I was absolutely beside myself when I recently returned home to my Rancho Mirage abode from running errands in the Palm Springs Valley to find in my mail stack the brochure for the monstrously magical McCallum Theater, which is located right down the 111 from me in Palm Desert. This gem of a performing arts center is gearing up to celebrate its silver anniversary, having opened its doors in 1988 with a televised tribute to none other than local legend Bob Hope.
Although all the information in the hefty mailer can be found online, I love perusing the paper version and deciding which performances to attend. I prefer to order tickets in advance so as to preserve my sanity and avoid premature sell-outs. To celebrate the big “25,” this year’s line up is a doozy.
I’ve been attending the McCallum since the beginning and have helped fill its 1127 seats on more occasions that I could ever count, both as a paying patron and also as one of the over 400 volunteers who help keep this non-profit entity running smoothly. (Care to help me usher patrons to their seats sometime?!)
This season’s opening night—August 31, 2012—is a must-attend for me. Steve Martin (yes, the famous funny-man), will be showing off his virtuoso banjo-picking (no, I’m not making this up!), with his cohorts The Steep Canyon Rangers. I tell you, there is something for EVERYONE this year. From incredible classical performances (including the incomparable Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and a bevy of beautiful philharmonia and symphonia) to a fabulous roster of jazz stylists including Manhattan Transfer, Boz Scaggs, and George Benson. Pink Martini is always a sell-out, with music from around the world spanning several musical styles from classical to pop.
Those who love Broadway musicals will not be disappointed, with full-scale productions of “Dreamgirls,” “West Side Story,” “Rock of Ages,” and one of the most fantastically family-friendly finds, “Beauty and the Beast.” And lest you think that’s all, I’ve only just begun… Kenny Rogers, West End diva delight Elaine Paige, the Blue Man Group, Michael Feinstein singing Frank Sinatra, Howie Mandel, David Sedaris, Garrison Keillor, “Forever Plaid,” “Madama Butterfly,” The Ten Tenors, and dance delights “Cinderella” and “The Nutcracker.” Yes, there’s lots more. But I won’t bore you! Check it out online and I’ll see you there! www.mccallumtheatre.com