Cheers: Manatee Performing Arts Center thriving ahead of schedule

Only 2 years old, the Manatee Performing Arts Center is now sizzling hot as a venue -- far more than the home of the Manatee Players.

The center's idea to spread its wings after its third year in operation fell far short, with phenomenal expansion before the July start of year three. The coming year's schedule features 213 shows, ranging from several Players series, concerts and comedy to artists, authors and films. Plus, there's a family series.

As Herald arts writer Marty Clear reported this month, the total number of performances in each series puts next year's count at a remarkable 616.

The performance overlap is readily apparent since there are only 365 days in a year.

Wow. The center truly took off like a rocket. Everyone knew this grand facility would be a community treasure, but this fast? Very cool.