August 26, 2021

'We’ve got everything': After 16-month shutdown for Manship Theatre, the show goes on again

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Following the coronavirus pandemic that halted concerts, theater and other performing arts events in spring 2020, the Manship Theatre has announced its first full season in two years.

Performances will take place in the intimate 325-seat Manship Theatre and the adjacent Hartley/Vey Studio Theatre.

“After being shut down for 16 months,” said Manship Theatre executive director Melanie Couvillon, “we’re excited to have some normalcy and do what we’ve done year after year for the community.”

The 2021-22 season’s musical offerings begin Oct. 7 with the Allman Betts Band, featuring Devon Allman, Duane Betts and Berry Oakley Jr., all sons of original members of the Allman Brothers Band.

Subsequent concerts include a Nov. 2 appearance by country-rock pioneer Chris Hillman, an original member of the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Desert Rose Band. The show is billed as “Chris Hillman: An Evening of Stories and Songs featuring Herb Pederson and John Jorgenson.”

Other concerts include Houma blues artist Tab Benoit’s “Swampland Jam,” featuring Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Sansone and Waylon Thibodeaux, Nov. 10; rhythm-and-blues star Peabo Bryson, Nov. 21; the in-house-produced “I’m Every Woman,” a celebration of female vocalists of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Jan. 7-8; the long-delayed Manship appearance by the classic British invasion band, the Zombies, April 9; and original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley, May 20.

Dance events during the 2021-22 season include evening and matinee performances by Philadanco, Oct. 17-18. The season’s theater offerings include Mad River Theater Works’ Civil Rights era-set “Freedom Riders,” Jan. 23-24; Lightwire Theater’s interpretation of Aesop Fables' “The Tortoise and the Hare,” Jan. 30-31; and Aquila Theatre’s “Macbeth,” Feb 20-22.

“We’ve got everything,” Couvillon said. “From singer-songwriters to R&B and country, bluegrass music, yacht rock with Ambrosia (March 11), dance, theater and great shows for families and schools.”

“It’s a diverse lineup and we haven’t sacrificed anything, talent-wise, because of the pandemic,” said John Kaufman, Manship Theatre director of marketing and programming.

The Manship and Hartley/Vey theaters will adhere to Louisiana’s indoor mask mandate.

“We’re following the state’s guidelines and requiring masks,” Couvillon said. “We’ll adjust as they adjust. The important thing for us is to stay open and continue our programming. We hope our patrons want that, too.”

The Manship Theatre’s film series will continue as well with films including “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain," Sept. 3; “The Lost Leonardo,” Oct. 14; and “The Velvet Underground,” Oct. 22.

Tickets for Manship Theatre performances and films are available at

Manship Theatre 2021-'22 season lineup

Oct. 7: Allman Betts Band

Oct. 17-18: Philadanco

Nov. 2: Chris Hillman

Nov. 10: Tab Benoit’s "Swampland Jam"

Nov. 21: Peabo Bryson

Dec. 8-9: Brian Shaw’s "Cool Winter Nights and Hot Jazz"

Dec. 11: Crystal Gayle "Holiday Show"

Dec 28: "Home for the Holidays"

Jan 7-8: “I’m Every Woman”

Jan 21: Cornell Gunter's Coasters

Jan 23-24: Mad River Theater “Freedom Riders”

Jan. 30-31: Lightwire Theater “Tortoise and the Hare”

Feb 6-7: Theatreworks USA “Dog Man: The Musical”

Feb 11: Marty Stuart’s “Psychedelic Jam-bo-ree”

Feb. 13-14: "Innovation Nation LIVE!"

Feb 20-21: Aquila Theatre’s “Macbeth”

March 11: Ambrosia

March 24: Drum Tao

March 31: Red carpet gala with Rosanne Cash

April 9: The Zombies

May 5: Colin Hay

May 13: "Georgia on My Mind"

May 20: Ace Frehley