Arsht Center works hard to welcome back audiences
After Miami-Dade County emergency orders were lifted back in November, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts anchoring the Omni area of downtown reopened with a series of safely-distanced performances and virtual events, which were dubbed the “Interlude.”
The Arsht Center also hit the road and went into communities with pop-up performances to surprise hospital workers and many others around the county, said Johann Zietsman, Arsht Center’s CEO. “Our community responded very positively to all of this, many of them expressing deep gratitude for bringing the live arts back into their lives. Many of our outdoor Live on the Plaza performances sold out.”
Guests have always indicated that their preference is to enjoy a live, shared cultural experience and many have indicated they are eager to return, Mr. Zietsman said.
“We are doing everything possible to welcome Miami back to the Arsht Center safely and with the absolute best performances. Our Jazz Roots and Broadway subscriptions are doing extraordinarily well, tracking to pre-covid levels. That, to us, is both a sign of readiness to return as well as confidence in the Arsht Center,” he said.
Connecting the community through the arts has always been a priority for the performing arts center, starting with Free Gospel Sundays, Family Fest and Heritage project, which are all programmed for this fall beginning in October.
“We are also deep in the development of a new program that will be the first arts-driven, youth mental health-awareness program of its scale in the nation. A live theater and hands-on workshop experience, The Ninth (still a working title) will tour within Miami-Dade County Public Schools this January to reach up to 25,000 ninth graders,” Mr. Zietsman said. “The program aims to destigmatize and raise awareness of mental health issues among teenagers while offering them an inroad to resources for coping.”
Other programming to pick up where they left off include career training initiatives like Arsht Interns and the Technical Theatre Apprentice Program.
The Arsht Center’s 15th anniversary season begins in October, and “in honor of our 15th birthday and a nod to Miami’s Hispanic culture, we will be offering a ‘Sweet 15’ deal with more than 2,000 tickets at $15 each throughout the season,” Mr. Zietsman said.
There will be world premieres, which include new work by Cuban legend Chucho Valdes, who will launch the “Jazz Roots” series in November, a special project in collaboration with artist-in-residence Pioneer Winter will take place this month, and violin superstar Joshua Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields along with Miami Chamber Music Society collaborations are scheduled for the upcoming season. Broadway will also make its return in December with Hairspray, just in time for New Year’s.
“It will be a season worth waiting for. Jazz, classical, comedy, dance, local theater and Broadway will all be back – and we’re absolutely thrilled,” Mr. Zietsman added. “We look forward to the return of our audiences, our guests and our artists for full capacity shows. Programming will be as robust and diverse as ever for our ‘quinceanera’ season.”