Marijke Rowland

Gallo Center basks in good news, new season and more

The Gallo Center for the Arts has announced its new season.
The Gallo Center for the Arts has announced its new season. Modesto Bee file

Everything’s coming up rosé for the Gallo Center for the Arts these days.

Rosé? Gallo? Get it? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But there’s no joking around about the success the downtown performing arts venue has been having of late. After a record-breaking season for attendance and ticket sales, the center already is off to a very, very good start for 2015.

Pollstar ranked the downtown performing arts venue among its Top 50 theaters for ticket sales for the first quarter of 2015. The center’s 1,250-seat Mary Stuart Rogers Theater ranked No. 50 worldwide, joining famous venues such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on the list.

The Pollstar ranking was based on tickets sold worldwide between Jan. 1 and March 31 this year. Only the Gallo Center’s Roger’s Theater was included in the numbers because each venue can only include one theater. So ticket sales to its 444-seat Foster Family Theater were not even included in the rankings.

Then, last week, the Gallo Center announced what its officials hope will be another record-breaking season schedule packed with big stars. The 2015-16 opener will be a two-show stint by none other than The Chin himself, Jay Leno (Sept. 20). For Broadway buffs, it doesn’t get much better than Audra McDonald (Sept. 5) and Kristin Chenoweth (March 24). Comedy aficionados can look forward to D.L. Hughley (Aug. 15), Gabriel Iglesias (Aug. 30), Brian Regan (Sept. 9), “Weird Al” Yankovic (Sept. 16) and more.

And then there’s Rob Lowe – yes, that Rob Lowe – who will give a talk about fighting cancer (Oct. 22). Yes, Rob Lowe from movies, TV and all those DirectTV ads.

Tickets for a “create-your-own” subscription-series-only are on sale now. Single-show tickets go on sale to Gallo Center donors on June 8 and to the general public on June 15. Go get ’em, folks, because that’s a stacked schedule.

So after all that good news, the folks behind the center deserve a pat on the back. And they’ll get it with the announcement of the new Gallo Center Lifetime Legacy Honor.

Modesto’s Bob and Marie Gallo, who were instrumental in the opening of the namesake arts center, will receive the award at the center’s annual summer gala June 19. The gala, themed “An Evening of Wine & Roses,” also will recognize retired Stanislaus County Supervisor Ray Simon and his wife, Joan, as well as the families of George and Sue Foster and Norma Foster Maddy, with Legacy Awards.

Proceeds from the gala, which is being hosted by Dr. L. Stephen and Ann Endsley at their Modesto home, will benefit the Gallo Center, which concludes its eighth season June 30.

Elsewhere around the Scene:

Summerfest is back! Sort of.

The once annual summer music festival returns in name thanks to KWIN station 97.7/98.3 FM. The hip-hop show will be Saturday at the Stanislaus County Fairground in Turlock.

Headlining will be hip-hop duos Rae Sremmurd and Kalin & Myles. Also on the bill will be Rayven Justice, TeeFlii, Baeza, LoveRance and Netta Brielle. Gates open at 6 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 and VIP meet-and-greet packages for the artists are available for an additional $30-$75. For more or to purchase tickets visit

Those who have lived in the Central Valley long enough will remember the annual Summerfest shows from the late 1990s through the 2000s sponsored by B93.1 FM. Those rock-heavy outdoor shows featured acts such as Train, Lifehouse and Matt Nathanson.