Revival of CenterStage gets a good start


If Saturday night’s opener for the return of the CenterStage Performing Arts Series is any indication, then people are in for a real treat this year, one filled with some extremely good entertainment at reasonable prices.

Comedian James Gregory, dubbed the Funniest Man in America, brought his talents to the Agri-Exposition Center as the first in a series of shows aimed at breathing new life into an old but oft-requested entertainment offering, and he didn’t disappoint. It was a perfect kickoff to the Performing Arts Series resurgence, and one we hope will infuse new excitement among residents and out-of-towners, all who we hope will become active participants in what will be offered throughout the year.

Attendance at the Gregory show was good and by all appearances those who attended came away feeling as if they’d gotten their money’s worth and more, a good way to start the series. We hope they will offer testimonials to how good the performance was, encouraging others to come out and give the series a try. That’s the perfect way to help make this second go of the series a successful one.

It is something we want to see happen as much as Expo Center director Ray Jordan who recently announced the return of the series, saying that constant requests and creative partnerships between local organizations and various talent agencies are making the rebirth possible.

As we mentioned in an editorial supporting the series a few weeks ago, there is much positive to garner from the return of the CenterStage Series, not the least of which is offering residents here and across the area an opportunity at some great entertainment in their own back yards, without the hassle of driving long distances to get much the same thing.

And, of course, it allows for good use of Sampson’s fine Exposition Center. While the center gets plenty of traffic for outside functions, it will be nice to see it utilized again as a public venue, opening its doors to provide an virtual entertainment buffet sure to whet most, if not all, appetites.

Now that the series is making a comeback, albeit one that, wisely, will start off slow to gauge response, we hope residents here will support it, considering the venue to be an entertainment option as viable as a drive to other parts of the state and beyond.

After all, it will take that support to ensure that the series can continue.

Saturday’s turnout shows there is support for the series. We hope it will continue with the next show on the Performing Arts Series’ agenday. It appears, from the amount of inquiries and requests Jordan has had over the last few years that there will be numbers to support the next show and beyond, but the truth will continue to lie in ticket sales, and that, in large part, will be up to residents who, we hope, will be active participants.

The CenterStage Series offers great opportunities, providing entertainment that many complain they can’t find in Sampson County. Now that series has returned, it needs to be given a shot to succeed once again.

We believe it can. Time will tell if we are correct in our assumption.

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