GPAC stood up by Savion

First Posted: 1/15/2009

In the past four years, the Givens Performing Arts Center has steadily upgraded its entertainment season, offering something for those with gray hair and those who might prefer pink.
This year there have been a few bumps in the road, most of which were not caused by the GPAC staff or its steering committee.
Monday's cancellation of “Classical Savion” was like driving into a sinkhole in the middle of the night.
Savion Glover canceled the show because of “technical issues with the artist.” This is what GPAC executive director Patricia Fields was told Friday at 10:45 p.m. by Columbia Artist Theatricals in New York. The first chance The Robesonian could inform the public was the day of the show.
So much for Field's weekend. She and her GPAC staff spent Saturday and much of Monday calling ticket holders to explain that the cancellation was out of the GPAC's control.
It wasn't the first strike this year against Glover and Columbia.
The original plan called for a touring cast to bring Glover's Tony Award winning musical “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk” to the GPAC on Jan. 18. That was canceled with the promise that Glover would perform “Classical Savion,” a solo dance routine, on Jan. 31, which was later moved to Valentine's Day.
Fields said Columbia would reimburse the GPAC for all costs, such as advertising.
“It's difficult to know right now what we're looking at in terms of actual dollars,” she said. “What I do know is that we have the cost of three advance shows - mailing costs, ad costs and time spent by our people on the phone - as well as operational costs such as getting spotlight gels. Right now I can't even give a general ballpark figure.”
Glover's agent, Carole Davis, called The Robesonian Tuesday morning to tell her client's side of the story.
“We had a tremendous sound design problem and, for the integrity of the audience and artist, could not go on with the show,” she said. “We worked all weekend trying to fix the problem. We do want to reschedule and I'm making plans to take it to the presenter (Columbia) immediately.”
Gary McAvay, president of Columbia Artist Theatricals, said Tuesday that “Classical Savion” shows in Red Bank, N.J., and Fort Smith, Ark., were riddled with sound problems and that it wants to either reschedule or “make up” for the cancellation.
“It's a fine balance between the sounds from a 10-piece orchestra, a four-piece jazz band and the tap dance from Savion,” he said. “The first two performances were deeply affected because of the sound problems.”
“None of us in this business take cancellations lightly, especially when done at the last minute. I can understand if Pembroke doesn't want to reschedule given the history of this event. We plan to make this up, be it in the short term or the long term.”
The GPAC, though, isn't into forgiving and forgetting just yet.
“At this point and time, Givens Performing Arts Center has no plans to reschedule the show,” Fields said.
Fields said her customers were understanding, and that the GPAC and Columbia have a long-running association that she feels will remain strong.
“It's a company we've bought shows from for years and years,” she said. “Our patrons were very good about accepting the fact that this was an artist-related problem. It's not just us either. Savion canceled other shows - one at Duke was also planned.”
It's unfortunate that Glover didn't come to Pembroke since, according to Fields, ticket sales were strong, and getting a performer of his caliber is a coup.
“We had a lot first-time ticket buyers for this show who had never been to Givens and it would have been an opportunity to showcase the university and region and hopefully build long-term relationships with some of these new customers,” Fields said.
But the GPAC was clearly given a Dear John letter for Valentine's Day.
The GPAC had a musical performance by the Windham Hill America trio cancel Sept. 28. It will regroup with a touring cast performance of “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” on Feb. 25, the somewhat obscure musical “Bowfire” on March 14, “Steel Magnolias” on March 30, and “The Legends of Rock 'n Roll” on May 3.


– “Ragtime” will be performed through Sunday at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville.
For information, call (910) 323-4233.
– “Barefoot in the Park” will be performed by Big Dawg Productions on Wilmington's Thalian Hall studio stage through Feb. 27. Tickets are $12 and $15.
For information, call (910) 323-5088.
– “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” will be performed Feb. 25 at UNC-Pembroke's Givens Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $26 and $28.
For information, call 521-6361.
– “Miss Saigon” will be performed at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium thorough Sunday. Tickets range from $29 to $64.
For information, call (910) 834-4000.
– Bravo Studios will perform “Cinderella, the Musical” Feb. 25 and 26 at 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 and 27 at 2:30 p.m. at its studio at 209 N. Elm St. in Lumberton. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
For information, call 739-6985.


– Continental Divide and Carolina Sunshine will perform Feb. 26 at Robeson Community College's A.D. Lewis Auditorium at the Lumber River Regional Bluegrass Association's monthly series. Member tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Non-member tickets are $12 and $10.
For information, call 739-2935 or 739-2011.
– Rocker Eddie Money will perform Sunday at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
For information, call (843) 272-3000.
– The United States Air Force Band will perform a 7 p.m. concert Thursday at Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville. Tickets are free.
For information, call (910) 672-1571.
– Gospel favorite Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers will perform Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Sampson County Exposition Center in Clinton. Tickets range from $32 to $40.
For information, visit

– Michael Jaenicke is the assistant Features editor for The Robesonian. He can be reached by calling 739-4322, Ext. 149, or by e-mail at [email protected].

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