Arts & Culture

15 can’t-miss events coming to SLO County

The Peking Acrobats perform Jan. 28 at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande.
The Peking Acrobats perform Jan. 28 at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande.

This year, resolve to have more fun.

We suggest you start by checking out the local performing arts calendar. It’s packed with spectacular entertainment, including cool comedy, daring dance, magical music and thrilling theater.

Here are 15 of the amazing acts coming to the Central Coast in January and February.

“’Til Death Do Us Part: Late Nite Catechism 3”

2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, Clark Center for the Performing Arts, $39 to $48

Class is back in session. The latest entry in the sinfully silly “Late Nite Catechism” series finds sassy, sharp-tongued nun Sister (Barbara Manning) instructing her students on sex, marriage and last rites — and conducting her own zany version of “The Newlywed Game.” Audience members are encouraged to take part in the fun.

Jeff Bridges

6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, Fremont Theatre,

$27.50 to $40

Jeff Bridges must have a special place in his “Crazy Heart” for San Luis Obispo.

The Oscar-winning star of “The Big Lebowski” and “True Grit,” who was honored at the 2014 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, returns to the Central Coast this weekend for an intimate concert.

Bridges and his band, The Abiders, most recently performed at the Fremont Theatre in April 2015.

“The 39 Steps”

Jan. 21 through March 6, Great American Melodrama, $19 to $25

Four actors play more than 150 characters in this funny, fast-paced play inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s sensational spy thriller.

Richard Hanney finds the excitement he longs for when a glamorous spy turns up dead in his London apartment. He’s forced to go on the lam in Scotland, fleeing both the police and a mysterious organization known as the 39 Steps.

The Devil Makes Three

Jan. 28, Alex Madonna Expo Center, $25

The Devil Makes Three packed the house with enthusiastic fans when the punk-Americana trio last played San Luis Obispo in January 2015. Now, the band, a perennially popular act with local music lovers, is returning to see if it can repeat the feat.

The Devil Makes Three will be accompanied by singer-songwriter Parker Millsap, whose music blends blues, country and folk.

Tommy Emmanuel

Jan. 21, Cohan Center, Cal Poly, $24 to $45

Two years after his sold-out show in San Luis Obispo, the Australian guitarist is back in town for another evening of fleet-fingered artistry.

Hailed by country legend Chet Atkins as “one of the greatest players on the planet,” Emmanuel is touring with folk group Wisherkeepers in support of his 2015 solo album “It’s Never Too Late.”

Los Lobos

Jan. 22, Cohan Center, $35 to $64

Over the decades, Los Lobos has won three Grammy Awards and released more than 20 albums, including 2015’s “Gates of Gold.” But the Chicano rockers from East Los Angeles have never lost sight of their roots.

Now they’ve teamed up with the dancers of Ballet Folklorico Mexicano for “Los Lobos Fiesta Mexico-Americana: A Celebration of Mexican-American Heritage,” a multimedia production that combines dance, music and film.

The Peking Acrobats

Jan. 28, Clark Center, $36 to $46

Known for their agility, grace and gravity-defying feats, the Peking Acrobats are back to delight Central Coast audiences.

The Chinese troupe, which first wowed Western audiences in 1986, features cyclists, contortionists, gymnasts, jugglers and tumblers demonstrating everything from wire-walking to plate-spinning. They perform in colorful costumes accompanied by traditional Chinese music and high-tech special effects.

“Celtic Nights: Spirit of Freedom”

Jan. 31, Clark Center,

$36 to $48

Celebrate the history of the Emerald Isle with this stirring showcase, which features music, dance and storytelling.

“Celtic Nights: Spirit of Freedom” tells the story of 100 years of Irish independence beginning with the armed insurrection known as the Easter Rising of 1916 — an event akin to America’s Independence Day. It’s a spectacular salute to Celtic culture.

Moscow Festival Ballet

Jan. 31, Cohan Center, $24 to $60

The renowned Russian ballet company brings two works to the Central Coast stage: Peter Illych Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which brings William Shakespeare’s timess tale of love and death to life, and Michel Fokine’s romantic reverie “Chopiniana,” also known as “Les Sylphides.” It’s an elegant evening of classical ballet from one of the dance world’s finest groups.

“Classics Concert III”

Feb. 6, Cohan Center, $20 to $80

This season, a female conductor and female featured soloist will join the San Luis Obispo Symphony onstage for the first time in its 60-year history.

Laura Jackson, music director of the Reno Philharmonic, is picking up the baton. She’ll lead the orchestra and violinist Caroline Goulding as they perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose” suite.

“The Pirates of Penzance”

Feb. 11 through March 6, Marian Theatre,

PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre,

$21.50 to $34.50

Silly pirates, bumbling policemen and a pair of star-crossed lovers feature prominently in the beloved comic opera “The Pirates of Penzance,” created by composer Arthur Sullivan and librettist W.S. Gilbert.

The madcap plot revolves around the romance between Frederic, an orphan who has mistakenly been apprenticed to the Pirate King, and Mabel, the daughter of Major General Stanley.

LeAnn Rimes

Feb. 13, Cohan Center, $50 to $90

Country-pop star LeAnn Rimes made her show business debut at the age 13 with the release of her chart-topping album “Blue.” Since 1996, the Mississippi native with the unmistakably powerful voice has garnered two Grammys, written four books and released more than a dozen albums, including 2015’s “Today Is Christmas.”

Her show benefits Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa charities.


Feb. 19 through March 13, San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, $40 to $45

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Cabaret’s” Broadway debut with San Luis Obispo Little Theatre.

Set in 1931 Berlin, the Tony Award-winning musical centers on English cabaret performer Sally Bowles, who sings at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and her relationship with an American writer. Their story plays out against the ominous backdrop of the Nazis’ rise to power.

The McCartney Years

Feb. 21, Clark Center,

$39 to $48

The life and music of rock legend Sir Paul McCartney are the inspirations behind this tribute band.

The brainchild of bandleader Yuri Pool, The McCartney Years focuses on the 21-time Grammy winner’s greatest hits with The Beatles and Wings — recreating familiar songs such as “Jet,” “Let It Be,” “Live and Let Die” and “The Long and Winding Road” note-for-note.

Tim Minchin

Feb. 24, Cohan Center, $21 to $36

“Multi-talented” might be the best word to describe Australian performer Tim Minchin.

He’s a fiercely funny actor, comedian, composer and singer-songwriter who’s equally at home in front of a camera or behind the keyboard of a piano. What’s more, he wrote the music and lyrics for Tony winner “Matilda the Musical” and is working on a musical stage adaptation of the movie “Groundhog Day.”


Alex Madonna Expo Center

541-0657 or

Clark Center for the Performing Arts

489-9444 or

Cohan Center, Cal Poly

756-4849 or

Fremont Theatre

541-0657 or

Great American Melodrama

489-2499 or

Marian Theatre, PCPA-Pacific Repertory Theatre

922-8313 or

San Luis Obispo Little Theatre

786-2440 or