Clark State trying new way to get audience

Stuart Secttor has hit on an intriguing way to snag people who’ve never visited the Clark State Performing Arts Center in its 20-year existence — come to a show this fall and only pay if you feel like it.

“We’re going to give you two tickets at 20 bucks apiece, but we’re not going to charge you,” said Secttor, the center’s executive director. “The offer I’m making is, if you like it, you can pay us that night or mail it in later or call us and pay with a credit card.

“And if you don’t like it? Thanks for coming.”

The offer applies only to the 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 performance of “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” a high-energy tap show with live music by Rhythmic Circus that comes in the midst of the center’s annual Club Kuss series.

“If it doesn’t fly, it’s my fault,” Secttor said. “But, on our 20th anniversary, I wanted to try something different.”

“If you don’t like it,” he added, “you’ve lost nothing but a little bit of time.”

The center’s 2013-14 Club Kuss series will contain six shows that cater to those people looking for something a little offbeat. While the auditorium seats 1,500, Secttor is happy selling 300 to 500 tickets for his club shows.

“It’s not always about selling out,” he said. “It’s about bringing interesting stuff.”

Except for the club series, Clark State has switched exclusively to booking acts on the fly as they become available — to seemingly great success. For example, the center’s May 16 show starring “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips has long been sold out.

The next Club Kuss series will feature a Nov. 22 show by Americana duo Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group, who’ve been staples on “A Prairie Home Companion” since the 1970s.

The series closer on May 16, 2014, “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical,” is an improvisational comedy show in which an entire musical is created on the spot with audience input.

While also not part of any series, Clark State will offer a free show at 7 p.m. Sept. 19. The annual Richard L. and Barbara D. Kuss Memorial Concert will feature a return engagement by Jim Witter performing the music of Simon and Garfunkel.

Tickets for club series shows are $30, except for Rhythmic Circus, and are available by calling 937-328-3874.

The complete schedule:

Oct. 4 — Singer-songwriters Mieka Pauley and Jonathan Kingham, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 22 — Robin and Linda Williams, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 17 — Electric violinist Valerie Vigoda, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 28 — Three Part Invention, a classical and jazz trio featuring well-known instrumentalists Philip Aaberg on piano, Tracy Silverman on violin and Mike Block on cello, 7:30 p.m.

March 14 — FullSet, a traditional Irish band, 7:30 p.m.

May 16 — “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical,” 7:30 p.m.

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