Bill’s Best Bets: Time to play ball at Tech, Janie Fricke and Sounds of West Texas offer Valentine’s music, shudder at ‘My Bloody Valentine’

Entertainment offerings remain diverse this weekend, including the return of headliner Roger Creagor at Charley B’s, 5402 Fourth St., on Saturday.

Three stage comedies enter their second weekend: Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever,” by Texas Tech School of Theatre and Dance, at the campus’ Maedgen Theatre;  “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” at Lubbock Community Theater, and “The Little Mermaid” performed by Moonlight Musicals at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. For more on the first two, click here to see last week’s Best Bets.

Read on for this week’s Best Bets.

Red Raider Baseball

One hopes we have seen the last precipitation this week. Warmer temperatures would help, also.

Texas Tech’s talented varsity baseball team opens the 2020 season at home this weekend, with the common goals shared by Coach Tim Tadlock and his players being a Big 12 championship and a return to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Not surprisingly, one opponent is visiting from Greeley, Colo., expecting much better baseball conditions in Lubbock.

The weekend finds the Red Raiders playing two games against the Houston Baptist University Huskies and another two games vs. the University of Northern Colorado Bears.

All games will be played at Rip Griffin Park at Dan Law Field, 2901 Drive of Champions on the Tech campus.

The season opener, pitting Tech vs. Houston Baptist, is 1 p.m. on Friday.

Baseball fans receive a treat on Saturday with a doubleheader.

One admission price covers both games. Tech will conclude its two-game series vs. the Huskies at noon Saturday. The day’s second game pits the Red Raiders against Northern Colorado, with an estimated first pitch time of 4 p.m.

Closing the weekend series is a second game pitting the Red Raiders against the Bears of Northern Colorado, with first pitch at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.texastech.com, and also will be available at the stadium box offices at Dan Law Field.

Janie Fricke

Cactus Theater owner Daryl Holland enjoys celebrating legacies of recording stars.

He has that opportunity again with a Valentine’s night concert headlined by country music legend Janie Frickie at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cactus Theater, 1812 Buddy Holly Ave.

Even today, Frickie, 72, tells reporters, “All I ever wanted to do was sing.”

She was born in South Whitley, Indiana, and raised on a 400-acre farm. This was where her father taught her how to play the guitar. Early performances were at county fairs and corporate trade shows; stardom found her recording almost two dozen albums, most recently in 2012 and combining talent and personality to captivate audiences around the world.

Popular contemporary, Lubbock-based recording artist Kenny Maines will open Friday’s show..

Tickets are available online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/janie-fricke-country-sweetheart-special-guest-kenny-maines-tickets-78036556441.

Reserved seats are $35 on the four rows nearest the stage. Tickets for remaining floor seats and traditional balcony seating are $30. Limited seating in the balcony box are $60; those in box seats pay no additional charge for concessions, provided they show their ticket before ordering.

Take note: Listed Cactus ticket prices are “base prices;” varied fees and tax always will be added to base prices at time of purchase. Tickets also can be purchased in advance by using a link at cactustheater.com.

All sales are final. The Cactus Theater does not permit exchanges, refunds or credit for future shows in exchange for unused tickets. The theater’s box office is staffed at 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, unless Monday is a major holiday.

Call the Cactus at 762-3233. More information also is available at online sites www.cactustheater.com and https://tinyurl.com/yfypmx4z.

Through Fricke’s press release, one learns she began her career “singing in a little church up the road,” where her mom played piano. She accepted opportunities to sing at local coffeehouses even while attending Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Instead, she pursued a music career, initially working in music marketing in Memphis, Dallas and Los Angeles. She found success first as a jingles singer and was heard by millions as the voice in commercials for United Airlines, Coca-Cola, 7-Up and Red Lobster.

That led to session work singing behind such country artists as Loretta Lynn, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis and Johnny Duncan. After their deaths, she was one of several who performed on tribute albums for Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley.

Country music fans asked who sang the line “Shut out the light and lead me” in the Johnny Duncan single “Stranger,” when it hit the top of the charts in 1977. That was Fricke.

Soon she was singing duets with Merle Haggard, Moe Bandy and others.

This work led to her first major recording contract.

The industry had to pay attention when she recorded such hits as “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me Baby,” “He’s a Heartache” and “Your Heart’s Not In It.”

Still best remembered for hits recorded from the 1970s through the mid-‘80s, Fricke won the coveted Best Female Vocalist award twice from the Country Music Association, in 1982 and 1983.

She earned nominations and awards at a myriad of annual country awards shows. Her name is on the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walkway of Stars, and twice she was nominated for Grammy Awards.

In total, Fricke recorded 23 albums, with 36 of her songs rising the music charts to hit status.

She still records, but gives fewer concerts these days. When relaxing, she spends more time with family and pets and noted she still attends a church close to home. Values learned at church, the singer said, helped her become the woman she is today – and guided her on her journey from Indiana farm girl to international recording star.

‘My Bloody Valentine – Love Bites’

No doubt best known for its decade of success scaring anyone and everyone during the weeks preceding and during each Halloween holiday, producers of Nightmare on 19th Street this weekend will bring back popular attractions for nightly “My Bloody Valentine” fear fests.

Surprising shocks, professional horror makeup and professional performances can be expected in the same four attractions that worked so well last October.

At the least, call this a very original Valentine’s dating opportunity. Frightened visitors may work up an appetite for Valentine’s chocolate.

Publicity arrived via a four-line stanza: Roses are red, Violets are blue, Valentine’s is weird, So let us scare you.”

Tours for “My Bloody Valentine – Love Bites” can be scheduled between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Lonestar Amphitheater, 602 E. 19th St.

Tickets are $25 for all ages. Those dropping by as late as 10:30 p.m. can still see all four attractions.

‘Death by Chocolate’

The Valentine’s weekend attraction at CATS Playhouse, i.e. Children and Adults Theatrical Studio, is the play “Death by Chocolate.” I was unable to track down the name of the playwright; this could be a local original.

But it sure sounds like fun and is directed by Chris Davis.

The mystery will be staged on two weekends, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again on Feb. 21 and 22, at the CATS Playhouse, 2257 34th St.

Tickets are $16 for the general public, and $12 for seniors and all students. Tickets are available at the theater box office, or can be purchased in advance online at https://.tinyurl.com/tkq92wo. Information also is available at www.catsplayhouse.com.

The story: Members of the newly renovated Meadowbrook Health Resort are dropping like flies, including famous chef Edith Chiles. On the eve of the grand re-opening, this is not the best advertising. So it is up to John Stone, the manager, to identify the murderer and solve the mystery.

Sounds of West Texas

Kurt Kiser will emcee and one can expect a surplus of performances by gifted Lubbock entertainers, as Songs of West Texas producer Betty Smith stages the annual Sounds of West Texas Valentine’s concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Cactus Theater, 1812 Buddy Holly Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Classic and Popular Love Songs.”

Floor and standard balcony tickets are $20. Limited seating in the balcony box are $40; those in box seats pay no additional charge for concessions, provided they show their ticket before ordering.

Take note: Listed Cactus ticket prices are “base prices;” varied fees and tax always will be added to base prices at time of purchase. Tickets also can be purchased in advance by using a link at cactustheater.com.

All sales are final. The Cactus Theater does not permit exchanges, refunds or credit for future shows in exchange for unused tickets. The theater’s box office is staffed at 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, unless Monday is a major holiday.

Call the Cactus at 762-3233. More information also is available at online sites www.cactustheater.com and https://tinyurl.com/ut47k8c.

Door prizes will be given away, including one before the show begins.

Performers include “special guests” Jeff Bailey, Bo Garza, Mark Gillham and J.W. Margrave.

Other confirmed entertainers are Leah Bynum, Megan Bynum, Steve Burrus, Danny Dukatnik, Ray Espinoza, Jimmy Henderson, Brenda Hopkins, Mike Huffman, Donnetta Lippe, Donnie Martin, Johnny Richardson, Betty Smith, Keith Smith, Mark Wallney, Terry Westbrook and Steve Williams.