Playhouse Bowl

Photo by Carl Booth

Tony Surachi’s The Highway Man performs in Banning in 2017.

BY DAVID JAMES HEISS

Record Gazette

After a year-long forced hiatus in light of the pandemic, the Playhouse Bowl returns next month for Banning’s traditional August Evenings in the Park summer concert series, with an added bonus of an additional concert in September.

“The bands we’d already booked for last year all agreed to stay on and let our deposits we’d paid in advance for last year’s shows be applied to this year, which is great” says Playhouse Bowl Co-Chairwoman Justine Naus. “We’re adding a fifth one this year as a thank you to the Pass area for supporting us and hanging in there.”

Co-chairwoman Lynette Espinosa adds “2020 was the first time since its inception in 1952 that the Playhouse Bowl Association had to cancel production of the Evenings in the Park. We are appreciative that the city is able to assist us financially this year, and are proud to be a signature event of the city,” which enables the city to contribute $12,500 towards the program.

In 2015 the city designated the Concerts in the Park and Stagecoach Days as “signature events,” giving them priority for funding and in-kind services if the city has the resources to provide them.

The Playhouse Bowl Association has lined up Beach Boys tribute band Surf City All Stars on Aug. 5; Doobie Brothers tribute band Listen To The Music on Aug. 12; tribute band Journey Unauthorized for Aug. 19, and Tennessee River on Aug. 26, a tribute to Alabama.

An additional concert on Sept. 2 will feature a return of Tony Suraci’s The Highway Man, a tribute to the Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson). An amazing artist with unbelievable vocals who can seamlessly and perfectly move from each of the Highway Men.

Tony Suraci’s The Highway Man band also concluded the 2017 Playhouse Bowl season.

The Concerts in the Park are funded largely through donations during intermission, and via memberships and sponsorships.

All shows are free and begin at 7:30 p.m.

Banning’s Park and Recreation Director Ralph Wright, whose department maintains the Playhouse Bowl, is looking forward to seeing it at full capacity again.

“The city is excited that one of our signature events, the 68th annual Evenings in the Park series, will again be able to offer the great music in Repplier Park that Banning has grown accustomed to. The series provides an opportunity for the community to come together and see amazing musical talent in a format that is fun for individuals and families. I would like to thank the Playhouse Bowl Association’s tireless work that has led to the series’ return.”For information on the free concerts, visit playhousebowl.com .

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , and messages may be left at (951) 849-4586 x114.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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