Arts & Culture

17 ways to celebrate a new year of entertainment in SLO County

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana performs Feb. 3 at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in San Luis Obispo.
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana performs Feb. 3 at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in San Luis Obispo. © Angelica Escoto photography

In celebration of 2017, here are 17 ways to salute the dawning of a new year:

“Drumline Live!”

Jan. 16, Clark Center for the Performing Arts ($45 to $75)

Experience the energy and excitement of a halftime show in the Historically Black College and University system when “Drumline Live!” comes to town. Created by the team behind the movies “Drumline” and “Drumline: A New Beat,” the action-packed, percussion-driven show — which features a talented cast of musicians, singers and dancers — is guaranteed to get audiences grooving.

Bach Week

Jan. 17 through 22, various locations ($10 to $35, some events free)

Celebrate the music of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach with six days of concerts, master classes and talks. Mensa Sonora California will perform pieces inspired by Bach’s visit to the court of King Frederick II of Prussia on Jan. 20 at Mission San Luis Obispo. Two other performances — Jan. 21 at Mission San Luis Obispo and Jan. 22 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara — focus on works for larger ensembles, including Bach’s fifth Brandenburg Concerto.


Jan. 17, Cohan Center ($45 to $90)

Hard to believe, but it’s been two decades since “Rent” first rocked Broadway. Inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera “La bohème,” Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award-winning rock musical follows a group of impoverished young artists as they flirt, fight and fall in love in New York City’s East Village. This touring production, intended for ages 13 and up, celebrates 20 years of inspiring stories and soaring music, including the hit song “Seasons of Love.”

“The Foreigner”

Jan. 19 through March 5, Great American Melodrama ($20 to $27)

Oceano’s Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville kicks off its 2017 season with a clever comedy set in the South. While visiting in a rural Georgia fishing lodge, shy Englishman Charlie Baker is mistaken for an exotic foreigner who doesn’t speak English. Soon, he’s privy to a bevy of secrets, as well as a sinister plan involving a preacher, a pretty heiress and the Klu Klux Klan.

Rick Springfield

Jan. 19, Chumash Casino Resort ($25 to $45)

Two things transformed singer-songwriter Rick Springfield into a pop culture superstar in the early 1980s: his hit song “Jessie’s Girl” and his role as hunky Dr. Noah Drake on “General Hospital.” Now the Grammy Award winner is getting back to his acoustic roots with his solo show, “Stripped Down,” which features an intimate mix of music and storytelling.

»» Update: Rick Springfield has canceled his concert at Chumash Casino

“The Price is Right Live!”

Jan. 20, Cohan Center ($35.20 to $59)

If you’re one of the millions of game show fans who love “The Price Is Right,” you won’t want to miss the interactive stage show “The Price Is Right Live!” Audience members can watch as their friends and family members compete for cash and prizes — including appliances, vacations and vehicles by playing classic games such as Plinko, Cliffhangers and The Big Wheel. Come on down!

The Peking Acrobats

Jan. 20, Clark Center ($36 to $46)

Whether juggling, jumping or balancing precariously atop a tower of chairs, the Peking Acrobats excel at defying expectations. The talented troupe includes contortionists, tumblers, cyclists, and gymnasts, all clad in colorful costumes and accompanied by traditional Chinese music. It’s no surprise they’re perennial Central Coast favorites.

Bob Newhart

Jan. 26, Chumash Casino Resort ($45 to $65)

Deadpan wit and a mild, slightly stammering demeanor made Bob Newhart a hit from the moment his album “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart” was released in 1960. The Grammy and Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian went on to star in “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Newhart.” More recently he’s appeared on “The Big Bang Theory.”

Blue Highway

Jan. 28, Clark Center ($36 to $44)

After working with the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Doyle Lawson and Alison Krauss & Union Station, a handful of bluegrass greats came together to form the band Blue Highway. Over two-plus decades, Blue Highway has released more than a dozen albums, including 2016’s “Original Traditional,” and earned multiple bluegrass industry honors, plus three Grammy nominations.

Christoper O’Riley

Jan. 29, Cohan Center ($40 to $65)

He’s best known as the host of NPR’s “From the Top.” But did you know pianist Christopher O’Riley is as talented as the young, classically trained musicians he interviews on the show? Performing as part of Festival Mozaic’s WinterMezzo concert series, he’ll treat audiences to Philip Glass’ “Metamorphosis Two” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.”

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana

Feb. 3, Clark Center ($39 to $46)

Imagine castanet-clicking, hand-clapping dancers in colorful dresses and fringed shawls stamping their heels to the rapid strumming of a guitar. That’s the experience presented by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, which aims to promote the multicultural art form. The Spanish dance company’s show is sure to delight the senses.

Classics in the Cohan

Feb. 4, Cohan Center ($10 to $85)

Nan Washburn conducts trumpeter Phil Snedecor and the San Luis Obispo Symphony in the third concert in the Classics in the Cohan series. (Washburn is one of five finalists vying to become the symphony’s music director.) The program includes Modest Mussorgsky’s stormy “Night on Bald Mountain” and Antonin Dvorak’s lyrical Symphony No. 8.

Brian Regan

Feb. 11, Cohan Center ($50 to $90)

For hilarious social commentary the whole family can enjoy, look no further than comedian Brian Regan, whose observational humor is free of profanity and off-color jokes. Regan regularly shares his sarcastic world view with audiences via live shows, late-night television appearances and standup specials, including 2015’s “Brian Regan: Live from Radio City Music Hall.” His performance here benefits Rotary de Tolosa of San Luis Obispo.

“You Can’t Take It With You”

Feb. 16 through March 5, PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre ($31.50 to $41.50)

Pity poor Alice Sycamore. She has the hots for handsome, wealthy Tony Kirby. But Alice’s large, eccentric family is so delightfully weird that she worries their relationship could never work. Written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, Pulitzer Prize winner “You Can’t Take It With You” introduces audiences to a quirky cast of characters unlike any other.

“Guys & Dolls”

Feb. 17 through March 12, San Luis Obispo Little Theatre ($35 to $45)

You can bet you’ll have a good time when Nathan Detroit and his friends roll into town. In the Tony Award-winning musical “Guys and Dolls,” Nathan convinces Sky Masterson to take a gamble on love by betting him $1,000 he can’t convince pious Sarah Brown to have dinner in Havana. Their resulting romance is accompanied by classic songs by Frank Loesser such as “Luck Be a Lady.”

Darlene Love

Feb. 18, Cohan Center ($28.80 to $66)

As the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” revealed, most backup singers spend their lives in the shadows. But Darlene Love, who’s worked with the likes of the Beach Boys, Sam Cooke and Sonny and Cher, is finally breaking into the spotlight in a solo tour. Her remarkable voice is sure to lift your spirits.

Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains

Feb. 22, Cohan Center ($38.40 to $88)

Journey to the Emerald Island with Celtic music superstars The Chieftains. Winner of six Grammys, the beloved Irish band is celebrating its 55th anniversary with a tour that captures the essence of traditional Irish music, including jigs, reels, ballads and insightful storytelling. Local group Canzona Women’s Ensemble will join the Chieftains in concert.


Chumash Casino Resort

3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez

805-686-3805 or

Cohan Center, Performing Arts Center

1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo

805-756-4849 or

Clark Center for the Performing Arts

487 Fair Oaks Ave., Arroyo Grande

805-489–9444 or

Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville

1863 Front St., Oceano

805-489-2499 or

Marian Theatre, PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre

800 S. College Dr., Santa Maria

805-922-8313 or

San Luis Obispo Little Theatre

888 Morro St., San Luis Obispo

805-786-2440 or