PHOTO CAPTION: The Franco Center has released its calendar of events for the 2023-24 season at the 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston, venue. Tickets are on sale at www.francocenter.org/shows or by phone at 207-689-2000. Patrons can also visit the box office between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays to purchase tickets.
LEWISTON–The Franco Center has announced its 2023-24 calendar of events which include tribute bands, La Rencontre cultural luncheons with entertainment, orchestra, choir, and piano concerts, book talks by authors, the return of its Fright Night creepy walks and Christmas shows, comedy shows, and a bellydancing performance.
One of those comedy shows is the return of the Bricks and Bridges Comedy Fest at the Franco Center in November. Bricks & Bridges Comedy Fest presents The Tightest Five on Thursday, Nov. 9; Rodney Norman on Friday, Nov. 10, and Kelly MacFarland on Saturday, Nov. 11.
“We are happy to announce that we have had several organizations come forward to offer fundraising events for the Franco Center including members of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra; Imari and the Sahara Desert Dancers; and the Windham Chamber Singers,” said Penny Drumm, Franco Center administrator. “Since ticket sales often don’t cover the costs of an event, one of those costs being the artist’s fees, these fundraising events are very important to the Franco Center, as are our business sponsors.”
Jake Hodgkin, production manager at the Franco Center, said, “Our tribute bands will cover music by Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Elvis, Billy Joel, Elton John, The Who, and The Beatles.” He added, “Our creepy Fright Night walks in October will be scarier than last year. The Sights and Sounds of Christmas variety and light show will have a matinee show in addition to two evening shows. Last year’s show was great; this year’s show will be even better!”
The “Just Us” Entertainers is expected to host a special Christmas show at the Franco Center. “It’s been a while,” said Nel Meservier. Eight performers of the group will perform in a reunion-type holiday show.
Grant money from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission will be used for the Franco Center’s new Books & Stories program at noon on Wednesdays: Sept. 13, Sept. 27, and Oct. 4. Three authors, Suzanne Roy, David Vermette, and Paul Dionne will discuss their books which feature French or Franco American characters. “The authors will have books for sale and signing, but patrons are encouraged to purchase and read the books ahead of the visit and bring their copy to be signed,” said Denise Scammon, marketing and development director at the Franco Center. There is no admission fee for these three Books & Stories events.
One of the events with no admission fee will happen at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, when the doors open for the 6 p.m. concert program, “The Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom,” featuring soprano Malinda Haslett and Scott Wheatley on piano. The program is about Jewish women in 1941 Paris who risked their lives to save the music of French women composers.
Although the Franco Center’s calendar appears to be full of their own events, just as many renters will host performances and events at the former church. Patrons will be able to attend performances by Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, Maine Music Society, The Dance Center, Inspired Voices by Tri-County Mental Health Services, Auburn Community Band, Lewiston High School Choir, SPRQ Burlesque, Sandcastle’s Maine’s Got Talent showcase, and comedian Bob Marley.
For those interested in renting the Franco Center for a wedding, reception or celebration, call Caitlyn Burnham, events manager, at 207-333-3251.
Bands interested in renting the venue for a concert should contact Jake Hodgkin, production manager, at 207-514-7753.
Susan Spellman, box office manager at the Franco Center, is available to answer questions about events on our calendar. Renters often sell tickets to their own events, but that is not always the case. Tickets sold by the Franco Center can be purchased through the Franco Center’s box office in person from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays or call 207-689-2000. Ticket purchases can be made online at www.francocenter.org/shows.
Doors and cash bar (if it is available) usually open one hour before an event. Seating usually is available half an hour before an event.
The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston. Parking is in the mill lot across the street. Handicap access is on the Lincoln Street Alley side of the building.