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The S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series will bring Bill Cosby to the East Carolina University campus Sept. 20. (Contributed photo)

Bill Cosby to launch 51st SRAPAS season

Sept. 7, 2012

By Spaine Stephens
ECU News Services

A man of laughter and legend, Bill Cosby will entertain a sold-out crowd Sept. 20 in East Carolina University’s Wright Auditorium.

Cosby’s visit will kick off the 51st season of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series (SRAPAS), a schedule of shows that each year provides a variety of unique programming for the ECU community, local schoolchildren, and the region. Cosby—an actor and comedian with countless other accomplishments to his name—is one of the most well known acts that series promoters have lined up. The program is supported in part by ECU’s Office of Equity and Diversity.

The program will begin with Cosby introducing his new mobile application, OBKB, which features photos, audio clips, and video highlights of Cosby’s career. A five-minute video clip about the app will play.

“It’s very campy, very Cosby,” said Michael Crane, associate dean of research, marketing and outreach of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Cosby will then take the stage for a 90-minute comedy routine. “He’ll come on out, sit on the chair, and just have at it,” Crane said. “A lot of his stuff is facial expressions and timing.” Additional cameras in the auditorium will ensure that the audience won’t miss a second of the action.

Cosby, who has a natural ability to have audiences hanging on his every word, starred in the popular “The Cosby Show” and has also taken on other personal and professional roles including author, activist, musician, and producer. His works spanned the generations: Cosby created the educational cartoon comedy series “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” and hosted two seasons of “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

Cosby’s work has earned eight gold records, five platinum records, five Grammy awards, and three Emmy awards. He received a Kennedy Center Honor Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009. On Feb. 12, Cosby was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for his second comedy album, I Started Out As A Child.

The SRAPAS series provides quality programming and learning opportunities for students and the community. More than 30,000 people watched or participated in the series’ programs in each of the past two years.

Other highlights of the 51st season include musician Bobby McFerrin, known for his hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” McFerrin will showcase his work since launching the popular 1988 song. “His artistry is just phenomenal,” Crane said. The Panorama Jazz Band draws from musical influences around the world; its performance “is just going to be a big party,” he said.

SRAPAS also is interlacing more student involvement into the performances of visiting artists. Students will learn choreography from River North Dance Chicago and perform before the group’s show in February. That is part of an effort to provide more behind-the-scenes education to college and local primary and secondary school students, aligning with ECU’s mission to provide quality entertainment and improve quality of life. “We really feel the series is the embodiment,” Crane said, “of the powerful inspiration behind this strategic direction.”

For more information on the SRAPAS lineup and ticket availability, visit

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