Filed under: At the Center
Twice every week, the halls of the Adrienne Arsht Center open to visitors from all walks of life – South Florida natives and tourists, children and retirees – curious about what takes place behind the glitz and the glam of one of the newest performing arts centers in the world. Embarking on a complimentary tour of the Adrienne Arsht Center, guests get an intimate look into the intricacies of the Center, its history, its magnificent art installations and even a glimpse into the star’s dressing rooms!
Docent extraordinaire Martin Crossland, one of more than 30 docents who lead guests through the behind-the-scenes experience, knows everything there is to know about the Magic City’s crown jewel and has been leading its tours since October 2007. As a world-traveled, certified tour guide with over 35 years of experience in the tourism industry, Martin knows a thing or two about tours and outstanding performing arts theaters. Martin took some time with P.O.V. to share his thoughts on the tours and what makes the Adrienne Arsht Center so unique.
Q: How does the Adrienne Arsht Center compare to other theaters that you have visited?
A: It is quite obvious that the halls of the Adrienne Arsht Center are highly advanced in their acoustical engineering and design, and that those in charge of these elements surely wanted a ‘wow factor’ when creating them.
Q: What is your favorite part of the tour?
A: Although taking guests through the halls is always a highlight, my favorite part is when I am able to escort them to the top of the building – the 6th stop on the elevator. Not many people are given access to the top level of the house…it’s a true insider’s look. When you exit, you can see the entire property and the City of Miami from this level and everyone is always taken back by the view.
Q: What kind of reactions do you hear from guests when they see the two halls?
A: “Wow,” “How impressive” and “Beautiful” across the board!
The Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House blows guests away with its vastness while the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall dazzles people with its bright wood finishes and dramatic reverberation chambers. They are each very different halls but each with its own purpose and statement.
Actually, guests who aren’t too familiar with the Center are usually surprised we actually have two halls!
Q: What is an unexpected feature of the Center that guests enjoy?
A: The painted portrait of Sanford and Dolores Ziff in the Terra Group Patron’s Salon is always a hit on the tour. While they are observing the portrait, I usually take this time to tell them that Dolores Ziff was the first “Bond Girl” in the first James Bond movie “Dr. No.” Everyone is usually pretty impressed by that fun fact.
Q: What is your most memorable moment on a tour?
A: In the very beginning, when the tours first began, I was taking a lovely group of tourists through the backstage of the Knight Concert Hall. It was what we call a “dark day” – a day when there aren’t any shows scheduled in the halls. As part of the tour, guests usually get a sneak peek at the dressing rooms to get a feel for the artist experience here. On this particularly so- called “dark day,” as I walked a group into a dressing room which I expected to be completely empty, a woman dressed in a robe walks of out of the shower! To this day, I have no idea who the woman was, but I know to always knock no matter what the show schedule says!
Adrienne Arsht Center tours take place Monday and Saturdays at 12 noon and are available in English or Spanish. Tours are FREE, last approximately one hour and depart from the lobby of the Ziff Ballet Opera House. No tickets or advance registration required.
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