By Emily Torkel

The Stony Brook Staller Center for the Arts is kicking off its new season of concerts and shows on October 21.

The new season begins with Emerson String Quartet on October 21. The diversity of the performances include:  Russian ballet, Bollywood, and the tango.

The varieties of the performances reflect not only the cultural diversity of Stony Brook, but of the diverse interests and tastes of the campus as well. “Stony Brook is so diverse, so we try to satisfy many of the interests on campus,” said Julie Rulon Greene, the marketing director of the Staller Center.

The Staller Center also tries to book performers with whom students are familiar. On November 7, the Staller Center will host Katharine McPhee, the runner up from season five of American Idol.

They look for performances that appeal to a wide audience. From the first performance of the season, which is classical music, the schedule ranges from a Broadway national tour production of Spring Awakening to programs designed for children.

It is important to the Staller Center that their performances are accessible to students.  Student attendance is encouraged through their program called “First On Us,” whereby all first year students receive a free voucher to one show.

Other options are available to encourage student patronage as well. On the first day of each month, half price tickets are available to students.  These are extra seats that the corporate sponsors won’t be using, and usually are among the best seats in the house.

Students can also purchase “student rush” tickets, if available, fifteen minutes before the performance for only $7. Just by presenting their ID cards, students could get $3 off the full price of their tickets if they purchase two. “We want students to take advantage of the great opportunities,” Greene said.

The Staller Center also is showing films throughout the fall semester. These movies were previously released to small audiences and some are foreign films. Students can get individual tickets for $6 or they can buy a pass for a student special price of $20. This event begins October 22 and has six different dates running through December 10.

The ticket prices for the live performances range from $34 to $42, and only $12 for their kid shows. The Staller Center is able to subsidize their ticket prices with the help of their corporate sponsors and the Friends of Staller Center, people from the community who donate.

The box office hours are Monday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and an hour before each performance. You can also purchase tickets online at www.stallercenter.com or by telephone at (631)-632-2787. The profits from the ticket sales go right back into the Staller Center to improve and to provide even better performances.

“One of our main intentions is to bring culture and new experiences to the students of Stony Brook,” said Greene. “We are always energized in seeing new faces, so stop by.”