A year after going dark, laughter, music returning to Pueblo's Memorial Hall

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Apr. 16—The bright lights, sounds of laughter and live entertainment are returning to the stage at Pueblo's Memorial Hall after more than a yearlong absence forced by the COVID pandemic.

Comedian Carlos Mencia will be the first to take the stage at 6 p.m. May 20 at Pueblo Memorial Hall, 320 Central Main, when he hopes to not only get people laughing again but coming out for live entertainment that benefits a good cause. From the "Mind of Mencia," Comedy Central show to this year's "C 4 Urself Tour," the Honduras native's stop in Pueblo will raise funds for the Dolores Huerta Preparatory High School senior scholarship program.

"This will be our first ticketed event since last March, so after being dark for so long it is definitely nice to get back into the somewhat normal swing of things," said Nick Palmiotti, director of sales and marketing for Pueblo Memorial Hall.

"We are excited to gather again and have people in our building for a great event and certainly are not losing sight of making sure everyone is safe while they are in our building."

For this May 20 event, the audience will be limited to 500 people so participants can spread out with social distancing in mind. Masks will be required, Palmiotti said.

The hall staff were able to obtain a Five-Star Variance to ensure a larger capacity rating, but by the time country singer Josh Turner arrives Aug. 15, "we are hoping we will be approaching full capacity if everything with COVID continues to go well," Palmiotti said.

Dolores Preparatory Principal Fred Segura said the fundraiser's proceeds will enable the school to provide scholarships to all graduating seniors who are planning to continue their educations.

"Last year we were able to award $1,000 to each of our students who were going on to college. We send it directly to them to use for books or food or whatever they may need," Segura said.

"This year, cross our fingers, we hope to get to that level again. We are graduating 44 students and usually about half end up going on to college."

An online silent auction and golf tournament are helping with the fundraising effort. Mencia initially was scheduled to entertain during a dinner for the school last year but it had to be canceled due to the pandemic.

Cost to attend the Mencia show is $40 per person, plus fees.

"We are really looking forward to the second half of 2021 as being pretty impactful as we can continue to open up to larger capacity. We are starting to get a pretty full slate of events," Palmiotti said.

Several dance recitals will take place in May and June. Turner is set for Aug. 15; country musician John Michael Montgomery takes the stage Sept. 9; actor and motivational speaker Chad Prather will bring his "Am I Crazy Comedy Tour" on Sept. 11; country singer and songwriter John Hiatt and the Jerry Douglas Band are set for Oct. 22 and Lance Burton, a master magician and a few of his friends will present a mind-boggling magic show on Nov. 13.

"We are looking at potentially having our first Broadway show in November, another in December and another one in January depending on how the rest of the year unfolds. We have a lot of exciting stuff in the hopper and are just really looking forward to being open again," Palmiotti said.

"Ticket sales are going pretty well already and I think people are excited to go do something and they need a good laugh and a good cause of course."

To find out more about public ticket events, go pueblomemorialhall.com or call 583-4961

Chieftain reporter Tracy Harmon covers business news. She can be reached by email at tharmon@chieftain.com or via Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.