For some folks, Labor Day weekend signifies the end of carefree summer fun.
For others, it marks the beginning of a fall performing arts calendar packed with hilarious comedy, delightful dance, marvelous music, thought-provoking theater and more.
Here is a small sampling of the events in store for the Central Coast this September and October. For a partial list of November events, click here.
Labor Day Boogie
Pozo Saloon, Sunday ($18.75 to $125)
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“Can’t You See” that this is the perfect way to spend Labor Day weekend? Seminal Southern rock group The Marshall Tucker Band — which, according to show business legend, takes its name from a blind Spartanburg, S.C., piano tuner — headlines this afternoon-long concert.
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Sept. 11 ($35)
Talk about a birthday party! Southern California punk band Social Distortion is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its self-titled album by playing 1990’s “Social Distortion” in its entirety. The album includes the hit songs “Ball and Chain,” “Let It Be Me” and “Story of My Life.”
Clark Center for the Performing Arts, Sept. 12 ($42 to $54)
Jim Messina returns to the Clark Center stage with former Poco bandmate Rusty Young in tow.
In the course of his career as a recording engineer, music producer and singer-songwriter, Messina has worked with rock band Buffalo Springfield, country rock group Poco and pop-rock duo Loggins and Messina. He’s had a hand in hits including “Danny’s Song,” “House on Pooh Corner” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Sept. 13 ($45)
In 1995, standup comedian Brian Regan made the first of 27 appearances on “The Late Show with David Letterman” debut — and secured his status as one of the funniest people in show business.
Recently seen in the movie “Top Five” and the Web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Regan is ramping up for his next Comedy Central special.
George Thorogood and the Destroyers and Buddy Guy
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Sept. 20 ($50 to $90)
This can’t-miss concert promises two music legends for the price of one.
Blues rocker George Thorogood and his band, the Destroyers, found success in the late 1970s and ’80s with such hits as “Bad to the Bone” and “I Drink Alone.”
Blues guitarist Buddy Guy, whose hits include “Mustang Sally” and “Stone Crazy,” has received six Grammy Awards and influenced rock icons including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
La Guitarra California Festival
Cohan Center and Spanos Theatre, Cal Poly, Sept. 25 through 27 ($18 to $42, $10 master classes)
Calling all classical guitar fans! This biennial festival features three days of concerts and master classes showcasing 17 musicians, plus a guitar-related art exhibition, a vendor fair and two guitar auctions.
Mavis Staples and Joan Osborne
Cohan Center, Sept. 29 ($40 to $80)
Staples and her family band, The Staple Singers, dominated the airwaves in the 1970s with rhythm and blues hits including "Respect Yourself" and “I’ll Take You There.” She’s also enjoyed a successful career as a solo artist.
Osborne is best known for the song “One of Us.”
“Other Desert Cities”
Marian Theatre, PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Sept. 18 through Oct. 3 ($29.50 to $39.50)
Old wounds are reopened and closely guarded secrets are exposed in this searing comedy-drama by Jon Robin Baitz, set during the holidays in Palm Springs.
The trouble starts when the liberal daughter of prominent Republican parents returns home after a six-year absence and announces her plans to publish a tell-all book about her family’s past. The news throws their Christmastime reunion into chaos.
“Frankenstein’s Bride, or, The Girl of My Screams”
Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville, Sept. 21 to Nov. 15 ($19 to $25)
This musical horror spoof returns to the Melodrama stage just in time for Halloween.
Set 15 years after the death of Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s famous Creature, “Frankenstein’s Bride” follows a mad scientist’s attempts to reanimate the monster and make him a spouse with the help of Frankenstein’s reluctant grandson. The fun, family-friendly show is stuffed with musical parodies, pop culture references and one-liners.
“How I Learned to Drive”
San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, Sept. 25 through Oct. 11 ($22 to $30)
A young girl learns the rules of the road in Paula Vogel’s subtly funny yet emotionally devastating drama.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning play follows the strained, sexual relationship between Lil’ Bit and her Uncle Peck, a veteran and recovering alcoholic. Along the way, “How I Learned to Drive” grapples with issues of incest, pedophilia and misogyny while emphasizing the basic humanity that binds people together.
Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 2 ($69 to $125)
Drummer Ringo Starr is getting a little help from his friends on tour — specifically Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren and Gregg Bissonette.
Starr spent about eight years as a member of legendary rock band The Beatles before launching his solo career in 1970. A nine-time Grammy Award winner, Starr was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this spring.
Classics in the Cohan
Cohan Center, Oct. 3 ($20 to $80)
The San Luis Obispo Symphony kicks the 2015-2016 season — its first without longtime Music Director Michael Nowak in more than three decades — with this classical music concert.
Nir Kabaretti, artistic and music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony, will conduct cellist Zuill Bailey and the orchestra. The program includes Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy” and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.
Pewter Plough Playhouse, Oct. 9 through Nov. 8
Presented as a staged reading last year, Gardner McKay's play returns to the Pewter Plough Playhouse this fall as a fully fledged production.
"Sea Marks" follows the long-distance love affair between Colm, a lonely Irish fisherman, and Timothea, a Welsh farm girl who works at a Liverpool book publishing house. Cast members Christopher Law and Mara Purl reprise the roles they played back in 1984.
“Rusticana Cavalleria” and “Pagliacci”
Cohan Center, Oct. 10 and 11 ($10.50 to $80)
Opera San Luis Obispo celebrates its 30th anniversary with a double feature: two hour-long operas set in southern Italy in the 1880s.
“Rusticana Cavalleria” follows a young man who returns home to find his fiancée has married a businessman, igniting an illicit affair, while “Pagliacci” involves a clown driven to murder by his wife’s infidelity.
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 16 ($65 to $75)
Think you’ve heard the last of British heavy metal band Judas Priest? In the words of one of the band’s songs, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”
The group, which achieved superstar status in the early 1980s with songs including “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight,” is touring in support of its 17th studio album, “Redeemer of Souls.”
Metal band Mastodon will open the show.
Reduced Shakespeare Company
Cohan Center, Oct. 16 ($29 to $44)
If you love to laugh, but hate lengthy productions, this show is for you.
The Reduced Shakespeare Company, best known for condensing the works of William Shakespeare into bite-size bits of merriment, tackles the subject of comedy through the ages in “The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged)” – a witty, fast-spaced production that seeks to answer, once and for all, why the chicken crossed the road.
Let’s Hang On!
Clark Center, Oct. 17 ($39 to $50)
Fans of the Broadway show and movie “Jersey Boys” will love this tribute to the tight harmonies and crisp choreography of iconic vocal group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Let’s Hang On! features seasoned singers and musicians performing songs including “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like A Man.” This polished stage show will make audience members nostalgic for the 1960s and ’70s.
Alonzo King Lines Ballet
Cohan Center, Oct. 20 ($30 to $40)
San Francisco choreographer Alonzo King is no stranger to innovative works, and his latest creation is no exception.
His dance troupe’s latest show, “Biophony,” was created in collaboration with natural soundscape artist Bernie Krause and composer Richard Blackford. Merging dance, music and audio recordings captured in the Alaskan tundra, the African savannah and the rainforests of Borneo, “Biophony” examines a planet in peril.
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Oct. 23 ($40 to $55)
It might come as a surprise that heavy metal icon Marilyn Manson — the controversial shock rocker who describes himself as an “All-American Antichrist” — is also smart, sensitive and exceptionally well-spoken.
The Grammy nominee, whose real name is Brian Hugh Warner, first gained fame in the 1990s with his platinum-selling albums “Antichrist Superstar” and “Mechanical Animals.” He’s touring in support of his ninth studio album, “The Pale Emperor.”
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Cohan Center, Oct. 29 ($38 to $58)
Before she got her big musical break, singer Sharon Jones worked as a corrections officer and an armored car guard for Wells Fargo Bank. It’s safe to say, however, that she always belonged behind a microphone.
Together with her Grammy-nominated group, the Dap-Kings, she’s helped spearhead the modern soul/funk revival movement and collaborated with the likes of Michael Bublé, Amy Winehouse and They Might Be Giants.
Clark Center for the Performing Arts
487 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande
489-9444 or www.clarkcenter.org
Cohan Center and Spanos Theatre, Cal Poly
1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo
756-4849 or www.pacslo.org
Great American Melodrama
1863 Front St. (Highway 1), Oceano
489-2499 or www.american melodrama.com
Pewter Plough Playhouse
824 Main St., Cambria
927-3877 or www.pewterploughplayhouse.org
90 W. Pozo Road, east of Santa Margarita
438-4225 or www.pozosaloon.com
San Luis Obispo Little Theatre
888 Morro St., San Luis Obispo
786-2440 or www.slolittletheatre.org
Marian Theatre, PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre
800 S. College Drive, Santa Maria
922-8313 or www.pcpa.org
Vina Robles Amphitheatre
3800 Mill Road, Paso Robles
227-4812 or www.vinaroblesamphitheatre.com