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Singer-songwriter Don McLean is best known for his 1971 hit single “American Pie”—but he’s enjoyed a string of other hits throughout his career.

After appearing at Stagecoach last year and stopping in Riverside last summer for a show, he’ll be returning to the area—specifically, the McCallum Theatre—on Tuesday, March 17.

During a recent phone interview, McLean was quick to answer my questions; in fact, he often started answering before I finished asking—hinting that after 45 years in the music industry, he feels like he’s heard it all.

McLean has been open about the fact that he suffers from asthma.

“If you have asthma, you’re always an asthmatic,” McLean said. “Some people have bronchial asthma when they’re young. In my case, I had bronchial tubes that were not the proper size. When they spasm, you have terrible attacks, and it leads to pneumonia, and sometimes, you can die. I’ve had that happen many of times, and a few times, I was close to death. When you get to puberty, if you’re lucky, the bronchial tubes enlarge to the proper size, and you can outgrow the asthma. You still get spasms, but it doesn’t close everything off.”

McLean said that despite his asthma, he was involved with a swim team. That led, indirectly, to an interest in singing.

“I was on this swimming team at a beach club we belonged to for a few years. I had these very difficult workouts, and I learned to suffer doing these workouts,” he said. “… It changed the whole breathing situation, and I also gravitated toward opera and singers like Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins and people who could really sing. I wasn’t interested in the singing of Bob Dylan and people who talked lyrics. I loved the breathing, and it all sort of came together.”

While McLean was at Villanova University, he met the singer-songwriter Jim Croce, and the two became close friends before they entered the music industry.

“I think about him sometimes,” McLean said. “Two guys who I knew pretty well were Jim Croce and Harry Chapin. Harry Chapin, and I never want to disparage the dead, but he was not a great artist; he was a very aggressive, hard-working person who wanted success very much. He was very image-conscious. He did very well, and he had a good heart. Jim Croce was a real star. He was very humorous, and he knew what a hit record was. In my guess, if he would have lived as long as I have, he would be bigger than most people—he would have 30 to 40 hit records. A hit record is a special thing, and he knew what it was.”

McLean emphasized that Croce was a unique and kind person.

“He was still in Philadelphia when I was No. 1 on the charts,” McLean said. “… He was a very nice person, and he was also a very humane individual. He actually had a degree in psychology, and maybe even a master’s in psychology. He wanted to work with troubled children, and he had such a big heart. It was a big loss.”

Croce died in a plane crash in 1973 at the age of 30.

On the subject of “American Pie,” McLean has probably heard every conceivable question about the famous song. I brought up the subject of the song’s manuscript heading to the Christie’s auction block in April, with an estimated price of $1.5 million, and I mentioned the song has references to topics beyond Buddy Holly and “the day the music died.” McLean stopped me right there.

“I’ll just tell you this: All these years, people have made ‘American Pie’ like a parlor game: ‘Who is this and who is that?’ And if you see the manuscript … you’ll see that I’m just writing this image and this stream. I don’t have anything like, ‘This is this person, and that is that person.’ It’s poetry. … Romance and poetry are under attack in the world by technology. It’s happening very fast. The beautiful English language—words, subtlety and also the dramatic things we use these days, they’re all being destroyed by this Pac-Man of technology, aided and abetted by rap music, which is a cultural virus of some kind. That’s where we are now. We’re in a very dark place, and it will in the future put us in a dark age that can last for a very long time, artistically.”

Another one of McLean’s well-known songs is “Jerusalem,” a 1981 work about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I sing it every night,” he said. “You might say Jerusalem is the blasting cap for the end of the world. Whatever goes on there will eventually determine what happens to the human race, which is interesting, because it’s biblical, and it gives the Bible a lot more power than you might think it has. When I was there, and when I was singing around there for a few years, I realized every type of religion has a home there. The Israelis try to make it theirs, and it isn’t really theirs; it belongs to every religion.”

McLean is not a “one-hit wonder,” as many people call him—and he wanted to make it clear he’s thrived artistically in the years since “American Pie.”

“I want to clarify that I’ve had other albums that went gold, and albums that have went gold around the world. In Australia, for example, my first 10 albums were gold,” he said. “The Best of Don McLean also went gold. The reason I bring that up is because that allows a lot of people to hear many songs that are on that record. They go to the concert when they see my name. I don’t sell out stadiums, but I do lovely theaters where it’s 1,000 to 2,000 seats, sometimes more than that. … (My fans) listen to all the songs on the record. They want to hear songs like ‘Sister Fatima,’ ‘Babylon,’ ‘Winterwood,’ ‘Dreidel,’ ‘Mountains o’ Mourne’ and so on. If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have a career. Just because everybody loves a certain song doesn’t really mean anything, and it never really meant anything to me. I never liked the Beatles’ ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’—I hated it, actually, but I loved some of the other songs, and I loved them.”

McLean said he enjoys touring and performing in front of audiences.

“I’m going to be 70 this year, and I’m going to keep going,” he said. “I sing hard, and I have hard songs to sing; I don’t sing easy songs. I have to keep in shape, but I’m enjoying every minute of it, and I enjoy bringing music to young people and having them hear songs I’ve written and the songs I sing.”

Don McLean will perform at 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $25 to $65. For tickets or more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Previews

It’s March … so we all know what’s comin’, weather-wise. We strongly recommend getting out and enjoying some fantastic events before the broiler gets turned on.

The McCallum Theatre’s schedule is full of music events in March. While Johnny Mathis’ March 7 and 8 performances are sold out, here are some other shows to consider: At 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, singer-songwriter Don McLean will be stopping by. McLean wrote the 1971 hit single “American Pie,” for which he’s widely known; however, he’s written many other great songs, too. After catching his performance at Stagecoach last year, I can say he’s worth seeing. Tickets are $25 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang will be performing. Tickets are $65 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some great stuff going on in March. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 7, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge will play. Etheridge won an Academy Award for her song “I Need to Wake Up,” for Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14, R&B superstar Ne-Yo will be stopping by. Ne-Yo has won multiple Grammy Awards; this is one you don’t want to miss. Tickets are $49 to $109. I was very excited when I heard about the next event … but there’s a twist: At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, ’60s pop group The Monkees will perform. Here’s the twist: The show is slated to include only Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. Michael Nesmith, with whom Tork and Dolenz reunited with after the death of Davy Jones in 2012, will for some reason not be taking part in this show, barring a change in plans. Tickets are $29 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple can’t-miss shows scheduled, too. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 7, comedian Kathy Griffin will be returning to The Show for what should be a very funny performance. After a successful run with her reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Griffin is still going strong. Tickets are $65 to $85. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28, the ’90s-swing-revival band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will take the stage. If you don’t remember, swing music enjoyed a very brief comeback in the decade thanks to acts such as the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has continued on successfully since then. Tickets are $40 to $70. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 had a strong February—and that strength continues into March. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 7, you’ll be happy to find a night of “country music without prejudice” with Big and Rich and special guest Cowboy Troy (pictured above right). During the ‘MERICA! years of the previous decade, Kenny Alphin and John Rich rode the charts, and also had several successful collaborations with Cowboy Troy, an African-American artist who does rap country music. Tickets are $80 to $100. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28, plus-size comedian Ralphie May will be performing. May was the runner up on the first season of Last Comic Standing. He was also a contestant on Celebrity Fit Club. Tickets are $25 to $35. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has one event in March that leads to this question: Are you ready to rock? OK, just joking: At 9 p.m., Friday, March 13, Kenny G (pictured below) will be stopping by. That’s right: The smooth-jazz sax man will be performing here! Despite harsh criticism from some of bop-jazz’ notable musicians, Kenny G has captivated audiences while selling millions of records around the world. Haters gonna hate! Tickets are $60 to $70. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace will host some amazing musicians in March. At 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 14, Dave Catching and Rancho de la Luna will be taking over Pappy’s with performances by Earthlings?, Dinola and Rancho de la Lunatics. Tickets are $10. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, there will be a much-anticipated performance by Gang of Four. The English post-punk outfit just released a new album. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

Copa has several interesting events booked for March. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, Copa will be hosting performances by actress Molly Ringwald. Actually, she’s more than just an actress: Ringwald is also a decent vocal jazz singer! Her 2013 album Except Sometimes included a jazz-style cover of the Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from her ’80s film The Breakfast Club. Tickets are $45 to $75. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-322-3554; www.coparoomps.com.

Be sure to watch the websites and social-media presences of venues not listed here for newly announced events. Have a great March, everyone!

Published in Previews

Buyer and Cellar—From Coyote Stageworks

Emerson Collins (Sordid Lives) stars in the comedy Buyer and Cellar, which focuses on the price of fame, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Friday, March 27, through Sunday, April 5. $45 to $60. At the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-318-0024; www.coyotestageworks.org.

The Divine Sister—From Desert Rose Playhouse

The Charles Busch-written show, an outrageous comic homage to nearly every Hollywood film involving nuns, takes place at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, March 6, through Sunday, March 29. $28 to $30. At 69620 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum—From Palm Canyon Theatre

The famous play about slave Pseudolus’ attempts to help his young master earn the love of a courtesan named Philia is performed at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, March 8. $32 to $36. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

La Gringa—From CV Rep

In this comedy by Carmen Rivera, Maria goes to visit her family in Puerto Rico—where she realizes that everyone in Puerto Rico considers her an American, a gringa. However, through the wise and colorful words and music of her uncle, Maria learns life lessons; at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Wednesday, March 4, through Sunday, March 22. $45; $40 previews on March 4 and 5; $55 March 6 opening night. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

A Handful of Nickels and Dimes

Yve Evans performs this comedy and music show that’s a tribute to vaudeville at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, March 22. No shows March 6-8. $26 with discounts. At the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., Indio. 760-775-5200; www.indioperformingartscenter.org.

Jack—From College of the Desert Dramatic Arts

This humorous twist on the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” takes place at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28; and 3 p.m., Sunday, March 1. $15; $10 students. At the Pollock Theatre at College of the Desert, 43400 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert. 760-773-2565; codperformingarts.com.

Legally Blonde—From Musical Theatre University

Broadway stars join MTU students in this hit musical at 7:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13; 2 p.m., Sunday, March 15; 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22. $15 to $35. At the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-6482; www.hgpac.org.

McCallum Theatre

Hershey Felder stars in George Gershwin Alone at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28; and 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, March 1; $25 to $75. ABBA MANIA takes the stage at 8 p.m., Monday, March 2; $25 to $65. Broadway and Hollywood combine for a romantic and entertaining evening of song and dance with Joan Hess and Kirby Ward in Dancing and Romancing, featuring the Desert Symphony Orchestra, at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 12; $45 to $95. The musical comedy Nice Work If You Can Get It is performed at 8 p.m., Friday, March 13; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14; and 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, March 15; $35 to $95. Laurence Luckinbill is Teddy Roosevelt in the one-man show Teddy Tonight! at Thursday, March 19; $15 to $65. The Ten Tenors return with a show of Broadway hits at 8 p.m., Friday, March 20; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 21; and 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, March 22; $25 to $75. Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye takes place at 8 p.m., Monday, March 30, through Saturday, April 4, with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 4; $35 to $95. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Nunsense: The Mega Musical—From Desert Theatreworks

To save their convent from financial ruin, the Little Sisters of Hoboken have to raise the money and properly bury their accidentally poisoned sisters. What will they do? Why throw a fundraiser, of course; they do at 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Thursday, March 5, through Sunday, March 15. $25 regular; $23 seniors; $15 students with ID. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455; www.dtworks.org.

On the Air 2—From Dezart Performs

This annual evening of radio-show classics features an all-star cast including Gavin MacLeod, Joyce Bulifant, Millicent Martin and many others, at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 12. $35 to $75. At the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179; dezartperforms.org.

The Osanbi Deal—From Script2Stage2Screen

This play is set near a toxic waste area in South Carolina and is a compelling story of treachery and guilt; 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7. $10. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage. 760-345-7938; www.script2stage2screen.com.

The Secret Garden—From Palm Canyon Theatre

The orphaned Mary Lennox is sent to England to live with the Cravens. While there, she helps bring life to a secret garden; the show is performed at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, March 20, through Sunday, March 29. $28. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

Two By Tony—From Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

Tony Padilla’s one-acts Family Meeting and The Comeback are performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 22. $22 with discounts. At the Pearl McManus Theater in the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-565-2476; www.detctheatre.org.

Urinetown: The Musical—From Theatre 29

This comedic tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution in a Gotham-like city at a time when water is extremely scarce is performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, March 28; there are also matinee shows at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8 and 22. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Published in Theater and Dance

For years, Steve Tyrell worked behind the scenes as a producer and songwriter for artists and movie soundtracks. However, his cover of “The Way You Look Tonight” for the 1991 film Father of the Bride pushed him out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

He will be performing at the McCallum Theatre on Thursday, March 5.

“Mainly, I was a record producer,” Tyrell said during a recent phone interview. “I worked as a music supervisor and making music for movies. Those were my main two jobs.”

However, Tyrell, now 70, has always been a singer, going back to his childhood.

“I made records down in Texas with local bands,” he said. “… I got more interested in being behind the scenes writing songs and producing, but mainly producing. I’ve written songs that were successful, and some that have been recorded by some very legendary people. I enjoyed doing that much more than I did singing songs myself. I did a lot of music for movies and television shows, and sometimes, I would make a demo of something, and the director would hear my voice on the demo and say, ‘Well, why don’t you just do it?’ That happened to me several times.”

One of those times occurred while he was working on Father of the Bride, which starred Steve Martin.

“I sang the demo, and the filmmakers liked it so much and put it in the movie—and the rest is history,” he said. “It became pretty popular, and people said, ‘You should make an album.’ Ultimately, I did. It was kind of an accident. I’m the reluctant artist, you might say.”

In Tyrell’s voice and music, you can hear one of his biggest inspirations—the late Ray Charles.

“I liked everything (Ray Charles) ever did. He could sing the phone book, and it would be great,” Tyrell said. “A lot of the guys from my generation were totally influenced by Ray Charles; Michael McDonald would be one to say that. (Charles) had the blues in everything he touched. Modern Sounds in Country (and Western Music) is one of the most influential albums in my life. I was from Texas, and I heard those songs back when I was in high school. He took all those country songs by those original country artists and made history with them.”

However, one person may have inspired Tyrell even more: Burt Bacharach, the man Tyrell considers his mentor. Tyrell has helped Bacharach along the way, too: Tyrell, along with B.J. Thomas, helped work on “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” which went on to win an Oscar in 1969 for Best Original Song after it was featured in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

“I moved to New York when I was 19 years old, and I went to work for a company called Scepter Records. The lady who owned it, named Florence Greenberg, gave me a job,” he said. “Burt Bacharach and Hal David were just getting started, writing and producing for Dionne Warwick. … I had a lot of input as to which songs I thought would be the most successful. Burt and Hal used to listen to me, and we became very close. I didn’t realize we were making history.”

Tyrell said he doesn’t have a specific favorite moment or piece of work from his career.

“I don’t even think like that. I’ve made 11 albums, and I try to make them all as good as I possibly can with classic songs,” he said. “I’m really proud of this new album (That Lovin’ Feeling) I just released, because it takes me back. I made an album in 2008 called Back to Bacharach, where I went back with him and Hal David and did … all the songs I started my career with. A lot of those people participated on my album. It might be the album I’m most proud of, and it reunited me with my beginnings and my friends.”

Tyrell said that like every other recording artist, he’s had to adapt to changes in the music industry.

“Nowadays, everybody has a studio in their house,” he said. “The digital domain made that possible. You don’t need 24 tracks and two-inch tape anymore. Everything is in computers, and everybody has a studio. This album was put together in that way. Every vocal track for this (new) album was done in my house. I sang with Bill Medley in my house, and I sang with Neil Sedaka in my house.”

While Tyrell seems to be as busy as ever, he always takes the time to sing at the Café Carlyle in New York City during the holiday season. He took over after the death of his friend Bobby Short. 

“That has been a tradition that I have done … for 10 straight years since Bobby Short passed away. He did the holiday season there for 36 years,” he said.

Steve Tyrell will perform at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 5, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $45 to $85. For tickets or more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Previews

A Chorus Line—From Palm Canyon Theatre

The legendary musical about a group of performers auditioning for a Broadway show takes place at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 8. $32 to $36. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

CV Rep Writers’ Drop-In Group

Andy Harmon facilitates this group for all writers who are interested in becoming better storytellers, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14 and 28. $15 payable at the class. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

Duck and Cover—From Dezart Performs

This play about 1962 America—and specifically, the trials and tribulations of 12-year-old Stevie Whitebottom—makes its West Coast premiere at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 8. $22 to $25. At the Pearl McManus Theater in the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179; dezartperforms.org.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum—From Palm Canyon Theatre

The famous play about slave Pseudolus’ attempts to help his young master earn the love of a courtesan named Philia is performed at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Feb. 20, through Sunday, March 8. $32 to $36. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

Having Our Say—From CV Rep

The Delany sisters—Sadie, 103 years old, and Bessie, 101—take the audience on a journey through the last 100 years of our nation’s history, from their perspectives as African-American professionals, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 8. $45. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

I Totally Know What You Did Last Donna Summer—From Palm Canyon Theatre

This musical by Dane Whitlock melds slasher-movie tropes, 1990s films and Donna Summer hits at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 13 and 14; and 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 15. $28. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

An Ideal Husband—From Theatre 29

Blackmail, political corruption, intrigue, romance and razor-sharp wit abound in equal measure in this piece of satire by Oscar Wilde, performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday Feb. 7; there is also a matinee show at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 1. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Jack—From College of the Desert Dramatic Arts

This humorous twist on the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” takes place at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28; and 3 p.m., Sunday, March 1. Prices TBA. At the Pollock Theatre at College of the Desert, 43400 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert. 760-773-2565; codperformingarts.com.

Love! Valour! Compassion!—From Desert Rose Playhouse

Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about a group of longtime gay friends is performed at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 15. $28 to $30. At 69620 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

McCallum Theatre

A sing-along to the film Grease takes place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 1; $15 to $20. Midtown Men reunites four stars from the original cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 4; $35 to $55. Supreme Reflections is a tribute to Diana Ross and The Supremes featuring the Desert Symphony, taking place at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 5; $45 to $95. Memphis: The Musical features the songs of underground dance clubs in 1950s Tennessee at 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 10 and 11; $45 to $95. The classic musical comedy Guys and Dolls takes the McCallum stage at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14; and 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 15; $35 to $105. Hershey Felder stars in George Gershwin Alone at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28; and 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, March 1; $25 to $75. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Urinetown: The Musical—From Theatre 29

This comedic tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution in a Gotham-like city at a time when water is extremely scarce is performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from Friday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 28; there are also matinee shows at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8 and 22. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Published in Theater and Dance

Music and More

Brian Stokes Mitchell in Stepping Out

Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell returns to the McCallum stage for Stepping Out for College of the Desert, an enchanting evening of music in support of the College of the Desert Foundation. 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18. $65 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-773-2561; mccallumtheatre.com.

Cabaret 88: Billy Stritch

The award-winning composer, arranger, vocalist and jazz pianist breathes new life into the Great American Songbook, while bringing an easy sense of humor and showmanship to his performances. 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 17. $88. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www.psmuseum.org.

An Evening With Christine Ebersole

Christine Ebersole has captivated audiences throughout her performing career, from the Broadway stage to TV series and films. 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21. $60 to $75. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www.psmuseum.org.

Gardens on El Paseo Concert Series

Sip some wine, sway to the music and drink in the scenery. A reception begins at 5:15 p.m. followed by a live musical performance from 6 to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Each week features a different artist and benefits a charity. Feb. 7: Heatwave, benefiting the Eisenhower Medical Center. Feb. 14: Terry Wollman, benefiting VNA. Feb. 21: Zen Robbi, benefiting the Palm Desert High School Foundation. Feb. 28: John Stanley King Band, benefiting the YMCA of the Desert. $12; includes two glasses of wine and refreshments. The Gardens on El Paseo, 73545 El Paseo, Palm Desert. 760-862-1990; www.thegardensonelpaseo.com/events.

The Heart of a Gypsy Troubadour

This intimate and personal look inside a life well lived is written and performed by Richard Byford. 4 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3. $15. Tolerance Education Center, 35147 Landy Lane, Rancho Mirage. 760-328-8252; toleranceeducationcenter.org.

Jazzoo Concert Series: Jazzy Romance for Your Valentine

Join friends and members of The Living Desert community. Featuring vocalist Carol Bach-Y-Rita, this promises to be a great afternoon of jazz for lovers and friends. 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 8. $45; Living Desert members $35. The Living Desert, 47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert. 760-346-5694, ext. 2166; www.livingdesert.org.

Shows at the Indian Wells Theater

Enjoy the songs of Elvis, Frank and Neil Diamond in American Trilogy, at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6; and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 8. Bethany Owen performs her one-woman show at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. A tribute to the Beach Boys takes place at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27. A tribute to The Beatles occurs at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28. $40; Feb. 8 matinee $30. Indian Wells Theater, 37500 Cook St., Palm Desert. 760-341-6909; pdc.csusb.edu/eventsTheater.html.

The USO Variety Show

The USO has been entertaining troops worldwide in times of peace and war for more 70 years. Now, the Bob Hope USO needs you to laugh, enjoy and have some fun remembering the good ol’ times. Join us for a live nostalgic tribute to Bob Hope and his band of Hollywood celebs; enjoy free tours of the museum pre- or post-show time. 2 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19. $55 to $75. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-778-6262; palmspringsvacationtravel.com.

Special Events

Canada/Snowbird Fest 2015: Party On

Party On with Dennis Lambert, an award-winning singer/songwriter/producer. Other guest stars include Red Robinson, famous Canadian disc jockey and voiceover artist; Bethany Owen, celebrity impressionist; and Peter Beckett of Player. The festival and resource fair takes place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, March 1; $8. The entertainers perform at Party On from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28; $45 to $55. University of California at Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-202-4007; www.bettekingproductions.com.

Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational

Come to “Frank’s Little Party in the Desert!” Two fabulous days of golf and three nights of parties join auctions and world-class entertainment. Various times Thursday, Feb. 19, through Saturday, Feb. 21. Prices vary. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s Eagle Falls Golf Course, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 760-674-8447; www.franksinatragolf.org.

Gourmet Food Truck Event

Try food trucks for lunch featuring burgers, barbecue, tacos, California cuisine, sushi and dessert. Outdoor seating is available, or bring a blanket. Dabble in the local farmers’ market; listen to music provided by The Coachella Valley Art Scene; enjoy a beer garden with some of the best craft beers from La Quinta Brewing Company and Coachella Valley Brewing Company. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the first Sunday of the month. Free. Cathedral City Civic Center Plaza, 68700 Avenue Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City. Thecoachellavalleyartscene.com.

International Bear Convergence 2015

The four-day event for bears and their admirers includes themed pool parties at the Renaissance Hotel, as well as parties at bars and clubs, excursions and other events. Various times Thursday, Feb. 12, through Sunday, Feb. 15. Prices vary; walk-in registration $175. Renaissance Palm Springs, 888 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs. 760-537-0891; Ibc-ps.com.

New Balance Palm Springs Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay and 5k

This Southern California favorite features courses through some of the most famous neighborhoods in Palm Springs. Everyone is allowed to finish, and there is no cut-off time. 7 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 8. Registration prices vary. Ruth Hardy Park, 700 Tamarisk Lane, Palm Springs. Kleinclarksports.com/Half-Marathon.

Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival

The county fair includes a nightly musical pageant, entertainment, monster truck and BMX shows, camel and ostrich races, date and produce displays, arts and crafts, carnival rides and great fair food. Concerts included with fair admission. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13, through Sunday, Feb. 22; carnival open until midnight on weekends. Prices vary. Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, Indio. 800-811-FAIR; www.datefest.org.

Tour De Palm Springs Bike Event

The event is designed to raise money for local nonprofit organizations. Palm Springs’ famous weather, gorgeous scenery and thousands of bike-riders make the Tour de Palm Springs a fundraising event like no other. 6:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. Registration prices vary. Starts in downtown Palm Springs on North Palm Canyon Drive. 760-674-4700; www.tourdepalmsprings.com.

Visual Arts

Art Under the Umbrellas

The event presents a diverse collection of 80 talented artists exhibiting their original creations along Old Town La Quinta’s picturesque Main Street. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7 and 14. Free. Old Town La Quinta, Main Street, La Quinta. 760-564-1244; lqaf.com.

Desert Art Festival

This event features numerous artists presenting their original work in all mediums of two- and three-dimensional fine art, including paintings in acrylic, oils and watercolors, photography, etchings, sculpture in clay, glass, metal, stone and wood. Each artist will be present to meet with the public and discuss their work. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday, Feb. 13-15. Free. Frances Stevens Park, 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 818-813-4478; westcoastartists.com.

Paint Nite: Fall Bloom

In about two hours, while you’re sipping on a cocktail, artists will guide you so that you come up with your own unique masterpiece at the end of the night. Everything you will need is provided: canvas, paints, brushes and even a smock. 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 2, $45. Pizzeria Villagio Italian Kitchen, 37029 Cook St., Palm Desert. 760-567-4761; www.paintnite.com.

Submit your free arts listings at calendar.artsoasis.org. The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun

February is the shortest month of the year—but it’s also the high season in the Coachella Valley, which means there’s a wealth of great shows you should keep in mind.

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club will be hosting a performance by L.A. Witch at 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, in the Amigo Room. The psychedelic female trio has been playing shows with the likes of the Black Angels, The Melvins and Blonde Redhead. Admission is free. The Ace is also hosting a special Valentine’s Day weekend put on by The Do-Over, known as the Lovers x Heartbreakers Palm Springs Weekender, on Saturday, Feb. 14, and Sunday, Feb. 15. There will be a special lineup of surprise musical guests hosted by Haycock, Strong and Blacc. Admission is free. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

Local DJ duo The Deep Ones have started an open-mic night for DJs. What does this concept involve? Well, if you ever wanted to try your skills on a turntable and a mixer, you’ll get your chance at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26. Get more info on The Deep Ones’ Facebook page. Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., Thousand Palms; 760-343-2115; www.myplanbbar.com.

The McCallum Theatre has a solid schedule for February—with shows on 24 of the month’s 28 days! At 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3, A Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor will be bringing his show featuring anecdotes from the American Midwest and other amusing portions of his life. Tickets are $45 to $75. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, Great American Songbook singer Michael Feinstein will perform while sharing the history of these famous tunes. Tickets are $65 to $95. If you’re looking for something to enjoy with the whole family, the Vienna Boys Choir will be performing at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19. The choir is split into four touring choirs of boys between the ages of 10 and 14; many are from Austria, but kids from other countries are included, too. Tickets are $25 to $65. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has great shows scheduled throughout the month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, it will be hip to be square with Huey Lewis and the News. True story: I asked for a Metallica album for Christmas one year during my childhood—and my mother bought me Huey’s Sports album instead. Needless to say, I was not happy. Huey has been going since the late 1970s and has had quite a career. One of his more memorable moments was a cameo in Back to the Future, to which he contributed “The Power of Love.” Tickets are $40 to $80. If you had a great time at Air Supply’s Valentine’s Day performance at The Show last year, you’ll be happy to know they’ll be back to soft-rock your face off again, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, Mexican musician and composer Espinoza Paz will be appearing. Paz went back and forth between Mexico and the United States in the late ’90s when he was an aspiring songwriter and musician. He eventually found his calling and released his first album, El Canta Autor Del Pueblo, in 2008. Tickets are $65 to $85. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s February lineup is packed with great shows. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, you can relive the short reggaeton era (remember that?) with Yandel. He is half of the duo Wisin and Yandel, and he released his second solo album, De Lider a Leyenda, in 2013; a brand new album, Legacy, is slated to drop just before this show. Tickets are $39 to $69. Natalie Cole (above right) will be performing on Valentine’s Day, 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. The daughter of Nat King Cole was a big success in the ’70s before falling into drug addiction. She made a remarkable comeback in the late ’80s and has been going strong ever since. Tickets are $39 to $79. The great Burt Bacharach will be returning at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 22. Bacharach has had 48 Top 10 hits over a 50-year period, and his songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a star-studded lineup this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, former Saturday Night Livewriter John Mulaney will be appearing. Mulaney was responsible for writing the “Weekend Update” portion of the show and created the character of Stefon! Tickets are $30 to $50. If you want a little edge on your Valentine’s Day, former Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. He also performed with the members of Queen for five years. Tickets are $45 to $75. Martina McBride will be bringing her “Everlasting Tour” to Spotlight 29 at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26. The country vocalist has had a long and successful career, and her latest album, Everlasting, features duets with Kelly Clarkson and Gavin DeGraw. Tickets are $79 to $139. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace will be busy during the month of February. At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 10, Pappy’s will be hosting the first performance in 18-plus years of Babes in Toyland. The Riot Grrrl trio has had a rough go of it since disbanding. Frontwoman Kat Bjelland suffered a schizophrenic episode and had to be hospitalized in 2007; bassist Maureen Herman has written about a sexual assault that resulted in a pregnancy; and drummer Lori Barbero suffered from Lyme disease. Babes in Toyland is an intense band that will take you back to the days of grunge and alternative rock. Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21 singer-songwriter Brett Dennen (below) will be appearing. The Northern California folk singer has a unique voice, and his deep lyrics have landed him on the bill at the Newport Folk Festival, at Coachella and on various TV soundtracks. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Copa has had a steady season, and that trend continues in February. Leslie Jordan will be appearing at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 14. Leslie may be short, but he’s a larger-than-life performer, guaranteed to be funny. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21, actress and cabaret singer Emily Bergl will perform. You may remember Bergl from her appearances on Gilmore Girls, CSI: Miami and Law and Order: Criminal Intent, among other shows. Tickets are $20 to $40. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-322-3554; www.coparoomtickets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza is hosting a couple of notable events. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 15, metal goddess and poet Otep will appear. Not only is Otep a poet and metal singer; she’s also a painter and writer. She’s been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry series. She also spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Advance tickets are $10, available at The Hood, and they’ll be $15 at the door. Word to the wise: Buy your tickets in advance. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, there will be a special birthday party for local hip-hop artist MC Manny G featuring EeVaan’ Tre and the Show, Thr3 Strikes and others. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews

It’s time to put away the ugly holiday sweaters, throw away the wrapping paper and embrace the new year—including the fact that season is in full swing.

The McCallum Theatre is hosting some excellent events, as always. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 7, the red-headed stranger, Willie Nelson will be returning for another performance at the McCallum. He’s 81, and it seems like nothing can slow him down. Tickets are $65 to $100. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16, America’s Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho will be stopping by. She was only 10 years old when she competed on the show in 2010 and has since seen a great deal of success, including becoming the youngest person to ever play at the Lincoln Center. Tickets are $55 to $125. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, iconic actor Hal Holbrook will be performing Mark Twain Tonight. For 59 years (!), Holbrook has portrayed Mark Twain in his one-man show. Tickets are $45 to $75. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a fabulous lineup this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10, Paul Anka will take the stage. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Anka started off his career with the 1957 hit song “Diana.” He’s been on and off the best-seller charts ever since. Not bad for a career that’s lasted almost 60 years. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, Motown singing sensation Smokey Robinson will perform. His honey-coated voice has produced some beautiful soul hits, and he continues to sing beautifully today. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30, the legendary Tony Bennett will be returning to the Coachella Valley. He has 17 Grammy Awards; he’s a Kennedy Center honoree; and he has more than 70 albums to his credit, including his latest with Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek. What more can you say? Tickets are $49 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs announced recently that it would begin an outdoor concert series. Kicking things off, The Guess Who will be performing at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10. The Canadian rock band was an international success in the late ’60s through the mid ’70s. You know them thanks to their hit song “American Woman.” Admission is free, and the concert will be on the corner of Calle Encilia and Andreas Road. Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 888-999-1995; www.sparesortcasino.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has two great events scheduled. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, you can venture back into the ’50s with The Golden Boys. The group consists of Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and Fabian. Considering these guys once ruled the music charts, seeing all three together should be a real delight. Tickets are $50 to $70. If you prefer something with a little more edge, you’ll be happy to know that Styx will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24. When Styx started in 1972, the band offered a truly unique sound that blended hard-rock songs with brilliantly written ballads. However, the band was never the same after a bitter dispute between frontman Tommy Shaw and keyboardist Dennis DeYoung. While Styx fans hope for an eventual return by DeYoung, that’ll probably never happen. Tickets are $45 to $85. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 will host some fun January shows. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10, country greats Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers (above right) will be performing. During 50 years in the business, they’ve racked up numerous country music hits. Tickets are $20 to $40. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will play. If you remember Jefferson Airplane, they turned into Jefferson Starship, and now they’re just Starship. Hmm. Tickets are $20 to $40. Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has one noteworthy concert scheduled during the month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, Vince Neil—Mötley Crüe frontman and star of Janine and Vince Neil: Hardcore and Uncensored—will be performing. Given Mötley Crüe has announced its retirement, expect Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx to promote themselves through their solo acts … until they decide to come out of retirement. Tickets are $40 to $60. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Copa will be booming in January. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16, and Saturday, Jan. 17, former Mouseketeer Lindsey Alley will be performing. She was part of the revival of the Mickey Mouse Club from 1989 to 1994. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 18, former American Idol and The Voice contestant Frenchie Davis will sing. Davis was the subject of controversy in 2003 when topless photos from years previous began to surface during her run on Idol. In 2011, she was a contestant on The Voice, and made it to the semifinals. Trust me: If you plan to meet her after the show, don’t bring any of that up; she doesn’t like to discuss her past. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-322-3554; www.coparoomps.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace was the talk of social media after announcing that Neutral Milk Hotel will be playing in May; tickets quickly sold out. Meanwhile, in January, the venue will be hosting some great indoor shows. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 3, there will be a performance by The Solid Ray Woods Raw Soul Revival. Frontman Ray Woods has worked with some big names, including as The Jayhawks and Victoria Williams. Admission is free. At 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15, Ryan Williams will take the stage. He is described as an Americana performer with a knack for songwriting. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 31, the indie-rock band We Are Scientists (below) will play. They have toured with the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon since breaking on to the scene in 2000. Admission is $7. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

The Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club has an event planned you won’t want to miss. At 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 4, there will be a poolside DJ performance by FSQ. FSQ is made up of several people—including Chuck Da Fonk, who used to tour and record with George Clinton and Parliament during the ’90s, and The Hourchild, from Tommy Boy Records. Resident DJ Colour Vision will also perform. Attendance is free to those 21 and older. Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club, 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-778-8954; www.haciendacantina.com.

Mark your calendars for a couple of cool events at The Hood Bar and Pizza. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, there will be an album release party for local Latin/hip-hop artist J. Patron. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30, a triple bill will include the Hellions, You Know Who and the Chuck Norris Experiment. Admission is again free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews

A Chorus Line—From Palm Canyon Theatre

The legendary musical about a group of performers auditioning for a Broadway show takes place at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Jan. 23, through Sunday, Feb. 8. $32 to $36. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

CV Rep Luminary Luncheon: Theodore Bikel

Two-time Tony nominee who created the role of Captain von Trapp on Broadway opposite Mary Martin in The Sound of Music is also well-known for portraying Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway and elsewhere more than 2,000 times—more than any other actor. He is interviewed by Don Martin at noon, Wednesday, Jan. 28. $45; includes lunch catered by Lulu California Bistro. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

Duck and Cover—From Dezart Performs

This play about 1962 America—and specifically the trials and tribulations of 12-year-old Stevie Whitebottom—makes its West Coast premiere at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Jan. 30, through Sunday, Feb. 8. $22 to $25. At the Pearl McManus Theater in the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179; dezartperforms.org.

Esperanza: The Musical of Hope—From Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

A concert reading of this brand new musical takes place at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24. $22, with discounts. At the Pearl McManus Theater in the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-565-2476; www.detctheatre.org.

Having Our Say—From CV Rep

The Delaney sisters—Sadie, 103 years old, and Bessie, 101—take the audience on a journey through the last 100 years of our nation’s history, from their perspectives as African-American professionals, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Wednesday, Jan. 21, through Sunday, Feb. 8. There are also 2 p.m., Saturday, matinees on Jan. 31 and Feb. 7. $45 regular; $55 opening night on Friday, Jan. 23; $40 previews on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 21 and 22. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

An Ideal Husband—From Theatre 29

Blackmail, political corruption, intrigue, romance and razor-sharp wit all abound in equal measure in this piece of satire by Oscar Wilde, performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from Friday, Jan. 9, through Saturday Feb. 7; there are also matinee shows at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 18 and Feb. 1. $12 regular; $10 seniors and military; $8 children and students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Lost in Yonkers—From Desert Theatreworks

Neil Simon’s tale of two boys stuck at their grandmother’s house in 1942 is performed at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Friday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Jan. 25. $25 regular; $23 seniors and students with ID. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455; www.dtworks.org.

Love! Valour! Compassion!—From Desert Rose Playhouse

Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about a group of longtime gay friends is performed at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 15. $28 to $30. At 69260 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

McCallum Theatre

Night Fever: A Musical Tribute to The Bee Gees takes place at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 9; $30 to 55. Palm Springs Legends II gathers performers playing the stars that made Palm Springs the place to be, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10; $25 to $65. The Peking Acrobats perform at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 13; $20 to $35. Broadway legend Tommy Tune performs Taps, Tunes and Tales with the Desert Symphony at 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15; $55 to $105. Tangos Buenos Aires arrives from Argentina at 8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 19; $25 to $75. The Alberta Ballet dances at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 27; $25 to $85. Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles takes the stage at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30; and 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 31; $35 to $85. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Theater and Dance

Itzhak Perlman has captivated classical-music audiences as a violinist, conductor and teacher for more than five decades. He’s easily one of the world’s most-recognizable classical musicians, and easily sells out venues around the world. In fact, he did just that here in the Coachella Valley: He’ll be performing a sold-out show at the McCallum Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Born in Tel Aviv, in the British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel) to Polish immigrants in 1945, he showed an interest in music as early as the age of 3.

“I just remember a specific violinist who inspired me—Jascha Heifetz,” Perlman said during a recent phone interview. “The sound just drove me to say, ‘I want to do this!’ but I don’t remember the specific piece.”

He said an oft-told story—about how he was supposedly rejected by the Shulamit Conservatory at the age of 3 because he was too small to hold a violin, and then went on to teach himself how to play—is untrue.

“I didn’t teach myself,” he said. “When they decided that I was a little too young, we stopped it. I entered the conservatory when I was about 4. I had teachers from the very beginning.”

At the age of 4, he contracted polio, but recovered, albeit with the diminished use of his legs. Later in his childhood, he immigrated to the United States and entered the Juilliard School. He was introduced to American audiences by performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958; he played on the show a second time, in 1964, appearing on the same episode as the Rolling Stones.

“At the time, I didn’t know anything about the Rolling Stones,” he said. “On The Ed Sullivan Show, I had my own dressing room, and I didn’t really mix with anybody until it was time for me to make the appearance. Now, I’m quite amazed that I was on the same show. At that time, I was just concerned about doing the best I could on the program.”

Since then, Perlman has performed in just about every important classical music venue in the world. He’s played with renowned orchestras and other classical musicians, appeared at the White House, and even performed at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

“I’m going to be 70 soon, I’ve been playing music for almost 50 years, and I’m still loving it,” he said. “If there’s anything you ask me that I want to do, I want to stay connected with what I’m doing, and so far, I’m still connected. For me, that’s a goal I always think about, and the minute I think that’s enough for me, and I don’t want to do anything, I’ll stop. I play concerts; I conduct; and I teach. I’m having a great time, and I’m very happy with that.”

When asked about the difference between playing and conducting, he spoke passionately about the experience of conducting.

“It’s different when I play, because I’m in control of what’s going on,” he said. “When I conduct, I’m in control of what goes on musically, but I actually can’t make the people who play an instrument play a certain way. I can just coax them to play a certain way. In some ways, there’s a little bit less control, but I love conducting, because it gives me the opportunity to be exposed to a different repertoire. I play the Tchaikovsky violin concerto; I play the Beethoven violin concerto; and (I play the) Brahms violin concerto many times. When I conduct, I can do Brahms symphonies, Tchaikovsky symphonies—and it’s a different repertoire. It’s a great experience for me.”

Perlman said teaching is also a big part of his life.

“Teaching is very rewarding, and second of all, it’s very important for any performing artist, in my view, to have some experience teaching. I keep repeating the answer to this question with, ‘If you teach others, you teach yourself.’ I feel that one of the most important reasons I’m playing a certain way is because of my experience in teaching others, and I’m very lucky, because the level of my students is pretty high. To teach students who are very talented is more challenging, because you really have to dig deep in what you want to tell them to help them perform better, and so on. It’s extremely rewarding, and I love it.”

The cuts to public schools have affected music programs across the country—especially since the Great Recession. Perlman sees these cuts as a dangerous thing.

“I think we need more awareness as to how important the arts are to our society,” he said. “Without art, it will just not be as good. So we need to make sure politicians and people who are in charge of funding are aware of the importance of the arts. I think the fact that the arts is on public television is extremely important, because you want to bring this to everybody. You want to make sure that everyone is aware that the arts are there for us. Why bother to have schools if the schools are only going to be partly educating the kids? It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The advances in technology have brought young people more ways with which to get involved in music. Perlman offered some fine advice to anyone who wants to pursue a musical instrument.

“First, you have to do what you like. The other thing is you need to study what happened before electronic music or other kinds of music,” he said. “What about composers like Bartok? What about Shostakovich? We’re talking about 20th-century composers. In order for people to be aware of what people like or don’t like, they have to be aware of what came first, which is basically like studying history—music history, and music history can go way, way back. It’s very important not to have blinders on and just see what’s going on today. You have to see what went on before. That’s part of the reason why today is what today is. It’s all evolved.”

Itzhak Perlman will perform at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are sold out. For more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Published in Previews