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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Mondavi Center to make shows more accessible to students

Known for hosting artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, speakers like Sarah Silverman and David Sedaris, performances by the New York Philharmonic and other notable events such as the Whitman/Brown 2010 Gubernatorial Debate, The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts keeps true to its mission of bringing shows that will not only attract but enlighten students with its 2011-12 lineup.

With performances by k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Improvised Shakespeare Company and the U.S. premier of Ballet Preljocaj: Blanche Neige, the Mondavi Center has packed the schedule with a variety of shows.

“There’s going to be at least one thing for everyone to look forward to this year,” said Amanda Caraway, public relations coordinator of the Mondavi Center.

But aside from classical artists and performers, the Mondavi Center hosts various other types of professionals. Movie screenings, spectacles, world music, comedies and talks given by authors summarize the sort of shows to anticipate. Along with live performances and speakers, weekly movie screenings are held as a part of a series of filmed operas. With two stages, the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre and Jackson Hall, The Mondavi Center allows for private and large-scale performances.

“Whatever area it is, we want people who we think are the best or who are emerging and we’ll bring them onto campus early on in their career,” said Don Roth, executive director of the Mondavi Center. “Along with tried and true performers on the Mondavi stage, brand new shows and first-timers to UC Davis are on the list of shows for this year.”

The Improvised Shakespeare Company creates Shakespearean plays based on a plot that is given to them by the audience, a first for this stage, in April. The Scottish Ballet makes its UC Davis debut in October, and the U.S. premier of a contemporary Snow White “spectacle” arrives in March.

“We have an all-male ballet company performing in February. They’re mean in drag in full makeup dancing,” Caraway said. “Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to UC Davis, and according to the Mondavi Center website, this group remains one of the most popular dance troupes in the United States.'”

Those in charge of recruiting performers and setting up shows attend conferences where artists showcase their talent.

“Anytime we bring a theatre or dance company, we see it first. We have to get a feel for how it’s going to work in one of our halls. With music, we don’t have to see everything,” Roth said. Bringing the best shows to UC Davis students translates into buzz about artists, enrichment of the arts and expansion of knowledge of other cultures.”

The Mondavi Center is also working alongside the Entertainment Council this year.

“We’re in talks with the Entertainment Council to utilize our resources to bring more student-oriented shows,” said Erin Palmer, Aggie Arts director of the Aggie Arts Program. “Aggie Arts is a first-year yearly internship program that works with four students to get feedback from students about classical performances as well as gain administrative skills.”

Because the goal of the Mondavi Center is to provide easy and accessible tickets to see artists that the students will enjoy, student prices and deals are promoted. Something many students never find out is that every first-year student gets a free ticket to any show they want. Whether they are a freshman, a first-year transfer or a first-year graduate student, a free ticket can be obtained through the box office.

For the rest of the students, tickets can be purchased half price any time, all the time. This discount applies to any show, but only one ticket can be purchased with the discount at a time. Students are not limited to the amount of shows they can use the discount for, however.

Because of the popularity of this year’s lineup, The Mondavi box office will be selling tickets this Friday to sold-out shows for the season.

“We think it’s important for every student to see every artist we have here, so we hold 10 percent of tickets for students,” Caraway said. “From noon to 6 p.m., students can bring their student ID to purchase their ticket for half price to these sold out shows.”

ELIZABETH ORPINA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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