Arts & Culture

Slew of entertainment scheduled for SLO County this fall

‘Clifford the Big Red Dog — Live!’ is coming to the Cohan Center on Oct. 31.
‘Clifford the Big Red Dog — Live!’ is coming to the Cohan Center on Oct. 31.

You couldn’t afford those pricey plane tickets. Somebody booked all the best spaces at your favorite campsite. And your plans for a weeklong road trip ran out of gas.

Never fear, staycationers. This autumn, the world comes to you.

A slew of multicultural acts are headed to the Central Coast in September and October, from Hawaiian hula dancers to Chinese acrobats to English rock icons. You can celebrate election season with The Capitol Steps, commemorate the Mexican Day of the Dead with Quetzal, and spend Halloween with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

And, best of all, you can do it without ever leaving home.

Here’s a partial sampling of the acts coming soon to a performing arts venue near you.

‘Three Sisters’

Severson Theatre | Through Sept. 30 ($28 to $30)

Family comes first in Anton Chekov’s critically acclaimed tragi-comedy, produced by PCPA Theaterfest.

Set in rural Russia during the turn of the 19th century, “Three Sisters” centers on the Prozorov siblings: matriarchal Olga, a schoolteacher who wishes she had wed instead; unhappily married Masha, who falls for an idealistic soldier; and young Irina, who dreams of returning to Moscow. Meanwhile, their brother Andrey has issues of his own.

‘Aloha: Today, Tomorrow, Always’

Spanos Theatre, Cal Poly | Sept. 15 ($24 to $28)

Two hula dance groups —Na Mele o Ke Kai of San Luis Obispo and Hoapili Pomaika’i Aloha of Santa Maria — come together for an enchanting evening of Hawaiian dance, music and culture.

About 50 colorfully clad dancers will showcase two hula styles: Hula Kahiko, an ancient form of storytelling complete with chanting and traditional drumming, and Auana Hula, the Western-influenced style most familiar to modern audiences. They’ll be accompanied by slide guitar, ukulele, guitar and bass.

Rodney Crowell

Clark Center for the Performing Arts | Sept. 21 ($38 to $44)

Although Jerry Reed is the one who discovered singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, alt-country queen Emmylou Harris can take credit for introducing Crowell to the mainstream. After recording one of his songs, she asked Crowell to play rhythm guitar in her backing band.

Today, Crowell is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist whose songs have been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Crystal Gayle. His 1988 album, “Diamonds & Dirt,” produced five consecutive No. 1 singles.

National Circus of the People’s Republic of China

Cohan Center, Cal Poly | Sept. 25 ($17 to $34)

If you like the Peking Acrobats, you’ll love this touring circus troupe.

Founded in 1953, the National Circus of the People’s Republic of China features some of China’s finest trapeze artists, contortionists, jugglers and acrobats performing crowd-pleasing feats that push the limits of human strength, balance and agility. Audience favorites include the Great Teeterboard and the Grand Flying Trapeze.

The Capitol Steps

Cohan Center | Sept. 26 ($29 to $54)

Just in time for election season, here’s the political parody group that puts the “mock” in democracy.

The Capitol Steps have been skewering current events in song since 1981. Originally comprised exclusively of Congressional staffers, the Washington D.C. troupe has released more than 30 bipartisan albums over the years, including 2012’s “Take the Money and Run for President.”

Prepare for an evening of sly, wry songs and skits ripped from the headlines.

Elvis Costello

Cohan Center | Sept. 29 ($55 to $85)

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend 2010’s sold-out show, don’t despair. Grammy winner Elvis Costello is back for more.

Known for his thick-rimmed spectacles, slick fashion sense and unmistakable voice, the English singer-songwriter has written some of rock’s most literate hits, including “She,” “Pump It Up,” “Radio Radio” and “Watching the Detectives.”

Don’t miss this chance to see the rock icon in an intimate solo setting.


Avila Beach Golf Resort | Sept. 29 ($37)

After his previous band, Uncle Tupelo, went belly up, singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy formed one of the most influential alternative rock groups of the last two decades: Wilco.

Since 1995, the Grammy-winning band has released 10 studio albums, including 2002’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and 2004’s “A Ghost is Born.” Wilco is also known for its two-disc “Mermaid Avenue” collaboration with British folk singer Billy Bragg.

Join Wilco and special guest Jonathan Richman for an afternoon of music in the sun.


Cohan Center | Oct. 2 and 3 ($26 to $70)

What performing arts show goes through eight bananas, 30 brooms and 12 boxes of matches in the course of a single week?

The answer is STOMP, the pulse-pounding production that creates rhythms using ordinary objects such as paper bags, cigarette lighters and metal trash can lids. Launched in London in 1991, STOMP aims to astound audiences with its performers’ percussive prowess.

Dehli 2 Dublin

Spanos Theatre | Oct. 5 ($26 to $40)

Described by one magazine as the “United Nations of rock ’n’ roll,” this multi-cultural Canadian band specializes in a genre-bending, world-spanning blend of Bhangra, Celtic, hip-hop, rock reggae and electronic music.

Combining global rhythms and club beats, Dehli 2 Dublin puts a fresh spin on the traditional sounds of table, dhol, fiddle, guitar and sitar. Slip on those dancing shoes and get ready to groove.

‘The Best Man’

San Luis Obispo Little Theatre | Oct. 12 through Nov. 4 ($15 to $25)

Backstabbing, double-dealing and fighting dirty may sound like modern concepts, but they were widely recognized as “politics as usual” when Gore Vidal penned “The Best Man.”

The play, which premiered on Broadway in 1960, takes place behind the scenes of a national political convention. Principled intellectual William Russell and ruthless, ambitious Joseph Cantwell are both vying for their party’s nomination, but only one candidate has what it takes to become President.

Lynn Anderson

Clark Center | Oct. 19 ($39 to $48)

Four decades after its release, Lynn Anderson’s signature song — “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden” — remains one of country music’s biggest crossover hits.

The song, which spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard country chart, even won Anderson a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971.

Anderson’s other hits include “You’re My Man,” “How Can I Unlove You,” “Cry” and “Listen to a Country Song.”


Spanos Theatre | Oct. 19 ($28 to $35)

Join Chicano rock band Quetzal as they celebrate the Mexican holiday known as “El Día de Los Muertos” — the Day of the Dead—with music, dance and storytelling.

Founded by Quetzal Flores, the Los Angelesbased band uses its music —a mix of Mexican and Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock music — as a tool for social change.

Jake Shimabukuro

Cohan Center | Oct. 27 ($17.50 to $55)

In Jake Shimabukuro’s capable hands, the ukulele is transformed from a traditional Hawaiian instrument to a musical force of nature. Using just four strings and two octaves, he’s able to channel folk, rock, jazz and classical music — creating a sound that’s both technically proficient and profoundly moving.

Come hear the Hawaiian native perform a selection of original tunes and cover songs.

Jimmy Webb

Clark Center | Oct. 27 ($32 to $40)

You know his songs: “Wichita Lineman,” “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” But do you know Jimmy Webb?

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has been cranking out platinum-selling pop hits, including “All I Know,” “McArthur Park” and “The Worst That Could Happen,” since the 1960s.

Here’s your chance to hear Webb performing songs popularized by Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Art Garfunkel and others.

‘Clifford the Big Red Dog — Live!’

Cohan Center | Oct. 31 ($12 to $24)

Fifty years ago, children’s book author Norman Bridwell introduced young readers to a very special friend, Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Now kids ages 3 and up are invited to join Clifford and his friends—Emily Elizabeth, Cleo and T-Bone —on a brand-new musical adventure. This Emmy Award-nominated production teaches audience members that it only takes a little to make a big difference.

Reach Sarah Linn at 781-7907.