Segerstrom Center of the Arts unveils new discount program

As previously announced, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts — formerly known as the Orange County Performing Arts Center — plans to celebrate its 25th anniversary season by selling 10,000 tickets to assorted events for $10, in a discount program dubbed "Access for All."

With the season looming at the Costa Mesa center — opening shows include the Emerson String Quartet (Sept. 21), Sonny Rollins (Sept. 25) and the San Francisco Ballet (Sept. 27-Oct. 2) — some details have emerged.

The promotion follows a Forrest Gump-esque principle: like Mama Gump's vision of life, these discounts are like a box of chocolates — you never know what you're gonna get.

Here's how it works. First, submit an email address via a page on the center's website,

Then wait. When the center figures out which tickets to which events it wants to part with for cheap, it'll send an email notice, with notices going out every two weeks.

If customers like what's offered, they can use the promotion code in the email to order by phone or online — in which case the 10% fee turns a $10 ticket into an $11 ticket — or save the buck by going to the box office in person. The center anticipates a limit of two or four tickets per buyer.

"We're still working on some of the details," including which shows will be discounted, center spokesman Tim Dunn said Thursday.

He acknowledged that "Access for All" doesn't mean access to all, because not every show or attraction will be included, but that the $10 tickets will range across "every discipline, every series."

The 10,000 tickets are for the center's own presentations. Its three resident companies — the Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Pacific Chorale — will kick in some $10 offers of their own via "Access for All."

Some of those heavily discounted seats will be in nice locations, Dunn assured. "It will be throughout the theaters. They won't all be up in the third tier," because if that were the case, "it would be hardly exciting."

For those who like the performing arts, or at least think they might — because, after all, reaching newbies is a key reason for this initiative, along with thanking established patrons — and for those who like saving money, seeing surprises and don't mind giving their email addresses to everybody's friendly neighborhood performing arts center, this promotion will be worthwhile.

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