Curtain going up on the Audi’s 115th season

  • Laura Iwaskiewicz, as Esmerelda, and Darik Velez, as Quasimodo, act out a scene during rehearsal of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," presented by The Community Players of Concord, at Concord City Auditorium in Concord on Nov. 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • The cast performs a Feast of Fools scene during rehearsal of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” presented by the Community Players of Concord, at Concord City Auditorium in 2017. The Audi will open its 115th season Sunday. Monitor file

Published: 9/12/2019 11:44:16 AM

Concord City Auditorium celebrates its 115th year as the home of community-based arts and entertainment on Sunday, as the curtain goes up for the season-opening gala.

The Friends of the Audi are presenting the event for the 29th time since 1991, when they formed and rallied to save the municipal stage, “icing the cake” with a gala citywide party.

The gala starts at 6 p.m. with a community party, an old-time family event outside the historic theater. Party-goers will visit displays set up by local artists and art groups, enjoy an ice cream social served by Kaitlyn Witts, the new owner of Arnie’s of Loudon Road, and climb aboard a Concord Coach provided by the Abbot-Downing Historical Society.

At 7 p.m., the party moves into the theater for the gala variety show, as the city’s own 2019-20 entertainment season opens with a 90-minute preview of the coming attractions – music, plays, films, lectures, comedy and dance. Performances include dancers from Dancesteps, Etc., Miss Capital Area Scholarship Program, Concord Dance Academy, Rhythm of the Night, and Eastern Ballet Institute. The Community Players of Concord preview the Children’s Theatre Project in Disney’s Frozen Jr. and the fall musical production, Sweet Charity. Special musical numbers include the Concord Coachmen Barbershop Chorus and the emcee, Eric Skoglund, helping to “Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony” as the audience joins in a preview of the sounds promised by Concord Community Concert’s presentation of 140 voices in three choruses: N.H. Master Chorale, N.H. Gay Men’s Chorus and the Suncook Valley Chorale. The finale piece features members of Studio Two, a Beatles Tribute Band that opens the Walker Lecture Fund’s 123rd season on Friday, Sept. 20. The Audi opens its doors to the public over 100 times every season, and the gala is event No. 1.

The gala raffle, a popular feature of the annual season-opening party with $3,000 in prizes, awards 10 mugs filled with show tickets and restaurant gift certificates, thanks to the local presenting groups and to restaurants including Barley House, CC Tomatoes, Common Man, Flying Monkey, 99 Restaurant, Longhorn Steakhouse, Margaritas, O Steak and Seafood and Szechuan Garden. All raffle proceeds go toward the Friends of the Audi’s curtain replacement project, a continuing effort to upgrade the black stage and surrounding velvet curtains in the historic theatre.

The gala is free, all thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Walker Lecture Fund and Charter Trust Company, and to the volunteer cast and crew. There is general seating and no tickets. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the excitement of raising the curtain on a new season of Concord’s own A&E performances and traditions.

For further information, please contact producer David Murdo at 344-4747 or

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