The Sandusky State Theatre continues to be the area’s leading arts venue

Check out the upcoming shows at Sandusky State Theater.
John Benson
Jun 11, 2014

This month’s shows highlight a diverse collections of artists and events ranging from bluegrass music from The Mayfields, the battle of the sexes with one-man show “Men are From Mars Women are From Venus” and the Michael Shirtz Quartet with Monica Olejko.

Here’s a look at a few sizzling shows that standout in June:

• The Mayfields, 8:30 p.m. June 13. Tickets are $10.

Years ago, the Mayfield family band One Way Rider was popular on the regional touring circuit with its bluegrass music. However, David and Valerie Mayfield’s kids –Jessica Lea and David – grew up and ventured out on their own musical paths that now garner a national following.

As for mom and dad, the Newtown Falls duet is returning to the road with a slew of shows that were booked this year based on opportunity.

“I had been working in machining industry for almost 50 years but I lost my job in November,” David said. “My wife and I decided the kids are out touring all of the time, and we used to do it, so we were going to go back on the road. We have 32 upcoming dates right now, we’re hitting it pretty hard.”

The duo is happy to announce the release of new CD called “Steal My Heart,” which is based in bluegrass. The 10-song project includes original song “I Want My Rib Back,” as well as covers of The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and Coldplay’s “'Til Kingdom Come.”

“I think we last played Sandusky at a rib festival 10 years ago with the family band,” David said. “We’re looking forward to coming back. We have traditional songs, love songs, funny songs and fast-picking songs. Our show is just a little bit of everything.”

• Men are From Mars Women are From Venus, 8 p.m. June 14, tickets range from $22.50 to $49

Granted it’s been more than two decades since author John Gray released his New York Times No. 1 best-selling book “Men are From Mars Women are From Venus;” but a relatively new stage production is currently making its way around the country.

“It’s a one-man theatrical comedy, and it’s based on principals from the book,” said “Men are From Mars Women are From Venus” producer Paul J. Emery III. “If you want, you can compare it to ‘Defending the Caveman,’ but it’s not that. It’s about how women and men are chemically different and so we speak to one another differently. It’s a very funny show.”

Discovered in Paris, France three years ago, “Men are From Mars Women are From Venus” was retooled for American audiences with Emery adding video animation to the show for what he says leads to “hysterical results.” He added that often men leave the show learning a few things about dealing with the opposite sex.

“It’s all comedy driven but at the end of the night it’s a great show,” Emery said. “It’s a date night and couples sit there elbowing each other all night long going, ‘Yeah, that’s totally you honey.’”

So basically, “Men are From Mars Women are From Venus,” which features actor Peter Story, sounds like equal opportunity gender bashing.

Emery laughed, “Wow, I hate the word bashing, but yeah.”

• Jazz @ Eight show “Jazz Goes to Broadway!!!” featuring The Michael Shirtz Quartet with Monica Olejko, 8 p.m. June 20, tickets are $10

Jazz @ Eight’s Michael Shirtz Quartet has an evening of crowd-pleasing Broadway tunes planned with guest actress-singer Monica Olejko. Audiences can expect to hear jazzed-up material ranging from “West Side Story” and “Guys & Dolls” to “Chicago,” “Sound of Music” and more.

“This program is held in the State Room, transformed into a jazz club for the evening,” Shirtz said. “The show was selected because of the natural relationship between the worlds of Broadway and jazz. Also, we want to reach out to the non-jazz lover or someone who maybe has never experienced jazz music, and introduce them to jazz with maybe a theme they would enjoy.”

The Sandusky State Theatre is located at 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Call 419-626-1950 or 877-626-1950, or visit sanduskystate.com.