The Wharton Center for Performing Arts engages the community through dynamic programming, education, and outreach. The Wharton Center is a prominent arts center for Broadway shows, theatre, and music. In the building on Shaw Street, the Cobb Great Hall seats 2,254 and the Pasant Theatre seats 600. The Wharton Center also holds performances in the Auditorium Building in the MSU Concert Auditorium, which seats 3,600, and in the Fairchild Theatre, which seats 600.
Through the Wharton Institute for Arts & Creativity, educational programs offer unique, valuable experiences for community youth, to more deeply engage with the arts and grow critical life skills. Special programming tied to captivating performances expands our humanity and infuses our lives with connection and meaning.
- Wharton at Home: Join Wharton Institute for Arts & Creativity staff for a variety of classes in performing arts and learn from and create alongside professionals right from the comfort of your own home.
- Take It From The Top: Workshops are taught by a vibrant, talented team of experienced Broadway professionals who take time out of their shows and schedules to come to East Lansing and engage with local students.
- Young Playwrights Festival: This program gives Michigan high school students the opportunity to see their one-act plays brought to life on the Pasant Theatre stage.
- Sutton Foster Awards: These awards honor outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater. Wharton Center sponsors Michigan’s state-wide contest, sending two winners to compete on a Broadway stage in New York City.
- Audience Engagement: For select performances, each season, opportunities for patrons are offered to connect with performers, learn from artists and ask questions to uncover the deeper meaning of works.
- NextGen@Wharton: Program offers relative newcomers to Wharton Center the chance to see great shows at a discounted rate usually reserved for season subscribers, and each show includes an opportunity to attend VIP events with behind-the-scenes access.
- Seats 4 Kids: Tickets to economically disadvantaged children through local community service organizations and Title 1 schools.
- Sensory-friendly performances: Wharton Center provides a supportive and welcoming environment that will make live theatre accessible to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), developmental disabilities, sensory processing disorder, and other sensory-sensitive people and their families.