Spring time opens up new performing arts season


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Jim Pugh, who has a theater in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts named after him, speaks during a celebration at the Dr. Phillips Center on March 21. PHOTO BY GEORGIA WILLIAMS

Jim Pugh, who has a theater in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts named after him, speaks during a celebration at the Dr. Phillips Center on March 21. PHOTO BY GEORGIA WILLIAMS

Last month’s column recounted how the Orlando Opera’s Opera Guild was able to bring back a true opera company to our city. Opera Orlando has been able to produce high-caliber performances to sold-out audiences in the Dr. Phillips Center’s Pugh Theater for several years now. Their fourth gala, the “Bel Canto Ball” on April 18, will bring to Orlando the Metropolitan Star Brittany Renee Robinson to entertain. The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell will be hosting the event.

Opera is also very much part of the University of Central Florida’s College of Arts and Humanities. The last two evenings of UCF Celebrates the Arts 2019 features the opera “The Tender Land.” Thomas Potter, the executive director of UCF Opera, has shared his talents for many years in many different venues of our city. Robin Jensen also works at the university but also with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mad Cow Theater and directs the Orlando Youth Opera. Ms. Jensen also conducted members of the Philharmonic for Opera Orlando’s performance of “Hansel and Gretel.”

The final beam of Steinmetz Hall is lifted into place on March 21 as Orlando leaders, spectators and construction workers look on. PHOTO BY GEORGIA WILLIAMS

The final beam of Steinmetz Hall is lifted into place on March 21 as Orlando leaders, spectators and construction workers look on. PHOTO BY GEORGIA WILLIAMS

A new home for CityArts

The 3rd Thursday Gallery Hop in the Downtown Arts District marked the first event in the new venue for CityArts Factory. Now the new CityArts Orlando is located in the historic Rogers Kiene Building on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Pine Street. The green Queen Anne-style building was constructed in 1886 and was the Old English Club where settlers drank cocktails and shot billiards. Ford Kiene donated the building to be used for arts and culture for at least 20 years. In recent months, it has undergone much-needed renovation and now holds three floors of art galleries but maintains its classic charm. Congratulations to the city and the Downtown Arts District and many thanks to Mr. Kiene and the City Council.

Central Florida Community Arts Jazz Concert

On April 5 and 6, the Central Florida Community Arts program will be presenting a “Spring Swing” jazz concert at Mead Garden and Calvary Orlando, respectively. This is its first time showcasing the CFCArts Big Band as the main feature of a concert. Ticket information can be found on cfcarts.com. CFCArts is a community arts non-profit organization that was created in 2010 to help provide a variety of cultural platforms for all musicians.

Celebration held at Dr. Phillips Center for last beam installation at Steinmetz Hall

A celebratory barbecue was held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’ lawn on March 21. Local leaders attended and spoke at the event, including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Jim Pugh. The beam was ceremoniously signed and lifted in place by a crane in front of spectators and construction workers. The new Steinmetz hall is one of many new additions coming to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in 2020.

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