Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts quietly gearing up for fifth anniversary bash
By Zachary S. Fagenson
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts has started turning the gears for its fifth anniversary celebration next year but is keep most of the details under wraps.
"Early progress is underway to create a fitting tribute to celebrate the center's fifth anniversary season," center President M. John Richard wrote in a memo to county Manager George Burgess. "Two donor walls will be completed and brought to an elegant permanent completion.
"A very special fundraising effort is underway for new contributions and renewals," he continued.
The center, in the Omni area on the north edge of downtown, is currently in the midst of a push to secure donors for a wall inside the Dolores and Sanford Ziff Opera House.
Center supporters can have their names permanently engraved on the wall by committing to donate $10,000 or more over a two-year period by June 30.
In most big-city performing arts centers around the country, center Vice President of Development Suzanna Valdez said in a past interview, that number would generally be closer to $100,000.
Neither Mr. Richard nor Performing Arts Center Trust Chair J. Ricky Arriola responded to interview requests seeking details on the upcoming celebration.
For the center's grand opening on Oct. 5, 2006, a broad range of stars performed before a celebrity-packed audience.
Meanwhile, the center's February shows sold 71% of available seats compared to a budgeted 61%. That figure is up from 68% sales during the same month last year.
And it seems South Floridians are embracing the big-name acts that moved through the center's doors in recent months.
The center did $6 million in ticket sales combined for its runs of "The Color Purple," "Wicked" and Billy Crystal's "700 Sundays."
Next year, according to Mr. Richard's memo, it's planning to host productions of "Dreamgirls," Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "Jersey Boys" and "In the Heights and Hair."
Additionally "Cavalia," which featured highly trained horses and acrobats in a performance created by Cirque du Soleil co-founder Norman Latourelle, grossed about $11 million.
And the center's occupancy costs, for which it receives an annual county subsidy of about $7.5 million, came in $155,000 under budget for February.