While finishing touches are being put on the almost-complete Performing Arts &Event Center, which is set to open Aug. 19, a full slate of performances has already been booked for the inaugural 2017-18 season.
PAEC Executive Director Theresa Yvonne is pleased with the first season lineup, which features more than 40 different performance dates by 17 different acts including the Tacoma City Ballet, a comedian, a Beatles tribute band, acrobats, a jazz quartet and Federal Way musicians and singers.
While leaving open the possibility of a few more acts being added to the lineup, Yvonne said the performances scheduled were intended to be eclectic and feature acts and artists that will appeal to a broad audience base.
“We’re a city facility, and we’re here to serve the public,” Yvonne said. “We want shows that offer something for everyone. It’s a solid season.”
The PAEC schedule kicks off with “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album release. The Beatles tribute band is performing one night, beginning at 8 p.m. Sept. 9, at the PAEC, 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S. Ticket prices for the event are $80 and $125. They are on sale now at www.fwpaec.org or by calling 253-835-7010.
The performance event will serve as a fundraiser for the Federal Way Performing Arts Foundation, which seeks to “advance, enhance and enrich performing arts in the community.”
According to a press release, the foundation’s priority this year is creating a scholarship and bus fund for the ARTS 4 Youth Program, which will allow more than 10,000 students in South King County to attend performances at the PAEC that correspond with classroom learning.
The season also features performances by the PAEC’s Resident Artist Organizations: the Federal Way Symphony, Harmony Kings, Federal Way Chorale, Jet Cities Chorus, the Federal Way Youth Symphony and the Tacoma City Ballet.
Federal Way Symphony office manager Kari Wade said the PAEC provides a great opportunity for the symphony.
“In the past, we’ve always been at St. Luke’s Church, so having this performing center is great. It allows us to have a lot more exposure,” Wade said.
Erin Ceragioli, executive and artistic director of the Tacoma City Ballet and director of the Tacoma City Ballet School, is also looking forward to the upcoming season. The Tacoma City Ballet will be performing “The Nutcracker and the Tale of the Hard Nut,” Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 21-23. The ballet returns again in the spring with “Cinderella” on April 27-29 and May 4-6.
Ceragioli, who toured the PAEC during construction, said the facility is beautiful and the size perfect. She said the stage is larger than the one at the Pantages Theater, where the ballet performs in Tacoma. She also praised the PAEC’s built-in orchestra pit, which seats up to 52 musicians.
“Federal Way has done a very great thing,” Ceragioli said.
Yvonne said the facility is the perfect size for what Federal Way is trying to accomplish. She said the stage and the theater, with its 716 seats, is large enough to attract some bigger name artists who only perform in particular-sized venues. The acoustician who was hired for the theater also did the acoustics for Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
“We’re well poised to bring in these kinds of larger acts,” Yvonne said.
She said the event center promises to be just as busy with conferences.
“On the conference side of it, we’re working all the way out to 2022,” she said.
Yvonne said the interest in the facility as a conference center stems in part from its location.
“We’re just perfectly situated,” she said. “We’re just this little sweet spot in Federal Way.”
The public is invited to tour the PAEC, purchase season tickets and learn more about the inaugural season at a grand opening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 19. A behind-the-scenes guided tour will also be available. Additionally, representatives will answer questions about rental services and help plan any upcoming events.
For the complete list of shows, dates and ticket information, go to www.fwpaec.org.