It’s the Taj Mahal of theCaliforniaStateUniversityat Northridge campus. It stands out like no other structure, in its appearance. It is the Valley Performing Arts Center, a showcase unto itself. So, while downtownLos Angeleshas theMusicCenter, andHollywoodhas its Pantages Theatre, the Valley has it own magnificent home for artistic productions.
The second season of major theatrical productions begins Sept. 13 and runs through May 19, with outstanding acts of every type, from country to modern to classical, musical, and dance. It’s all there at theArtsCenter.
Among the many attractions are country stars Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson, the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, Monterey Jazz Festival, Harlem String Quartet, Warsaw Symphony, Chick Corea, and the list goes on. Some are one-nighters, some will headline for several days.
TheArtsCenter, which also serves for other presentations, is a magnificent edifice, featuring the Great Hall, which includes four levels, with 534 seats in the orchestra, 501 in parterre, 295 in the loge, and 342 balcony level. Plus, the orchestra pit can be removed to allow for 69 more “premium orchestra seats.” Wheelchair-accessible seat locations are available on all levels of the facility. Nothing has been overlooked.
Parking is taken care of with surface areas and parking structures. All near the Center, which is comprised of two connected buildings in a U-shaped multi-use complex, wrapped around a central exterior courtyard. The main feature of the Center is a multi-purpose performance hall, with the latest technology in acoustical flexibility, to accommodate orchestra, opera, Broadway, and contemporary music and dance. Nothing else in the area compares.
Behind all this activity is Robert Bucker, director of theArtsCenterand a music professor at CSUN. He was affiliated with the Metropolitan Opera Guild and other major programs, and is a graduate of Harvard, with a musical degree from theUniversityofMissouri.
It is Bucker who does all the booking for theArtsCenter, having been in on the ground floor since its inception last year. Of that season he says, “We were very successful, with several sold-out shows.”
He books the shows well in advance, seeing them and/or talking with their managers and agencies, at various managers’ conferences in major cities.
“You have to establish a personal relationship,” he notes, adding that “mostly we deal with classical type acts, such as the Warsaw Symphony, a major act fromChina, and so on.”
Everything is handled in the same manner as a Broadway show, and presented at theArtsCenter, befitting such programs. The Center is also used for various other purposes and events, including conducting tours of limited capacity. For tour information, phone (818) 677-8800. Ticket information is available at (818) 677-3000.
“Everyone is welcome,” Bucker says, emphasizing the shows are not just for CSUN students but for the general public, “in a magnificent Broadway type setting.”