Point of View

March 29, 2010, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Artist Talks, At the Center

On Saturday, March 6, 2010, six of the country’s top performing arts leaders participated in a community panel discussion during the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Miami Made Weekend, a full weekend dedicated to the development of new, original works by South Florida artists. The panelists were brought to the Adrienne Arsht Center to give the national and international perspectives to artists and arts administrators involved in the creation new works in Miami.  Panelists included Charles Reinhart from the American Dance Festival Studio; Baraka Sele, Assistant VP of Programming at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Clyde Valentin, Executive Director of The Hip Hop Theater Festival; Stephanie Hughley, Founding VP of Programming at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; and Jason Palmquist, Executive Director at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Panelists for Miami Made Weekend. Photo by Gregory Reed.

In keeping with the theme of the weekend and the flavor of Miami, the panelists discussed the importance of presenting quality international performances, and how Miami can lead the charge in doing so. Baraka Sele stated “we have to transform our cultural landscape and our cultural psyche” so that international audiences embrace new works from their native countries. She says that presenters must be prepared to travel in search of new work. By presenting a wide range of quality work from various countries, a new, local culture will be created that enjoys and supports that which is new and engaging.

Valentin, Hughley, Sele and Reinhard all touted the importance of funding “a diverse aesthetic and new work,” and all of their institutions have proven, successful track records in doing so. They state that although audiences may not be used to experiencing new work at first, with perseverance, audiences will respond.

March 29, 2010, 3:04 pm
Filed under: Membership

On Wednesday, March 3, the Peacock Foundation Studio at the Ziff Ballet Opera House was magically transformed into the Ozdust Ballroom, straight from the set of Broadway blockbuster, Wicked.    Over 100 Adrienne Arsht Center members and the Center’s Broadway subscribers, got to enjoy the sights, sounds, and scrumptious food at this “wicked” opening night cast party.  


Have a look at all the magical moments of this spectacular night here. 


All photos by Jipsy Castillo.

March 29, 2010, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County proudly announced its 5th Anniversary Broadway in Miami 2010-2011/Broadway Across America season on March 21st with an unprecedented line-up of five Tony® Award-winning Miami premiere engagements at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House.  The 5th Anniversary Season celebrates the Adrienne Arsht Center’s five years as the community town square – a place where our diverse South Florida community can gather for extraordinary performances, free family-friendly events, and meaningful community-building.  With five phenomenal Broadway shows—all five winners of multiple Tony® Awards—the 2010-2011 season promises to deliver an artistic toast to five fabulous years in Miami!

The season kicks off October 2010 with an all-new production of DREAMGIRLS, direct from New York’s Apollo Theater; followed by a December limited holiday engagement: NETworks presents Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST– the enchanting, romantic musical for all generations. March brings in two of Broadway’s biggest blockbusters and Best Musical Tony® winners: JERSEY BOYS, the story of rock ’n roll Hall of Famers, The Four Seasons, followed by the Latino hit musical IN THE HEIGHTS.  June closes the season with HAIR, the 2009 Tony® Award winner for Best Musical Revival. 

(L-R) Adrienne Warren (Lorrell), Syesha Mercado (Deena), Moya Angela (Effie). Photo by Joan Marcus.


Justin Glaser as the Beast and Liz Shivener as Belle. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Recording Studio; (L to R) Steve Gouveia, Joseph Leo Bwarie, Ryan Jesse and Matt Bailey. Photo by Joan Marcus.

(L-R) Sabrina Sloan, Isabel Santiago, Arielle Jacobs, Genny Lis Padilla. Photo by Janet Macoska.

“Our Fifth Anniversary Broadway Season celebrates artistic programming tailor-made for the city of Miami,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “Our goal is always to use a thoughtful, community-based approach in programming world-class performing arts at the Center, and this selection of Broadway hits offers a diverse sampling of shows for our multi-cultural, multi-generational South Florida audience.”

March 29, 2010, 3:02 pm
Filed under: At the Center

The Adrienne Arsht Center teams up with Mad Cat Theatre Company this April to present the heavy metal play BROADSWORD.  Nominated for five Carbonell Awards (South Florida’s version of the Tony Awards), the workshop production of BROADSWORD opened in Miami in 2009, and since then has rocketed onto the national scene, including a staged reading at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and a workshop production at the esteemed Juilliard School in New York City. Written by award-winning Miami playwright Marco Ramirez, directed by acclaimed writer/director/actor Paul Tei, and featuring a cast of local actors, BROADSWORD will premiere as a fully-staged and complete production at the Adrienne Arsht Center at the end of April, 2010.

Illustration by Candela Creative Group.

BROADSWORD is a tremendous showcase of our local South Florida talent and the ideal production with which to launch the Center’s co-presenting partnership with the critically acclaimed Mad Cat Theatre Company,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “The writer, director, and cast represent some of Miami’s best and brightest theatrical innovators. We are proud to support this production and continue to serve as a home for the development of local talent and risk-taking theater.”

Supporting local artists and theater companies is one of our most important and exciting missions, and the Adrienne Arsht Center is thrilled to join forces with Mad Cat’s fiercely original team. Bringing local companies to the Adrienne Arsht Center stage not only increases exposure to new audiences, but also raises the bar for all elements of the production, including set, light and sound design which allows company members to work alongside seasoned professionals using state-of-the-art equipment.

March 29, 2010, 2:59 pm
Filed under: About the Center

On March 4 & 5, 2010 a five-person Adrienne Arsht Center team of senior management attended the National Arts Strategies’ (NAS) presentation of “Leading Innovation” through their Business of Arts and Culture program in Washington D.C.  The team lead by John Richard, President and CEO, included Suzanna Valdez, Vice President of Advancement, Andrew Goldberg, Vice President of Marketing, Liz Wallace, Senior Programming Director and John Burnett, Vice President of Finance and CFO.  Attendance at the seminar was fully funded by NAS through the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fidelity Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.  Other organizations attending included:  Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center of the University of Maryland, The Juilliard School’s department of Vocal Arts, Smithsonian Institution, and Hyde Park Art Center.  The Seminar was lead by Professor David Owens of the Vanderbilt University’s Graduate School of Management.  Professor Owens teaches graduate-level business courses in strategic management and innovation and is a former product designer and design engineer at IDEO, a premier global product engineering firm specializing in innovative thinking.

The seminar took the view that an innovation strategy should be a fundamental component of an arts organization’s overall strategy.  The aim was to help the organization’s leadership understand how the corporate environment and process for innovation affect artistic and strategic goals and how these factors both enable and constrain organizational success. 

The seminar started with a look at what is meant by innovation and an overview of a model to help an organization be intentionally innovative.  This included a general model of a process of innovation.  To further our understanding of how the innovation process works, we then looked at constraints that are inherent in the process.  These constraints include individual, group, organizational and external constraints.  An individual’s personal characteristics can be a help or hindrance in the creative process.  Group dynamics can also play a supportive or constraining role in the innovation process.  Emotion and culture can constrain a group’s willingness to generate, assess and improve its ideas.  The very act of organizing can cause organizations to excel at innovation or be systematically constrained in their efforts.  Group and organizational dynamics support and limit innovation.  Innovation is also affected by sector-level factors such as resources availability, competition and labor relations.  Also, national culture, demographic changes, societal mores and the political landscape can impact innovative efforts.  We concluded with a review of sector-level and societal dynamics that are critical to the arts and culture sector.

Innovation takes place within a complex organizational context, but it can be analyzed and understood through a structured framework.  The context for innovation can thus be improved upon by leaders to expand on organization’s core capabilities for management and program innovation.  A structured process for innovation can create a systematic ability to generate new ideas, identify the best ones and effectively put these innovations into action.

The Adrienne Arsht Center team truly enjoyed and was energized by the exercises and discussions at the conference.  Part of the team got to talk with Professor Owens while waiting for their plane home to warm Miami.  As John Burnett said “Dave Owens is really remarkable.  His energy and passion made “Leading Innovation” substantial and real. The case studies included corporate environments, and the way the discussion was structured made these cases relevant and incredibly applicable. The curriculum respected our industry.” The Adrienne Arsht Center team came back from Washington eager to use the process on numerous projects including the ongoing strategic plan, back-office enhancement plans and various marketing and fundraising initiatives.

March 25, 2010, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Education

It was a perfect South Florida spring morning today as 77 buses from 73 Miami-Dade County Public Schools began to arrive at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall. At no charge, some 3,500 elementary school students came to hear the extraordinary Cleveland Orchestra perform one of its wildly popular programs based on the lives and music of the great composers. Today it was two performances of Classical Kids Live!’s Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery, a tale of Vivaldi, Venice and violins, and winner of over a dozen awards for outstanding music education productions.

Miami-Dade County Elementary School students arrive at the Adrienne Arsht Center for The Cleveland Orchestra school concert. Photos by Manny Hernandez for the Arsht Center.


Students take their seats and get ready for the show! Photos by Manny Hernandez for the Arsht Center.

The students had prepared for this special day in their classrooms, with the help of CDs, study guides, and student newspapers created for this occasion. And the hall was already buzzing with anticipation as the kids took their seats throughout the main floor and tiers. Even before the show began they were enthralled by the spectacle of the theater itself, as teachers pointed out the state-of-the-art acoustical dome, doors, and panels.  And lots of questions were asked about the paintings on stage that set the scene for the story with lovely depictions of Venice’s most famous sights.

Adrienne Arsht Center staff welcome students to the Knight Concert Hall. Photos by Manny Hernandez for the Arsht Center.

As the Cleveland players entered the stage, the kids cheered, and as the lights went down, professional actors took their places to begin the musical tale of Katarina, a young violinist, who is sent to study music at the great Pieta orphanage in seventeenth century Venice, where she is taught by the famous music director and composer Antonio Vivaldi. As the story unfolded Katarina searched for clues to her own past and to a vanishing Stradivarius violin, while the orchestra played more than 20 excerpts of Vivaldi’s most popular and important works including The Four Seasons, the Violin Concerto in A Minor, and more.

Photos by Manny Hernandez for the Arsht Center.

When the mystery was solved and the music came to an end, the young audience burst into applause and jumped to their feet. For many of them, this outing to the Adrienne Arsht Center served as their introduction to live orchestra music – an experience they will never forget.

Photos by Manny Hernandez for the Arsht Center.

Vivaldi’s Ring of Fire, just one of the many education and outreach programs which are part of The Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency, is presented by the Musical Arts Association of Miami and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.  The Cleveland Orchestra Education Concerts in Miami, as well as related curriculum materials and professional development workshops for teachers, are supported in part by a National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence grant.

March 9, 2010, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

What is a normal day like at the Adrienne Arsht Center when it’s your job to make the witches of Wicked fly?  Welcome to the wonderful world of Daniel Alzuri, Senior Director of Production for the Adrienne Arsht Center and show business production guru extraordinaire.  It takes a village backstage to bring the Citizens of Oz to life onstage, and for Alzuri it all starts three days before the first performance as the 13 Wicked production trucks pull into the Adrienne Arsht Center loading dock.  With 55 local crew members, 12 Wicked advance crew, and 5 Adrienne Arsht Center production staff, Alzuri supervises the show’s “load-in,” – a tightly choreographed schedule of hanging scenery, rigging props, focusing lights, and motorizing special effects.  To the chorus of clanging metal stage sets, and the occasional shout of “pipe coming in!” Alzuri supervises his team of technicians with aplomb. 

Every minute detail is pre-determined, discussed, and mapped out prior to the show’s arrival, so Alzuri and team can work quickly, efficiently, and safely – after only a few hours, the show’s four ton metal marquis dragon looms over the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage as if he just taxied in from Miami International Airport.  In the meantime, Alzuri’s Wicked citizens are rapidly multiplying, as the actors, dancers, wardrobe and hair dressers, orchestra members, and even the official “greener,” who turns actress Donna Vivino that lovely shade of green, take over the backstage area in a flurry of pre-show preparations.  Alzuri serves as the official mayor of this backstage/onstage mini-city, keeping everyone happy as the minutes tick down to show time.  Although his work may be largely invisible to the patron sitting in the theater, in truth his performance is just as breathtaking as Glinda’s.  As a show business veteran, Alzuri has seen it all: “Crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat is a challenge.  Losing your oars in the water is a problem,” he says with a sly smile.  And then he’s off to check on the flying broomsticks!

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