The 2012-13 Cal Poly Arts season is shaping up to be the best one yet, according to Cal Poly Arts Director Steve Lerian.
“I’m very bullish,” he said. “This is our best line up since I got here.”
Lerian said he finally booked shows he’s been trying to get for a long time. He said there will be a strong speaker series and the Broadway offerings are the best they’ve been in a long time.
Big performances include the Blue Man Group (April 8 and 9), which Lerian has been trying to get to the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) since he became director. It will be the group’s first show on the Central Coast.
Ron Regier, managing director at the PAC for the past 17 ½ years, said he is most excited to see the Blue Man Group. He said to get a big group like them to come to San Luis Obispo takes a few lucky breaks and a degree of persistence from Lerian.
“I saw them in Vegas a few years ago and was blown away,” Regier said.
Lerian said the Blue Man Group would probably be the most popular amongst students, as well as British comedian Eddie Izzard (Nov. 3). Izzard recently sold out the Hollywood Bowl. Lerian said he thinks this will be the first show to sell out.
“He has a strange stream-of-consciousness,” Lerian said. “You don’t know if he’ll come out on stage dressed as a man or a woman.”
Other performances coming to the PAC this season include the National Circus of the People’s Republic of China, Elvis Costello, Clifford the Big Red Dog Live!, Irish Tenors, Hair and many more. The full line-up can be found at the Cal Poly Arts website.
Delhi 2 Dublin will be a sleeper show, according to Lerian. He said the group is a fusion of Celtic and Indian music and he’s seen the band numerous times.
“They can blow the doors off the place,” Lerian said. “I challenge anyone to sit still when they’re on.”
The season isn’t the only new thing at the PAC. Regier said the PAC is undergoing a variety of facility improvements, including a new audio system. Harman Hall, the main hall to the PAC, will also receive new seats later this summer.
Patrons driving to see performances from off-campus no longer need to pay any additional fees for parking, Regier said. However, parking isn’t free, he said. The PAC is now paying it as a line item in its budget the amount its paying to Cal Poly to provide the service, he said.
The PAC operates on an annual $2.5 million budget, according to Regier. He said the PAC earns about $1 million or 40 percent of what it takes to operate. The rest is made up from allocations from the PAC’s three partners: Cal Poly, the San Luis Obispo community and the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center, he said.
Wine and viticulture junior Leah Henry said she is very excited to see Erth — The Dinosaur Petting Zoo (Feb. 14). She said she’s always loved dinosaurs and if her date was OK with it, it might be an interesting Valentine’s Day date.
“It would be cool to see them in real life,” Henry said. “Or, at least, what they could look like if they were still around.”
Season subscriptions are on sale now through the Cal Poly Arts website. Single ticket sales begin July 31.
The initial response to the season has been very positive, Regier said. According to Lerian, sales are up 37 percent from last year in the number of ticket sales and on June 30, 6,436 season subscription tickets have been sold — about a 1,700 jump from 2011. Lerain also said around this time last year there were 44 new subscribers. As of July 9, there have been 120 new subscribers.
The season begins with Jumpbrush — Pacific Coast Dance Convergence Aug. 8-11 at the Spanos Theatre. It’s a show for anyone interested in dance, watching dance or watching dance being created, Lerian said.
On July 31, Lerian said there will be a ticket party starting at 9 a.m. with coffee, refreshments and music. The sale officially begins at 11 a.m.
“It’s a drag to stand out there and wait,” Lerian said. “We want to make it fun.”