Las Casas Foundation Celebrates The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre Centennial in 2014

Las Casas Foundation Celebrates The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre Centennial in 2014

Comedy, romance, music and drama-the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre has shared it all with San Antonio since it opened its doors in 1914 and now Las Casas Foundation is marking the treasured theatre's 100th birthday with a year-long celebration-and you're invited! From concerts, plays, scholarship competitions and a camp for aspiring entertainers to a special gala honouring the theatre's namesake, the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre will be feted throughout 2014 and there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Originally built for vaudeville shows and silent pictures, the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre was once the largest movie theatre in San Antonio, featuring decorations that matched the feature of the week while its staff wore costumes to also match the movies. After a terrific run of entertaining millions of San Antonians, the theatre closed its doors in 1978 and fell into disrepair. Twenty years later, Las Casas Foundation helped restore this timeless treasure back to its original beauty. Over the course of a century the type of entertainment has changed, but one thing has remained the same: the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre continues entertaining San Antonio.

"We hope that all of San Antonio will join us for one-or more!-of the special events and activities marking the Empire Theatre's 100 years of entertaining our great city. Thanks to its restoration, stepping into this fabulous theatre is just like it was a century ago," said Kaye Lenox, CEO of Las Casas Foundation. "Celebrating 100 years of performing arts and entertainment is a quite a milestone, but the Empire is 100 years young-its best is yet to come and all of that starts with this fabulous centennial year."

All centennial events will be held at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, 226 N. St. Mary's Street. This year's celebration includes the events below and more not to be missed events will be announced throughout the year.

Mar. 11: The Untold Story of "Wicked"-A special invitation-only event featuring the management team from the touring production of "Wicked", the Broadway musical coming to San Antonio through the Broadway in San Antonio series at the Majestic Theatre. The show's managers will detail what it takes to bring the show to life from truck to stage, talking about the tour and how the company travels, giving insider details of what makes a touring production tick.

Apr. 5: The San Antonio Book Festival's Literary Death Match-The San Antonio Book Festival unites readers and writers in a celebration of ideas, books, libraries and literary culture. Presented by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the festival is a free, daylong event at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art that presents more than 70 acclaimed national and regional authors at engaging readings, panel discussions, book sales and signings. The 2014 festival will come to a fantastic close with a Literary Death Match on Saturday, April 5 at the Empire Theatre.

Literary Death Match, co-created by Adrian Todd Zuniga, marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol's judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare. Each episode of this competitive, humor-centric reading series features a thrilling mix of four famous and emerging authors (all representing a literary publication, press or concern - online, in print or live) who perform their most electric writing in seven minutes or less before a lively audience and a panel of three all-star judges. After each pair of readings, the judges - focused on literary merit, performance and intangibles - take turns spouting hilarious, off-the-wall commentary about each story, then select their favorite to advance to the finals.

The two finalists then compete in the Literary Death Match finale, which trades in the show's literary sensibility for an absurd and comical climax to determine who takes home the Literary Death Match crown.

May 18: Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition-The theatre will once again host the Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition, where talented high school seniors "break a leg" as they vie for $100,000 in scholarship money during Las Casas Foundation's sixth annual scholarship event. Competition finalists will perform before a panel of judges, as well as an audience anxious to see the best and brightest young performers that San Antonio has to offer as they entertain and delight their way to top scholarship prizes.

May 21: Las Casas Celebrates the 100th Birthday of the Empire Theatre By Honoring Charline McCombs-Las Casas Foundation's annual gala will honor Charline McCombs, the namesake of the Empire Theatre, with a celebration that spans two locations and events: the first features pre-show cocktails and a seated dinner on the stage of the Majestic Theatre, followed by a special performance at the Empire Theatre. All gala proceeds benefit the Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition, created to support young talent that needs assistance to climb the ladder to success in the performing arts. Since its inception in 2009, the Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition has awarded $385,000 in scholarship money to deserving students in the disciplines of theatre acting and musical theatre singing and dancing.

June 13: The Children's Fine Art Series Presents "The Story of the Three Little Pigs"-The Children Fine Art Series will celebrate the 100th birthday of the Charline McCombs Theatre by throwing a special birthday party during the June 13 performance of "The Story of the Three Little Pigs." A special cake with 100 candles will be served to everyone who attends the show.

Aug. 4-8: Camp Broadway-Camp Broadway, a summer camp for aspiring artists and theater fans will unfold at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre August 4-8. Camp Broadway, Broadway's Original Summer Camp, enables theater-loving children ages 10-17 to develop their confidence, character and presentation skills through ensemble performance. The program immerses participants in an authentic Broadway rehearsal process that allows campers to be successful regardless of experience level. Over the last 18 years, more than 20,000 children from around the world have learned to step into the lime light thanks to these summer camps, and many of the participants have been featured in many special events including The New York Pops Spring Gala at Carnegie Hall and the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The fun of this history-making centennial year is just beginning. Be sure you don't miss out: for more information on the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre centennial celebration and all of its events, visit www.lascasasfoundation.org, or follow Las Casas on Facebook at LasCasasFoundation or on Twitter, @LasCasasFDN.

About Las Casas Foundation: Funded through Foundation memberships, the generous support of donors, corporations and grants, Las Casas Foundation is dedicated to the development of the performing arts through education and scholarships, as well as the restoration and preservation of historic theatres. The Foundation hosts the annual Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition and offers a variety of educational initiatives and efforts to nurture and grow the performing arts. Recipient of the 2013 National Arts Star Award from the American Foundation For Arts Education in recognition of Las Casas Foundation's significant impact on arts education, the Foundation has awarded $385,000 in scholarship funds to deserving students in the field of performing arts since 2009 and plans to award another $100,000 in 2014. For more information, visit www.lascasasfoundation.org.

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