Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

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Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Arsht Center
The Ziff Ballet Opera House seen from the Knight Concert Hall on opening weekend
Full name Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County
Former names Carnival Center, Miami Performing Arts Center
Address 1300 Biscayne Blvd.
Location Miami, Florida
Public transit Adrienne Arsht Center (Metromover)
Type Performing arts center
Capacity Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House: 2,400
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall: 2,200
Carnival Studio Theater: 200
Opened October 5, 2006 (2006-10-05)
Architect Cesar Pelli
Florida Grand Opera
General information
Coordinates 25°47′14″N 80°11′24″W / 25.78722°N 80.19000°W / 25.78722; -80.19000Coordinates: 25°47′14″N 80°11′24″W / 25.78722°N 80.19000°W / 25.78722; -80.19000
Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House view from I-395
The Knight Concert Hall on opening weekend, from the north
Interior of the Ziff Ballet Opera House
Interior of the Knight Concert Hall

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, commonly called The Arsht Center, is Florida's largest performing arts center and is located on Biscayne Boulevard in the Omni neighborhood of Downtown Miami, Florida. It is one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States.[1]

The Center was partly built on the site of a former Sears department store; an Art Deco building constructed in 1929, pre-dating the Art Deco hotels on Ocean Drive.[2] It was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1997 as Sears, Roebuck and Company Department Store. However, by 2001, the only surviving part of the original structure was a seven-story tower built by Sears, the space's successor. The department store space itself had been demolished and developers decided to preserve the tower and incorporate it into the new performing arts center.


The Center opened as the Carnival Center on October 5, 2006, with performers, politicians and movie stars attending, including Gloria Estefan, Jeb Bush, Andy García and Bernadette Peters.[3]

On January 10, 2008, it was announced that philanthropist and business leader Adrienne Arsht donated $30 million to the facility that would make it financially stable. In recognition for the gift, the former Carnival Center for the Performing Arts was renamed "The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County", or the Arsht Center for short.[4]

In December 2008, M. John Richard joined the Center as President and CEO after more than 20 years at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Under his leadership, the Arsht Center has come to call itself Miami’s "New Town Square."[citation needed]

In 2011, four influential community leaders announced the founding of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (“TSNDC”) -- a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and independent entity that will oversee the development of Miami’s emerging Arsht Center District. TSNDC is led by a small but powerful volunteer board: Armando Codina, chairman of Codina Partners, as chair; Manny Diaz, former City of Miami mayor, as vice chair; Michael Eidson, chairman of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors and partner of the South Florida law firm Colson Hicks Eidson, as treasurer; and Parker Thomson, founding chair of the Performing Arts Center Trust Board of Directors, as secretary. Working in partnership with neighboring communities, the TSNDC takes an active role in overseeing the development and redevelopment of the Arsht Center district by advocating for best solutions as infrastructure is developed; addressing future Arsht Center expansion needs; and supporting the Arsht Center itself as a catalyst to improve the livability of the surrounding urban neighborhoods through cultural programming and entrepreneurial business ventures.

Events and performances[edit]

Programmatic series include Jazz Roots, the Knight Masterworks Season - Ziff Classical Music Series and Ziff Dance Series, Theater Up Close, Live At Knight, Flamenco Festival, Miami Light Projects Here and Now Festival, and City Theatre's Yearly Short Play Festival. The Center hosts approximately 400 performances and events each year which attract an average of 450,000 people to Miami’s urban core.[citation needed] More than 85% of the performances at the Center are presented by the Center.

The Center’s resident companies, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony, and America’s Orchestral Academy present many of their Miami performances at the Center.

The Center also offers many free community-based performances and programs designed to make the performing arts as accessible to as wide an audience as possible. These include the free Family Fest series and Free Gospel Sundays.


Educational programs, many of which are planned with Miami-Dade Public Schools, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the resident companies, and community-based organizations, offer unique opportunities for young people and adults to learn about and enjoy the performing arts both in the Center and out in their communities. Examples include Ailey Camp, a six-week full scholarship summer camp which debuted in 2009; and the Learning Through the Arts program, which provides live music, theater and dance components via the public school system's Passport to Culture initiative. Rock Odyssey is the flagship of the Learning Through the Arts program. It brings 25,000 fifth graders to the Center every year to enjoy a live rock-and-roll musical based on Homer's Odyssey - all free of charge to students and schools.


Designed by the distinguished architect, Cesar Pelli, the Center occupies two 570,000 square feet (53,000 m2) sites straddling Biscayne Boulevard which are connected by a pedestrian bridge.

Acoustics were designed by Russell Johnson of Artec Consultants company. He is mostly known for the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

The $470 million Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, part of a gradually progressing redevelopment project in downtown Miami, has spurred more than $1 billion in economic impact in the neighborhood.


There are three main venues all of which can be rented for event space by the public:

  • The Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House seats 2,400.
  • The John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall seats 2,200. Its stage extends into the audience and there is seating behind the stage for 200 additional spectators or a chorus. The orchestra level can be transformed into a "Grand Ballroom" with a festival floor configuration for dining and dancing for up to 850 people. The floor is installed over the seats.
  • Carnival Studio Theater is a flexible black-box space designed for up to 300 seats.

In addition, there are two smaller multi-purpose venues:

  • The Peacock Rehearsal Studio holds 270 people.
  • Parker and Vann Thomson Plaza for the Arts is an outdoor social and performance space linking the two main houses across Biscayne Blvd.
Full view of the center, 3 February 2010

Broadway in Miami series[edit]

The 2018-2019 Broadway in Miami series is presented by Bank of America and includes Hello Dolly, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Les Misérables, Waitress, School of Rock: The Musical, Come From Away, and The Lion King. Subscribers from the 2018/19 season will have first access to Hamilton.[citation needed]

2017-2018 shows included On Your Feet!: The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, The Bodyguard, Finding Neverland, The Color Purple, Chicago, and The Book of Mormon.

Past seasons have included The Illusionists, An American in Paris, Dirty Dancing, Jersey Boys, The King and I, Annie, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Kinky Boots, The Sound of Music, Motown: The Musical, The Phantom of The Opera, Cabaret, I Love Lucy Live Onstage, Cinderella, The Book of Mormon, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, Disney's Newsies, Wicked, We Will Rock You, Elf: The Musical, Once, War Horse, Evita, performance by Blue Man Group, Mary Poppins, performance by Stomp, Fela!, the 25th anniversary production of Les Misérables, Rock of Ages; Memphis, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Addams Family, Shrek The Musical, Million Dollar Quartet, Come Fly Away, The Lion King, the 2009 revival of Hair, In The Heights, Jersey Boys, Disney's Beauty and The Beast, Dreamgirls, RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles, Forbidden Broadway, Spring Awakening, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, 101 Dalmatians Musical, Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple, Chicago, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, Cats, Annie, The Wizard of Oz, Avenue Q, Monty Python's Spamalot, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, My Fair Lady, Twelve Angry Men starring Richard Thomas and George Wendt, Wicked, Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life, Rent, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and The Light in the Piazza.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Facts & History". Arsht Center. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Lopez-Bernal, Gabriel. "What’s in a Name? A whole lot more than you’d think…", Transit Miami, 2007-05-23. Retrieved on 2009-07-09.
  3. ^ Tommasini, Anthony. "Miami Vivace: New Arts Center Opens Its Arms", The New York Times, 2007-02-04. Retrieved on 2007-02-04.
  4. ^ "Donation prompts Carnival Center renaming", South Florida Business Journal, 2008-01-10. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.

External links[edit]