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BigView – Performing Arts Enrich Our Lives

Performing Arts Enrich our Lives and Community. By Chris Murphy

Everyone remembers playing a part in a school play, preschool talent show, or even a simple game of charades. It is all acting and performing and we all have theatrical moments, good and bad. Music and theatre take us to a different place and many times it is magical. Performing arts were really important in our family and my daughters Madison and Abbey experienced the life changing benefits of performing at Lakewood and LaLoma. I have to specially thank Kaye Osborn, our Performing View writer and long time Lakewood Youth Theatre teacher, for teaching so many kids as well as my girls to find their inner confidence and explore their creativity. To every drama teacher and every director of a professional performance, we are thankful for their gift of performing and helping stars polish their shine.

The performing arts are the window to the soul of our community. Cities with strong arts programs are the creative cities. Creative cities encourage new business and create strong community bonds. This leads to civic pride and economic and educational success. Best of all, the arts take you to a place of inspiration and fantasy that transcends the ages.

We have a wide range of arts in Modesto. Downtown Modesto offers a wide range of options of classic culture, cuisine and community. From the historic State Theatre to the neo-classic Gallo Center and the live music stages of the Brewhouse, Prospect Theatre, Center Stage and other live entertainment venues there is amazing variety. Turlock features the beautiful Turlock Community Theatre and the reborn Carnegie Arts Center. West-siders have the funky and eclectic West Side Theatre. We are fortunate to have the performing arts programs at Modesto Junior College and CSU Stanislaus as well as innovative programs in our high schools teaching a new generate the value of the arts.

September is the start of the new arts season for so many groups. This biggest event of the year is the opening night of the Gallo Center for the Arts featuring Natalie Cole. The 2014/15 season is set to be winner and sales have surpassed last year, so don’t delay getting your tickets. Many community groups like the Townsend Opera Players, Central West Ballet, Modesto Performing Arts and the Modesto Symphony Orchestra all call the Gallo Center home. Touring groups from all over the world visit Modesto and people from all over the region attend events creating an economic benefit for the whole region, fueling our hotels, restaurants and local businesses. Cultural tourism is an important part of our local economy.

Gallo Center for the Arts season opener with Natalie Cole – Sept 20 Here are a couple of other highlights from the season: Alanzo King Ballet – Nov 8 Abbey Road Live – Nov 22 Herb Alpert – Nov 9 The Nutcracker – Dec 12 Mama Mia – Feb 12 Brian Wilson and Al Jardine – Oct 9 Rain Beatles Tribute – January 29 Buddy Holly Story – Mar 8 Don Williams – Mar 5 Sister Act – Mar 26 Lila Downs – April 21

Prospect Theatre Project This is a really cool community project for intimate theatre, dynamic staging and great acting. The 2014/15 season is set to be very interesting and don’t miss out and these performances. Community support is needed to help Prospect get established in their new K Street facility and a donor program is available. See our interview with the founder of the Prospect Theatre Jack Souza on page 14. Julius Caesar Sept 25- Oct 12 The Whipping Man Nov 21 – Dec 7 The Women Feb 6-22 Faith Healer – April 14 – May 10

The State Theatre Both live performances and film grace the beautiful space of the 1934 State Theatre. This is a community treasure for live music, civic group performances and unique events that combine film and live events. Events like the Ill List, MAMA Awards, Senior Spotlights and Graffiti Summer dance events are some of the seasonal highlights.

Turlock Community Theatre The Turlock Community Theatre on the Turlock High campus will be home to many events this year including Last Comic Standing and Bill Cosby January 18

Center Stage Theatre This is the newest of the intimate theatre groups in the lower level at 11th & J Modesto. Kaye Osborn takes a special look at this theater in this month’s performing view. They will be talking on the really interesting Sam Shepard play, True West, beginning on September 12.

High School Performances Star Wars traces roots to Downey High School. Hometown hero and legendary film director George Lucas designed sets for Downey high when he was a student there. Today, Downey High has a full theater arts program, (drama , dance , instrumental music [band and orchestra], and vocal music to do a full Broadway musicals. They plan to do two this year, “Little Shop of Horrors” the end of October (for Halloween) and “Bye Bye Birdie “ in March. The Arts are alive and well at Downey High School , as they have been for over 60 years.

Davis High School will present a Harry Potter-themed murder mystery dinner September 26 and 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Davis High School Little Theatre. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for adults and must be bought in advance by emailing

Modesto High Theatre will produce A Christmas Carol in the MHS Auditorium in December 5, 6, 12 & 13. All shows are at 7:30 P.M.Tickets are available at the door. Tix will be 7.00 for adults and 5.00 for students and youth.

MJC will be making Halloween extra special this year as they present “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Performances will be Oct 23 ,24, 25, 30, 31, Nov 1

Sonora boasts an excellent theatre group that performs first rate productions each season. This year, the Sierra Reparatory Theater presents the Arthur Miller play “All My Sons”. It was written during World War II, but Arthur Miller’s play All My Sons continues to resonate with audiences today. Running August 29 through September 21 at Sierra Repertory Theatre’s East Sonora stage.

For More Info: Gallo Center for the Arts – 209-338-2100 State Theatre – 209-527- 4697 Prospect Theatre Project – 209-549-9341 West Side Theatre – (209)-862-4490 Carnegie Arts Center – (209)-632-5761 Turlock Community Theatre 209-668-1169 Sierra Repertory Theatre 209-532-3120 For regular updated info on live performances –



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.