The Young Americans show choir is celebrating its 60th anniversary with “The Sounds of the 60s” and you can view the show now through Oct. 30 at Center Stage in Eureka Springs.
The Young Americans were founded in 1962 by Milton C. Anderson with the goal of presenting the country’s youth in a positive light. It became one of America’s first show choirs, touring throughout the U.S and eventually internationally as well.
This is the choir’s second season performing at Center Stage, which offers a dinner theatre as well as show-only tickets.
“We’re finally here and we’re so excited about that,” said Leif Green, CEO of The Young Americans. “Some of the cast members are back from last year and some are new.”
The choir is made up of youth ranging in age from late teens and up. While they are far removed from the 1960s in age, they are perfectly in tune with it in song, dance and dress. Sporting bellbottom pants, fringe-laden vests, flowers in their hair and multicolored clothing, the choir members belt out song favorites that feature the best of folk, rock, British invasion, pop and Broadway from the 60s.
Kristy Balthazor, owner of Center Stage, said the show is entertaining and energetic. It runs Thursday through Sunday; Thursday is an evening show and Sunday is a matinee. On Friday and Saturday, a dinner theater is offered in addition to the show only. Balthazor said people should consider the complete experience of the show plus dinner.
“Come on over to Center Stage because we’ve got it all for you,” Green said.
He also explained that The Young Americans are not just a touring show choir. “We’re a two-year performing arts college where we teach performing arts or the teaching of performing arts,” Green explained. The accredited performing arts college gives students the opportunity to study their craft, travel around the globe, perform on stage and help communities through music outreach programs for kids. It also offers performing arts workshops and summer camps and is based in Corona, California.
“COVID hit us hard,” he said. “So we’re rebuilding and getting recruitment numbers up. We’re putting an eye toward diversity in a way The Young Americans never did before. We have a scholarship program with full scholarships including housing and everything.” He added that he would like to set up a Northwest Arkansas scholarship and is working toward that goal.