run kid’s camps or classes in your creative discipline? Do you run awesome comedy shows? Give a taste of who you are to your audience. We’ll have people cycling in and out of the auditorium all day with these spots to market and spotlight you. APPLY FOR A STAGE SHOUT-OUT SPOT NOW
  3. Guerilla Grand Spaces: What can YOU do to activate a unique space with your mini-concert, gallery show, play, or interactive performance? We present six spaces on the fringes that are ripe to be turned into a creative paradise. And it’s not just the locations that are meant to be edgy – we want your weird, wacky, and wonderful ideas. These site-specific gallery or performance spaces are the fire escape, green room, dressing rooms, balcony stair landing, top of balcony, and The Grand boxes. What can YOU make in those spaces? A cubby concert in a dressing room to an audience of 4? A stairway gallery? A comedy show using The Grand boxes? APPLY FOR A GUERILLA GRAND SPACE NOW

Applications are open now through September 30th. For questions, please email Julia at rubens_ja@mercer.edu.

Over the coming days, we will be adding resources for applicants and an FAQ on our website on this page. We will have multiple tours of the venue available and at least one informational Zoom session for applicants to learn more.

Funded by an On the Table mini-grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

Create. Explore. Connect. To the MAX.



SITE TOURS AND Q&As

Interested in applying to Macon Art eXplosion but need to learn more? Come to one of our site tours:

WEDNESDAY 9/22 AT 6 PM: Creative Conversations, hosted by Anna Richards and Erin Hawkins

Join Macon’s vibrant artist and creatives group, Creative Conversations, as they host a tour at The Grand for people interested in applying. Walk around the whole space, brainstorm ideas for submitting to the festival, and connect and network with other creatives! FREE DRINKS AND REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED

SATURDAY 9/25 FROM 2-4 PM

Hang Out at The Grand! Kick off your weekend by coming to see a site tour and learn about applying to Macon Art eXplosion. FREE DRINKS AND PIZZA PROVIDED!

MONDAY 9/27 AT 4 PM

Last minute site tour! Still looking for information and inspiration? Meet up with other artists and learn about applying to Macon Art eXplosion! FREE DRINKS AND REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED!

Frequently Asked Questions and Site Photos

Who can apply?

We encourage anyone – and we mean anyone – with a bold idea to apply for Macon Art eXplosion. This includes artists and creatives of all ages and backgrounds. Our only requirements is that your gifts/art are handcrafted – not part of a larger corporation’s products. Even if you are unsure of an idea, please feel free to apply! Our artist council can provide specific feedback even in the event that your work is not accepted.

We encourage both visual and performing artists to apply with all kinds of ideas. We want your one-woman operas and group paint and sips. We are looking for any idea we can house in the building. The only limitation on the type of work is that most submissions will have a relatively small amount of installation time and that nothing can be hung from our walls – as a historic theatre, we are a little old and delicate!

What does the “blind jury” process mean?

A group of Macon visual and performing artists from all disciplines was selected to be on the artist council who will be judging the applications. The “blind jury” aspect refers to the fact that all applications will strip your name from consideration during the council reading and discussing the applications. This is meant to focus our attention on the work that you are submitting, not your perceived reputation or previous experience.

What does it cost?

The event costs artists nothing to apply or exhibit. That’s right, the number is 0. There are no fees involved. You can set your own prices for your work or performance during the event. There is a 15% commission being taken on items sold or tickets sold to help cover the costs of the event.

I want to participate, but I’m not sure where my application fits in.

Please go to one of our site visits or contact Julia Rubens at rubens_ja@mercer.edu. We want to figure out a way to envision your work at this event!!

Admission for kids are free. Does that mean all exhibits are family-friendly?

We are emphasizing family-friendly activities, but not all artistic expressions at the festival may be appropriate for children. We will have a color-coded marker at the doorway to each exhibition or performance to indicate age appropriateness. That way, the littles can have a great time, the artists can present their work authentically, and parents won’t be confused about what will work for them!

Photos

Maker Merchant Spaces

Description: Tables for Maker/Merchant Spaces and activities can happen in front of The Grand, in either of our reception rooms the SouthState Room or the Encore Room, or the lobby. You can receive one 8′ table and one chair from The Grand to sell your wares or do an activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage Shout-Out Spots

Description: Stage Shout-Out Spots will happen on The Grand Stage in 15-20 minute increments. We will provide you with a microphone and the ability to project imagery.

 

Guerilla Grand Spaces

Description: Multiple spaces around The Grand are available for pop-up galleries and performances. These are customized to fit your vision. Our main restriction is that we can’t hang pieces directly from the walls of our historic space.

1) The Grand Fire Escape: Multiple levels and architectural metal staircase.

 

 


2) Staircase up to the balcony: This stairwell has multiple levels with several nooks and crannies for an interesting site-specific performance or exhibition.

3) Top of Grand Balcony: This is a long, hallway-type space at the top of the staircase.

4) The Grand Box Seats: The iconic boxes are a staple fixture of the architecture at The Grand. Each holds six seats and there are three levels of boxes on each side of the stage connected by staircases.

 

5) The Grand Stage: The main stage!

6) The Green Room: Our backstage room where performers hang out! Could be a great intimate or edgy show venue.

7) The Dressing Rooms: There are three small “star dressing rooms” upstairs backstage. Downstairs, there are two larger ensemble dressing rooms which each have shower rooms attached. All have the lightbulb vanities pictured.

There Is More To Do At The Grand Than Just Watch A Show

There Is More To Do At The Grand Than Just Watch A Show 1684 1123 Joe Patti

When many people picture themselves at The Grand, they imagine spending time enjoying a performance with family and friends or showing their support through donations.

There are actually quite a few other ways to become involved with The Grand and learn interesting things about our historic performing arts venue.

Volunteer – Most people who volunteer at The Grand Opera House participate as ushers during performances. They have an opportunity to see portions of every touring performance, concert and movie at The Grand while being the welcoming face for both familiar friends and new visitors to our community.

We will be having a small reception to catch up with our devoted volunteers at the end of August. It will also be an opportunity for anyone interested in joining as a new member to chat with people who have seen great performances over the years.

For more information about the gathering or to learn more about volunteering, contact Sarah Deck at 478-301-5464 or deck_so@mercer.edu

Back Stage With Bob – Bob Mavity is the iconic tech director at The Grand. He is renowned as a problem-solver — not just at The Grand, but in other parts of Macon and across the state. But he will tell you, no big problem can be solved alone. Longtime crew members like Ty, Brendan, Tony, Paul, Kam, Vance, Patrick, and Tom have been a big part of The Grand Opera House’s success.

Backstage work is often intermittent over the course of a year, but if you are the type of person interested in a paid opportunity that reveals the secrets behind the amazing effects that light up the stage, contact Bob at 478-301-5465 mavity_rj@mercer.edu to be added to our list and special social media group.

Circle of Friends – In recent years we have had gatherings of people who have been enthusiastic attendees of The Grand. We started the little parties as a way to get some feedback from people, but it quickly became clear that the real benefit was people being able to meet and chat with each other in a way they couldn’t before a show or at intermission.

While these people are supporters of The Grand, they have definitely voiced a lot of opinions about what could be better.

In the past year, there have been many people who started attending events for the first time, or first time in a very long time. Whether you have been a regular attendee for years or someone who has just started, if you think The Grand could be better than it is and do a better job at being welcoming and accessible to our whole community, we would love to have you join us for some snacks and conversation.

To find out about the next gathering, contact Sarah Deck at 478-301-5464 or deck_so@mercer.edu

My Favorite Patron by Sarah Deck

My Favorite Patron by Sarah Deck 6000 4000 Julia Rubens

Sarah Deck is our new Director of Patron Services and Rentals for The Grand Opera House. Check out her perspective on what it’s like to give service to a historic institution:

For better or worse, patrons are what make the job interesting. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, than you know exactly what I mean. When I was college student, I worked in the box office at The Grand as a Box Office Clerk. I answered the phones during my shifts, meaning I was interacting with our patrons directly on a regular basis.

On this particular day, I received a phone call from an older man looking to buy tickets to see Gregg Allman play. As I helped him pick out his seats, this kind man regaled me with his tales of the past. He told me about how he had also went to Mercer University, lived next door to Gregg when he was younger, saw the Allman Brothers play at a small club downtown where he talked with the band, and so on.

Before he got off the phone, he told me how much he appreciated me taking the time to listen to him. He said that it was important to tell these stories to keep Macon’s history alive. I couldn’t have agreed more! As a lifelong Maconite (and Allman Brothers fan) it was such a special treat for me to take his phone call and learn his history.

For the first time since I had started working at the Grand, I felt like I was a part of something larger than myself.

Just by answering that call and being willing to listen, I was able to create a great experience for this patron. We made a connection that truly made me love working at The Grand Opera House and interacting with patrons. Nearly six years later, my love for The Grand and our patrons has only grown as I have moved up from Box Office Clerk all the way to the incoming Director of Patron Services and Rentals.

As I settle into my new position, I hope to continue to create amazing patron experiences for each person who walks through the door. If there is anything I can do to help make your experience GRAND don’t hesitate to let me know!

She does more than sell tickets. Want to plan a special event – like a birthday private movie screening, a historic downtown wedding reception, or the perfect community concert? Contact Sarah here to stop dreaming and start doing.

Overheard at The Grand

Overheard at The Grand 4032 3024 Joe Patti

We hear lots of chatter in The Grand lobby when working events. Here, Executive Director Joe Patti explains some of the phrases that come to mind from patrons.

I have lived here all my life, but never been inside – This is the most common phrase heard at theaters and arts organizations across the world. It’s fine if you haven’t been inside before. Often, our lives and interests aren’t aligned with everything going on in our community — then suddenly you want to be part of it all and enjoy it so much you can’t imagine why you didn’t start years ago. This doesn’t just apply to the arts, it could be discovering an appreciation for local walking trails or a type of cuisine.

Many times people are proud to live in a community where places like The Grand Opera House, The Douglass Theatre, the Tubman Museum, Museum of Arts and Sciences, cool downtown life and businesses exist. They may not go to these places often, but they will brag about how great their town is to their friends. It all contributes to a sense of excitement and vitality.

WOW! So we have heard that a lot in the last couple years when people first walked into the renovated restrooms. People were really suffering under the old building configuration, and we were happy we were able to remedy that. More frequently, we hear some version of “Wow” when people walk into the theater. Sometimes it is visitors from out of town, but last week it was local scouts for film and TV productions looking to film in Macon. We had two different productions come in to look on consecutive days last week, and they both seemed to be excited by what they saw.

I never knew The Grand was a safe space. This was a specific comment made to me over lunch. And my response was that maybe it wasn’t prior to the last few years. Since I started as executive director three years ago, we have been working to make The Grand more welcoming to everyone in the community. As bad as Covid was, one benefit it provided was that people’s expectations and perception of The Grand began to change. As we offered different types of programming than we had in the past and received a good response, the idea of what The Grand should be and who it should be has shifted.

This has happened before in our history. When The Allman Brothers first started playing here, there was grumbling that people were wearing jeans and t-shirts to The Grand. Now, like so much of Macon, it is hard to imagine The Grand not being a part of Allman Brothers history. Not only does that history continues today with performances of Allman Betts Band or Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association’s annual festival, but back in the ’70s, Gregg Allman and Cher bought a house called “The Grand Topper” whose proceeds went to support saving The Grand.

I didn’t know that about The Grand! With 116 years of history, there is a lot that has happened here, like horses racing on a treadmill for a production of Ben-Hur, Harry Houdini cutting a trap door in the floor, ghost tales, and the long relationship with Nutcracker of Middle Georgia and Macon Civic Club performances.

The staff knows a lot of the stories, but even we learn new things. Up until about five years ago, we were claiming the Grand was built in 1884. This assumed our building was constructed on the foundation of the Academy of Music building which preceded it. Only to find out in our most recent renovation that The Grand probably doesn’t even have a basement wall in common with the older theater.

Want to make some memories of your own on our historic stage? Consider a Movie Pass for just $20 to see endless cult classic films in an elevated setting or subscribe to our Broadway Does Cabaret Concert Series to get a year’s worth of date nights for $30.

 

Above: Audience members in the lobby of our latest show Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow

Outdoor Pop-Up Theatre and Film Event at The Grand Highlights Georgians Living with Disabilities

Outdoor Pop-Up Theatre and Film Event at The Grand Highlights Georgians Living with Disabilities 1973 1409 Julia Rubens

June 23, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Julia Rubens, rubens_ja@mercer.edu or 478-301-2933

Outdoor Pop-Up Theatre and Film Event at The Grand

Highlights Georgians Living with Disabilities

MACON – A free outdoor film and pop-up theatre event called Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshowwill take place at The Grand Opera House this Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 PM. The event includes local celebrity hosts, food trucks, and storytelling that will feature 10 Georgians living and thriving with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The feature of the roadshow evening will be a screening of Treasure Maps, a film collage of experiences with an up-close and personal viewpoint into what it’s like navigating the complex webs of life in our communities as a person with a developmental disability. Themes include starting your own business, friendship, going to college, alienation and acceptance, dealing with the physical aspects of disability, and how transformative living a full inclusion life can be.

The show is touring in six cities across Georgia, and chose Macon as one of the spots to advocate and present the free performance. Appearing alongside StoryMuse Founder/Creative Director Shannon Turner is local co-host George McCanless, President/CEO of United Way of Central Georgia with show marshal Tamika Woods of River Edge Behavioral Health.

Before the show, there will be food trucks serving barbecue, shaved ice, and snacks, as well as music from BluePrint Productions and a moment honoring local music legend Newton Collier. Gates open at 7:30 PM with the show starting at 9 PM.

Irene Turner of the Treasure Maps team notes, “Watching these stories all together is so fun; they create a gorgeous patchwork quilt, revealing pieces of the beautiful complexity of what it’s like to live with a disability in this state.”

Treasure Maps is proudly presented by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and L’arche Atlanta. Free tickets can be reserved here.

The Grand Opera House is a vibrant community-assembly resource for all residents of Macon-Bibb County, as well as a draw for cultural tourism that significantly impacts the success of Macon’s downtown and corresponding economic vitality. It is our mission to nurture an appreciation of the arts in all citizens of Central Georgia, especially its youngest citizens, through attracting the presentation of quality productions as well as an immersion into a treasured architectural artifact that reflects 133 years of Macon’s history. And finally, as a performing arts center of Mercer University, the Grand Opera House seeks to champion excellence as the premiere theatrical venue in Central Georgia.

Nikki’s Last Nugget (of Wisdom)

Nikki’s Last Nugget (of Wisdom) 4032 3024 Nikki Vincent

Nikki Vincent has been with The Grand Opera House for almost 10 years, starting as a student ticket clerk while attending Mercer University before moving steadily up to run the entire box office and front of house operations. Today is her last day and we will dearly miss her!

I have considered The Grand Opera House my home for quite some time. Heck, even my iPhone thinks the Grand’s address is “home” because I am here more often than I am at my actual home. I have had the amazing opportunity of coming to work in this beautiful venue for the last eight years, and so next week when I drive past it to a new work home, it will be bittersweet.

Throughout my time here I have been able to meet and interact with so many individuals and organizations and they have had a significant impact on my life. In fact, if it were not for The Grand Opera House, I would not have recognized that a passion for the arts and entertainment can turn into a career. I shudder at the thought of where I would be now had I not had the opportunity to step into the box office and dive head first into the world of arts and venue management.

So at the risk of sounding all sappy, I wanted to leave you all with a couple of thoughts.

To my patrons: You will never know how much you mean to me. You are the reason why I looked forward to coming to work each and every day. You made 14 hour long event days worth it. Seeing your joy when coming through the doors and getting to know you on a personal level is what dreams are made of. I’ll miss our conversations at the box office and hanging out with you in the lobby at intermission, but don’t think you’ve seen the last of me. I may be your seat neighbor one day.

To my student clerks, past and present: Thank you. Thank you for your patience with me when I first stepped into the role of Box Office Assistant. Funny enough, some of you (looking at you Bos) have been with me for a very long time. Many of you witnessed the creation and development of a manager and a leader. Some of you saw my great days. Some of you witnessed chaos. Many of you were my guinea pigs as I was navigating those first few years. You aremy rock stars. Thank you for letting me grow and learn, and thank you for being willing to grown and learn with me. You all are going to do amazing things, and I cannot wait to see you flourish!

To my staff: I love you dearly. I don’t think I can say enough how much I truly value your friendships in and outside of the office. You all have been a second family to me. You have seen me on my best and worst days, and loved me through it all. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to serve alongside you. We may have been a small crew, but together we were mighty. I’m going to miss having you all around and I fully intend on maintaining my gif queen status in group texts.

While I may be leaving my office at The Grand, I will not be leaving my beautiful hometown of Macon, GA. I will still be here, supporting the arts, entertainment, and other organizations here in Macon. Feel free to reach out to me (comment on this post if you would like my personal email or ask one of our current staff) if you ever need an event buddy.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where I am going… I will be stepping into the role of Director of Ticketing for Spectra, overseeing ticketing at the Macon Centreplex, Macon City Auditorium, and the Flint River Entertainment Complex in Albany.

Film and Cabaret Packages on Sale Now!

Film and Cabaret Packages on Sale Now! 1080 720 Julia Rubens

OUR 2021-2022 SEASON IS COMING UP Looking for some arts and entertainment events to liven up your routine? We want to get on your calendar early. Picture yourself at The Grand: A beautiful historic venue that livens up any date night or family outing into an instantly memorable experience. We have the return of several Grand favorites and put tickets on sale for yearly packages you won’t be able to pass up. We’re also announcing an exciting new family-friendly program that hopes to expand the reach of arts and culture in Macon.

The Grand 2021-2022 Film Series

There will be something for everyone in the 2021-2022 Film Series, which features classic films and nostalgia trips you won’t want to miss – including our Viewer’s Choice film that our fans have been voting for all month. As usual, movies will be just $5 and you get one admission totally free with our Movie Pass, which gives five mix-and-match passes for $20! This pass can be redeemed any film, any way. We also have a Family pass for $60 – this includes 20 admissions for when the kids need a night out or the whole family is in town, and breaks down to a 40% savings per ticket! The Movie Pass is the only way to get early access to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

10/15/2021 – Hocus Pocus

10/30/2021 – Rocky Horror Picture Show

12/17/2021 – The Princess Bride

1/14/2022 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

2/25/2022 – Monty Python and The Holy Grail

4/16/2022 – Brat Pack Double Feature (St. Elmos Fire/Pretty in Pink) ($10 admission)

The Movie Pass includes 5 flexible admissions redeemable at any time throughout the season. The Brat Pack Double Feature will use up two admissions on the pass.

Buy Movie Pass Now!

Buy Family Pass Now!


The Grand Broadway Does Cabaret Concert Series

Next, we’ll have the themes for our upcoming Broadway Does Cabaret Concert Series. Combine the spellbinding vocal power of Broadway with our casual lounge-style atmosphere and an eclectic mix of popular music genres. A brand-new subscription this year will create an amazingly affordable flexible redemption package for all four Broadway Does Cabaret concerts for just $30 – for the price of many single-night events, you’ll be able to enjoy a whole year’s worth of entertainment!

9/20/2021 – Broadway Does Pride Kickoff (Service Industry Night)

9/23/2021 – Dress Up and Sing Out for Pride FREE Concert at Third Street Park featuring McKinley Starks and Yutoya Leon

11/13/2021 – Broadway Does Holiday

4/1/2022 – Broadway Does the 80’s

5/6/2022 – Broadway Does Soul

Each concert will have early show, 6:30 PM and late show, 8:30 PM. The Broadway Does subscription package includes four admissions redeemable for any show (either the early or late show). Admission will be limited, reserve your tickets soon.

Buy Cabaret Package Now!


Special Events

6/26/2021 – Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow: Show at 9 PM, house opens at 7:30 PM. Outdoors in parking lot, picnic-style. Free and open to the public.

Treasure Maps is a pop-up, interactive, outdoor theatre taking place in six cities across Georgia!The Treasure Maps show will include live-local hosts, film screening, installations, and interactive activities, all under safe social distancing practices. The roadshow feature is the film screening of Treasure Maps on the big screen. Treasure Maps showcases a collage of ten (10) Georgia storytellers’ experiences with an up-close and personal viewpoint into what it’s like navigating the complex webs of life in our communities as a person with a developmental disability.

10/23-10/24, 2021 – Macon Art Explosion: Event happenings all day. Tickets are $5/day general admission (wristband) and children under 12 are free.

Macon Art Explosion (MAX) wants to push the envelope in an all-day weekend extreme art festival. There will be Maker Merchant Booths to both showcase your wares and to perform interactive art activities. There will be Stage Shout-Out Spots where you can hear a sneak peek to what’s going on with performances, creators, and classes in the region. Finally, Guerrilla Grand Spaces ask what can YOU do to activate a unique space with your mini-concert, gallery show, play, or interactive performance. We present six spaces on the fringes that are ripe to be turned into a creative paradise. And it’s not just the locations that are meant to be edgy – we want your weird, wacky, and wonderful ideas. Macon Art Explosion is radically inclusive, family-friendly, and for artists, by artists.

The “Kings and Queens” of Our Stage are in Macon

The “Kings and Queens” of Our Stage are in Macon 2560 1920 Julia Rubens

If, like us, you are working in live events and performance, it seems like a bleak year. COVID-19 made it clear that the essence of performance as we understand it in a common tradition, gathering closely in a space with your community in real time, is not advised in the same ways. An artist I greatly admire, Ping Chong, once said at a talk, “Theatre is what happens when you set up chairs to watch.” And it’s not just the front-of-house operations that are impacted. The essence of creativity that exists for artists from garage bands to Broadway musical casts to make their work happen requires closeness for collaboration. Sure, some of that essence can happen digitally, but there’s a lot that falls in the cracks – just look at the frustration in every Zoom classroom.

We light up our stages with stars. Whether it is the thrill of John Berry crooning a holiday family tradition straight from Nashville, the breathtaking dancing of Diavolo from Los Angeles, or the excitement of triple-threat Broadway stars beautifully narrating from The Great White Way, The Grand’s identity has relied on making the best talent in the nation available to Macon. As the performing arts presenter of Mercer University, we are proud to widen the cultural offerings available to Central Georgians.

Like all venues, our routine has changed in the pandemic. Our executive director’s phone is no longer ringing off the hook with agents trying to sell him on the phone. Our director of rentals is no longer wondering whether a certain set piece will fit onto our historic stage. Our technical director is not coordinating load-outs with a dozen plus crew members late at night. The kinds of shows that we “normally” do, even beloved community productions like The Nutcracker, just aren’t available.

It’s National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM)—a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America—which asks how #ArtsCreateHope. In this environment, how do we hold onto this hope?

For us, presenting the stories that are all around us – the people who are the stars in our grocery store lines as we still smile under masks six feet apart – are the way that we continue to provide the best of arts and culture in this turbulent time. If we can’t bring the stars to you, we can shine a spotlight on the ones living in your neighborhood. And with “Kings and Queens” our next event with Storytellers Macon: Live at The Grand Opera House, we certainly have a regal presence. Enjoy the incredible local faces that will be gracing our stage November 7th:

  • Ansley Booker, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Mercer University, Macon Magazine 5 Under 40. Dr. Booker is a native of Eatonton (her story talks about being the first Dairy Queen of Eatonton!) and here is her TEDx talk about Unhidden Figures: Uncovering Cultural Biases in STEM, a topic where Dr. Booker has long been an advocate and storyteller.
  • Elliot James-Fernandez, Web Media Manager of Visit Macon, Elliot is also a writer, journalist and performing artist. As a Southern storyteller, his multimedia and journalistic work is committed to telling stories with a focus on depicting the American South in an accurate and historical manner. Here’s a story he wrote about a person utilizing Daybreak’s services. Elliot recently hosted the Historic Macon Foundation’s Hidden History video series about LGBTQ+ Macon History.
  • Charvis Harrell, visual artist. “”My art comes from a desire to talk about the little know people that sacrifice to make the world a better place, and to give a deeper understanding of what it means to be Black in a society where race is rarely talked about but the disparity between them are overwhelming and devastating.” He is a Macon native who began painting in 2004 and has been exhibited around the country. He tells stories of Black history and identity through portraiture, cartooning, and more.
  • Angie Coggins, who served as Chief Assistant in the Houston County Public Defender’s Office for over 20 years and is recently retired. Other attorneys have described Angie as a killer storyteller in the courtroom. Angie is also a Macon Pickleball star and a Macon-Bibb Citizen Advocate. Here’s an interview Mercer Law School did with Angie about being a public defender.
  • DeMarcus Beckham, Southern Field organizer for Georgia Equality and also the Executive Director for Reach to Impact Group and a Board member of Macon Pride. DeMarcus grew up in Zebulon, Georgia in Pike County and attended Middle Georgia State University. He is passionate about telling stories to advance LGBT rights, Voting Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, and working with advocates within the HIV/AIDS community.
  • Angel Colquitt, a senior Journalism major with a minor in Southern Studies at Mercer. They are a Macon native who recently interned with Macon Newsroom. After graduating, they hope to pursue a Masters Degree in Public Health so that they can tell the stories that are currently facing Georgians living in rural areas as a reporter. Here’s an article they wrote about telehealth access in rural Georgia.
  • Erin Keller, Vice President for Development, NewTown Macon. Erin is a proud graduate of Mercer University where she played basketball and later worked as a staff member. As a passionate community member, Erin serves on the Workforce Development Board and is a member of the Downtown Macon Rotary Club. In all these activities, Erin tells the stories of Macon as the city she grew to love.
  • Sarah Gerwig-Moore, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Mercer Law School. With the Habeas Project, Gerwig-Moore told forgotten stories of pro-se litigants, providing assistance to non-capital, post-conviction cases on a strictly pro bono basis. Here’s an article she wrote about the history and fiction of indigent defense in the Deep South.

Buy tickets now

“Searchin’ for a Rainbow” amidst tough times

“Searchin’ for a Rainbow” amidst tough times 3520 1980 Julia Rubens

When you serve Broadway fans and Broadway has been shut down, how do you solve a problem like Maria a global pandemic?

We don’t have all the answers, but we’ve started trying with Broadway Does Southern Rock. This was our first fire escape concert that utilized our parking lot as audience seating, with “pod” squares drawn out for social distancing. The show was a Broadway-style cabaret with community performers that adapted Southern Rock songs. Why Southern Rock? This genre was born in Macon, Georgia and The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, and Wet Willie (who were all represented in the song choices) all recorded at Capricorn Records downtown, which has been recently restored as Mercer Music at Capricorn.

It takes a lot to turn an indoor venue outdoors, and in fact, many indoor venues don’t quite have the space to do it. We were assisted by several factors that were assets we didn’t know we had.

Executive Director Joe Patti stands on our multi-level fire escape as we plan the outdoor stage.

  1. Though we are in the heart of downtown Macon, the building is attached to a large parking lot built for city employees (we share our space with the Bibb County courthouse). This lot is available to the public on weekends.
  2. We have an epic fire escape on the side of our historic building. This is a really sculptural area with multiple levels and staircases – it literally looks like it was created by a set designer.
  3. All of this space is adjacent to the theatre. So we can run out lights, sound, power, and there are doors that bring you directly in the building to a backstage area.

With all this, there is still a lot of maneuvering that takes place and Bob Mavity, our technical director, had to figure out an appropriate setup that would allow for sound (on a metal fire escape, not so easy of a task) to reach out into the parking lot and lighting choices that would be fun while allowing you to see a performer that is far away and high up.

The plan maintained social distance through seating pods – these made sure that people felt comfortable with the distance while getting the seat of their choice. In these pods, you could enjoy yourself how you chose – whether that was with takeout from a local restaurant or your favorite lounge chair.

 

You could also choose to sit further away on the fringes, instead of a pod. This ensured that your comfort level was met if you wanted to distance even MORE than the pods allowed. On the left is an example of a group that did this, along with a drink in the new clear plastic cups that allow us to drink outdoors in downtown Macon thanks to Newtown Macon.

Nikki Vincent, Director of Rentals and Patron Services, made a volunteer setup that scanned the perimeter to make sure that everyone knew where to go to get in and out of the concert. This flow allowed the space to be maintained and to preserve the event for ticket holders.

It was casual, but still felt like “togetherness” – you could see and hear the crowd while still being with your group.

The results were a lot of fun – for us and for our patrons. The event sold out on the morning of the performance. When asked about their experience…

What part of the experience made the deepest impression on you and your group, and why?
Creative solution – first event we have attended since March. Very well done!
People trying to overcome such an unusual situation
how un crowded it was/felt
The music was wonderful and being outside the Grand was exciting, new and different.
It was just nice to be together with other theatre/music lovers. We’ve been starving for something to do!
The desire to provide entertainment in Macon for those of us starved for it!
Bring back the arts!! It brings people together.
Bringing back the arts. It brings us together and lifts us up.
Hearing the performer tell why the song was meaningful to them.
We were told that the weather was going to cancel the show . So we didn’t go.
The friendliness and efficiency of the staff/volunteers/bartenders.
People trying to overcome such an unusual situation

For a brand new program that took place in an entirely different production environment than our staff is used to, this encouragement has been great to hear. We want to continue being able to serve the community in difficult times – to search for rainbows, as The Marshall Tucker Band says.

Right now, we aren’t sure how long the pandemic will last or what shows will be available. So we’ve been sticking to programs that showcase local stars – your friends and neighbors – and in the safest capacity available. You can read our safety plan here. Our next show has eight of the most interesting Macon residents in town appearing safely (one at a time) onstage telling stories for a live podcast recording. You will hear from a man who played backup with Otis Redding, one of your county elected commissioners, the architect of the College Hill neighborhood revitalization in Macon, a woman who claims to have the best front porch in town, and even more. Buy tickets now.

By opening our doors in whatever ways we can, we want to honor our mission as a vibrant community assembly resource. Now is a time of isolation, so we are hoping to provide connection – however we can reach you.

Is there a way The Grand can serve your needs in 2020 that we haven’t thought of yet? Comment below to let us know.