Reese is ‘In the Spirit’ at Robinson Center 

REESE: In the 'Spirit.'
  • REESE: In the 'Spirit.'

Famed vocalist and actress Della Reese highlights Philander Smith College’s holiday show, “In the Spirit,” scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1, at Robinson Center Music Hall.

Lawrence Hamilton, the Arkansas native and Broadway star who leads the college’s choir, will perform songs, lead an orchestra of regional musicians and direct a combined choir of current students and alumni from Philander Smith. Also, choirs from Episcopal Collegiate School, West Memphis High School and Horace Mann Middle School will perform.

The show begins at 7 p.m. and is being held in conjunction with World AIDS Day to bring awareness to the continued global problem of HIV/AIDS, and will be a benefit for the Harry R. Kendall Health and Science Mission Center at Philander Smith College.

Reese these days is as well-known for her nine-year role on CBS’s “Touched by an Angel” as her distinctive jazz-blues-gospel style, which brought her pop music stardom after she started out as a teen singing gospel with Mahalia Jackson. She’s also an author of children’s books and her autobiography, “Angels Along the Way,” and is an ordained minister leading a non-denominational, multi-racial congregation in Los Angeles.

Tickets start at $30 and are available through Ticketmaster (all Harvest Foods stores, the Celebrity Attractions downtown box office, www.ticketmaster.com, or 975-7575). A special VIP package, including a private post-performance reception with Reese, is available for $200 per couple. Call 370-5279.

Cheetah Girls pack ’em in

Word we get from Alltel Arena is that if you’ve waited until now to get tickets for the kids to the Cheetah Girls show Saturday, Dec. 2, you may be out of luck. A crowd of 15,000 or so is expected at one of the hottest shows of the year for Alltel: the Disney Channel’s trio of teeny-bopper pop singers — Adrienne Bolton, Kiely Williams and Sabrina Bryan. The Cheetah Girls came to be thanks to the success of a Disney movie starring Raven-Symone and based on the best-selling books by Deborah Gregory. Disney decided to take the trio behind Raven out on tour, and the world apparently has taken to them.

Showtime is 4 p.m. Tickets start at $27.

Hot opener for RimRockers

The NBA Miami Heat’s dance team will perform and fans can win tickets and backstage passes to Dec. 2’s Cheetah Girls concert at the Friday, Dec. 1, season opener for the Arkansas RimRockers at Alltel Arena.

Tip-off for Friday’s game with Albuquerque is 7 p.m. The teams meet again on Sunday at 2 p.m. Ten tickets and two backstage passes to see the Cheetah Girls will be given away during Friday’s game. Also, the first 500 kids will receive a free RimRockers replica jersey. The Miami Heat Dancers will perform at halftime and will sign autographs before the game.

Ticket prices start at $11. Call Ticketmaster at 975-7575.

Theater watch

The Weekend Theater will open Wendy Wasserstein’s “An American Daughter” on Friday, Dec. 1. Weekend regular Duane Jackson will direct. The political comedy centers around the feminist daughter of a conservative senator from a longstanding political family who is nominated for U.S. Surgeon General, but through press coverage begins to see her political, family and social life unravel.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday for three consecutive weeks. Admission is $14 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Call 374-3761 for reservations.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas Arts Center’s Children’s Theatre will be performing “A Year With Frog and Toad” on weekends through Dec. 17. Based on the books by Arnold Lobel and winner of the 2003 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre, the musical follows the adventures of Frog and Toad as they wake from a long winter’s hibernation and spring upon a fun-filled year of singing, dancing, and adventure.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $14 for adults and $11 for children. Call 372-4000 or visit www.arkarts.com.

Children’s favorite at Wildwood Park

“Hansel and Gretel,” an opera for all ages based on the Ludwig Grimm story, will be performed at Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts on Friday and Sunday.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre.

The opera, composed by Englebert Humperdinck, premiered in 1893 and remains a worldwide favorite more than a hundred years later. Wildwood’s show will be based on the “Hansel and Gretel” performed at the New York City Opera.

Familiar Wildwood opera performers make up the cast. Kira Keating stars as Gretel and Melissa Thoma is Hansel. Christine Donahue is Gertrude. Strats Pavlov leads a four-piece orchestra, and Ann Chotard directs.

Tickets range from $30 to $50 for adults, student tickets are $10 and tickets for seniors are $20. A pre-show dinner will be available on Friday. Call Wildwood’s ticket office for reservations (Call 821-7275, ext. 232) or more information.

Stephanopoulos speaks

George Stephanopoulos, the anchor of ABC TV’s “This Week” and former campaign strategist and White House adviser to President Clinton, will appear Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Little Rock as part of the Clinton School of Public Service’s lecture series. Stephanopoulos will speak at the Statehouse Convention Center’s Wally Allen Ballroom from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Admission is free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Call 683-5239 or email Nikolai DiPippa at publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu.

This Thursday, Rev. Jesse Jackson appears as part of the program at the Statehouse Convention Center beginning at 11 a.m. Call 683-5239.

The Clinton School is asking for donations of canned food as part of its Food Drive, in which is will collect canned food through December for distribution to area charities and food banks during the holidays.




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