Lauren Rabaino

The campus wouldn’t be complete without the imaginative touch presented year-round by the Cal Poly Arts program.

With acts, plays and performances in just about every genre you can think of, the performing arts world comes alive inside the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center.

So what shows are creating the buzz around campus this year?

“I would suggest that students check their calendars for ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, comedians Caroline Rhea, Tom Papa and Marc Maron,” marketing coordinator Lisa Woske said.

“Weird Al” Yankovic, a Cal Poly alumnus who gained

notoriety from spoofing popular songs, will be performing Oct. 9, so students better make sure to reserve their spots fast. His first single, “My Bologna,” was recorded in the men’s bathroom on the second floor of the graphic arts building.

Rhea, known for her role on “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch” and for appearances on other comedic television shows and movies, will be performing Oct. 13. Papa, known for multiple appearances on late-night talk shows and for starring in the NBC sitcom “Come to Papa,” will be performing the first week in winter quarter.

Also, singer and Broadway star Sam Harris, kung fu
troupe Shaolin Warriors and “The Wedding Singer,” a Broadway musical based on the popular Adam Sandler movie, are expected to hit the PAC with a bang.

However, before seats can be filled, there is a tremendous amount of hard work that goes into the production of Cal Poly’s arts programs. Interim Director Peter Wilt attends three booking conferences a year where he gets the chance to scout out available talent and watch short fifteen-minute artists’ showcases.

“We look for a good balance between music, dance, theater, Broadway, comedy and so forth,” Wilt said. “We also consider what artists the music and dance faculty might like, and we seek their input.”

When it comes to the creative aspect, the arts department surpasses expectations. “Every year we try and add something new and different,” Wilt said. “Generally, we have at least three or four Broadway musicals, two or three dance companies, a symphony orchestra, some world music, dance and traditional theater.”

However, the professors and arts staff can’t be given all the credit. There is a student who serves on the board of directors whose input is always taken into account.

“We have a small staff for a big program. We do almost as many events as UCSB and they have double our staff,” Wilt said.

No matter who is responsible for picking the events and performances, the Cal Poly arts department can be expected to present a little something for everyone.

Between their presentations of music, dance, classical, world culture, pop, blues and so much more, everyone is guaranteed to walk away with a favorite show from the season.

“Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the Dance,’ coming up on Nov. 13, is something to keep a look out for,” Wilt said. “This program features Irish step dancing, … la Riverdance. I plan to add three or four more events throughout the season, but I am not ready to announce any more at this time.”

For students enjoying residential life here on campus, there’s more to expect than ready-to-serve meals and an easy walk to class, for the arts department has an arrangement with the housing office in which they purchase tickets that are then given out to dorm residents.

“The residential life program has their staff choose a few shows throughout the season, and they purchase a block of tickets for students, hoping to expose them to the various live performances at the Performing Arts Center,” Woske said.

This cultural student outreach program is coordinated through dorm residential advisors and staff. Students can learn more about opportunities by speaking with their RAs.

“We also offer student rush on many of our shows. This means that one hour prior to curtain students can purchase tickets to one of our events for only $5,” Wilt said.

Students should check the Cal Poly Arts Web site to see if rush tickets will be available for particular events that might interest them.

“This past season we sold more rush tickets than every season before, partly due to the fact that we were able to offer them for ‘Hairspray,’” Wilt said. “It was the first time we had been able to offer rush tickets to a Broadway musical.”

Another perk that Cal Poly Arts offers to students is the chance to become a subscriber. To be a subscriber, you have to purchase tickets to at least four of the 40 events that Cal Poly Arts offers.

Students receive a discounted price already and then can get an additional 10 percent off by purchasing the package.

“This past season we also had more student subscribers than ever before,” Wilt said.

There are five different ways you can go about ordering your tickets for shows. To see all five ways go to www.calpolyarts.org/tickets/ordering.php.

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