A new logo fronts the Franco Center in Lewiston. The Franco Center is located in the former St. Mary’s Church in the Little Canada section of Lewiston. Submitted photo

The Franco Center has announced its 2023-24 calendar of events which include tribute bands, La Rencontre cultural luncheons with entertainment, orchestra, choir, and piano concerts, book talks by authors, the return of its Fright Night scary walks, multiple Christmas shows, comedy shows, and a bellydancing performance.

One of those comedy shows is the return of the Bricks and Bridges Comedy Fest at the Franco Center in November. Bricks & Bridges Comedy Fest presents The Tightest Five on Thursday, Nov. 9; Rodney Norman on Friday, Nov. 10, and Kelly MacFarland on Saturday, Nov. 11.

“We are happy to announce that we have had several organizations come forward to offer fundraising events for the Franco Center including members of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra; Imari and the Sahara Desert Dancers; and the Windham Chamber Singers,” said Penny Drumm, Franco Center administrator. “Since ticket sales often don’t cover the costs of an event, one of those costs being the artist’s fees, these fundraising events are very important to the Franco Center, as are our business sponsors.”

Jake Hodgkin, production manager at the Franco Center, said, “Our tribute bands will cover music by Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Elvis, Billy Joel, Elton John, The Who, and The Beatles.” He added, “Our Fright Night walks in October will be scarier than last year.”

The Sights and Sounds of Christmas variety and light show will have a matinee show in addition to two evening shows. Hodgkin said, “The matinee show will not have a light show or projection since the Franco Center’s Performance Hall cannot be darkened during the day. The overall emphasis is to give the feeling of an old-fashioned homestyle Christmas. If you are looking to get in the holiday spirit, don’t miss this show.”

The “Just Us” Entertainers will reunite to perform in a special Christmas show at the Franco Center Sunday, Dec. 17. “It’s been a while,” said Nel Meservier, long-time Just Us member. Eight members of the group will perform in the holiday show.


Grant money from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission will fund the Franco Center’s new Books & Stories program at noon on Wednesdays, Sept. 13, Sept. 27, and Oct. 4. Three authors, Suzanne Roy, David Vermette, and Paul Dionne will discuss their books which feature French or Franco American characters. “The authors will have books for sale and signing, but patrons are encouraged to purchase and read the books ahead of the visit and bring their copy to be signed,” said Denise Scammon, marketing and development director at the Franco Center. There is no admission fee for these three Books & Stories events.

One of the events with no admission fee will be a concert program, “The Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom,” featuring soprano Malinda Haslett and Scott Wheatley on piano, at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3. The program is about Jewish women in 1941 Paris who risked their lives to save the music of French women composers.

Although the Franco Center’s calendar appears to be full of their own events, just as many renters will host performances and events at the former church. Patrons will be able to attend performances by Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, Maine Music Society, The Dance Center, Inspired Voices by Tri-County Mental Health Services, Auburn Community Band, Lewiston High School Choir, SPRQ Burlesque, Sandcastle’s Maine’s Got Talent showcase, and comedian Bob Marley.

Doors and cash bar (if it is available) open one hour before an event. Seating is available half an hour before an event.

For more information, contact Susan Spellman, box office manager at the Franco Center. Tickets sold by the Franco Center can be purchased through its box office in person from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays or call 207-689-2000. Ticket purchases can be made online at www.francocenter.org/shows.

The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston. Parking is in the mill lot across the street. Handicap access is on the Lincoln Street Alley side of the building.

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