New Shows & Events Planned at Scranton Cultural Center

Published 06/17 2014 05:37PM

Updated 06/17 2014 06:34PM

Officials with the Scranton Cultural Center are planning big things for the coming year.

Tuesday morning, the shows planned for 2014-2015 were officially announced.

The highlight of the program came when Harry Connick, Jr. called in to speak to reporters about his upcoming production of "The Happy Elf."

Connick worked with local kids on the project last November and this coming year, officials at the Scranton Cultural Center are placing a whole new focus on getting kids excited and involved with the arts.

What was once an idea is now becoming reality.

Work is underway to transform part of the Scranton Cultural Center into a new Creative & Performing Arts Academy for Kids.

"We're going to be here so that kids have a safe, fun place to meet people just like them and learn about their craft and have some fun," Cultural Center Executive Director Michael Melcher said.

Starting this Monday, what was once storage space and the Junior Ballroom will be home to specialized summer camps for the first time.

"We have a few openings in some of the sessions but it's really beyond our expectations for this first summer. We are just thrilled," Sheri Melcher, coordinator for the Creative & Performing Arts Academy said.

While that project is just about to launch, officials also unveiled their 2014-2015 season line-up Tuesday.

From a "Salute to Vienna" featuring the Philly Pops to the premiere production of Harry Connick Jr's "The Happy Elf," the goal was to create a broad-based season.

"We wanted to make sure that we put something in for everyone, puppets, orchestras, the Philly Pops," Michael Melcher said.

This year, the Scranton Cultural Center is also launching a new membership drive.

Officials say the building belongs to the community and they need the community to help take ownership in it.

Officials point out it costs roughly $3,000 a year just to open the doors of the facility and they want to make sure the building survives for the next generation.

"We're so happy to bring the community back into our building and have them have that ownership and come back here to have this be their cultural home," programming director Dawn McGurl said.

When reporters talked with Harry Connick, Jr. Tuesday morning, he said he was "absolutely blown away" by the talen of people he worked with locally on his project.

Connick also says he's hoping to make it to Scranton in December to take in one of the shows.

For more information about the programs and shows, visit,

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