It’s no secret the epicenter of arts in Erie County is the Sandusky State Theatre. While Mother Nature does her best with heavy snow and freezing temperatures to create cabin fever, there are plenty of diverse entertaining offerings aimed at warming our creative spirits.
Here’s a look at a few that stand out this month:
• A Night of Comedy featuring headliner The Fryman with Chris Smith, 8 p.m. Feb. 7, $9
A year and a half since he made his Sandusky debut, Emil “The Fryman” Fry eagerly returns to the Go Coast, where he often visited as a child. Fry’s father is from the area.
“I always love returning to Sandusky,” Fry said. “I have plenty of fans and family in Sandusky. As a matter of fact, my Aunt Mina, who will be celebrating her 100th birthday in August, will be in attendance. That alone is a great reason to come back to Sandusky.”
Described as a fast-paced Ron White, Fry said he’ll be talking about how the world keeps getting crazier and crazier with school shootings, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, crack-smoking mayors and Dennis Rodman as a spokesman for world peace.
The real question is whether his smart-aleck comments will attract audiences leaving behind their warm living rooms?
“For crying out loud, why not?” Fry said. “I can guarantee a belly of laughter that evening. And in a world like the one we live in today, there’s no better medicine than a good heavy dose of laughter. So buckle up, call the police, ice up the Heineken and warn the women. The Fryman is coming to town.”
• “Stomp,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11, $6 to $41
The critically-acclaimed percussive hit “Stomp” returns to the Buckeye State. Created in the early ‘90s out of the United Kingdom and an off-Broadway hit later in the decade, “Stomp” has grown into an international sensation over the past two decades with performances in over 350 cities in 36 countries.
Despite its history, the show continues with its off-Broadway production at New York’s Orpheum Theatre, a North American tour and productions overseas.
In a nutshell, “Stomp” turns everyday objects into what has been described as an amazing musical experience. Whether it’s stiff-bristle brooms becoming a sweeping orchestra, Zippo lighters flipping open and closed to create a fiery fugue or wooden poles thumping and clacking in a rhythmic explosion, nothing is off limits in this show.
• Jazz @ Eight “As I’ve Learned It!” starring Michael Shirtz with the Peter Ford Trio, 8 p.m. Feb. 21, $10 ($8 for students with ID)
Terra State Community College Dean of Business, Communication and the Arts Michael J. Shirtz returns to the Jazz @ Eight series he created years ago with “As I’ve Learned It” featuring music and stories about the jazz legends that influenced him.
“From the music of the big bands, to the blues and more, this show is filled with conversations and musical tributes that reach out to everyone,” Shirtz said. “Special highlights include tributes to the ballads and soldiers of World War II, the Torch Singers, Broadway’s appeal and entertainers like Ella, Sinatra and Nat King Cole.”
The show, which teams up Shirtz with the Pete Ford Trio — Pete Ford (piano), Norman Damschroder (bass) and Maxwell Button (drums) — is also a personal thank you to Shirtz’ former big band leader/trombonist grandfather Tommy Weldon, who influenced his musical tastes.
“It highlights what led [me] to become a jazz singer, a scat-singer, pianist and composer/arranger.”
The Sandusky State Theatre is located at 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Call 419-626-1950 or 877-626-1950, or visit sanduskystate.com.