Since the Town of New Castle assumed ownership of the old Wallace Auditorium at Chappaqua Crossing last year, there’s been a concerted effort to turn the facility into a dynamic venue.
The town hired a theater manager, officially changed its name to the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center and has searched for way to raise money to make necessary upgrades.
The next step in the transformation takes place this Saturday night.
Singer Frank Shiner, a Chappaqua resident and a member of the town’s Arts & Culture Committee, will be performing a benefit concert for the 425-seat theater. He pitched an idea to the committee to do a show to the committee and the group liked the idea.
“I thought how cool it would be to do a local show, cover the costs of renting the theater, insurance and all those things, and everything thereafter, all the ticket profits go to it, just to kick it off, to bring attention to it,” Shiner said.
The concert will also serve as a preview for Shiner’s next album, “Lonely Town, Lonely Street,” which is scheduled to be released on May 19. It is a collection of 12 songs, that includes blues and R&B with a touch of jazz, a genre that was coined “blue-eyed soul” during the 1960s. He plans on performing each of the album’s songs, favorites such as “Rainy Night in Georgia,” “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” and “Love is a Losing Game,” which he has reinterpreted.
Shiner said he hopes Saturday’s concert will be an event that helps bring the community together. During the recent Horace Greeley High School performance of “Grease,” he volunteered as a makeup artist and hair stylist for the boys, and noticed how disappointed the students were when the show ended.
The cast heard he was going to have a concert at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center and wanted to attend. Instead, Shiner invited them to open for him, and perform some of the numbers from the school musical. It also won’t hurt that many of the proud friends and family will pay to see them.
“To see the community come together, to put this performing arts center come together is so exciting, especially at a time when we’re hearing potentially that funding may be removed from the arts, it’s the perfect time to bring attention to this kind of facility,” Shiner said.
The concert will also feature the theater’s new sound system that was recently installed.
Shiner said he’s now devoted his time to singing fulltime after recently selling his business, where he still serves as a consultant. Last weekend he appeared at the Ridgefield Playhouse and this Thursday he will performing at the World Café Live in Philadelphia.
But this week, Shiner’s attention is on making sure the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center is a success.
“We can really do something special for the community and for the whole family,” Shiner said.
For those in the audience who attend Saturday’s show in Chappaqua, there will be a special opportunity to buy “Lonely Town, Lonely Street” four weeks before it officially goes on sale.
For more information about Frank Shiner and to buy tickets for Saturday’s concert, visit www.frankshiner.com. Tickets are $20 each for adults, $15 for children and students. It is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
The Chappaqua Performing Arts Center is located at 480 Bedford Rd. (Route 117) and is located within the Chappaqua Crossing campus.