New year, new Waco entertainment, fingers crossed | Arts & Theatre | – Waco Tribune-Herald

Texas singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group will join the Waco Symphony Orchestra in a pops concert March 28 at Waco Hall.
Nearly two years of past entertainment calendars shredded or marked over due to pandemic disruptions should tag an asterisk to any preview or forecast attempting a look ahead of more than a few weeks.
The current high wind of fresh COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant may enlarge that asterisk, but several Waco arts organizations and performing venues are beginning 2022 with a hope that the momentum continues from a fall that saw audiences gradually start to return.
For the next few weeks, we’ll keep fingers crossed and, for some of us, masks on.
January will see the extension of the Art Center of Waco exhibition “Kermit Oliver: New Narratives, New Beginnings” for three weeks, thanks to audience interest in the new center’s opening show, a wide-ranging look at the work of Waco painter Kermit Oliver. The exhibit, which has a few works added since its October debut, will run through Jan. 22.
In February, illuminated art — literally — will follow with neon artwork from Austin artist Ben Livingston, whose show opens Feb. 10 and runs through April 23. Dates aren’t yet fixed, but the center will welcome the return of National Geographic photographer Greg Davis, who will display photographs taken in Oaxaca, Mexico, in a show opening May 10.
This month also brings a new touring exhibit to the Mayborn Museum where a kid-friendly introduction to dinosaurs arrives with “Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit,” created by The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum and based on the Jim Henson Company’s PBS Kids TV series. “Dinosaur Train” arrives Jan. 29 and runs through April with admission included in the museum’s admission price.
The Waco Symphony Orchestra filled Waco Hall for its December performance of “The Nutcracker” with Ballet Frontier, the second in-person performance for the symphony in the fall after a 2020-21 season without a live performance.
Spring will bring the balance of the WSO’s 2021-22 season with three concerts, featuring violinist Mia Orosco Kelso, a Lorena native and Baylor University graduate, as guest artist for the Jan. 20 concert; an all-orchestral Belles and Brass concert on March 19; and film star Billy Dee Williams in a “Sounds of the Cinema” concert April 28.
A fourth concert, outside the regular season, was added in December with Texas singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett bringing his Acoustic Group to perform with the WSO in a March 28 pops offering.
A late fall event also expanded the season at the Waco Civic Theatre with the Nov. 26 death of American musical theater icon Stephen Sondheim. The theater has created “Sondheim: A Tribute Concert” for Jan. 22, with WCT performers singing 23 selections from a range of Sondheim musicals. Victoria Brewer will direct with Melissa Lohras music director.
The tribute comes after the theater enjoyed multiple sellouts for its December holiday shows and arrives a week before the theater’s next offering, a WCT Youth Theatre adaptation of the popular young adult novel “Tuck Everlasting,” planned for Jan. 27-30.
The theater’s February productions include “Thurgood,” a one-man show about the first African-American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Feb. 10-13; and “Having Our Say,” in which two African-American centenarian women look back on their long lifetimes, Feb. 24-27.
For live music venue The Backyard, upcoming weeks will feature a musical look back with the all-female Iron Maiden tribute band Iron Maidens performing Jan. 15 and Los Chicos del 512 saluting Tejana star Selena in “The Selena Experience” on Feb. 26.
The Backyard’s mainstay of contemporary country takes the stage in the person of performers Tanner Usrey on Jan. 22 and Casey Donahew on March 11.
And at the Extraco Events Center Coliseum, family entertainment goes live this spring with Carden Circus setting up a four-day run Jan. 14-17 and a one-day stop for the Baby Shark Live Tour on March 19.
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Carl Hoover has covered Waco arts and entertainment, and more, for the Tribune-Herald since 1984.
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