Wayne Brady, Martin Short, Huey Lewis and the News, Garrison Keillor, Lisa Loeb, The Adams Family and West Side Story are all slated to perform in the Alaska Performing Arts Center in Anchorage during the 2013-14 season, according to Anchorage Concert Association Executive Director Jason Hodges. With names like these it's hard to choose a most-anticipated performance.
"At first I go 'Oh!' and then and then I go, 'Oh, Wait!" Hodges laughs. "Every time I think I can answer that question another (act) pops into my head. But, totally personally, I'm really looking forward to Martin Short and the Piano Guys, 'cause those are things I haven't seen live. Memphis, is really good, (as are) all three of the Broadway shows that we have coming and of course, Lisa Loeb."
Loeb, who made her big break with "Stay," a song of the 1990s that accompanied the cult film "Reality Bites," will kick off ACA's 2013-14 series with two shows in late September. "I saw her play in Seattle years after (her peak in popularity)," Hodges said, "and let me just say, she's still got it."
Hodges and the ACA team work far ahead to plan out future seasons.
"The process (of booking a show) really begins a full six to eight months before," Hodges said. "We generally ask the community what kinds of things they want to see and then we take that information with us when we go to conferences ... where agents and artist come to connect."
At the conferences, Hodges often makes offers to an artist to come to Anchorage, based mostly on community interest or demand and on trends in music and theater. He admits, however, that it isn't always easy.
Artists aren't always keen on making the trip to Alaska. Travel and equipment shipment are often costly and time consuming for acts looking to move as quickly and prosperously as possible.
Even though location is often stacked against Anchorage, the concert association continues to rope in big-names and, occasionally, gets lucky.
"For a long time I didn't think it was going to happen," Hodges said about securing Martin Short, "And then one day his manager called me. It turned out that Fairbanks was interested, too, so we made it a two-city tour." When booking a show as far north as Alaska, "block booking tours are preferable to single event run outs," Hodges said.
And just like that, Martin Short was ready to come north, to Alaska.
"A lot of times, Alaska's who comes knocking, and there are a lot of artists who play for the love of playing," Hodges said. "Once they get here, what I've been able to glean, is that artists are blown away by the response they get ... and 80 to 90 percent are excited to come back because they get such great feedback."
The 2013-2014 season event line up will include:
- Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb Friday, Sep. 20 & Saturday, Sep. 21
- Emerging classical group Linden String Quartet Friday, Sep. 27
- Indigenous musicians Keola Beamer and R. Carlos Nakai Friday, Oct. 4
- Comedian Martin Short Sunday, Oct. 6
- Hindustan group Modern India Friday, Oct. 11
- Quixotic Fusion Saturday, Oct. 12
- Indie-folk rock band The Last Bison Saturday, Oct. 19
- Comedian and performer Wayne Brady Monday, Oct. 21
- Comedy God of Carnage Friday, Nov. 1- Sunday, Nov. 10
- American rock band Huey Lewis and the News Friday, Nov. 8 & Saturday, Nov. 9
- Musician Billy Childs Friday, Nov. 15
- Storyteller and personality Garrison Keillor Wednesday, Nov. 20
- The Nutcracker Ballet Friday, Nov. 29- Sunday, Dec. 1
- Grammy award winning quartet Manhattan Transfer Saturday, Dec. 14
- Cirque Dreams Holidaze Thursday, Dec. 26- Sunday, Dec. 29
- Classic Broadway play West Side Story Tuesday, Jan. 14- Friday, Jan. 24, 2014
- Pianist Alpin Hong Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014
- California Guitar Trio / Montreal Guitar Trio Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
- Irish band Lunasa Friday, Feb. 7, 2014
- Classical pop group The Piano Guys Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014
- World premiere debut of Anchorage playwright Arlitia Jones's Rush at Everlasting Friday, Feb. 14- Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014
- Interactive comedy Late Nite Catechism Wednesday, Feb. 19- Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014
- The Addams Family Friday, Feb. 28-Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014
- Portland Cello Project Friday, March 7- Saturday, March 8, 2014
- Sensual vocals of the Ruth Moody Band Friday, March 14, 2014
- Swing rock band Cherry Poppin' Daddies Saturday, March 15, 2014
- Laugh-out-loud comedy: The Flying Karamazov Brothers Saturday, March 22, 2014
- Blues bender International Blues Express Saturday, April 5, 2014
- A new fresh version of the classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Friday, April 11- Sunday, 27, 2014
- Progressive "new" classical group yMusic Saturday, April 12, 2014
- Comedy The Capitol Steps Saturday, April 19, 2014
- Musical legends Chick Corea & Bela Fleck Sunday, April 27, 2014
- 2010 award winning musical Memphis Friday, May 2- Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Tickets for a bundle of three shows or more are currently available through the Anchorage Concert Association online or by calling 907-272-1471. Tickets for single shows will not be available for purchase until August. Visit or call ACA for more purchasing details.
Additionally, if you'd like to be kept up to date on all of ACA's happenings, including "secret shows," connect with their Facebook page. To voice your interest in a particular performance for the 2014-15 season visit ACA online.
Contact Katie Medred at katie(at)alaskadispatch.com