Aiken Performing Arts Group season has dance, song, improv

Aiken Performing Arts Group will present All Hands on Deck, a two-act revue based on Bob Hope's 1942 USO tour for troops fighting in World War II, on Feb. 14-15.

Single tickets for the Aiken Performing Arts Group’s 2012-2013 season go on sale Sept. 1, featuring a broad range of entertainment. Tickets will be on sale online Sept. 4.


All performances will be held at 8 p.m., except for the Spring Fling in April, at the URS Center for the Performing Arts, 126 Newberry St. SW in Aiken.

“We like to give a nice variety and a well-rounded season,” said Cathy Traver, the arts administrator for APAG. “This is the best-kept secret in town. We’re bringing quality professional performers to Aiken.”

Shows are so well attended that the APAG now offers two nights for most of the shows. The season begins Oct. 11 and 12 with Ensemble Español – Spanish Dance Theater, featuring classical Spanish ballets, Flamenco dramas and folkloric suites.

“We usually like to start with a big show, and that’s why we chose Spanish Dance Theater,” Traver said. “It’s a beautiful, colorful ‘wow’ of a show.”

Spencers Theatre of Illusion comes Nov. 1 and 2, where illusionists will present a stage show combining stage illusions with sound and light. The illusionists will also participate in educational outreach in the Aiken and Augusta area, Traver said.

For the Christmas season, APAG will offer the Carolina Brass Christmas Pops Dec. 13, featuring traditional holiday songs and classics from movies and Broadway shows.

On Feb. 14 and 15, performers will play in All Hands on Deck, a two-act revue based on Bob Hope’s 1942 USO tour for troops fighting in World War II. The revue will feature dancing and big band music with four singing, dancing comics and a nine-piece orchestra.

Improv with a musical twist will take the stage on March 14 and 15, with Broadway’s Next Hit Musical featuring Rob Schiffman and Deb Rabbai.

“They’ll take song titles from the audience, then make up songs,” Traver said. “And the audience votes on their favorite song. Then they put an original musical together with that song.”

Orchestra of the Midlands will end the season April 11 with a Spring Fling show.

Traver said APAG is putting together another children’s show for January 2013 not currently listed on the group’s Web site. Last year’s performance was Peter and the Wolf.

“Everyone just embraced it, and we thought that we should do that again,” she said.

Educational outreach to area students is a big part of the series, Traver said, with performers giving lectures or master classes.

And the organization is continuing the “Instruments in Your Attic” program, cosponsored by Security Federal Bank, where donated instruments are used by the University of South Carolina Aiken, the Aiken County School System and the Aiken Youth Orchestra.

Traver said seven pianos were donated.

“People are so generous,” she said. “It’s such a personal possession. People hold (their instruments) so dear, and it really is a gift when someone is willing to give up their instrument.

“When they donate their instrument, they’re doing that for some student out there who couldn’t perform music otherwise,” she said. “Music enriches your life. It makes us more human.”

For information on the series or the donation program, call (803) 643-4774 or visit The box office is (803) 648-1438.