Arts & Theater

Modesto’s not-so-modest Gallo is a centerpiece for the arts

The Gallo Center for the Arts in downtown Modesto, celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, houses two theaters where Central Valley patrons can attend a variety of performances.

The 1,248-seat Mary Stuart Rogers Theater is large enough to host nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, and the 444-seat Foster Family Theater is suitable for local performance groups.

The center’s annual program is planned about a year in advance, according to Doug Hosner, director of marketing, and is designed through collaboration with patrons and performers. He said the center already is planning the 2018-19 season.

“Patron preferences are No. 1,” said Hosner, who added that the center has had an annual patron survey since 2008.

Securing performers is equal parts invitation and accepting offers. “Sometimes we pursue acts we think would play very well,” Hosner said, but sometimes agents contact the Gallo in search of a venue for their clients.

Three things to know

It isn’t just for classical performances – It hosts opera and symphony concerts, but it also features pop culture. This fall’s lineup includes a performance by Peter Cetera, the lead singer of the rock band Chicago, and Rob Schneider, the Emmy-nominated former “Saturday Night Live” comedian. Mexican superstar Pepe Aguilar, a singer-songwriter-actor-producer who often performs in stadiums, also has been booked at Gallo.

The theaters are intimate – The Mary Stuart Rogers Theater includes balcony and box seats, and the Foster Family Theater has box seats, too. Both theaters offer an intimate viewing experience, Hosner said. “It’s a purpose-based facility – specifically built for performing arts,” he said.

Smaller groups use Gallo, too – The center’s resident groups include the Central West Ballet, Modesto Concert Community Association, Modesto Performing Arts, Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Townsend Opera and the YES youth theater company. “These organizations call this center home,” Hosner said, and it was built primarily for them. The center also has community events such as fundraisers and hosts local dance companies and an emerging youth talent showcase, Hosner said.

It’s been a success – Since opening in the fall of 2007, Gallo has hosted 3,000 performances and approximately 1.6 million patrons, according to Hosner.

New art is key to decorating downtown Modesto – In the spring, the crosswalks on I Street and 10th and 11th street in front of the center were turned into piano keyboards. Leadership Modesto 2017, a program by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, selected the painting of the crosswalks as its class project.

Gallo Center at a glance

  • Address: 1000 I St., Modesto
  • Capacities: Mary Stuart Rogers Theater, 1,248; Foster Family Theater, 444
  • More information: galloarts.org; 209-338-2100

THREE CAN’T-MISS EVENTS

  • Peter Cetera, Friday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m.: The Grammy Award winner was the singer, songwriter and bass player for the legendary rock group Chicago from 1968 to 1986, when the band recorded 18 albums. A solo artist the past 21 years, he’s touring with his seven-piece electric band, The Bad Daddies, and still performing many of his timeless hit songs.
  • “Rodger + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 18, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 19, 2 p.m.: The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical from the creators of “The Sound of Music” and “South Pacific” offers a contemporary take on the classic tale.
  • Dave Koz Christmas Tour, Monday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.: On his 20th anniversary holiday concert tour, the renowned saxophonist will perform seasonal favorites with David Benoit, Rick Braun and Peter White.
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