Arts & Culture

Abundance of entertainment on the Central Coast this winter

‘ ’S Wonderful’
‘ ’S Wonderful’ CAROL ROSEGG

Winter weather dampening your spirits? Maybe a little song-and-dance sunshine will help.

The next two months promise a simply summery array of award-winning musicals, critically acclaimed concerts, amazing animal acts and beautiful ballets. From comedy shows to children’s theater, there’s something to please even the most down-in-the-dumps fan.

Here is a partial rundown of the many performing arts events occurring on the Central Coast in January and February.

W. TERRENCE SPILLER Friday, Spanos Theatre ($6 to $10)

Cal Poly Music Department chair, professor and pianist W. Terrence Spiller kicks off the year’s classical music calendar with a musical tribute to Franz Liszt.

Friday’s concert includes works by Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy and Paul Hindemith. But Spiller dedicates the bulk of the program to the famed Hungarian composer in honor of his 200th birthday.

Proceeds from the recital will benefit the Cal Poly Music Department Scholarship Fund.

‘THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE’ San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, Jan. 14 to 30 ($8 to $12)

Magical adventures await the Pevensie children when they wander into exotic, exciting Narnia in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Based on the beloved children’s book by C.S. Lewis, this family-friendly production follows Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy as they encounter new friends and explore a winter wonderland ruled by the wicked White Queen.

Fighting alongside the noble lion Aslan, the children learn about love, courage, faith and forgiveness.

WORLD FAMOUS POPOVICH COMEDY PET THEATER Clark Center for the Performing Arts, Jan. 16 ($21 to $30)

Where can you see 15 cats, 10 dogs, eight doves, four geese and two parrots performing amazing tricks onstage?

The World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, of course.

Moscow circus star Gregory Popovich and his performing pets have been featured on “America’s Got Talent” and “The Tonight Show.” They’re currently headliners at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO

Cohan Center, Jan. 22 ($20 to $38)

South Africa’s musical heritage is embodied by this Gram-my- winning world music group.

Founded in the early 1960s by front man Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo won international acclaim after appearing on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” in 1986.

Over the years, the all-male a capella group has performed for Queen Elizabeth, Pope John Paul II and Nelson Mandela, singing at the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2010 World Cup.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s rich gospel sound can be heard on the soundtracks of “Coming to America,” “Cry, The Beloved Country” and “Invictus.”

JACK HANNA

Cohan Center, Jan. 23 ($20 to $34)

Known to television audiences everywhere as the host of “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” and “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,” this former zoo director and frequent talk-show guest has dedicated his life to spreading the word about wildlife.

Audience members come face to face with Hanna and his animal ambassadors in this fascinating live show. He’ll show off his feathered, furry and scaly friends and share stories and footage from his adventures around the globe.

THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL SLO Brewing Co., Jan. 26 ($26 to $28)

Do you believe in magic?

Classic pop rock group The Lovin’ Spoonful does. Born out of the Greenwich Village folk music scene of the early 1960s, the band rocketed to the top of the pop charts in 1965 with its first single, “Do You Believe in Magic.” Other hits followed, including “Daydream” and “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice.”

The Lovin’ Spoonful was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Today, the band tours with founding members Steve Boone, Joe Butler and Jerry Yester.

‘ ’S WONDERFUL’

Clark Center, Jan. 27 ($38 to $48)

A small, talented cast celebrates the genius of brothers George and Ira Gershwin in this brand-new musical revue.

Taking its cues from the lives and times of America’s most celebrated songwriting team, “ ’S Wonderful” takes audiences on a journey from New York City in 1916 to Hollywood in the ’40s and New Orleans in the ’50s.

Along the way are performances of more than 40 hit songs, including “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Shall We Dance,” “Rhapsody in Blue” and, of course, the title tune.

‘SPRING AWAKENING’ Cohan Center, Jan. 30

Youthful rebellion meets rock ’n’ roll in the coming-of-age musical “Spring Awakening.”

Originally an 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, “Spring Awakening” stirred up controversy with its frank depictions of abortion, masturbation and other taboo topics. More than a century later, the musical version set Broadway ablaze, winning eight Tony Awards.

Set in Germany in the late 19th century, “Spring Awakening” follows several teenagers struggling with sexuality, morality and society. (This musical contains adult content and language, including brief nudity.)

PETER ROWAN BLUEGRASS BAND Clark Center, Feb. 5 ($29 to $40)

Grammy winner Peter Rowan’s career as a singer-songwriter spans more than five decades — from his early years playing with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe to his stint with bluegrass supergroup Old & in the Way to his successful solo career.

He’s shared the stage with the likes of Jerry Garcia, Richard Greene, David Grisman and John Kahn. Here, Rowan is joined by Paul Knight on bass, Keith Little on banjo and Jody Stecher on mandolin.

Their debut album with roots label Compass Records, “Legacy,” was released in the fall of 2010.

VIENNA BOYS CHOIR Cohan Center, Feb. 8 ($20 to $42)

Officially established by Emperor Maximilian I of Hapsburg, the Vienna Boys Choir has been charming audiences for more than half a millennium.

Clad in matching blue-and-white sailor suits, these youthful singers—ages 10 to 14—perform angelic choral music a capella.

Their repertoire ranges from works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to pieces by more contemporary composers.

‘SWAN LAKE’

Cohan Center, Feb. 10 ($20 to $44)

It’s no coincidence that the ballet at the core of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, is “Swan Lake.”

Peter Illych Tchaichovsky’s enchanting ballet, about a princess who is transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse, premiered in 1877. Over the decades, it’s become a mainstay for professional dance companies.

This full-scale production by the the Russian National Ballet Theatre features more than 50 dancers and a sweeping classical score.

‘ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S THE 39 STEPS’

PCPA, Marian Theatre, Feb. 10 to March 6 ($16.75 to $30)

Unflappable adventurer Richard Hannay is the target of a cross-country manhunt in this Tony Award-winner thriller, based on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film.

MORE SHOWS IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

‘MUSIC FOR THE NEW YEAR’

Congregation Beth David, Sunday. Soprano Maria Jette and pianist Mark Sherman perform traditional Jewish songs and Yiddish theater music. ($15 to $35)

GUITAR MASTERS

Spanos Theatre, Jan. 14. Concert by three of the world’s foremost guitarists, Andy McKee, Eric Johnson and Peppino D’Agostino. ($38)

‘BEST OF THE ORIGINAL LEGENDS SERIES’

Clark Center for the Performing Arts, through Jan. 15. This musical revue features hits by Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Patsy Cline and more. ($20 to $35)

COLIN MOCHRIE & BRAD SHERWOOD

Cohan Center, Jan. 15. Join the stars of TV’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” for a hilarious evening of improvisational comedy. ($20 to $48)

JAMES WELCH

Cohan Center, Jan. 21. The organist performs “The Best of Bach: Bach’s Greatest Masterworks for the Organ” on the Forbes Pipe Organ. ($16 to $24)

THE PEKING ACROBATS

Clark Center, Jan. 21 and Jan. 22. Skilled acrobats defy gravity with feats of strength and agility such as juggling, gymnastics and wire-walking. ($45 to $55)

CAL POLY EARLY MUSIC ENSEMBLE

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Jan. 22. Cal Poly students and faculty members join local professionals for an evening of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. ($8 to $12)

‘ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY’

Clark Center, Jan. 24. The classic children’s book comes to life in this California Theatre Center production. ($8 to $10)

‘SHIFT’

Spanos Theatre, Jan. 28-30 and Feb. 3-5. This annual concert by Cal Poly’s Orchesis Dance Company features artful choreography by students and faculty. ($13)

FACULTY JAZZ CONCERT

Cuesta College Cultural and Performing Arts Center, Feb. 4. Some of the region’s finest jazz musicians come together for a Cuesta faculty concert. ($7 to $10)

‘A NIGHT AT THE MISSION’

Mission San Luis Obispo, Feb. 5. Annual concert by Cal Poly’s chamber music ensembles. ($8 to 10)

BRIAN REGAN

Cohan Center, Feb. 11. A regular guest on late-night talk shows since the 1990s, standup comedian Brian Regan has two Comedy Central specials. ($35 to $60)

‘MOST VALUABLE PLAYER’

Clark Center, Feb. 11. Children will love this inspiring drama about Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball’s first black player. ($8 to $10)

‘DIVA NATION’

Clark Center, Feb. 12. The Four Bitchin’ Babes share what it means to be a diva in the new millennium with hip girl-group harmonies. ($32 to $40)

‘IN THE MOOD’

Clark Center, Feb. 16. This nostalgic musical revue features big band and swing hits by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and The Andrews Sisters. ($36 to $48)

‘THIS IS ROCK ’N’ ROLL!-THE ALAN FREED STORY,’

San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, Feb. 18 through March 20. Singers, dancers and a live band perform hits from the early days of rock ’n’ roll. ($35)

‘TAKE ME HOME: THE MUSIC OF JOHN DENVER’

Clark Center, Feb. 19. Jim Curry pays tribute to the man behind “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine” and “Annie’s Song.” ($34 to $42)

‘FALSETTOS’

Spanos Theatre, Feb. 24-26 and March 3-5. New Yorkers struggle with love, lust and other emotions in this musical set during the early days of AIDs. ($12 to $15)

‘INTERPLAY: THE STAGE BETWEEN’

Marian Theatre, Feb. 25 through March 6. PCPA Theaterfest’s annual festival features new plays in a reader’s theater format. ($12.75 to $17)

CAL POLY CHOIRS AND ARAB MUSIC ENSEMBLE

Cohan Center, Feb. 26. More than 150 performers present music from around the world, with a special emphasis on the Middle East. ($13 to $15)

‘MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT’

Cohan Center, Feb. 28. King Arthur and his knights embark on a harrowing quest in this musical inspired by “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” ($30 to $68)

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