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New arts center gets ready for a close-up

By: Don Chaddock Telegraph Managing Editor
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Expectations are high for the new regional visual and performing arts center, but according to those behind the $50-million, 80,000-square-foot facility, it will cast Folsom in a more favorable light. Thelma Scott-Skillman, president of Folsom Lake College, has been busy showing off the nearly complete facility to local business leaders and service clubs. “We have a tremendous amount of work to do over the next eight weeks,” Scott-Skillman said. The countdown has begun. The curtain will officially rise on the arts center, dubbed Three Stages, at 7 p.m., Feb. 11, for a gala grand opening. According to Scott-Skillman, tickets are going fast for the event. “A Chorus Line: The National Tour” will kick off the official performances and those with gala tickets will get the opportunity to meet the cast of the Tony Award winning musical. After the show, the center will offer wine, food and music. There will also be a “world-class art exhibit” and live music. With more than 400 events throughout the year at the center, Scott-Skillman said Three Stages would be an economic boon for the region. The center comprises three stages, hence the center’s name. The main stage seats 850 while the director’s theater seats 200 and the recital hall seats 100. Scott-Skillman, while excited about the grand opening, is also looking forward to one of the other featured acts slated for the center, Hal Holbrook’s “Mark Twain Tonight.” Holbrook’s one-man show has received rave critical reviews. The veteran film, TV and stage actor has performed as Twain in more than 2,200 shows spanning 56 years. He’ll take the stage at 8 p.m., April 1. Tickets range from $29 to $59. “I’m a huge Mark Twain fan, so I can’t wait,” she said. “I think this show is going to do really well.” In fact, many of the shows are already selling well. “A lot of the shows are close to selling out,” Scott-Skillman said. “‘A Chorus Line,’ the Joffrey Ballet and Rosanne Cash are all close to 90-percent (pre-sold).” The ballet company is performing at 8 p.m., March 4, with tickets going for $25 to $65 while Cash, daughter of the late Johnny Cash, is performing at 7:40 p.m. on March 20. Tickets for her show, titled “The List,” range from $29 to $59. Lola Purdy, of Folsom, was on a recent tour and was impressed. “This is a fabulous facility,” Purdy said. Patrick Warholic, also of Folsom, echoed her feelings. “This is phenomenal,” Warholic said. “You are going to put Folsom on the map for something other than the prison.” Scott-Skillman said the project, while intensive, has been rewarding. “This has been a labor of love for us,” she said. “This is going to change Folsom over time. We really wanted to change the image of Folsom.” For a full list of upcoming shows, visit threestages.net. * * * KNOW AND GO What: Gala grand opening of Three Stages Where: Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom When: 7 p.m., Feb. 11 Cost: $80 to $114, includes reception, show and after party Information: threestages.net