In March, the Mara family, owners of the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, acquired Richard Nader Entertainment, a legendary producer of rock 'n' roll, classic rock and golden oldies shows. It launched in 1969 with a series of sold-out shows in Madison Square Garden — the first ever done there — and immortalized in the movie Let the Good Times Roll, two 90-minute television specials, an 80-city tour, and formats for scores of radio stations.
Nader died in 2009, and his former wife, Deborah, continued producing the shows. Earlier this year, she approached her longtime friends, the Maras, about sharing the company and the stresses that come with launching and guiding shows throughout the country and Europe. The new company is "Nader-Mara Entertainment."
"This gives (the Show Palace) access to larger shows," Tommy Mara said after the acquisition. "And it gives my daughter (Jennifer) more things to do," he added with a chuckle. Jennifer Mara, the marketing and business manager of the Show Palace, has been named executive director of the newly formed company.
The acquisition means the Show Palace will be adding about two dozen nationally and internationally known shows in the next year, in addition to the eight specials already planned and booked through another area agency June 24 through Thanksgiving, said Ms. Mara.
"We're bringing in burlesque, national comedy shows, really big shows," she said. The interests and tastes in this area are varied, she said, so she's hoping to have something for everyone. She has already booked shows on PBS and in Toronto and the Caribbean, she said.
"The area's demographics are changing," Tommy Mara said. The already-scheduled specials should attract not only the theater's devoted Broadway musical patrons, but also those who enjoy nostalgia and tribute shows from the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s, as well as fans of doo-wop, he said.
The Show Palace will continue to present seven Broadway and Broadway-style shows throughout the year, in addition to shows and events at the Palace Grand and a recently launched performing arts school.
The theater is at 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. Call (727) 863-7949 or online at www.showpalace.net. Ticket prices and times vary for each show. A cash bar will be open during all shows, but dinner service is available only as noted.
The specials are:
June 24: Doo Wop with a Twist, starring Tommy Mara and the Crests (Sixteen Candles) and Joey Dee and the Starliters (Peppermint Twist). Show only, $29, plus tax. Cash bar. Doors open at 7:30, show at 8:30 p.m.
July 22: The British Invasion, a three-part tribute to the Beatles, opening with suits and ties (I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You), then in the Sgt. Pepper costumes (A Little Help from My Friends) and, finally, in Abbey Road gear (Here Comes the Sun). Tickets are $25, plus tax. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
Aug. 12: Peace of Woodstock, a tribute to the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair experience, starting with Richie Havens, followed by the songs of Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Who, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, Joe Cocker and more. Tickets are $25, plus tax. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 26: An Evening with Elvis, starring Dwight Icenhower doing both the early Elvis and his older Las Vegas version. Dinner and show, $49.50, plus tax and tip. Matinee, doors open at 2 p.m., lunch at 2:30 p.m. and show at 3:30 p.m. Evening show, doors open at 7 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 9: Martin Preston as Liberace, dinner and show, $49.50, plus tax and tip. Doors open 6 p.m., dinner 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. (Note: this show was scheduled for an earlier date, but was postponed.)
Oct. 21: Jimmy Mazz's Las Vegas Legends Show, with songs made famous by Bobby Darin, Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck, Tony Orlando, Frankie Valli, Neil Diamond and others. Tickets are $25, plus tax. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
Nov. 11: Flashback Four, singing the hits of the Drifters, the Beach Boys, Motown, the Bee Gees and others. Tickets are $25, plus tax. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 7:45 p.m.
Nov. 24: A Show Palace Thanksgiving with Tommy Mara and the Crests: Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings, plus doo-wop and hits of the 1950s. Dinner and show, $49.50, plus tax. Matinee doors open at 11:30 a.m.; dinner at 12 noon; show at 1:15; evening, doors open at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.