2007 was quite a year

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We all knew 2007 would be a big year for local entertainment headlines before it even started, primarily for one big reason: the opening of the River Campus.

In a city that's never really had a performing arts center, the opening of a place like the River Campus, with its Bedell Performance Hall, is definitely a big deal.

The only question was how local people would take to the new facility. In 2007, the answer was they took to it extremely well.

The River Campus' first show, the musical "Big River," was sold out night after night. The first touring production by the Shaolin Warriors sold out, too, as did the American Indian Dance Theatre just a few nights later.

The Southeast Missouri Symphony had some of its best crowds ever for its season opener with Liesl Schoenberger and its two-night "Messiah" with the University Choir and Choral Union.

Even the first show in the Rust Flexible Theatre, the strange and dark comedy "Coyote Ugly," sold so many tickets that performances had to be added.

And the first season continues to roll along.

Yes, the biggest story in entertainment of 2007 was, by far, the River Campus.

But not far behind might be something on the total opposite end of the entertainment spectrum, far, far away from high art. REO Speedwagon stirred up big buzz when word leaked they would play the SEMO District Fair.

For months local rock fans anticipated, and when the Speedwagon finally rolled into town, they came out in droves. It was probably the best-attended fair concert of the last few years.

Around that same time, the Show Me Center was celebrating its 20th anniversary as a place that's hosted big-time acts from just about every genre of popular music. The SMC even brought prog-rock act Tool to town, a concert that few Tool fans in Cape ever imagined could come to their hometown.

Already events are lined up for 2008 -- the Show Me Center has another rock concert coming with Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and Seether.

In January, the St. Petersburg Ballet will bring "Swan Lake" to the River Campus, while February will see "Late Night Catechism" and "Ring of Fire," a musical featuring the songs of Johnny Cash.

With as busy as 2007 was, 2008 looks to be even more. Have fun with it.

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