Wilson Performing Arts Center announces jam-packed 2024-25 theater season

The Wilson Performing Arts Center has announced a packed season of community theater productions and guest performers.
Wilson Performing Arts Center executive director Val Zane said the first major difference is the number of season offerings.
“Typically our season is 12 shows. Sometimes it’s less, but it’s never been more. This season, however, we have 14 shows. We had a lot of fun picking the shows, and there were some that didn’t make the season but we’re already starting to book them for the season after. I was toying with 16 shows,” said Zane. “I do like to make sure we have an equal amount of things, and that it’s a well-balanced season and something for everyone.”
The season kicks off with “Who Hijacked My Fairytale? A Theatrical Production” by performer Kelly Swanson. That show will hit the Wilson stage at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 8.  Zane said the show will be hilarious and inspirational.
“When you’re younger, you have all these ideas about what you want to be when you grow up and how amazingly magical it will be, and then you get there. This show is a hilarious version of that. Maybe you are a princess of sorts, but it’s not exactly the idea you had in mind. No matter what you envisioned your adulthood would be, we all had to pivot a bit, and this show highlights that,” Zane commented. “Kelly Swanson is a hilarious performer and a motivational speaker. While the show is for everyone, there’s a lot of ‘girl power’ to this. If you want a really fun girls’ night out, this would be the show for you. That’s why we have two showings. It’s a one woman show, and we’ll help her build a set and things like that.”
Following that show, the theater will have it’s first community theater production, “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” Oct. 11, 12, 18, and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 13 and 20 at 2:30 p.m.
“It is a 90 minute, gender-bending, quick-changing, laugh out loud re-imagining of the gothic classic Dracula. And it’s perfect for all blood types. It’s going to be hilarious. The show can either have a large or minimalist cast, and Kristi and Wendi Hardwick are co-directing it. They’re already looking at set pieces and props. It’s going to be great,” stated Zane.
On Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m., Rock 4 Vets will once again make a return visit to the Wilson, with the show sponsored by Mark Jackson’s Red Oak Hardware Hank and Hallmark Gold Crown Store.
“The Southwest Iowa All-Stars are back. Initially the show last year was going to be the end, but after last year, they decided they couldn’t hang it up. We sold out last year and the year before and we had to put in extra chairs to fit more people. All veterans will get in free. This is Ric Hillyard’s baby, and he’s coordinating an auction and all proceeds go towards our local veterans organizations. It’s such a great show.”
Another community theater production will follow in December, Prancer will take to the stage Dec. 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 15 and 22 at 2:30 p.m.
“Prancer is a very cute play. It’s a feel-good story about a little girl that finds a hurt reindeer, and believes that it’s Prancer. She nurses the reindeer back to life. It’s a very family-friendly play. Tracy Rhodes will be directing that show, and the talented Andrew Heaton is planning on making an animatronic reindeer that will be Prancer in the show, and that will be super cool,” explained Zane.
In January, performer Joseph Hall will make a welcome return to the Wilson stage with his Elvis Rock ’n Remember show.
“Joseph Hall is our Elvis. He rocks the house here about every other year. He’s a fan favorite, and we get calls constantly asking if Joseph Hall will be back again this year. Before the season was even set I was getting phone calls asking if he was coming back. It’s a phenomenal show, and Joseph Hall is amazing,” Zane commented.
Also in January, the Wilson will bring back more funny with the community theater production “An Evening with Carol Burnett.” Zane said the show will be a tribute to the comedy series.
“There will be skits based on the actual show. All 10 seasons are public access now, and proceeds from the script go to the Navajo Indian Scholarship trust. There’s a feel-good aspect to giving to a good cause and having these scripts and the community theater will recreate some of them as a tribute to Carol Burnett. We haven’t chosen a director for that show yet, but a few people are already interested and maybe some of them will co-direct.”
Showtimes will be Feb. 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 26 at 2:30 p.m.
In February, a new act will be taking to the Wilson stage, Marvila Ortega and Martin Guerrero, who are bringing a Latin music concert to the public Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
“Martìn Guerrero is the main judge of Ecuador’s Got Talent, and both he and Marvila are pop culture stars in Ecuador. They’re a Latin music sensation. We’ve wanted to bring a show like this to the Wilson for a long time,” stated Zane.
Also in February, the Wilson will bring in the live show “Puppy Pals,” a comedic dog stunt show at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25.
“The act was seen on America’s Got Talent as a finalist. They use all rescue dogs, and the dogs are talented and the people that train them are awesome as well. I really wanted them to be here. This one is sponsored by Oak Valley Animal Health here in Red Oak,” Zane advised.
Moving on to March, Lloyd McCarter & The Honky Tonk Revival will entertain crowds at a show at 7:30 p.m. March 8.
“This is a new show sponsored by Houghton State Bank. They are a huge sensation, Lloyd McCarter is very nice, and the show is wildly entertaining. He was brought to us by Ric Hillyard.”
Also in March, at 7:30 p.m. March 22, the Wilson will host a Joni Mitchell Tribute featuring Carol Montag.
“Since I’ve started, everyone has been teling me I needed to do something with Joni Mitchell. When we finally got this on our calendar, people were super excited about it. Carol has an amazing voice.”
The Wilson will then bring back its comedy showcase featuring Lee Hardin and Kari Jones April 5 at 7:30 p.m. The show will be family-friendly. Also, at 7:30 p.m. April 26, the Wilson will present An Evening of Mediumship with Psychic Medium Stacie Bannon.
“This is going to be fantastic. She’s an Omaha-based medium, and she will try to connect the audience with their loved ones. We did a show with a medium years ago that went over really well, and the community has asked us over and over to bring another medium to the Wilson, and here we are. When on the phone with her, she told me that my brother was trying to hand me a rose. My brother passed away in October, and my mom’s name is Rose. It was an interesting thing, and I feel she’s going to do a great job. I feel this will be a show that sells out early,” Zane said.
Om May 3, at 7:30 p.m., the Wilson will feature a performance from Iowa Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Dan Bern.
“Dan is currently touring with Roger Daltry, and has a type of Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen vibe to him. If you like any type of music, I definitely encourage you to come to that show. He’s very active, and he’s from Iowa,” Zane explained.
Finally, closing out the new season is “The Little Mermaid,” June 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 7:30 p.m., and June 15 and 22 at 2:30 p.m.
“This will be another fantastic show. The musical will be directed by Becca Jackson-York, and it’s going to be very artistic. Becca is already designing sets, and the costuming will be gorgeous. It will have kids and adults in it. It’s a show that sells itself. This is one of my favorite shows.”
Zane said she’s thrilled with the upcoming season, and added season passes will be the same price.
“You get two extra shows for the price of 12. The season pass is $250 and goes on sale on June 1, as does the entire season. Regular tickets will be $30 for adults and $20 for students and children. Also, someone can get four tickets to any show for $100, so if you want to buy a great gift for someone else, you save $20 off the standard ticket price.”
Lastly, Zane said the season will be super fun, and everyone is encouraged to come visit the Wilson.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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