Friday marked the grand opening of Steinmetz Hall, the new performing arts theater inside the Doctor Phillips Center in downtown Orlando.
“For snowbirds like us, it adds a huge extra dimension to Central Florida,” Kevin Ludlow said.
Ludlow was one of hundreds of people who visited the theater during the grand opening.
Steinmetz Hall is billed as the only such theater in the world. The space has been designed to produce perfect sound. And the floor and the chairs turn over. The technology allows for smooth transitions from the stage space to the banquet hall. But completing the theater was no small feat.
It took almost 20 years to get here, partly because the 2008 recession caused a delay. Steinmetz Hall cost around $240 million. Through the tireless efforts of donors, city and county leaders, the vision has become a reality.
“Arts and culture are the lifeblood of our city,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The building itself is all bricks and mortar, but what happens inside this building for so many people, the memories they create, the shows they see together as a family .”
Area leaders are excited about what this world-class attraction means not only for visitors, but for Orange County as well.
“For every boy or girl that lives west of here in the Parramore area to be able to walk here, see this facility, be able to touch it, bring it to life, I think that’s just a huge benefit,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.
The premier performers gracing the stage are 250 of Orlando’s finest.
“We have such a talented community. Instead of just picking up a singular performance tonight, you’re going to see a wonderful collaboration led by Cole Nesmith. It’s going to be awesome,” said Kathy Ramsberger, president and CEO of the Dr. Phillips Center.
Artists in Friday’s premiere performance include Asian Cultural Association, Bach Festival Choir, Central Florida Community Arts, City of Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome, Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra , The Inez Patricia Dance School Gospel Liturgical Dance Team, Matthew Fowler & Prado Sisters, Orlando Choral Society, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Raymi Dance, Rico Monaco, SAK Comedy Lab, The 502’s, United Ballet Theater and Wynn Family .
The opening performance is the start of a two-week celebration. Other upcoming artists include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the Royal Ballet and Jennifer Hudson.