Point of View

Countdown to the 5th Anniversary Season Gala
October 25, 2010, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Gala

We are only days away from the Adrienne Arsht Center’s 5th Anniversary Season Gala and it looks to be a remarkable evening filled with many timeless moments that honor the founding donors of the Center.  Among the many surprises will be the unveiling our magnificent Grand Donor Wall.

Following his triumphant Center debut this summer in BABALU, Raúl Esparza returns! The Tony Award nominee—and Miami native—will entertain more than 500 of Miami’s most influential arts patrons, philanthropists, and business and civic leaders on Thursday, October 28, 2010, at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s 5th Anniversary Season Gala.

The black-and-white-themed 5th Anniversary Season Gala will honor the Center’s legacy, the evolution of its mission as a ‘world-class, community-based’ performing arts center, and its future direction as the Miami community continues to invest in the organization. A highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of the Grand Donor Walls, which honor the Center’s founding supporters.

Gala proceeds will benefit the Adrienne Arsht Center’s mission-driven education and community outreach programs.  There are still tickets available – please call (786) 468-2020 or email gala@arshtcenter.org for more information.

Rock Odyssey Returns
October 21, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Rock Odyssey

Last month the Adrienne Arsht Center opened its doors to every fifth grader in Miami-Dade County for the second time in a row, inviting 25,000 students to see this thrilling rock opera based on Homer’s Odyssey.

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My POV: Abby Thompson
October 21, 2010, 7:29 pm
Filed under: My POV

My name is Abigail Thompson. I am nine years old and in Mrs. Brody’s class in the 4th grade at Kendale Elementary School.  On Friday, September 24, we went to see Rock Odyssey at the Adrienne Arsht Center for a school field trip. 

As we were getting ready for our field trip to go see Rock Odyssey, I checked in with my friend Kyle, who said, “I’m really excited for this field trip.” I was very excited, too.

“This is gonna be so cool! I can’t wait!” I kept telling myself as the busses drew nearer to the Adrienne Arsht Center. As we were told where to go by the friendly ushers, we were becoming more and more excited.  As we finally arrived in the theater, I took note of some designs. There were many speakers, and even more lights.

The lights dimmed, and everyone was really excited for the show. The actors were great; the music was grand; there were great special effects and wonderful clothing designs. In some songs, the kids (audience) decided to join in. We started waving and clapping!  Our wonderful teacher Mrs. Brody said, “I think it was great how the kids all joined in on the fun!”

After the show, I decided to ask some people about what they thought about the show. Another teacher, Mrs. Abraham, said, “The show was fantastic. This was my first time here and I can’t wait to come back!” Lucas told me that of all his experiences here, he thinks this one was the best. Bryan said, “It was epic.” Lauren announced, “It was breath-taking.” Amanda said, “Wow! This is amazing!” After that, we left. That was our amazing time at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

I really enjoyed the music and the clothing designs.  My favorite part of the show was when everyone was reunited at the end. After the show, we headed back to school, hoping we can come back again.

Senior Staff Profile: Scott Shiller, Executive Vice President
October 21, 2010, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Senior Staff

Executive Vice President Scott Shiller enjoys a diverse and exciting role as a team member of the Adrienne Arsht Center.  Since joining the Center in October of 2007, Scott has overseen numerous projects, including major programming initiatives which have helped secure the Adrienne Arsht Center’s position as a national leader.

In addition to programming large-scale Broadway productions for the Broadway in Miami series, as well as acclaimed theatrical events such as Fuerza Bruta, Slava Snow Show, and Celia for the Center’s dynamic summer seasons, Scott has played an integral role in developing The Carnival Studio Theater Season.  Through partnerships with local arts organizations, the Adrienne Arsht Center is able to feature South Florida’s best artists and companies on the Carnival Studio Theater stage.  These partnerships provide a world-class stage for local talent to showcase their work and to introduce new groundbreaking theater and dance to Miami audiences.  The 2010-2011 Carnival Studio Theater Season will feature partnerships with organizations such as Mad Cat Theatre, Zoetic Stage, City Theatre, and Teatro Avante, Brazz Dance Theater, M Ensemble, and  Out in the Tropics.  Additionally, new works by Daniel Arsham, Jonah Bokaer, and Judith Sanchez Ruiz, Rosie Herrera Dance Company, and local artists participating in Miami Made Weekend will be featured.

Scott grew up outside of St. Louis, Missouri.  He attended Emerson College in Boston, where he majored in theatre arts.  During his senior year of college, Scott began working for Tony Award-winning producer Jon Platt.  Together with Platt, Scott collaborated on numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, including Wicked, Man of La Mancha, Sly Fox, The Graduate, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Blue Man Group: Tubes, Ragtime, Cabaret, Master Class, Wait Until Dark, Taller than a Dwarf, Seussical the Musical, Macbeth, The Diary of Anne Frank, Fosse, Forbidden Broadway, and The Vagina Monologues.  In addition to gaining invaluable experience in producing, Scott also helped create ‘Broadway in Boston,’ an audience development, group sales, membership and subscription program, which later served as a branding model for ‘Broadway Across America,’ the nation’s largest presenter of touring t theatrical shows.

After his tenure in Boston, Scott became a partner in TheatreDreams, the commercial theater producing company led by Tony Award-winning producers Larry Wilker and Bill Becker.  With TheatreDreams, Scott served as Vice President of Programming for The Chicago Theatre in downtown Chicago as well as the famous Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California.  During his tenure, The Chicago Theatre was twice nominated for “Theatre of Year” by Polstar Magazine in recognition of the venue’s unprecedented level of programming.

Scott continues his quest to bring outstanding quality theater to audiences at the Adrienne Arsht Center.    

Together with the outstanding programming team of the Adrienne Arsht Center, Executive Vice President Scott Shiller aims to bring quality diverse productions to every stage of the Center.  For a complete list of performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center, including those in the Carnival Studio Theatre, please visit http://www.arshtcenter.org.

October 21, 2010, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Awards and Recognition, Board of Trustee

A reception was held earlier this month honoring the Performing Arts Center Trust’s Founding Chair Parker Thomson, who retired from the Board of Directors after more than 20 years of service. Former and current Board members gathered and thanked Mr. Thomson for his years of tireless dedication and unwavering perseverance.  Mr. Thomson was the first Chairman of the Performing Arts Center Trust’s Board of Directors and served faithfully on the Board for over 20 years. Among the accolades bestowed upon Mr. Thomson were a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Senator Bill Nelson, a congratulatory letter from Governor Charlie Crist and a resolution by the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners declaring September 28, 2010 “Parker Thomson Day.” “Due to his leadership, the cultural landscape of Miami-Dade County has been forever transformed,” stated Valerie Riles, the Center’s Vice President of Board and Government Relations.

One of our community’s most brilliant lawyers, Mr. Thomson is a Partner at Hogan and Lovells and earlier this year he was named as one of Florida’s Super Lawyers by Law and Politics.

October 21, 2010, 7:14 pm
Filed under: At the Center, Masterworks Series

In 2007, the Adrienne Arsht Center brought the iconic Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) to Miami for the very first time, wowing audiences with their brilliant technique and stunning repertory.  At that time, the Center was lucky enough to host the legendary choreographer himself, who  created a brand new, world premiere performed by the company on the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House Stage. 

Now, MCDC returns as part of the historic Legacy Tour – celebrating the lifelong creative genius of Merce Cunningham in a posthumous final farewell tour.  The company will once again grace the Ballet Opera House stage – this time in a special installation created specifically for the Adrienne Arsht Center — featuring dancers on three performance levels and audience members on stage with the performers!  MCDC performs December 2-4, 2010, presenting South Florida with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Cunningham’s work in an unforgettably intimate environment, performed by the company he personally trained.  The company’s Miami engagement coincides with Art Basel, and pays homage to Cunningham’s groundbreaking, multi-disciplinary artistic collaboration with two other giants of American culture, visual artist Robert Rauschenberg and composer John Cage.  Dancers will wear original Rauschenberg costumes, and each performance will be accompanied by live music featuring members of the Sonic Combine.  In a nod to Cunningham’s  artistic collaboration with Miami/New York visual artist Daniel Arsham, who worked with him on the company’s last visit to the Adrienne Arsht Center, Arsham  will create a site-specific installation in the auditorium of the theater. 

Photo by Richard Rutledge

This thrilling engagement brings the Adrienne Arsht Center’s relationship with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company full circle – honoring Cunningham’s astounding body of work and remarkable contribution to American modern dance and culture – with a performance experience as extraordinary as the artist himself.

October 21, 2010, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Green Room Society

On Thursday, September 30, 2010, the Adrienne Arsht Center’s young and fabulous set, The Green Room Society, threw a party offering an exclusive preview of the Bombay Sapphire® Lounge, the Center’s new cocktail hot spot located in the historic art deco Carnival Tower.  Over 300 guests came and enjoyed some of Bombay Sapphire’s signature cocktails while dabbling in delicious desserts courtesy of Performing Arts Catering.  The evening’s musical selections were curated by DJ Aramis Lorie, founder of Miami’s downtown nightlife producers Poplife as well as a GRS Committee Member.  Some highlights of the evening included delicious vanilla swirl blondie pops, the raspberry Tom Collins, and the entire dancers of the Tania Perez Salas Dance Company grooving to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” 

Photo courtesy by WordRedEye.com | Justin Namon

Missed the party?  Relive the moment here.  www.flickr.com/photos/greenroomsociety/sets/72157625094340754/

Bombay Sapphire Lounge is officially open to the public with regular operating hours.  Visit http://www.arshtcenter.org/bombaysapphirelounge/index.aspx for more info.

October 21, 2010, 6:15 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

Straight from the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, the smash hit musical DREAMGIRLS made its Miami premiere at the Adrienne Arsht Center last week!   Miami native, Florida International University graduate, and “American Idol” favorite Syesha Mercado returned to her hometown in a starring role.  Syesha lights up the stage as “Deena,” the role inspired by Diana Ross, later portrayed by Beyónce, and now the perfect vehicle for this stellar Floridian  musical performer! 

We asked Syesha to riff on “Idol” vs. Broadway, coming home to Miami, and stepping on stage in this famous role.  Here are a few thoughts from our hometown  star!

POV: What is it like to go from competing on “American Idol” to touring with this production of Dreamgirls?

Syesha: It’s been a wonderful transition.  I’ve taken all of my experiences from ”Idol” to this show. Broadway requires a lot of discipline and “Idol” sure did teach me what that means!

POV: How does it feel to come back to Miami to perform for your hometown audience?

Syesha: It’s always good to be back home. This will be the first time fans get to see me in a theatrical production. I’m thrilled! 

POV: What has been the hardest part of playing Deena?  The most exciting?

Syesha: The hardest part is all the costume changes… ha!  The most exciting part is the opportunity to use the stage as a way to inspire and motivate others to “Follow their Dreams.”

DREAMGIRLS runs at the Adrienne Arsht Center from October 18-24, 2010.  For more information on DREAMGIRLS and to purchase tickets, click here: www.arshtcenter.org

October 13, 2010, 1:57 pm
Filed under: My POV

One summer ago, I found myself lucky enough to land an internship at the Adrienne Arsht Center. A resident of Miami Beach since birth, I’d watched the Center spring up in my own backyard, and had become quickly enamored with its presence downtown. Every morning I’d drive down Biscayne Boulevard and for the few seconds I’d pass through the core of the Arsht Center — right in between the Carnival Studio Theater and the Knight Concert Hall — I felt the pride of Miami resonating off the buildings.  To me, the Arsht Center was a star in a city already full of shine and culture.   

When I got the call to come in for an interview for the job of writing for the Center’s blog and newsletter, I was ecstatic, to say the least. I came into the office in what I pulled together as my best office attire with my clunky visitor pass wrapped around my neck, and within those first five minutes, I was well aware I was in for more than a summer of paper-pushing. Staring down at my first three assignments — scribbled erratically in nervous hand — I took a deep breath and snatched up the phone to arrange an interview with Ricky Arriola, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center. 

I spent hours shadowing workers backstage, playing photographer at charity events and, when I could grab a chance, exploring the leviathan white halls and empty wine-colored theaters. Confidence came swiftly as I began to live for the rush of a deadline. On top of improving my skills as a journalist, I acquired the ability to work professionally and objectively. I met new friends and felt welcome in an office full of experienced superiors, and was the only one out of my high school friends who could proudly declare I loved my job.

Applying to journalism school, I wrote about my role at the Arsht Center as the defining one that brought me confidence in my career choice. Upon my acceptance into college, I knew that I owed it in part to those who gave me the opportunity to write here at the Arsht Center.

This summer I was invited to return to my position, and I gladly accepted the chance to practice my writing skills before facing journalism school. I again benefitted from another summer with my Arsht Center family and gained strength and stamina as a writer and researcher. In a few days I will begin another journey to the University of Maryland and I leave the Arsht Center with immeasurable gratitude. In particular I’d like to thank with all my heart Esther Park and Louis Tertocha for the opportunity to work at a world class center; I couldn’t have been in the place I am today without them, because although I am saying good-bye the Center and to Miami, I’m packing with me real world experience that I couldn’t have earned anywhere else.

October 12, 2010, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America, Membership

On Monday, August 20th, a hand-picked group of more than 200 Broadway enthusiasts were greeted with a little slice of Jersey … Jersey Boys, that is.  Three members (Matt Bailey, Alayna Gallo and Christopher Deangelis) of the touring company of the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys took the Carnival Studio Theater by storm as they gave a behind-the-scenes, sneak preview of the upcoming musical that will be hitting the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage from March 2-20, 2011.   South Florida’s “Voice of Rock’n’Roll”, Rick Shaw, who apparently knows the real Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, was on hand to interview the lead actors in the musical.  Guests were entertained with special live performances as well as some delicious, traditional Italian fare that included pasta, pizza, and cheese cake on a stick! 

Among the many VIPs in attendance were press, group leaders and our very special Marquee Members, a new membership level at the Adrienne Arsht Center that is centered around our Broadway in Miami subscribers.  

Marquee Members’ benefits include exclusive access to our members-only Patrons Salon before every Broadway performance as well as one cast party for the Broadway performance of their choice.  

With all that, our Marquee Members kick started their Broadway season with an all-access invitation to experience Jersey Boys unlike ever before… proof that members really are at the center of it all!

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