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Carpenter Performing Arts Center Announces New Season

Published June 12, 2017

The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Cal State Long Beach, announces its 2017-18 Season featuring a captivating mix of music, comedy, dance, spoken word and family-friendly performances that reflect the broad cultural landscape of the Greater Long Beach community.   

“For more than 20 years, the Carpenter Center has enriched the CSULB campus and our Southern California neighbors with engaging high-caliber performances that are as wonderfully diverse as our city,” Interim Executive Director Megan Kline Crockett said. “Our 2017-18 Season presents an exceptional array of performances that reveal the imagination, creativity and dazzling talent of artists from all over the world, with an emphasis on the rich cultural history of our own country. Patrons will discover new artists as well as some of our beloved greatest hits artists from the past 20 years.”

Find all of the season’s upcoming events below, along with artist links and date information.

Wit & Wisdom Series

The Carpenter Center’s popular Wit & Wisdom Series brings three celebrity performers to Long Beach for engaging evenings of insight and hilarity. Famous for her inventive and witty comedy, Sandra Bernhard takes the audience on a cross-country journey to find the soul of America through the back roads and byways on a gas station map in a new show that fuses comedy, rock ‘n roll, political commentary and cabaret. * * * The series continues with high-profile senior analyst for CNN and staff writer for The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin. An unbiased, deeply analytic (and often very funny) expert on American law, politics, and media, Toobin deftly deconstructs some of the most important events of our time. * * * Spend a rousing evening with the leading connoisseur of life’s cherished moments as the host of NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion for more than 30 years, Garrison Keillor, returns with his gentle humor and disarming wisdom.

               Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 8pm

              Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 8pm

               Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 8pm

Dance Series

The 2017-18 Dance Series continues the Center’s reputation as a leading presenter of dance in Southern California. This season, the award-winning choreographer Jessica Lang, artistic director of Jessica Lang Dance, seamlessly incorporates striking design elements and classical ballet into artfully crafted, emotionally riveting contemporary works. * * * Founded by acclaimed dancer and choreographer, Sarah Slipper, NW Dance Project, brings an all-original repertoire to its Carpenter center debut. Inspired by the classic Virginia Woolf novel, Mrs. Dalloway, Slipper’s Woolf Papers is an outstanding model of contemporary dance. * * * Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to the Carpenter Center after five sold-out appearances. The “ballerinas” of this all-male company bring hilarity and inspire awe with a unique combination of ballet, parody and physical comedy.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 8pm

Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 8pm

Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 8pm and Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 2pm

WOW! Series

The WOW! Series offers dazzling sights, daring feats and that special something that makes for a performance to remember—the wow factor. The series begins with MOMIX Opus Cactus, a multimedia experience that brings the American Southwest to life with blazing images of cactuses, slithering lizards and fire dancers. With his talented company of dancer-illusionists, Artistic Director, Moses Pendleton, conjures a fantasy world of visual splendor filled with fresh energy and fun surprises. * * * Next in the series, MUMMENSCHANZ returns with you & me, a visually-stunning spectacle that celebrates the timeless love and mutual joy between the audience and the performers of the legendary Swiss-based troupe. * * * The series concludes with a performance by the canine daredevils of Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience. All former rescue dogs, these adorable athletes perform more delightful antics than you can shake a stick at.

Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 8pm

Saturday, February 3 at 8pm

Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 1 & 5pm

Cabaret Series

Unlike any other Carpenter Center offering is the intimate Cabaret Series, where patrons are seated on the stage less than 40 feet from the performers. Patrons enjoy table seating with the option to partake in dinner and/or bar service before the show. Michael Kaeshammer, who has earned a loyal international following as a vocalist and piano virtuoso, will lead off the series with a performance combining elements of jazz, blues, boogie-woogie and more. * * * 2016 Grammy Award-nominated René Marie’s style is rooted in Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Eartha Kitt. Her soul-stirring music and personal story captivates audiences and affirms the power of the human spirit. * * * Mandy Harvey returns with a brand new show, her incredible voice adding to her message as she weaves her magic through a songbook that glides from breathy jazz standards to growling blues to inspiring originals. Although Mandy experienced profound hearing loss at age 18, her timing and pitch remain perfect. * * * Humor and nostalgia are the hallmarks of a Robin Spielberg concert. In American Tapestry, Robin and her trio perform fresh arrangements of American gems interwoven with new music and the stories that inspired them.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 7pm and Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 7pm

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 7pm and Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 7pm

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 7pm and Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 7pm

Sunday Afternoon Concert Series

This season’s Sunday Afternoon Concert Series opens with the Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra. After 15 years together, the SHO is considered to be the tightest salsa band working today. With an unwavering respect for the music’s rich history, these 13 world-class musicians and vocalists come together to create an unparalleled musical experience. * * * From the classic sound of five guys singing tight harmonies on a street corner to the biggest hits on the radio today, The Doo Wop Project takes us on a journey from the Belmonts through Smokey Robinson, all the way to Jason Mraz and Amy Winehouse. Featuring stars of the Broadway hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical. * * * The U.K.’s No. 1 jive band, The Jive Aces return to bring on the swing in a show that features the band’s inimitable take on classics by such greats as Louis Prima and Cab Calloway. Audiences are invited to jump, jive, and wail along. * * * The Charleston, South Carolina-based quintet, Ranky Tanky, closes out the concert series with the exhilarating and timeless music of the Gullah culture—from playful songs to heartbreaking spirituals and delicate lullabies. Gullah (also called Sea Island Creole English and Geechee) is a language spoken by the Gullah people, an African-American population living on the Sea Islands and in the South-eastern coastal regions of the United States. “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!”

Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 2pm

Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 2pm

Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 2pm

Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 2pm

Single Events
The Carpenter Center offers something for everyone with an array of performances that are not part of a subscription series. Described as a “Wickedly Delicious Musical Treat,” Hansel and Gretel is a brand new family-friendly rock musical based on the beloved Grimm Brothers’ fairytale. Featuring a score by Grammy-nominated songwriter Justin Roberts, it is set amidst an animated wonderland inspired by the whimsy of Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl. * * * The Capitol Steps return with political satire and hilarious song parodies that take aim at all the outrageous goings-on in the world of politics—from Congress to the White House and other hot topics. Their trademark no-holds-barred approach to the headlines of the day through song and sketch is intended to keep both sides of the aisle laughing. * * * Audiences are invited to set sail with Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic Pirates of Penzance—the comic opera that boasts one of the most famous patter songs in musical theatre history—“Major-General’s Song.” Throw in a band of tenderhearted pirates, a young man named Frederic, a bevy of beauties, a brash Pirate King and you’ve got what The New York Times calls “an endearing production with high musical standards and spirited performances!” * * * Hailing from historic County Waterford, Danú is one of today’s leading traditional Irish ensembles. With high-energy performances and a blend of ancient Irish music and new repertoire, Danú takes the audience on a musical journey to the bands native Ireland, offering a moving and memorable concert experience. * * * PostSecret Live! Is immersive, poignant journey through the humor and humanity of the personal stories we keep to ourselves, and on rare occasions, share with others. Projected images, videos, three actors and a guitarist guide the audience through crowd-sourced narratives revealing the true stories behind the secrets. See the hopeful, shocking, and painful secrets that brought hundreds of millions to the PostSecret blog, became six best-selling books and are currently on view in a Smithsonian art exhibition. * * * Aquila Theatre Company’s Hamlet sheds new light on this tragic story through an innovative use of movement, design, sound, and superb acting to vividly explore the depths of rage, madness, love and death brought about by a culture of obsessive personal ambition. Aquila’s productions of Shakespeare are “beautifully spoken, dramatically revealing and crystalline in effect.”  – The New Yorker. * * * Renowned blues and soul singer Martha Redbone and her all-star band explore her diverse family’s history in an epic that spans generations. Redbone’s deeply evocative music flows from her award-winning blend of Native American elements and her deep roots in Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues. “…bolstered by some of New York’s finest jazz and blues musicians and Redbone’s own stirring voice and commanding presence.”  – The Wall Street Journal.  * * * Lee Rocker made his mark singing, playing, standing on, spinning and rocking his giant upright bass in the legendary music group Stray Cats. After bringing rockabilly music to the top of the charts, Rocker’s got all the classics audiences love. Rolling Stone declares, “Lee Rocker’s singing naturally captures the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll!”

Saturday, November 25, 2017, 1 & 4pm

Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 8pm

Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 8pm

  • Danú - St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 8pm

Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 7pm

Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 8pm

Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 8pm

Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 8pm

Patrons get the best seats in the house when they subscribe to a subscription series. Series subscribers also enjoy other benefits, including significant discounts on single tickets.

The Wit & Wisdom Series three-event subscription is $149, the Dance Series three-event subscription is $99, The WOW! Series three-event subscription is $79, the Sunday Afternoon Concert Series four-event subscription is $99, and the Cabaret Series four-event subscription with dinner starts at $264. A Cabaret series subscription for the show only starts at $180. Tickets are available for purchase online at, with select discount seats offered online until July 31 (subject to availability). All programs, performers, prices, dates and times are subject to change.

Presentations are made possible in part by Season Media Partner KPCC 89.3-FM

The Season’s Hospitality Sponsor is Gelson’s Market

For additional information, contact the Carpenter Center Ticket Office at (562) 985-7000 or visit the box office on the Cal State Long Beach campus at 6200 E. Atherton St. Box office hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour prior to each performance.