John Davidson will star at the black tie gala as the Prince Theatre becomes the Garfield Center

Contact:  Lucia Foster, Executive Director
Garfield Center for the Arts
Phone:  410-810-2060
John Davidson will star at the black tie gala as the Prince Theatre becomes the Garfield Center

Curtain’s up!  Light the lights!

The Prince Theatre’s transformation into The Garfield Center for the Arts will be a black tie and superstar affair, with Broadway’s John Davidson as the headliner.

Davidson will appear Saturday night, October 1, in concert on Chestertown’s historic stage.  The show will be the highlight of the Garfield Center’s weekend grand opening celebration that kicks off with a free-to-the-community High Street block party on Friday evening, September 30th.

Davidson’s Saturday night audience will get a show filled with familiar songs and audience banter (if you saw him subbing for Johnny Carson or as a regular on Hollywood Squares, you know that Davidson’s a very funny guy), a tribute to his friend, Matthew Garfield, the Chestertown weekender who has made the theatre’s lobby and marquee renovation possible.

Garfield and Davidson have been friends since the Philadelphia businessman was a Broadway producer and Davidson was his leading man.  Though the 69-year old performer promised himself that he would ease up on his schedule when he moved to Florida last spring, the Garfield Center concert is part of a national tour that’s taking him to stages in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, California and Mexico.

“John Davidson’s going to love the Garfield audience and they’re going to love him!” said Sue Matthews, the popular jazz vocalist.  “He’s going to find an audience that really wants to be entertained.  Anything that you give from that stage is given back ten-fold.”

The black tie gala will start at 6:30 with a cocktail reception in the brand new full-size Kohl Lobby, with the Dick Durham Trio on lobby’s high-tech mini-stage.   There will be champagne and dessert during intermission, as well as the presentation of the Sixth Annual Kenny Award, given for excellence and service in the arts in Kent County.

Tickets for the gala are $75 for general seating and $125 for preferred seats—the three front rows of the orchestra and the first row of the balcony.

The entire community is invited, free of charge, to Friday night’s family friendly block party from 6 to 9 pm.  Chestertown Mayor Margo Bailey will cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of The Garfield Center for the Arts at The Prince Theatre and for the next three hours, there will be refreshments, including popcorn and ice cream treats, face painting, street games and entertainment.  Beer and wine will be available for sale.

The Bay Country Gentlemen will be on the Kohl Lobby’s stage, broadcasting country and bluegrass music to the festival outside.

“This is the perfect way to celebrate the opening of the Garfield Center,” said Philip Dutton, president of the non-profit Prince Theatre Foundation board.  “This theatre is for everyone in our community, so we hope to see as many people as possible at both the street festival and the gala.  And we want people to keep coming back—to perform on our stage and fill our audiences—for many years to come.”

Benefactor Matthew Garfield says his vision is to see The Garfield Center for the Arts develop a strong regional presence, attracting people from all over the Eastern Shore and beyond to quality performances.  He says he’s loved Kent County since he was a camper and counselor at Echo Hill, and he’s loved the theater all of his life.  He wants to see both thrive.

“The theater is good as entertainment, it’s good as an intellectual stimulus and it’s also good for business,” Garfield explained.  “When 200 people come to The Garfield Center, some will visit the shops in town and many will have dinner at a local restaurant.  So the theater is great for the souls and it’s also great for business.”

For further information and to order tickets to the John Davidson concert, go to or call 410-810-2060