Ramblin' Rhodes: Another amazing lineup at Newberry Opera House

It always amazes me how Debra Smith, the general manager of the Newberry (S.C.) Opera House, manages to come up with her amazing seasonal lineups of superstars for her 426-seat venue in a town barely bigger than Waynesboro, Ga., or Thomson.


The recently announced 2013-14 season is no exception, with the lineup to include Jerry Butler, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. of 5th Dimension, Brenda Lee, Jim Brickman, The Lettermen, Chanticleer, Willie Nelson, B.J. Thomas, The Lennon Sisters, Michael Bolton, Frankie Avalon and Roslyn Kind (Barbra Streisand’s sister).

Those are just a few of the acts – the season also features touring Broadway shows including Godspell, Smokey Joe’s Café and Man of La Mancha; tribute bands playing the music of The Eagles and Journey; classical music and dance groups from Siberia and Ireland and big bands playing the music of Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw.

Country music acts alone coming to Newberry this season are: Exile, Sept. 20; The Grascals, Oct. 10; Brenda Lee, Oct. 13; Robert Earl Keen, Oct. 19; Willie Nelson, Oct. 22; Sawyer Brown, Oct. 25; Phil Vasser, Nov. 15; Ring of Fire, Nov. 19; The Charlie Daniels Band, Dec. 3; Branson Christmas Style, Dec. 17; Dailey & Vincent, Jan. 5; Bo Bice, Jan. 18; Travis Tritt, Jan. 30; Delbert McClinton, Feb. 28; Ozark Jubilee, March 3; The Oak Ridge Boys, March 8; Georgette Jones and Band, March 22; Steep Canyon Rangers, March 25; C.B. Smith Show of Pigeon Forge, April 30; and Bill Anderson, May 10.

To see the complete lineup, visit newberryoperahouse.com or call (803) 276-6264 or (888) 406-5885.

Many Augusta-area residents love the 1881-built theater since it is only an hour from downtown Augusta by way of Johnston and Saluda, S.C.

Smith has been the only general manager since it reopened in 1998 after $5 million in renovations. She is helped with each production by volunteers who even make backstage lunches and suppers for the guest artists.

The 2013-14 season gets off to a rocking start this weekend with the 2013 South Carolina Elvis Festival.

Elvis tribute artists will compete for more than $5,000 in prize money and the chance to represent South Carolina at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest held in August 2014 during Elvis Week in Memphis.

Preliminary rounds are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, and Saturday, Sept. 14. Admission is $20 each day. The final round is 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, with $30 admission.

The performers also are competing in an Elvis Gospel Contest 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, with $10 admission.

Visit southcarolinaelvisfestival.com for details about the competition and related concerts this weekend in Newberry.


MOUNTAIN HEART ON FRIDAY NIGHT: Don’t forget that the bluegrass/Americana band Mountain Heart (with Lera Lynn opening) kicks off the 2013-14 Morris Museum of Art’s Budweiser True Music Southern Soul & Song series at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Imperial Theatre.

Tickets are $15, $22 or $27 and are available at the Imperial’s box office, 745 Broad St., by calling (706) 722-8341 or at imperialtheatre.com. Series tickets offer all five shows for the price of four.


CRAIG MORGAN IN EVANS: There is also country star Craig Morgan performing Thursday, Sept. 26, at Lady Antebellum Pavilion, 7016 Evans Towne Center Boulevard. The music starts at 5 p.m. with opening acts being the Delta Cane, County Line and Daniel Johnson bands. For more details, call (706) 830-0677. Tickets cost $20 in advance – see www.ladyaevans.com – or $30 at the gate.