Come shop at Boscov's in White Marsh Mall Oct. 5, and hear Shirley Jones belt out the show tunes.

The department store's return to the mall, where it will fill the empty anchor spot it left nearly four years ago, will be kicked off with a special ticket-only preview day to benefit local non-profit groups.


Besides an opening day of shopping with grand opening specials, in-store entertainment and gift giveaways, the preview will feature two performances by the Academy Award-winning singer and actress in the store's auditorium.

Jones, known for roles in Carousel, The Music Man, April Love, Oklahoma and TV's The Partridge Family, will be singing songs and telling stories from her movie, stage and TV career. She won the Oscar for her role as Lulu Baines in Elmer Gantry.

Boscov's has built auditoriums in more than half of its 40 stores, using the space for community events and fashion shows. And when a store opens in a new market, the regional chain usually brings in celebrities to perform.

Albert Boscov, the retailer's chairman and CEO and son of the founder, like to bring in singers or comedians for an opening week, said Esta Neugroschel, a spokeswoman for the chain. Past headliners in auditoriums that typically seat 150 to 200 people have included Mickey Rooney and Morey Amsterdam.

"Mr. Boscov loves singers to appear," Neugroschel said. "He loves to have somebody who can just do a show."

For the White Marsh reopening, in remodeled space at the mall, Jones will perform daily from Friday, Oct. 5 through Saturday, Oct. 12, with free shows daily at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Previous sneak preview days have attracted thousands of customers, with many lining up for the 10 a.m. store opening.

Tickets for the Oct. 5 preview cost $5 and can be purchased from one of 65 non profits, each of which have been given tickets to sell and will keep the proceeds. Each ticket holder will get their choice of a free gift, a $10 three-piece Melamine Mixing Bowl Set or a $10 Kitchenworks Oven to Table Baking Dish.

Boscov's, a family-owned retailer based in Reading, Pa., filed for bankruptcy protection in the summer of 2008 and closed Baltimore area stores in White Marsh Mall, Owings Mills Mall and Marley Station, just two years after taking over the spaces from Macy's. The company emerged from Chapter 11 in late 2009.

Last fall, it reopened a location in Eatontown, N.J. Shirley Jones also performed there for a week.

"She's fabulous, and she does a full hour show," Neugroschel said.

Before last year, Jones had never worked with Boscov's, Neugroschel said.

"We explained that we're a department store, but we want entertainment," she said. "We explained about our community auditorium and the seating and band and sound systems and lights. She liked it so much she's back again. It's a fun environment."

Tickets can be purchased from one of the participating non-profits or at the door.