Point of View

March 30, 2011, 8:31 pm
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Philanthropist Adrienne Arsht has been recognized with this year’s National Award for Outstanding Philanthropist, given by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The award ceremony was held March 21 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago during the 48th AFP International Conference.

“Her philanthropy has touched countless lives across the United States and the programs she has created and supported are a source of inspiration. All of us at AFP are honored and humbled to be able to recognize her for her extraordinary generosity,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP.

Not only has Adrienne Arsht been a strong supporter of the arts in Miami and throughout the nation, but her leadership has influenced other causes far and wide—including an ethics program at the University of Miami, the Million Dollar Roundtable of the United Way of Miami-Dade, and Best Buddies International in Delaware, which emphasizes serving Hispanics and African-Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, just to name a few. Most notably, her gift of $30 million dollars to the Adrienne Arsht Center in 2008 has had a lasting impact, launching the center on its trajectory toward international recognition.

Nominated by the Adrienne Arsht Center Advancement team, as well as by the University of Miami, and recommended for the award by the AFP Miami-Dade Chapter, Adrienne Arsht is truly deserving of the recognition, having had a lasting impact in the quality of life of millions of South Florida residents. Adrienne Arsht exemplifies the qualities of a great philanthropist, a visionary, passionate and selfless.

The Adrienne Arsht Center feels privileged to have the opportunity to know and work with this remarkably exceptional individual. The Center congratulates her on receiving this honor and continues to be in awe of her exemplary spirit of generosity.

March 30, 2011, 8:26 pm
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Running around in heels holding a drink is usually what I find myself doing on a Saturday evening. However, I do not usually sprint down a 50-ft runway in four-inch heels while putting on lipstick, carrying a shopping bag and balancing a Divatini. But, what can I say, I’m a “Diva Queen” so no task is impossible…

When I woke up Saturday morning I never could have imagined the day I had in store. I found out about The Diva Games through a friend of mine and thought it would be a fun Saturday activity. Not to mention the $500 shopping spree to Aventura Mall which I was in desperate need of.

I arrived at the Adrienne Arsht Center at 5:30pm. When I saw the long red carpet and big bright lights surrounding the rows of chairs I knew this would be fun but not easy. The first competition was a race to see which girl could get down the runway the fastest while putting on lipstick, holding a full martini glass, and holding a shopping bag. Yes, this was as exhausting and difficult as it sounds! However, I was able to sprint down the red carpet in my four-inch cobalt-blue peep-toe pumps without spilling a drop on my silk blouse.

After this challenge was finished the next challenge was to model an item from our shopping bags down the runway with grace and style, no matter how crazy the item. I was given a small pair of plastic orange star shaped sunglasses. Even though I was nervous after watching one of the girls storm down the runway like Naomi Campbell, I put on my star shaped glasses, blew the judges a kiss, and stomped down the runway like I was Tyra Banks.

After that challenge was finished all of the girls were split into teams of three for the final challenge. Each team had to recreate the looks of photographs of various performers at the Adrienne Arsht Center—Kathy Griffin, Dianne Reeves, Robyn Peterson, etc.—and style our models with that look. The catch was that we all had to pick from the same clothing rack and were only given two minutes to style our model! So you can imagine this scene looked like a group of wild lions racing toward its prey. Thankfully there was no hair pulling involved! The look I had to recreate was a photo of Robyn Peterson, Diva Games judge and the star of Catwalk Confidential. In the photo, she was wearing trousers, a striped vest, tie, and a very cute beret. As soon as I pushed my way to the racks I was focused. I grabbed a tie, a vest, and—lucky enough for me—a beret right before another girl tried to snatch it away. As I hurried to dress the model the judges called time and we had to present the model right then and there. I’m not going to lie, as beautiful as our model was, I thought our outfit made her look crazy! But to my surprise the judges liked the look.

After the challenges were over we all anxiously waited to see who would be announced the “Diva Queen.” We all lined up in front of the runway and the judge announced the runners up. I thought to myself, “Oh well at least I had fun.” Finally, the judge announced the “Diva Queen” was contestant number 24. I looked down, then I looked back up, and then I looked down again, and realized I was contestant number 24! I was the “Diva Queen” winner! I won a $500 dollar shopping spree to Michael Kors, Charles David, Sephora, and a bunch of other great places at Aventura Mall, a free photo shoot with fashion photographer Codis Kirschner, and two tickets to see Kathy Griffin at the Adrienne Arsht Center! I jumped for joy as they placed the furry light-up crown on top of my head and passed me a bouquet of flowers and had me walk the runway one last time.

I went shopping the very next day. And I’m looking forward to my fashion photo shoot and watching Kathy Griffin. Thank you to the Adrienne Arsht Center and all the judges for crowing me the “Diva Queen!”

March 30, 2011, 8:24 pm
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Once again, there was a great turn-out for the Center’s Food Truck Friday, March 18, which celebrated the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights with a fun block party. More than 1,500 visitors came out for salsa lessons, a Latin dance fitness class, a prize wheel and more! And, of course, great food!

In the Heights, which plays the Ziff Ballet Opera House through April 3, tells the story of a vibrant community in Manhattan’s Washington Heights—a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. While the flavor is unique, the theme is universal—a neighborhood on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

With this theme in mind, the Center asked visitors at the Food Truck Friday block party to share the special flavors of their home. Here’s a taste of what they had to say about their heritage, their ‘hood, and the dishes that remind them of home:

Please share your stories with other POV readers. What so you remember most about your neighborhood growing up. What dish has the special flavor of home for you?

March 30, 2011, 3:14 pm
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It’s a dream come true for me to be associated with one of the great orchestras in the world in such a vibrant community like Miami.

Part of my job is to expand the Orchestra’s reach and impact in the community, and I look forward to spending some more time in Miami and really getting to know all of the Orchestra’s artistic and educational activities here, including its partnership with the beautiful Adrienne Arsht Center. It’s truly one of the great performing arts centers in the country, and I’m always thrilled to perform there. Providing wonderful concert experiences is such a small part of what this residency is all about, and my appointment here is perfect proof that the orchestra is looking to expand its educational and community outreach here in Miami.

It’s obvious that the Orchestra has developed some very special relationships here in Miami. I truly believe that the musicians going into the community, spending time teaching in schools and coaching students, playing concerts in high school gymnasiums, is so important, because classical music has to be taught from an early age. Those of us who do this remember the day when somebody dragged us to a concert, and from that point on, we became hooked – either by playing an instrument, or by making concert-going a regular experience. If we want to have audiences 50 or 60 years from now, we need to start right now, by providing them opportunities to enjoy classical music, and getting people really excited about all that symphonic music can offer.

Classical music must remain relevant in our lives, and that’s why orchestras like The Cleveland Orchestra are taking a very strong look at how else they can service their own communities. I think this residency has become a great example for other orchestras to follow in how best to reach different audiences and how to get them to come to concert halls like the Adrienne Arsht Center and enjoy classical music, so that we will have symphony orchestras for many centuries to come.

I truly believe that music has the power to change lives. It’s just a matter of making that leap and walking into the concert hall. It’s simply about the music. In the end, all you need to enjoy great music is a pair of ears.

– Giancarlo Guerrero

March 30, 2011, 3:10 pm
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The Adrienne Arsht Center announced its Broadway in Miami season, presented by Bank of America, on Monday, March 28, at a special announcement event attended by members of the press, groups sales leaders, subscribers, and other special guests. Five of Broadway’s biggest musicals are set for their Miami premieres in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House next season.

Appropriately enough, the season kicks off next October during the time of ghosts and goblins with the boldly mischievous new musical comedy THE ADDAMS FAMILY, directed by four-time Tony® Award winner Jerry Zaks. The Center was one of the original investors in this show more than five years ago—ensuring that Miami audiences will be among the first outside New York to see this uproarious new musical. At the announcement event, Cortney Wolfson, who plays daughter Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, performed one of her hit songs from the show.

The season concludes seven months later with one of the most acclaimed blockbusters ever, THE LION KING. Based on the beloved Disney film, The Lion King is more than a musical—it is a landmark in the history of Broadway: breathtakingly beautiful, thrillingly moving, and simply unforgettable.

In between, there’s the hilarious SHREK, THE MUSICAL, featuring a terrific score, big laughs, and great dancing; MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, a stand-up-and-cheer new musical inspired by the historic recording session that brought together one time only the music icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins; and the deliciously romantic COME FLY AWAY, featuring the incomparable vocals of Frank Sinatra, a swinging big band on stage, and the extraordinary choreography of Twyla Tharp.


March 30, 2011, 3:04 pm
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There are literally not words enough to express our praise for the Adrienne Arsht Center’s accessibility programs and our gratitude to you and your staff and volunteers for all you did to make it possible for my mom, Angeline Moyer, to enjoy your production of Beauty and the Beast.

Our wonderful experience began when David New [President of the Miami Beach Council of the Blind, A Charter of the Florida Council of the Blind] called to tell me that Adrienne Arsht Center Group Sales Manager Ali Bibeau was the contact person for arrangements for our group on January 2. She could not have been more knowledgeable, helpful, or gracious! I explained that Mom has some difficulty with her vision and her hearing; also that she uses a walker and cannot stand for very long or climb stairs. Ali explained all the options, including the headsets that would provide audio description and amplification, and found us the perfect seats.

My Mom is very proud and has a wonderful spirit. She has been through so much this past year, and I never saw her break down – until the day I called to tell her she was going to see Beauty and the Beast – and she lost it with joy! Mom kept saying over and over, “I cannot believe I am going to get to go!”

When we arrived at the Center on Sunday, you and your team met us in the lobby – so welcoming, kind, helpful, and above all, respectful. You were wonderful to Mom, even providing her a wheelchair so that she could go on the backstage tour, and the assistance of the paramedic for transport. Mom had thought that there was no way that she could participate in the tour, so she brought along a book to read while she waited in the lobby. That was the second time I saw Mom literally choke up with joy – when you told her she could be a part of the tour. She loved it, and it really enhanced her understanding and enjoyment of the play (as well as giving her something to tell ALL her friends!).

Your gracious team assisted us to our wonderful seats, which were easily accessible for Mom. She used the headset throughout, and was delighted to tell me at the end that she could hear everything and did not miss one word of dialogue!! She loved the play and was just completely overjoyed with the entire experience.

In my career, I have worked over thirty years providing library services for persons with print disabilities. On Sunday, Mom and I were the very grateful recipients, and were just overwhelmed at your quality, professionalism, thoroughness, and most of all, your kindness and respect. My mother and I truly thank you, and look forward to seeing you again soon at Jersey Boys!

With our kudos and deepest appreciation, Barbara Moyer

March 30, 2011, 2:59 pm
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A love for the flair and passionate performance of Flamenco was the starting point for a collaborative partnership among the Adrienne Arsht Center, the Spanish Consulate, and EULEN America.

Flamenco Festival Miami is one of the Center’s most acclaimed and popular festivals. This year, the Festival has set new records, presenting the largest Flamenco Festival Miami production in the Center’s history with five acclaimed performances by Ballet Nacional de España, a perfect showcase of Spanish culture that celebrates the universal language of dance.

EULEN America, a leading provider of business outsourcing services in the aviation, maintenance, janitorial and security sectors selected to sponsor the wildly popular Flamenco Festival Miami to show their philanthropic support of our community. “Our company strongly believes that the arts enrich the quality of people’s lives, as well as the communities in which they perform, which is why our company is such a strong believer in supporting festivals such as this one in that they positively impact the cultural environment of where we live and work,” said Luis Rodriguez EULEN America CEO.

A number of special events surrounding the festival, including a reception at the Bombay Sapphire Lounge, kicked off this year’s festival. The cast of Ballet Nacional de España, EULEN representatives, Ambassador Cristina Barrios, General Consul of Spain in Miami, and other community leaders gathered at the Bombay Sapphire Lounge to commemorate the occasion. “EULEN’s vision and support was fundamental to this undertaking. This international company with presence in South Florida truly understands the importance of helping us bring this level of artistry to our community,” Adrienne Arsht Center President and CEO M. John Richard noted.

The Inside Dish from Jersey Boys Cast Members

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is thrilled to have the touring company of the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical, Jersey Boys, on its campus for a three week engagement. This critically acclaimed musical relates the incredible story of how a group of blue collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop sensations of all time – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Playing from March 2nd through March 20th in the Ziff Ballet Opera House, Jersey Boys brings an electrifying cast to Miami. Go backstage with cast members Matt Bailey, Alayna Gallo, and Quinn VanAntwerp, and find out what they are doing in Miami when they aren’t on stage.


One of the ongoing commitments of the Adrienne Arsht Center to our community is to be accessible to everyone regardless of disability challenges. In addition to the Saturday matinee sign-interpreted and Sunday matinee open-captioned Broadway in Miami performances already offered for deaf and hearing-impaired guests, this season the Center introduced audio descriptions for blind and vision-impaired guests for the Sunday matinee performances. And just recently, the Center added another program— touch tours for The Nutcracker and Beauty and the Beast, in collaboration with Miami City Ballet and Broadway Across America.

For The Nutcracker, Edward Villella, Founding Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of Miami City Ballet, generously gave his time pre-performance to give the history and description of a number of the costumes and props used in the production. A group of vision impaired guests had the opportunity to touch the costumes to fully enjoy the texture and style of the silks, satins, and lace and to handle the props. While everyone enjoyed the delicate costumes of the Flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy, the overall favorite for tactile richness was that of the Rat King. The touch tour literally set the stage for the performance that followed.

Having received rave reviews from our guests, we approached the Beauty and the Beast company and asked if they would also agree to share their time with our guests. While the touch tour for The Nutcracker was held in the Next Generation Green Room of the Ziff Ballet Opera House, for Beauty and the Beast our guests along with their companions went right on stage where they had the opportunity to touch not just the costumes and props, but also the actual set. Being on the stage also gave guests a first-hand understanding of the length and breadth of the performance space. The entire experience was deemed thrilling, but most agreed that the highlight of the tour was meeting the Beast!

Although not every production lends itself to touch tours, the Center will continue to explore the opportunity to offer this service for our vision impaired and blind guests whenever possible with the goal of making the Adrienne Arsht Center, our home, a welcome place to experience great performances and superior guest service for everyone.


The Adrienne Arsht Center recently hosted a Launch Event on February 19th for more than 100 Miami-Dade drama and journalism high school students to discuss the theatrical sci-fi thriller, The Sparrow, which runs in the Carnival Studio Theater April 7 – May 1. Sparrow creator Nathan Allen flew in especially for the event and spoke to students about his inspiration for the story, and gave them a few hints regarding the show’s surprise ending.

The drama students were invited to learn about “The Ghost Class.” Participants will work on various promotional projects—social media posts, viral videos, event promotions and more—in order to earn points towards prizes such as signed show posters, invitations to cast parties, and the Grand Prize—a walk-on role at one of the performances of the show! Points are tallied through March 31 and the winner will be announced on April 1.

Meanwhile journalism students were treated to a tutorial by Miami Herald theater critic Christine Dolen to kick-off the Adrienne Arsht Center’s “Student Reviewer Program.”
Student reviewers will report on The Sparrow following a Student Press Performance on Friday, April 8, and will then submit the reviews in order to win a chance to be published in the Miami Herald, Adrienne Arsht Center-affiliated publications, and on The Sparrow website.

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