World-renowned acts including Leslie Odom Jr. from “Hamilton” and Tony award-winning musical “Kinky Boots” will take the stage at Zoellner Arts Center this year.
For students, attending these performances will be even easier as Zoellner now offers one free ticket for each show with proof of a student ID. The funds for these free tickets come from this year’s increase to the undergraduate tuition student activity fee.
Select events will be free of charge to all undergraduate students who wish to attend, while others will only have a set number of free tickets available.
Andy Cassano, administrative director of Zoellner, said for the performances with limited free tickets, students can sign up to be placed on a waitlist.
If they sign up for the list, students will be contacted before the show, and they must confirm their attendance to receive their free ticket. If students do not respond, they forfeit their free ticket.
Some performances, such as ticketed University Production events, will not offer free tickets but will often have a discounted student rate instead.
The plan to raise the student activity fee was recently approved by the administration. The idea came from wanting more students to benefit from on-campus events, especially those who may not have had the opportunity to attend events in the past. The initiative looks to benefit professors as well.
“We’re working with faculty so they can take advantage of programming in terms of curricula,” Cassano said. “Our programming is meant to be cross-disciplinary, such as the upcoming ‘Physics Experience.’ Africana and global studies are interested in a dance company from Algeria for their students.”
Cassano also hopes professors, especially those from the engineering and business colleges, will use this opportunity to allow students to get to know each other better in an enjoyable environment.
Sam Evers, ’19, thinks Zoellner providing free tickets will positively impact the Lehigh community. Evers found that a limited number of free tickets were being provided for various events when he attempted to purchase tickets for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” After that, he decided to sign up for the free ticket waitlist.
“The activity fee increase is good if it increases access for events that people wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” Evers said.
Deborah Sacarakis, Zoellner’s artistic director, said she looks to showcase incredible performances at Zoellner. She wants to bring performances to campus that aren’t offered anywhere else in the Lehigh Valley.
“The series is curated to represent multiple cultures and disciplines,” Sacarakis said. “People can’t often see performers from other countries, so we bring them here.”
An Algerian dance group called Compagine Herve Koubi will perform Oct. 6, and Cassano said there will be a meet and greet with the dancers offered to some students.
“These dancers are from a culture where males dancing is frowned upon,” Sacarakis said. “They’ll be giving an amazing performance even though they come from a place where dancing isn’t allowed.”
Tony Award winner Odom will perform his jazz repertoire Nov. 11. Sacarakis said tickets for his performance, as well as the Broadway shows, are being reserved for students through a waitlist because they are selling out fast.