uac122111001.jpg If you have been looking to take a short day-cation, and you don’t want to break the bank, The Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC) at the University of North Carolina in Pembroke, is an enjoyable and inexpensive getaway. Aside from the Givens Performing Arts Center reputation as one of the Southeast’s most prominent destinations for arts, culture and entertainment, the theatre also features many performances from Broadway, On Stage for the Youth, Distinguished Speakers and other special events and activities. “I go to a conference in New York every year and find out what shows are new, what shows are hot, what shows will fi t in our theatre, and that’s how we decide what to show to our audiences,” says David Thaggard, assistant director and booking manager of the GPAC.

The Givens Performing Arts Center starts the New Year out right with the Broadway musical In the Heights, a 2008 Tony award winner for Best Musical, Best Orchestration, Best Choreography and Best Score. The musical tells a story of the vibrant community of Manhattan’s Washington Heights and its residents’ struggles, hopes, dreams and family traditions.

In the Heights shows at the GPAC on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. and ticket prices range from $15 to $45; $12 for a child or student; and $5 for UNCP students.

If you prefer the symphony orchestra over Broadway, you’re in luck! The Tchaikovsky St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra performs at the Givens Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. These Russian composers’ repertoire range from the baroque era (Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Schnitke, Banshikov, Desyatnikov and Kancheli) through the classics of the 20th century.

Tickets for the Symphony Orchestra cost $15 to $30; $12 for a child or student; and $5 for UNCP students.

Aside from Broadway and the Symphony Orchestra, The Givens Performing Arts Center also welcomes the Winnipeg Ballet’s production of Moulin Rouge. On Tuesday, March 20, the prestigious ballerinas will take the stage and impress the audience with elegant choreography as they tell a 12-21-11-cover1.jpgpassionate story of desire and despair during the turn of the century in Paris. While Broadway continues to be one of GPAC’s most popular events, “the ballets have done really well,” says Thaggard. “We’ve even been getting some dance classes in the audience from Fayetteville, like Seventy-First High School off of Raeford Road.”

Admission to the ballet ranges from $15 to $30; $12 for children and students and $5 for UNCP students.

Experience a new style of dance on April 24, with the production of Ballroom with a Twist. This show introduces a different genre of dance that is best described as traditional ballroom dancing infused with hip hop. Ballroom with a Twist features talented dancers from hit television series like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance? and from the hit film, High School Musical.

The dancers hit the stage at 8 p.m. Admission costs $15 to $30 for adults; $12 for children and students and $5 for UNCP students. If you’re an avid Eagles fan and you’re in the mood to sit back, relax, and listen to some of their classic tunes, the Givens Performing Arts Center has the perfect show for you. Check into the Hotel California show on April 27 at 8 p.m. This tribute to the Eagles features the hits of the Grammy Award Winning musicians and will leave you wanting more.

Admission to the Hotel California ranges from $15 to $30; $12 for children and students and $5 for UNCP students.

12-21-11-cover-2.jpgIf you are in search for an educational program for your youth, the GPAC shows the children’s classic, Jack in the Beanstalk, on April 26 at 10 a.m. Tickets for this play are $7 for students; $8 for teachers and $10 for adults. The recommended ages for this performance are ages 4 and up.

Another kid-friendly event coming up at the Givens Performing Arts Center is the Sing A-Long: A Sound of Music, which features the wide-screen showing of the classic Julie Andrews film complete with subtitles. In addition to the performance, look for a fancy dress competition where those in costume can come on stage and practice their vocals along with the subtitles.

This event is on Feb. 4, and begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, $15, or $12 for students and children and $5 for UNCP students.

Also coming in February, is distinguished guest speaker and author, Frank Warren. On Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Warren discusses his popular blog, PostSecret Project and his New York Times Best Seller book, PostSecret: Confessions of Life, Death and God. Not only will the audience get to see the internet’s fourth most infl uential person live, but this once in a life time event is also free of cost.

The Givens Performing Arts Center attracts audiences from all over North Carolina explains Thaggard. “We draw our audience base from a 100 mile radius; Lumberton, Southern Pines, Fayetteville, and sometimes as far as Wilmington, Charlotte and South Carolina.” 

He continues, “The Spring of 2012 is going to have a variety of shows that everyone can enjoy, from ballet, to symphony orchestra — and we’re right in the heart of your backyard, so we hope that everyone will come out and see them!”

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