LIMA — Veterans Memorial Civic Center and Niswonger Performing Arts Center will feature two area favorites this week — animals and Broadway.
The Civic Center will kick off this week’s events with “Wild World of Animals.” Handler Grant Kemmerer will have 16 guests with him ranging from a spotted leopard to a dictator scorpion.
Kemmerer and his crew care for more than 200 species of animals, so for shows, he bases his selections of animals on those portrayed often in the media.
“I like to use a variety of animals that give us big talking points that show the diversity of nature, that are individual species where maybe there’s myths or misconceptions about,” he explained. “That can be very deadly to an animal — people think like with a scorpion, you watch a James Bond movie and the bad guy slips underneath the covers, goes over and sticks someone and they die. That’s the mentality with snakes and things like that, so we always try and use those kinds of animals so we can show the other side of that, which is the importance of them. That’s one of the overall themes of the entire program — that’s the overriding thing is the importance of all animals.”
The show isn’t all about debunking myths of mysterious animals, however. Kemmerer balances that with his guests like Fat Amy, the two-toed sloth.
“It’s a double-edged sword. People look at a lot of animals like they’re Hollywood villains, or on the flip side, that they’re Disney characters that want to give you a big hug,” he said. “Both of those extremes are very dangerous to animals.”
Three-time Tony Award-winning Broadway show “Bandstand” will be making a mid-week stop at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center Thursday.
The show, set in 1945, details American soldier Private First Class Donny Novitski returning home from the war and trying to return to his singer and songwriter career.
Novitski leads a band of fellow veterans in a competition for American’s next swing band sensation, battling the demands of the competition and after-effects of war.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.