Play Here's Activity Roundup for April 27 to May 4
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Laurel Smalley, Cody J. Wilson and Madeleine Hale star in "Chicago."
Photo by Chip Chandler

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

The week ahead is jam-packed with arts productions and exhibitions, fundraisers, events and more. Here's your one-stop guide to all the fun!


Chicago: West Texas A&M University's theater department closes its season with a jazzy bang with a staging of this iconic musical. The fast-paced, high-energy production, directed by Andrew Barratt Lewis, is good, solid fun, highlighted by a killer turn by Laurel Smalley as Velma Kelly. She brings nice vulnerability, a sharp edge and a powerful belt to the role as the seen-it-all murderess angling for her turn in the spotlight. Madeleine Hale similarly has a gorgeous voice and good comedic timing as Roxie Hart, the fame-hungry center of the show, though at times her line readings felt like she was still casting about for a consistent interpretation of her character. Cody J. Wilson is a smarmy delight as Billy Flynn, the girls' rapacious attorney, and Sean Evan Jones makes milquetoast appealing as sad sack Amos Hart. Across the board, the ensemble gives enjoyable performances, sounding terrific and mostly nailing Crystal Bertrand's Bob Fosse-inspired choreography. My one qualm is the look of the show. I get that it's imagined as Velma and Roxy's post-prison vaudeville show; I don't get, however, why the ensemble members look like something out of a Xanadu fever dream in unflattering costumes and wigs. The color stories don't even match: The stage and stars Smalley and Hale's wardrobe hew to golds, crimsons and blacks, while the ensemble is stuck in eye-searing fuchsias, turquoises and blues. It's jarring and unnecessary. Ultimately, though, it doesn't detract too much from the show's success. Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Call 806-651-2804.

Downtown Lunchtime Book Club: The club will discuss Rilla Askew's Kind of Kin, the spring selection for the Amarillo Reads program, at 12:15 p.m. April 27 in the Amarillo Public Library downtown branch, 413 S.E. Fourth Ave. Admission is free. Call 806-378-3054. (Here's my interview with Askew.)

Parade of Homes: More than 40 homes in several Amarillo neighborhoods will be on view at the annual Parade of Homes, sponsored by Texas Panhandle Builders Association. Homes can be viewed in The Colonies, The Greenways, The Vineyards, City View, Heritage Hills, Town Square, Strawberry Fields, The Cliffs @ Canyon Country Club, Canyon East, Folsom Acres and others. Hours are 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and May 4-5 and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and May 6-7. Tickets are $10 and are available at Pak-A-Sak stores, United Supermarkets and any home on the tour. Call 806-353-3565.

Changes in the Pages: The Great War and Literature: Panelists Bonnie Roos, Ken Baake, Jen Shelton and Brian McFadden will discuss the impact World War I had on literature, including J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, in a program presented in conjunction with PPHM's ongoing focus on the war. The discussion begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, 2503 Fourth Ave. in Canyon. Admission is free. Call 806-651-2244.

Kyle Schlesinger: Poet and typography expert Schlesinger will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday in Amarillo College's Russell Hall Room 131 for the AC Art Collective. Schlesinger, founder of the Austin-based Cuneiform Press, will discuss the relationship between text and image, as well as some of the artist books he has published. The event is free. Email for information.

Open Mic Night: Celebrate National Poetry Month at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Amarillo Public Library Southwest Branch. Admission is free. Call 806-359-2094.

Amarillo Heart Songs: Mary Jane Johnson, Sandy Storey, RnR Fusion and Jim Gardner will perform in a concert benefiting Friends of Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1024. The event also features a light dinner. It begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1601 S. Georgia St. Tickets are $35. Call 806-376-6316, Ext. 105.

Cultural Conversations: Michael Grauer, PPHM's associate director of curatorial affairs and curator of art and Western heritage, will discuss the Red River War at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, 2301 N. Soncy Road. The discussion is free with admission of $4 for adults and $3 for seniors and children. Call 806-352-6007.

Shen Yun: The Chinese dance and music company comes to town for a special performance. (Despite several attempts, I wasn't able to secure an interview with anyone to offer more information about the company; check here for more information.) The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Civic Center Auditorium. Tickets are $80 to $120, plus fees. Call 806-378-3096.

Texas Panhandle Student Art Show: See the best artwork from students around the region at this annual exhibition, hanging Friday through May 12 at Amarillo Museum of Art, 2200 S. Van Buren St. Admission is free. Call 806-371-5050. (Here's my preview.)

Panhandle Classic Team Roping: The U.S. Team Roping Championships' Panhandle contest will feature fierce competitors at 9 a.m. Friday through Sunday in the Amarillo National Center on the Tri-State Fairgrounds, 3301 S.E. 10th St. Admission is free. Call 254-965-0353. 

Yellow City Comic Con: The annual con will feature voice artist Veronica Taylor, Yellow Power Ranger Karan Ashley and WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts, as well has hundreds of vendors, authors, artists, cosplayers and more. The annual con (in its third year as a full-weekend event) runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the Amarillo Civic Center Complex North and South Exhibit Halls, 401 S. Buchanan St. YC3 tickets are $25 for three-day admission for adults or $10 for three-day admission for children, and $10 for either Saturday or Sunday day passes for adults or $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Check my preview for more information.

Miracle Up Festival:Velvet Funk will perform during this wrap-up of Townsquare Media's annual Children's Miracle Network Radiothon at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Don Harrington Discovery Center, 1400 Streit Drive. Attendees can also enjoy face painting, bouncy houses, games and more. Admission is $20 for adults and $5 for children. 

A Night with the Charro: American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum will throw a family-friendly party celebrating its Nacidos Charros: Born Charro exhibition at 6 p.m. Friday at the msuem, 2601 E. Interstate 40. The event will include live demonstrations by charros (Mexican rodeo performers), as well as food and dancing. Admission is free. Call 806-376-5181. 

Best of Texas: Hope you got your tickets for the Junior League of Amarillo's annual fundraiser, which will feature acclaimed songwriters Aaron Barker, Rodney Clawson and Nicolle Galvon. The fun begins at 6 p.m. Friday in the Derrick Event Center, 814 S. Taylor St. Tickets are $2,500 for tables of eight. Call 806-374-0802.

First Date: TheatreAC wraps its season with this contemporary musical by Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, charting a blind date between a young man and woman. It will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and May 5 and 6, plus 3 p.m. May 7, in the Amarillo College Experimental Theatre on the Washington Street campus. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors. Call 806-371-5359. (Here's my preview.)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: This beloved children's book comes to life in a musical to be staged by Amarillo College Conservatory Theatre at at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in AC's Ordway Auditorium on the Washington Street campus. Tickets are $12. Call 806-679-8718. (Here's my preview.

Amarillo Symphony: The Symphony will close out its season with a special performance featuring Amarillo native Ilana Setapen. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St. Tickets are $20 to $55, plus fees. Call 806-376-8782 or 806-378-3096. (Here's my interview with Setapen.)

Great Gatsby Party: Tickets are still available for Amarillo Little Theatre Guild's Roaring '20s-style fundraiser for the theater, featuring live entertainment, dancing and more. The party begins at 8 p.m. Friday at 501 S. Grant St. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door. Call 806-355-9991.

That Foxy 70s Burlesque and Cabaret: Look for a groovy night of risque fun at this retro-inspired show at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at RR Bar, 701 S. Georgia St. Cover is $10.

Memoirs of Confusion Comedy Showcase: Amarillo's Yellow City Comedy and Lubbock's Crooked Windmill Comedy team for this showcase featuring J.J. Howell, Nikki Wilson, Clinton Taylor, Austin Meador, Skylar Potter and Tristan Pinter. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. Friday at Zombiez Bar & Grill, 701 S.W. 10th Ave. Cover is $5. Call 806-331-7305.

GardenFest: Amarillo Botanical Garden's annual outdoor event returns Saturday with a plant sale beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the gardens, 1200 Streit Drive. The festivities also include an art show and sale, vendors, music, face painting and more. UPDATE: Because of the expected inclement weather, the event will be held indoors. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for garden members and children younger than 12. Call 806-352-6513.

The Women's Book Club: The club will discuss Margot Lee Shetterly's Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Amarillo Public Library Northwest Branch, 6100 S.W. Ninth Ave. The event is free. Call 806-359-2035.

Day of Thunder Car Show: The 16th annual High Plains Thunderbirds show will feature dozens of cars and trucks, along with music by Insufficient Funds. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at First United Bank, 45th Avenue and Soncy Road. Admission is free, but entry fees and donations benefit Martha's Home. Call 806-433-2581UPDATE: The event has been rescheduled for June 10 because of this weekend's weather forecast.

Amarillo Reads — The Economics of Immigration: Miguel A. Levario, a Texas Tech University history and borderland studies professor, will discuss how immigration affects business and the economy. He's the author of Militarizing the Border: When Mexicans Became the Enemy. The free event begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at Amarillo Public Library Southwest Branch, 6801 S.W. 45th Ave. Admission is free. Call 806-359-2094.

Amarillo Wicked Wine Run: This evening 5K run and 1K walk, which benefits Ronald McDonald House, will feature food, live music and, of course, wine. The A-Town Rockers will perform. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Bar Z Winery, 19290 Farm-to-Market Road 1541. Entry fee is $50; spectator tickets are $10. Call 806-488-2214UPDATE: The event has been postponed until June 17.

Potter County Steak-Out: This fundraiser dinner for 4-H and FFA programs, which usually sells out, features a sumptuous prime-rib dinner and music by Ken Stonecipher & The Wooden Nickel Band with Danny Cadra. It'll take place at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Rex Baxter Building on the Tri-State Fairgrounds. Tickets are $50. Call 806-632-5258.

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day: Learn how to make photographic art from just a tiny pinhole in Amarillo College's sixth annual celebration, set for noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in Room 314 of Parcells Hall on the AC Washington Street campus. Call 806-345-5654.

Rise from the Ashes: Cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphey will perform in a fundraising dinner at 6 p.m. Sunday at Cowboy Gelato Smokehouse, 6103 S. Coulter St., Suite 200. He'll record part of his podcast during the event, as well. Tickets, including dinner, are $80. Proceeds will benefit victims of the recent spate of wildfires across the Panhandle. Call 806-376-5286.

Amarillo Youth Choirs Spring Concert: AYC's four ensembles will give their final concert of the 2016-17 season at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Globe-News Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Call 806-372-1100.

My Life Through My Camera: Photographer John Ebling's My Life Through My Camera: People, Places and Things will be on view through June 3 at ArtGecko Studio & Gallery, No. 35 in The Galleries at Sunset Center, 3701 Plains Blvd. An opening reception runs from 7 to 9 p.m. May 4. Check out my preview for more.

Anything Goes: Amarillo Little Theatre closes out its 90th anniversary season with this Broadway staple featuring beloved classics by Cole Porter, including the title song, "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Friendship" and more. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. May 4 in the ALT Mainstage, 2019 Civic Circle. Call 806-355-9991, and look for my preview Monday.

First Thursday Art Show: See the latest in contemporary works featured at The 806 coffee shop & bar, 2812 S.W. Sixth Ave. The free event begins at 7 p.m. May 4. Call 806-322-1806.

Wonderland Park: The park will continue its 66th season in the coming week. The park is open 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Tuesday; and 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $16.95 for 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, $18.95 for 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, and $24.95 for 1 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Full access passes are $31.95 for Tuesdays through Thursdays, $33.95 for Fridays, and $39.95 for 1 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Spectator passes are $5. WOW passes are available in any amount. Miniature golf is $5; hours are 5 p.m. to close Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 p.m. to close Saturdays and Sundays. Call 806-383-3344. 

Ongoing exhibitions include An Eye Full at Cerulean Gallery through May 3; Dwellings at Southern Light Gallery on the Amarillo College Washington Street campus through May 5; Little Builders, Brain Teasers 2 and Strange Matter through May 14 at Don Harrington Discovery CenterNacidos Charro: Born Charro through July 29 at American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, 2601 E. Interstate 40; The Great War and the Panhandle-Plains Region and A Picture from Home: Snapshots of the Great War on the Plains through Dec. 30 at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon.




Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.