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Carpenter Center’s 2016-17 Season

Published: May 2, 2016

Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, brings his supercharged laugh-out-loud classic living room slide show to the Carpenter Center stage on Oct. 15.
Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, brings his supercharged laugh-out-loud classic living room slide show to the Carpenter Center stage on Oct. 15.

The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at CSULB has announced its 2016-17 season featuring a mix of music, comedy, dance and family performances that reflect the broad cultural landscape of the Greater Long Beach community. Currently, the season is available for renewing subscribers and by a priority invitation, available online at For a detailed look at the season, a free preview event will take place at the theatre on Monday, May 9, at 7 p.m. Single tickets and subscriptions will be available online on Friday, May 20.

“For more than 20 years, the Carpenter Center has enriched the CSULB campus and our Southern California neighbors with engaging high-caliber performances,” said Carpenter Center Executive Director Michele Roberge. “Our reputation for delighting audiences extends into 2016-17 with an outstanding array of performances that reveal the imagination, creativity and discipline of artists from all over the world.”

The Carpenter Center continues to present a variety of popular, professional performances—assembled for purchase into five series—which are complimented by additional single-event performances.


Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Saturday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m.
Under the artistic direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, Complexions continues to lead the way with its unprecedented approach to contemporary ballet. A show that literally rocks—with the Southern California premiere of Strum, set to the music of Metallica, plus a piece on unrequited love set to J.S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy.

Saturday, Jan. 28, 8 p.m.
The brainchild of Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt—two former principal dancers of The Royal Ballet—BalletBoyz is London’s hottest groundbreaking and distinctly masculine dance company renowned for its exciting and innovative blend of live performance and original filmwork. Featuring two new commissions by Pontus Lidberg and Javier de Frutos, the evening takes an elegant, powerful and provocative look at life and death.

Balé Folclórico da Bahia
Saturday, March 11, 8 p.m.
Direct from Bahia in northern Brazil—a place where otherwise long-forgotten gods are still remembered—comes this irresistible troupe famous for its explosive drumming, feverish dancing and uncontainable energy. Balé Folclórico da Bahia brings thrilling choreography, joyous rhythms and a feisty, flirtatious exuberance to every performance.


Peter Gros of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom
Saturday, Oct. 1, 8 p.m.
Embark on an adventure with Peter Gros—former co-host and current ambassador of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom—as he shares both the exciting world of wildlife and timeless tales from his travels. He takes you into the wild—introducing the audience to exotic animals on stage, while highlighting his many explorations with a mix of video clips and inspirational stories.

The Peking Acrobats will be coming to the Carpenter Center on Jan. 21.
The Peking Acrobats will be coming to the Carpenter Center on Jan. 21.

The Peking Acrobats
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2 and 8 p.m.
A Carpenter Center favorite, the masters of agility and grace return with a mesmerizing performance featuring all the excitement and festive pageantry of a Chinese Carnival. Rooted in more than 2,000 years of history and tradition, the Peking Acrobats are experts at treacherous wire walking, trick cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting and gymnastics. A legacy of superb talent and rigorous training, they amaze sold-out crowds wherever they perform.

The Jason Bishop Show
Saturday, April 29, 8 p.m.
As America’s hottest illusionist, Jason Bishop mystifies audiences with stunning and original state-of-the-art magic, award-winning sleight of hand, and one-of-a-kind grand illusions delivered with a totally modern energy and an outstanding rock soundtrack. From exclusive grand illusions to close-up magic projected onto a huge screen—no other touring illusionist showcases such a diverse array of talents and virtuosity.


George Takei
Saturday, Nov. 12, 8 p.m.
Join George Takei—the noted actor and activist with a signature wit—as he offers insight into his rise to celebrity as a sci-fi icon, his remarkable journey as social media luminary and his passionate role in the fight for LGBTQ equality in America. Dedicated to empowering others to beat the odds and make a difference, Takei reveals the story of his family’s forced internment as Japanese Americans during World War II in this intimate evening.

Paula Poundstone
Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m.
Paula Poundstone is back with her legendary ability to create humor on the spot. Armed with nothing but a stool, a microphone and a can of Diet Pepsi, she can find the hilarious angle of almost any subject—from the absurdity of the political world to the deviousness of housecats—and deliver it with impeccable timing and razor-sharp wit.

John Cleese
Saturday, Mar 18, 3 and 8 p.m.
Comedic master John Cleese—often regarded as the funniest man alive—returns to share hilarious anecdotes about his colorful life and career, which spans more than 50 years. Best known for his idiosyncratic turns in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “Fawlty Towers” and “A Fish Called Wanda”—Cleese enthralls audiences worldwide with his wit, charm and unique brand of unrelenting humor.

Dinner/Beverage Service 6-6:50 p.m. / Performance 7 p.m.

Marquee Five
Back Porch Swing
Wednesday-Thursday, Sept. 21-22, 7 p.m.
Marquee Five brings a spunky, intelligent flair with tight harmonies and exciting five-part arrangements as they visit hits by greats like George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and more.

Mandy Harvey
Wednesday-Thursday, Nov 9-10, 7 p.m.
“From the first note, Mandy Harvey tames her audience into stunned appreciation,” proclaims the Los Angeles Times, as the jazz singer effortlessly glides from breathy jazz standards to growling blues.

Michael Griffiths’ Cole
Wednesday-Thursday, Feb. 1-2, 7 p.m.
Griffiths pays homage to Cole Porter—and his legacy that continues to sparkle—with all of Porter’s provocative and witty lyrics as well as sophisticated rhythms and melodies.

David Burnham
Wednesday-Thursday, April 26-27, 7 p.m.
The Broadway star (“Wicked,” “A Light in the Piazza”) returns with a strong, confident baritone that soars into the tenor range and a charm that’s undeniably magnetic.


The Urban Renewal Project
Ellington and Basie Big Band
Sunday, Oct. 2, 2 p.m.
This L.A.-based band fearlessly pulls the big band sound of yesteryear into the 21st century using all the instruments from that bygone era to create a signature sound that blurs the boundaries between pop, soul, jazz and hip-hop. Their Carpenter Center debut pays homage to Duke Ellington and Count Basie with a funky mix that promises to captivate.

The Jive Aces
Sunday, Nov. 27, 2 p.m.
Kick off the holidays as The Jive Aces deck the hall with high energy music, wild stage show and irresistible humor. The UK’s No.1 jive and swing band performs energetic renditions of Christmas classics and fresh arrangements of classics—from such greats as Louis Prima, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and more—leaving the audience cheering.

Mona Golabeck
The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Sunday, March 12, 2 p.m.
Mona Golabek intertwines some of the world’s most beloved piano music in this poignant tribute to her remarkable mother, Lisa Jura, as she shares the true story of how the young Jewish pianist escaped Nazi-controlled Austria and triumphed through her talent.

Four by Four
A Tribute to The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Bee Gees and Motown
Sunday, April 30, 2 p.m.
A stellar cast of four sensational entertainers perform the hits from four of the most iconic musical styles in pop music history. This Vegas style revue is complete with fun costumes and choreographed production numbers like “Twist and Shout,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” “Surfin’ USA,” “Stayin’ Alive,” and more.


N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk
Thursday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m.
This compelling and comedic play—written by three men who were tired of being typecast and discriminated against because of the color of their skin—returns once more to directly confront racial slurs and stereotypes while stimulating cultural awareness and acceptance.

Charles Phoenix
This is Americana!
Saturday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m.
Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, supercharges the classic living room slide show into a laugh-out-loud celebration of spectacular mid-century car culture, space age style, landmark attractions, festive fashions, outrageous architecture, theme parks and much, much more.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia
Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny
Sunday, Nov. 13, 1 and 4 p.m.
This hour-long staged adaptation—perfect for ages 3-8—features endearing puppets, stunning scenery, evocative music and stories that have delighted generations. “Goodnight Moon” celebrates familiar nighttime rituals, while “The Runaway Bunny” tells a pretend tale of leaving home and a parent’s love.

David Benoit Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown
Saturday, Dec. 17, 8 p.m.
Get your entire family into the spirit of the season with a Carpenter Center holiday tradition of
cherished Vince Guaraldi tunes and more—starring jazz pianist David Benoit, featured vocalist Sara Gazarek and special appearance by the All-American Boys Chorus.

Capitol Steps
Saturday, Jan 14, 8 p.m.
The election may be over, but the laughter continues. Capitol Steps returns with brand new and up-to-the-minute political satire song parodies that take aim at the outrageous goings on—from the campaign trail, Congress and other political hot spots. Their trademark no-holds-barred approach to the headlines of the day in song and sketch is guaranteed to keep both sides of the aisle laughing, bringing down the house…and senate.

Collin Raye
Thursday, Jan. 26, 8 p.m.
One of the true hit makers of the 1990s, Collin Raye continues to crank out soulful, heartfelt material with the honesty and richness that is signature to his vocals. With 21 Top 10 singles including four No. 1 hits: “Love, Me,” “In This Life,” “My Kinda Girl,” and “I Can Still Feel You,” Raye has long been considered as one of country music’s most passionate and energizing showmen.

The legendary José Feliciano visits the Carpenter Center on March 4.
The legendary José Feliciano visits the Carpenter Center on March 4.

José Feliciano
Saturday, March 4, 8 p.m.
A true living legend, José Feliciano delivers an exhilarating and magnetic performance while displaying remarkable dexterity on the guitar and a voice that resonates with strength and power. Accompanied by his band, Felciano shares his trademark ability to re-invent rock classics with a Latin spin, as demonstrated in one of his biggest hits “Light My Fire.”

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
J.S. Bach: Circle of Creation / conceived, scripted, and programmed by Alison Mackay
Thursday, March 9, 8 p.m.
J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation combines text, music, stunning projected video and images to explore the world of the artisans—papermakers, violin carvers, string spinners and performers—who helped J.S. Bach realize his musical genius. This latest multimedia creation by the acclaimed Alison Mackay redefines the concert experience.

Pink Floyd LaserSpectacular
Friday, April 21, 8 p.m.
The cult favorite returns by demand after five sold-out appearances. Experience two hours of thrilling visuals choreographed to one of the greatest bands of all time, Pink Floyd. With vivid multi-screen video projections, cutting-edge laser technology, and the Carpenter Center’s state-of-the-art sound system—it’s got all the excitement of a live concert.

Patti LuPone
Don’t Monkey with Broadway / conceived and directed by Scott Wittman / musical direction by Joseph Thalken
Sat, April 22, 2017 8 p.m.
In “Don’t Monkey with Broadway,” two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone explores, through indelible interpretations of classic Broadway show tunes by the likes of Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, how her life-long love affair with Broadway began—and her concern for what the Great White Way is becoming today.