UPDATE: ‘Cats’ and ‘Rent’ among performances coming to McAllen Performing Arts Center

The McAllen Performing Arts Center

McALLEN — In an effort to continue attracting high-profile musicals to the city, the McAllen Performing Arts Center will feature “Rent,” “Cats” and “Blue Man Group” over the next year, the city announced on stage Thursday morning.

Also coming to McAllen over the next year will be “Finding Neverland,” “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” “We Will Rock You,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Jersey Boys,” “The Illusionists” and “Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles.”

Tickets will go on sale this summer, and season ticket holders will get first dibs, city officials said.

The performances will span from “Cats” on Oct. 18 to nearly a year from now, when “Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles” will appear at the Performing Arts Center on May 1, 2020.

The Performing Arts Center has seen many sell-out performances since the building opened in late 2016, including Tony Bennett, “Mamma Mia,” “The Lion King” and other standout shows. A wider audience was introduced to the Performing Arts Center in October, when CNN rented the facility for a live townhall with former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who at the time was challenging U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for his Senate seat.

A large-scale production, city officials afterward said they received plenty of positive feedback about the building after the townhall. On Thursday, they were still impressed.

“This is a really complicated facility, really something I’ve never seen before,” City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said after Steve Ahlenius, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce president, remarked about its beauty. “I’m so, so happy that it turned out the way it did.”

On Thursday, though, city officials were looking ahead. Ahlenius and Convention Center Director Yajaira Flores said people have been flowing to the Performing Arts Center from across the country.

“Tourism is a huge economic driver,” Ahlenius said. “And I think communities are beginning to wake up to how they can play a roll in building that infrastructure that is going to drive people to come and to spend their money here, stay in hotels, eat at the restaurants and enjoy.”