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Santa Clara University Courts the Community through the Arts

Santa Clara University Courts the Community through the Arts

The city of Santa Clara—incorporated as a town in 1852—and the 106-acre Jesuit university in its midst—founded in 1851—have grown up together. Yet town and gown have been like busy next door neighbors whose lives go in separate directions, seldom intersecting.

SCU Presents, Santa Clara University’s revitalized performing arts program, aspires to change that relationship. Under the leadership of Butch Coyne, SCU Presents has created a 2011 – 2012 performing arts series of 65 events to “Engage, Educate, and Entertain” the community.


“An Evening with Groucho” launches the SCU Presents Visiting Artists series October 15, 8 p.m., in the Mayer Theatre on campus at Lafayette and Franklin Street. It is a fast-paced, 90-minute, two-act comedy starring Frank Ferrante as Groucho Marx, the iconic American slapstick comedian whose film and TV performances verified his claim that “Humor is reason gone mad.”

Ferrante, an award-winning actor, comedian, and director, has portrayed Groucho since 1986 on stages from New York to London and now Santa Clara. Ferrante as Groucho is immediately recognizable by his distinctive glasses, cigar, and thick greasepaint mustache and eyebrows. “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong,” Groucho believed.

In addition to the debut of a visiting artists series, SCU Presents continues its theatre, dance, and music series. Pilot arts programs, scheduled for spring 2012, will bring Santa Clara elementary and high school students together with leaders in the arts.

Fusion Science Theatre fuses best practices in science education with engaging, theatrical teaching methods. The Stan Kenton Alumni Band will mentor and perform with band students. Internationally-acclaimed maestro Simon Carrington will lead select high school choral ensembles and the SCU Chamber Singers.

“Music @ Noon” free lunchtime, brown-bag concerts are offered in the Music Recital Hall most Wednesdays from noon to 12:50 p.m. while school is in session. There are also free 5:30 p.m. “RushHour Concerts” December 1, March 15, and June 7.

Artistic outreach to the community is part of Santa Clara University’s core mission to educate the whole person and promote social, justice, and sustainability issues. SCUPresents programs are designed to support and explore these issues.

“Art can create the desire for people to be involved in social justice. This is a unique niche for Santa Clara University,” says Coyne.

SCU is already well known for the quality of its education and for its business and law schools. Now it invites the community to enjoy the quality of its performing arts program. Ticket sales will help sustain SCU Presents and fund its arts programs for students.

As special enticement, SCU Presents offers discounted tickets to Santa Clara residents, seniors, and students. Be sure to ask. For detailed program and ticket information, visit or call (408) 554-4015. Mark October 15 on your calendar for “An Evening with Groucho.”

“We’ll meet at the theater …. I’ll hold your seat ’til you get there. Once you get there, you’re on your own,” says Groucho.


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