Best of the Best


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NWA Democrat-Gazette Best of the Best 14 Sunday, October 29, 2017 Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette A fter almost 26 seasons of bringing live performances of theater, music, dance and other artistic endeavors to the Northwest Arkansas region, the Walton Arts Center is enjoying a new beginning. "We've been a fi xture in the region for decades, but now we have a new look," said Jennifer Wilson, Walton Arts Center's public relations director. "We just had a grand reopening in November, which revealed our new facility and the $23 million in renovations that were made. We're still committed to bringing the best entertainment to Northwest Arkansas, and this is our fi rst season without construction, so we are excited to fully utilize our facility." From the best of Broadway to author/comedian Davis Sedaris to Ballet Arkansas, Jennifer said the fl exibility of the renovated complex allows for a great variety of shows. "Baum Walker Hall seats 1,200 people and is great for our larger performances including Broadway shows," she explained. "We also have Starr Theater, which is a black box theater. That gives us some fl exibility with that space for our West Street Live series and our Starrlight Jazz Club series. For both of these series the theater is set up like a music club with cabaret tables in front and then stadium seating in the back. It is also used for many of our children's shows and creates a theater that is intimate and less intimidating for kids. We have some traditional spaces, and we have some newer spaces that are fl exible and allow us accommodate a variety of different entertainers." Walton Arts Center has always been a hub of cultural activities for the region, Jennifer said. "It has been a cultural cornerstone for the community because we've always had the commitment to bringing in world- class entertainment," she said. "We work with other performing arts organizations in the region to present and create new works, and we are proud to be an anchor of the region's performing arts culture." Walton Arts Center's facilities include two theaters as well as several multipurpose spaces that the public may rent for private events, weddings or meetings. Walton Arts center's 2017-18 season is just getting started, and there are many shows to choose from, including some special holiday offerings. "We are kicking off the holiday season a bit earlier this year," Jennifer noted. "Irving Berlin's White Christmas is our next Broadway musical with eight performances from Nov. 7-12. The musical is based on the famous movie with Bing Crosby that so many people watch as part of their Christmas traditions. Now you'll be able to see the story come to life on stage." Another classic family show, Charlotte's Web, offers performances for the whole family Nov. 17, 19, 25, 26 and Dec. 1-2. For this production, Walton Arts Center is partnering with Bentonville's Trike Theatre to bring this famous story to life, and it will feature a local cast of kids and adults. "We have a great season, a lot of variety and shows for everyone. This is defi nitely a season that you don't want to miss," she said. Walton Arts Center ready to welcome holidays with style ★★★ Winner ★★★ Live Theatre, Green Business ★★★ Winner ★★★ Walmart Amp, Live Music

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