Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center (PPAC) opened in 1991 on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Up until that time, the school did not have a performance hall.
The center was made possible by a multi-million-dollar gift from the late Frank Pasquerilla, chairman of Crown American, and includes a 1,000-seat concert hall, a 200-seat black box theater, and office space. The hall is known for its excellent acoustics and its “sprung floor” that makes the stage advantageous to dance performances.
In addition to Mainstage events, PPAC is home to Johnstown Symphony Orchestra and Johnstown Concert Ballet. UPJ music and theatre departments also utilize the center, along with River City Brass Band, Stage Door Series for children, Out of His Mind Dance Company, Le Dance Academie, Sharon’s Dance Studio, Legacy Dance, and Dance Unlimited.
Cindy Williams, Sally Struthers, Bernadette Peters, Ruben Studdard, Wynton Marsalis, Terrance Blanchard and Dave Brubeck are among the well-known entertainers who have performed at PPAC.
Michael Bodolosky, executive director, says PPAC offers something for everyone and this year is no exception. “The 2020 season continues to present a variety of diverse, world-class entertainment, including music, theater and dance at affordable ticket prices,” he says.
This year’s offerings start with Walkin’ After Midnight – A Tribute To Patsy Cline on Feb. 12. Carter Calvert, a Broadway performer, stars in this colorful mosaic of iconic songs and witty storytelling. Calvert personifies Cline’s musical style perfectly in the country singer’s hits “Crazy,” “I Fall To Pieces,” “She’s Got You,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and others.
The Golden Dragon Acrobats • March 5
The Golden Dragon Acrobats hail from China and have toured the United States continuously since 1978. Members are athletes, actors and artists who have trained since early childhood. Their artistry and athleticism thrill and amaze audiences of all ages.
The acrobats perform feats on chairs stacked 10 stories high.
The Golden Dragon Acrobats continue a time-honored tradition that began more than 25 centuries ago.
World-renowned impresario and the group’s founder and director Danny Chang and choreographer Angela Chang combine award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music, and theatrical techniques to construct a performance of breathtaking skill and beauty.
From Galway to Broadway starring Ciaràn Sheehan & Friends • March 19
Ciarán Sheehan first performed at PPAC in 2016, when the Dublin-born actor’s rich tenor voice enthralled the audience.
Sheehan made his Broadway debut in Les Miserables. He also was cast as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera and later as took on the starring role of The Phantom, which he sang in more than 1,000 performances.
Sheehan sold out four performances at Carnegie Hall and has sung the national anthem at various sporting and political events. He also sang at the internationally televised memorial for John and Carolyn Kennedy and at the funeral service for Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joseph Biden.
Joining Sheehan is the talented Sarah Pfisterer, who played Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. In addition, solo violinist Heather Martin Bixler and multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Donahue share the stage with Sheehan.
Neil Berg’s 50 Years of “Rock & Roll” • April 16
With a cast consisting of stars from Broadway’s greatest rock musicals along with rock ‘n roll recording artists, Neil Berg tells the story of rock ‘n roll. From the early days of rock in the 1940s, through the glory years of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, up until MTV in the early ‘80s, the show includes fascinating stories and performances that span the music of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley to Aerosmith, the Eagles and Journey.
Bennie and the Jets: The Premier Elton John Tribute • May 8
The hits, the costumes, the extravagance, and the excitement of Elton John’s music comes alive through Greg Ransom’s production of Bennie & The Jets: The Premier Elton John Tribute. With amazingly similar vocals and showmanship, Ransom and his band nearly have audiences believing they are attending an Elton John concert.
Ransom started playing piano at 10. In 1995, he formed Bennie and the Jets. After just two local gigs, Ransom received a call from a nationally known entertainment broker who needed an Elton John band. Ransom sent him a tape, and since that day, Bennie and the Jets have toured internationally.
For tickets call 269-7200 or visit upjarts.org.