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Highlights- Peter Pan, Jazz, Still on the Hill, Top Chefs & Rock Stars

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Peter Pan

Broadway’s favorite high-flying family musical, Peter Pan, will swoop into Walton Arts Center this weekend. The costumes and magic of the classic tale promise to bring a big “wow” factor to audiences and will be an excellent holiday experience for the kids.

The pirates, Captain Hook and the boy who won’t grow up— Peter Pan, will all come to life in this Broadway production. Youngsters can fly with Peter to the “second star to the right” and be transported to the wonders of Neverland.

The musical features a cast of 24 and is complete with flying scenes that are the hallmark of the story. Based on the writings of James Barrie, the musical opened on Broadway in 1954 with Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook. The play has since become legendary for its appeal to both adults and children and features upbeat songs like “I Gotta Crow,” “I’m Flying” and “I Won’t Grow Up”.

Brook Stone will star as Peter Pan. Stone has held roles in national touring shows of Hairspray and in regional companies has performed in Beauty and the Beast and Grease. Gary Kimble will star as Captain Hook and Mr. Darling. Kimble portrayed Henry Higgins in national and international tours of My Fair Lady, and Daddy Warbucks in the national tour of Annie.

Performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Ticket are $28 to $40 and $16 for kids under 12.

Top Chefs and Rock Stars

As the population in NWA grows, so does the number of those in need. The most important need is that of food and shelter and perhaps the most tragic in this category are those who need food and shelter because they are victims of family violence.

In NWA, the Peace at Home family shelter is a haven for women and children trying to escape situations like this. But many have been turned away from the shelter, because there was no room. Peace at Home wants to change this and is currently seeking donations to help build a new shelter. On Monday night, you can enjoy at night out and at the same time help Peace at Home reach their goal of building a larger facility.

A fundraiser for Peace at Home, called Top Chefs and Rock Stars will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at the Town Center. Twenty-four local chefs will go head-to-head for the honor of Top Chef in six different categories. Attendees will be able to sample the fare, which no doubt, will be the chefs’ best.

In addition, local rock stars will put themselves on the auction block, by offering performances to the highest bidder. Bands that will be on the block are: Cate Brothers, Big Smith, Trout Fishing in America, Full House, Oreo Blue, Ocie and the Hipp Dogs, Big Uns, Joe Giles Band and Ultra Suede. Imagine having a private party with one of these groups, whether it’s for you and your friends, your teenagers or preteens!

Tickets to Top Chefs and Rock Stars are $40 by calling 444-8310. And, if you can’t make the event, you can call that number to make a donation.

Jazz Around

A couple of jazz acts are playing this week that aren’t always easy to catch. Saturday night The Nathan McLeod and Ryan Fourt Collective will play a tribute to Thelonious Monk at Teatro Scarpino, 329 N. West Ave. just off Dickson Street. Collaborating for the show are: Nathan McLeod (saxophone), Ryan Fourt (guitar), Walter Savage (bass), and Andrew Seiff (drums). New on the scene in NWA is former San Francisco Bay Area player Walter Savage. Savage is a jazz veteran who has played renowned Bay Area clubs like Yoshi’s and has brought the bass to the forefront. This will be an exceptional night of jazz. The show starts at 8 and there’s a $10 cover.

Next Thursday night, Dec. 20, at Bordino’s, the father and son guitar duo of Gus and Matt Smith will join Clare Starr for a night of strings. Gus has played with the likes of Herb Ellis, Charlie Haden and Mel Rhyne and has mentored many fine musicians. Although Matt may be best known as guitarist for the jam band Flipoff Pirates, he can switch personas in a second, jumping from a down and dirty jam funk tune to a jazz standard by Charlie Parker. He learned his craft from his dad and cousin, Philip Smith of the “Lovin Spoonful, ” and studied with Clint Strong. Matt’s newest project is the first-class jam/jazz act, the Matt Smith Trio.

A future note—Former Fayetteville player Lee Tomboulian will join Walter Savage and Darren Novotny for another night of exceptional jazz at Bordino’s on Dec. 27.

Ho Ho Howdown

By Ginny Masullo

Still On the Hill, the internationally acclaimed folk duo from Fayetteville, are touring constantly from Batesville, Arkansas to Zurich, Switzerland. True to not only the roots of their music, but to the love of their hometown, Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna present Fayetteville with an annual winter concert. It is the only concert they give in Fayetteville and better than the Joy of Cooking’s eggnog.

A musical feast that infuses light into the darkest days of the year, Still on the Hill, surprises both new and returning audiences in a show rich with supporting artists and originality that will blow your stockings off.

This year’s fare, which is called the Ho Ho Hoedown, will include harmonies by the talented Darlene and new songs from Still on the Hill’s upcoming 2008 Ozark CD, which is a collection of original songs that chronicle the lives of Ozark hill people.

This year, while performing in Batesville, Kelly and Donna were introduced to Clara Byler, he “Mug Tree Lady” who, while she cared for her dying son, created folk art in her white picket fenced front yard by nailing coffee mugs up down and all around a huge oak tree. Donna penned the following song and sent it to Clara.

Mug Tree Lady
For Clara of Batesville

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,
I needed something to fill my days up,
to keep me from crying, when my son was dyin’

So I pounded nails, into a tree trunk,
on each one I hung me a special coffee cup.
It may sound crazy but it kept me sane
now the Mug Tree Lady is my nickname

So let me pour you some sweet Iced Tea
and I’ll tell you my whole story

So far I’ve got Five Hundred and Three,
coffee cups nailed to my tree.
Once a house wren made a nest,
in the mug that I loved best.
Every one has wit and wisdom,
wish you’d take the time to read ‘em.
Every winter I take ‘em down,
put ‘em away till spring comes round.

Sip your iced tea slowly…
and I’ll tell you another story

My first husband was a preacher man,
a Go-Go girl led him off the path.
The second man I married, he’s now dead and buried.

I’m all alone except for my neighbors,
they make me feel just a little bit safer,
when folks like you stop by to visit me,
me and my ole Mug Tree

I left out an important part of the story…you see
My sweet son had HIV…bought his own tombstone
kept it in his yard till his dying day,
raising Aids Awareness in his own strange way.
‘Cuz some of the folks from the hills around here
Still live in ignorance and fear.
We refused to be invisible…my Mug Tree is a symbol.

Thanks so much for the special coffee cup,
I love the red ribbon on the front.
I’ll hang it up for folks to see, when they visit me
and my Mug Tree.

Sip your iced tea slowly…
and I’ll tell you another story

A friendship was forged and Clara will attend this year’s concert, which will benefit a project called Restore Humanity. Clara has chosen 20 Christmas mugs from her tree which will be sold at the concert to help Restore Humanity build an orphanage in Kenya for children, many of whom have AIDS or have been orphaned by AIDS.

Still on the Hill intertwines, like Ozark grapevines, their music and love of this seemingly tired old world. The tendrils of these vines, this year, reach from the mug tree lady’s front yard into the lives of Kenyan children. And, into your hearts if you attend the Ho Ho Hoedown at 8 p.m. Saturday at GoodFolk. Reservations are a must. Call 521-1812.

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