Valhalla Art, Music and Theatre Festival starts season in South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Valhalla Art, Music and Theatre Festival starts season in South Lake Tahoe

The Valhalla Art, Music and Theatre Festival is back for its 39th year — and it's bigger and better than ever.

According to festival director Evangeline Elston, the 2018 festival is the organization's "most ambitious season."

"It's a departure from stuff we've done in the past," Elston said, referencing performers who are traveling to South Shore from Las Vegas, Chicago and New York. "There are more concerts, more plays, more of everything — and we spread it from June through October now. We're adding workshops, and trying to fill as many days as we can with stuff that people really will love."

This is the second year that the Art, Music and Theatre Festival will extend through October. In the past, the nonprofit's season concluded in August.

The 2018 festival begins Friday, June 22 — and over the course of approximately four months, Valhalla Tahoe will host a variety of musicians, artists, plays and more. Gospel group Little Faith is the first to perform, taking the stage at Valhalla Boathouse Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"There's every variety of music you can think of, except classical, this year," Elston said. "We've got country, Americana, gypsy jazz, folk music, rock 'n' roll, and James Garner's tribute to Johnny Cash is coming back."

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Aside from other concerts featuring artists including The Nickel Slots and Yolo Mambo, this year's Art, Music and Theatre Festival will showcase entertainers in three productions: "Broadway in Blue" (a contemporary and classic Broadway revue), "Tea for Three" (a one-woman show about three first ladies) and "Steel Magnolias" (the classic story of a bond between women).

WordWave, the one-act play competition, also returns to Valhalla Tahoe at the end of its festival season. For playwrights who want to enter the contest, visit the organization's website for details — the deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 3.

According to Elston, additional highlights include four 25th anniversary performances from Tahoe Improv Players and all-new workshops.

"There are improv workshops for beginners ages 18 and up that are fun ways to learn how to play off other people and develop a sense of humor. We're also doing some movement and rhythm workshops with SambaDa, a Brazilian band who performed here last year," said Elston, adding that the workshops are "wonderful settings to do something educational and fun at the same time."

The Valhalla Art, Music and Theatre Festival has grown over the years: Since 2015, the series grew 87 percent in both attendance and revenue, according to Elston.

"We really looking forward to another banner year," she noted.

Prices vary for festival events. Visit http://www.valhallatahoe.com to view a complete schedule and learn more about the upcoming season.