By September 5, 2015 Read More →

BigView – Performing Arts Season

The BigView
By Chris Murphy

September used to be “back to school”. The Tuesday after Labor Day was dedicated to the classroom. Now, the kids are back to school in August and Labor Day is just an extended weekend as we transition into “Performing Arts Season”. There are so many great events that are happening at the Gallo Center, the Turlock Community Theatre, the West Side Theatre, The Center Stage Conservatory, Prospect Theatre Project and stages from Stockton all the way down to Merced. Don’t forget our school drama programs as our next generation of talented kids practice and rehearse for their fall presentations at local schools and through the YES Company. This is really a fun time to enjoy events on the big stage, from local Rolling Stone tribute shows at the State Theatre to cool jams at the Barkin’ Dog, there is literally something for everyone.

There is something really special about a live stage performance. There is nothing like it, the energy, the sound, the risk of a mistake, and the interaction between the performer and the audience is magic. If you are at a restaurant that features live music, there is an energy in the air that makes the evening special. You can request a song, cheer for a performer, or you can stand up and shout in appreciation. But best of all, you can dance the night away. Live music and entertainment is life, it is energy, and it can be the soul of a city. We are loaded with great things going down this fall.

Here is our call to action: Get tickets. Go out. Attend a show. Buy a CD. Get a T-shirt from a local band and most importantly, if you are going out, invite some friends and turn them on to something new.

Here is a preview of some of the amazing shows and performances happening in the greater Modesto area this fall:

The Gallo Center
This is a classic case study of “if you build it, they will come”. The Gallo Center for the Arts is drawing people to Modesto from all over the central valley. If you hate driving home from the Bay Area at night after a show like I do, then you know how excellent a show at the Gallo Center is. Bonnie Raitt, John Legend, Jason Mraz are all people we saw ten minutes away from our house. This fall you can see the season opener Jay Leno, Chris Cornell, Steven Wright, Olivia Newton John, Dave Koz, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Latino, educational, comedy, youth programs and so many more right here at your fingertips. Additionally, in-house companies include Central West Ballet, Modesto Community Concerts, TOP Opera and Modesto Performing Arts. I am a proud founding member of the Gallo Center since it was a blueprint, and am a current member of the Board of Directors for the Gallo Center. This has been an investment in our community that has paid off on every level. If you are not a Friend of the Gallo Center, please consider doing so.

The State Theatre is Modesto’s classic historic film house with perfect acoustics. Every week you can see the best in Indie film and some of the most eclectic musical performances you can find. Local bands and national favorites share the same stage with the stars of the silver screen. It is so nice to watch a movie or a concert with a tub of State popcorn with real butter and sip on a State-tini. This month, enjoy the Women of the West Film Festival on the 11th and a great Rolling Stones Tribute on Sept 19th. www.thestate,org

The Prospect Theatre needs you.
This is a place that is bursting with creativity and is doing innovative shows from film festivals, cool music shows and event poetry slams, all supported by the community, led by a hard working group of performers that believe in live-action stage productions including Prisoner of 2nd Avenue beginning Sept 18. It is lead by Jack Souza and Kathleen Ennis AND, they have a really good bar. The show this month is the Prisoner of Second Avenue, by Neil Simon, playing from Sept 18th to October 4th. Check out their site and become a donor.

Turlock Community Theatre
This is a beautiful room that is located on the campus of Turlock High School. This is a lively room and hosts national touring performers and this month will showcase Last Comic Standing, on Monday September 21st. This kind of comedy show is great because of the Q&A sessions, and all the socializing you get to do with the comedians.

Center Stage Conservatory
At 11th and J St, in the basement of the old Penny’s, now called the City Mall, you can find the Center Stage Conservatory. Innovative theatre, concerts and new stage presentations fill the stage on a monthly basis. This is where our next wave of actors are coming from. This month, catch “Fool for Love” by Sam Shepard (playing until Sept 6th.) Their next show, Orphans, starts on October 16th. Check out our review of “Fool for Love” on

West Side Theatre
Yes, our friends in Newman have a great art deco theatre that presents really cool shows each month. You can count on good blues, bluegrass, folk, and Americana on a regular basis. This month you can get to know the West Side with Golden Bough on the 11th, or The Black Irish Band on the 26th.

MJC and CSU Stanislaus present superb theatrical performances each year, too. At Modesto Junior College this season, see “The Good Woman of Setzuan” starting Thursday Oct 23rd. Stay tuned for more information on their December play, “Welcome to the Hotel Paradisco”.

At CSUS Stanislaus this month is “Incognito, by Michael Sidney Fosburg, Sept 24 & 25th. “Vinegar Tom” by Caryl Churchill is coming Oct 8th and will run until the 18th.

Our friends in Merced have a couple of options, including the beautiful Merced Theater with the tower, now known as the Art Kamanger Center and the long time running Playhouse Merced. You can see American Idol alum and country star Kellie Pickler, and Opera Classic Rock Remix Tom Petty Tributes, Leanne Rimes and more here this season. Playhouse Merced is delivering Evita!

Head for the Hills!
Sonora has amazing performances at the Sierra Rep and Stage 3 that do productions year round. Stage 3 presents the Glass Menagerie this beginning Sept 11 and Sierra Rep is presenting MacBeth through the 13th at the Fallon House and Always Patsy Cline beginning the 18th at their East Sonora theatre.

“For a full list of events If your event or company isn’t listed, please send your info,<>”



Posted in: featured, news, stage & art

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.