OCEAN CITY — The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation yesterday announced that The Freeman Stage at Bayside, an outdoor performing arts venue located off Route 54 in the Bayside community, is set to celebrate its sixth season of bringing arts and entertainment to the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Freeman Stage has attracted over 120,000 audience members since 2008, with a diverse offering of dance, theatre, live music, and children’s performances.

The 2013 season will include over 50 performances between Memorial Day and Labor Day, including five special concert events that will include Lyle Lovett & His Acoustic Group on July 10; nine-time Grammy award winner Sheryl Crow on July 14; country superstar Darius Rucker on Aug. 8;, five-time Grammy award winner Michael McDonald on Aug. 10; and Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo on Aug. 13.

Tickets for all paid performances will go on sale to the general public on Monday, April 1 at 10 a.m.

“We have just released our 2013 schedule of events and we couldn’t be more excited about the diversified programs and special concert events that our sixth season will offer to our community,” said Patti Grimes, executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. “So many gifted and talented artists are scheduled to grace our beautiful stage. Adding the special concert events to our lineup over the last few seasons has been a huge success, and we hope that the performances in 2013 will continue to attract new patrons, while also bringing awareness of the importance of Arts in our community. Because of the generous support of organizations like our season sponsors – The Meltzer Group, NV Homes at the Beach, Sodoka, Inc. Charitable Foundation, and Carl M. Freeman Companies – we are again able to offer free admission to 65% of our performances.”

In particular, Grimes was pleased to report PNC Bank has been secured again to sponsor the popular children’s performances on the weekends.

“This year, we welcome back PNC Bank’s Grow Up Great program – whose mission is to prepare children for success in school and life — as a sponsor of our Saturday morning children’s performances. It’s these kind of partnerships that are necessary for the continued success of our mission at The Freeman Stage at Bayside and in our communities,” Grimes said.

Jennifer Joseph, PNC Senior Vice President and Market Executive, said, “Studies have proven that an arts-rich environment helps children succeed in school and life. By partnering with the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation to offer children an array of free artistic activities throughout the summer, PNC is demonstrating its support of arts education and the positive impact it can have on a child’s future success."

Among the performances scheduled this season are such crowd favorites as the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Clear Space Theatre Group, Jesse Garron’s tribute to Elvis, First State Ballet, and the Morgan State University Choir. Also returning in 2013 are the Arts & Jazz Festival, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, local artist John Donato, and Tommy Edward as Sir Rod.

Performers new to the outdoor stage this summer include Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, the Official Blues Brothers Revue, Classic Albums Live, Hits of the Great White Way with Franc D’Ambrosio, Cherish the Ladies, the Doo Wop Project, Bruce in the USA, and many others.

New to The Freeman Stage this year will be two nights called "Locals Under the Lights", where local artists will have their moment in the spotlight to perform right on the Freeman Stage.

The Freeman Stage at Bayside will officially kickoff the 2013 season on the evening of May 25 with a performance of AGA-BOOM, a family fun event featuring physical comedy. Regular weekly performances at The Freeman Stage will commence on June 14 with a performance by the Mid-Atlantic Symphony and will continue throughout the year.  

The Freeman Stage is a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, who partners to present memorable performances and provide inspired arts education for all. This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Grant support is also provided by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, the Sussex County Council, and the State of Delaware.

For a complete listing of all the season’s events, or to find out how to volunteer at The Freeman Stage, call 302-436-3015 or visit www.freemanstage.org.