New entertainment venue brings Vegas, New York City acts to the Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A new touch of entertainment is coming to the Grand Strand in April.

The Waccamaw Center will be home to The Asher Theatre, which will bring Vegas and New York City acts to the area.

Widely-acclaimed impressionist, comedian, and musician James Stephens III - the "Man of a Thousand Voices" is the man behind the idea to launch The Asher Theatre.

Stephens has roots in Myrtle Beach and decided to bring this new entertainment scene to the Waccamaw Center.

"So, we are going to bring something completely new. As the Bible says, we are going to bring light to the darkness and we are going to bring some really cool stuff," Stephens said.

With multiple units sitting empty for years, the Waccamaw Factory Shops were once a staple of the Grand Strand, bringing in hundreds of people a day.

Stephens is among the business owners trying to bring it back to the way it used to be, pairing it with his vision to boost the entertainment options for the area's growing number of visitors.

Stephens is the star of the family-friendly show "Man of a Thousand Voices" at Asher Theater. It's "Vegas-styled" with a five-member band and will play every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.

He isn't the only one excited for the new entertainment. Nicholas Seely, a photographer who works at Art and Frame in the same Waccamaw Center Complex, said he looks forward to this.

"I think it's exciting. I think it's something that Myrtle Beach needs. I think we are limited on art in general, whether it be in theatre, music, like here photography and paintings itself. So, I think it's exciting to bring more to the art culture in Myrtle Beach," Seely said.

Stephens' act will include spot-on impressions of stars like Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Randy Travis, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis, Stevie Wonder, Lil' Wayne, and even Kermit the Frog.

Stephens is not just an entertainer, he is a philanthropist as well. The James Stephens Foundation has been around for 25 years. On April 13 and April 14, the scholarship gala for the foundation will be held at the new Asher Theatre.

The man with a thousand voices and a huge passion for entertainment has high hopes for The Asher Theatre.

"There's like 18 million people coming here every year. They are saying by 2020, 20 million people will come here every year. So, what we want to have when they come here is look," Stephens said. "A lot of times Myrtle Beach is shut down, even with the entertainment. But this place is never going to shut down. We are going to have things going on - Sunday night jazz, Sunday Church the Musical going on, the Apollo night going on during the week, and this is a Christian theatre and that's what makes it so cool."

The Asher Theatre is also a conference and event center. It will host a soft opening April 12 with a free show for locals.

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