John Miller - Executive Editor THE EXPONENT TELEGRAM | Jul 26, 2018
We don’t know what’s more impressive: The Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center landing talk show host/comedian Jay Leno and legendary rock band Guess Who as lead performers for their grand opening or selling out that Oct. 20 concert in less than two hours.
Yes. Two hours.
Granted, the Robinson Grand has limited seating of 1,010. But that’s the perfect size venue to see comedians like Leno and Bill Engvall, of Blue Collar Comedy Tour fame, who will play the theater Nov. 17.
And the theater is perfect for hosting the Grand Performance Series, a four-concert slate that opens Sept. 30 with Maureen McGovern, a Grammy-nominated singer and Broadway performer.
It will also be a great place to listen to Paul Cardall, a gifted pianist who works across several genres, but serves to inspire not only with his music but his story of overcoming health conditions. He will play the Robinson Grand Nov. 16, fittingly as a benefit for Healthy Harrison.
Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center Executive Director Ryan Tolley and Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe, both driving forces in the theater’s great start, should be applauded for their performance.
What has been accomplished thus far is fantastic, and the buzz around the region is that people can’t wait to see the new and improved Robinson Grand, an iconic theater that has long been a part of Clarksburg’s downtown allure.
The potential is nearly endless, from touring Broadway stage shows, to top-flight comedians and concerts from a variety of genres, including gospel, contemporary Christian, country, rock and classical.
When you team the Robinson Grand up with the Clarksburg Amphitheater, which has also enjoyed great success, Clarksburg finds itself with two top-flight entertainment venues which should be able to draw people to the area.
The hope is that the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center will help spark further development by increasing foot traffic. And thus far, Tolley and his staff have done well in setting up an impressive lineup of events, from star-studded concerts to Sunday afternoon movies.
From its Aug. 4 “soft opening,” which is open to the public for the nominal fee of $10 and includes several performers, to May 19, 2019, the theater has already scheduled 19 events, which do not include private events.
And we’re sure that Tolley isn’t done lining up more performances as the area native appears to have a knack for this business.
Maybe its our great hope for the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center’s success, but we truly believe the renovated theater can make a huge difference for Clarksburg — and North Central West Virginia.
That’s the overwhelming feeling that we’re sensing with the Robinson Grand. It has that something special, that certain appeal. In the entertainment world they call it that “wow factor” that guarantees success.
All we can say is wow, wow, wow.