Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, Chinese acrobats and Legally Blonde these are some of the featured shows in next year’s lineup at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center.
Director of Cal Poly Arts Steve Lerian said it took about seven months to successfully fill this year’s lineup with shows sure to create hype and draw large crowds.
“I get a jigsaw puzzle of artists that we can afford, (artists) people will want to see and those who will make for the best season,” he said.
Lerian said shows like “Spring Awakening,” scheduled for Jan. 30, and “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” scheduled for Feb. 28, are expected to draw large crowds of students. “Spring Awakening,” a rock-musical set in 1890s Germany, is an eight-time Tony Award-winning performance and was called the “most gorgeous Broadway score this decade” by Entertainment Weekly. “Spamalot,” the story of King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail, is also a Tony Award-winning production.
While some are repeat visitors to the performing arts center (PAC), this year’s shows are potentially more student-friendly.
“This is my second season booking shows and I learned a lot about what people want to see more and less of from the first season,” Lerian said. “People don’t thirst for old, chestnut Broadway. They need newer shows.”
Lerian said he likes to keep Cal Poly students and San Luis Obispo community members in mind when choosing shows. However, booking specifically for students is difficult because they have yet to produce a large turnout, he said.
Lerian said students are turned
off by the thought of paying for a small show, but if more students paid to see shows, Cal Poly Arts would book bigger names.
In addition, Lerian said it is hard to compete with the free shows offered by Associated Students Inc. and larger venues like Chumash Casino.
To compete with other venues, shows are added throughout the season mostly because San Luis Obispo is the perfect spot for tours to stop and play a show for the night.
“Cal Poly is in an interesting position because we are exactly have half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles,” Lerian said.
Despite battling for bookings and venues, Lerian said he is excited to see the comedic stylings of Bill Cosby on Sept. 26, as well as Steve Martin strumming away on a banjo to his Grammy-winning, grassroots folk music on Oct. 6.
Lisa Woske, head of Public Relations for Cal Poly Arts, said it’s currently the middle of the ticket-subscription period, which continues throughout the season.
Woske said the best savings, which come to 20 percent off face value, are available through fixed-series packages, which are based on show genres.
The other type of subscription is a create-your-own package. If four to seven tickets are purchased, there is a 10 percent discount on each ticket; if eight or more tickets are purchased, there is a 15 percent discount on each ticket.
Lerian also said students, faculty and staff each get an additional 20 percent off the ticket price; therefore, students can receive 40-percent savings. Students have the option of purchasing student rush tickets an hour before the show for $13.