Appalachian Center for the Arts revitalizes theatre with national talent

The Appalachian Center for the Arts announced Tuesday that Confederate Railroad will perform at the theatre on Thursday, May 30. Tickets go on sale for the performance on Friday, May 10.

The Appalachian Center for the Arts has been busy recently building a reputation for quality entertainment and a world-class arts education program. According to Robin Irwin, executive director of the Appalachian Center for the Arts, two recently announced events hopes to solidify that reputation.

“We are holding our first Appalachian Center for the Arts Masterclass Series class on June 17 with Wonza Johnson and Andy Tofa, two of the actors currently touring with the Broadway production of ‘Hamilton’,” said Irwin.

Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer of the Tony Award winning broadway musical “In the Heights” and Disney movie “Moana,” “Hamilton” is based on Ron Chernow’s biography “Alexander Hamilton” and blends rap, hip-hop, R&B, blues and jazz in a story of America’s past from a modern perspective.

Wonza Johnson, understudy for the roles of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Marquis de LaFayette and Thomas Jefferson for the second national tour production of “Hamilton”, will be running an audition workshop for aspiring actors.

Andy Tofa, a dancer with the production, will be running a dance workshop to teach interested participants choreography for one of the productions dance numbers.

“These are the guys who have been in the room where magic happens,” she said. “Lin-Manuel keeps a close eye on the production and is known to drop in to ensure that his standards of quality are kept for the performance, so they both have worked directly with him.”

Anyone interested in attending the Appalachian Center for the Arts Masterclass Workshop should reserve a spot early, only 40 spots are open for the opportunity, said Irwin.

To reserve a spot or for more information, message “Appalachian Center for the Arts” on Facebook.

If acting or dancing is not your forté, Irwin also announced Tuesday morning that Confederate Railroad will be performing at 7 p.m. on May 30.

Confederate Railroad first rolled onto the national country music scene in the early ‘90s with its unique style and sound. Headed by founder and frontman Danny Shirley, the former backup band for both David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck got their big break by signing with Atlantic Records. The first single from their debut album (“Confederate Railroad”) was “She Took It Like A Man.” It went to No. 26, a preview of what was to come. The next two singles, “Jesus and Mama” and “Queen of Memphis” went to the top of the charts. Three more huge hits followed, “Trashy Women”, “When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back”, and “She Never Cried.” “Trashy” would lead to a Grammy nomination and become their signature song. That album with six hits and nearly three million sales brought Confederate the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Group Award in 1993 as well as numerous nominations from the Country Music Association and the British Country Music Foundation.

The second album, “Notorious”, produced one of the group’s most popular songs “Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind.” “Elvis and Andy” and “Summer in Dixie” would further establish the Railroad as one of the most versatile acts in the business. This album would sell more than one million. Their overall totals are 18 charted hits and five million albums sold.

Tickets for Confederate Railroad go on sale the morning of May 10 through, or by calling, (800) 745-3000.

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