Norm Lewis, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris to be the opening performers at Orlando’s new Dr. Phillips Center

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norm-lewis-2emmy-lou-harris-2  SHERYL CROW

Broadway star Norm Lewis (pictured above left) will join veteran country singer Emmylou Harris (pictured above right) and nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow (pictured above center) as headliners in a nearly three-week celebration of Orlando’s new performing-arts center.

Dubbed the “Grand Premiere,” next month’s series of opening events at the downtown Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts encompasses pop, country, Broadway and classical music, as well as dance, opera, jazz and a child-friendly outdoor film.

“The events that we have put together for the Grand Premiere of the Dr. Phillips Center reflect the vision of ‘Arts for Every Life,'” said president Kathy Ramsberger, quoting the center’s slogan in today’s announcement.

Some events are free, including Crow’s Nov. 8 concert, which will open the outdoor Seneff Arts Plaza. At the other end of the scale, a sit-down, black-tie, three-course dinner before “Broadway & Beyond at the Walt Disney Theater” will cost $750 per person for a ticket that includes the meal, the show and a champagne reception afterward.

Longtime Eatonville resident Lewis, the first black actor to play the title role in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, will lead the performers in “Broadway & Beyond,” a 90-minute show written specifically for the center’s premiere.

Local groups such as Orlando Ballet, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park will take part in various events, while other performers come from Puerto Rico and Argentina. One young Central Florida student will get her moment in the spotlight, too: She will be chosen after auditions next week to sing a solo in the “Broadway & Beyond” show.

The $515 million arts center, which broke ground across from Orlando City Hall in June 2011, will publicly open with a Nov. 6 ribbon-cutting. Grand Premiere events begin Nov. 2 with a private reception for the project’s construction workers and their families.

Singer-songwriter Harris, a 13-time Grammy winner with a more than 40-year career, will open the center’s 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater on Nov. 14. Tickets are $275 and include a post-show cocktail and dessert reception.

Community open houses will take place the weekend of Nov. 8, but the centerpiece event will be “Broadway & Beyond,” presented Nov. 15. Lewis, a Tony nominee for his role in “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” will be joined onstage by fellow Broadway performer Sierra Boggess, opera singer Deborah Voigt, “The Voice” contestant Chris Mann and jazz singer Jane Monheit, among others.

Here’s the complete lineup of events:

Grand Premiere Schedule:

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2014, 2 – 5 p..m.
Hard Hat Team Appreciation, Invitation Only
For members of the construction team and their families

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2014, 10 a.m. – noon
Ribbon Cutting and Media Preview, Free and Open to the Public

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2014, Noon – 6 p.m.
Community Open House, Free and Open to the Public
Dr. Phillips Center Members preview from 11:00 a.m. to Noon

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2014, 8 p.m.
Celebration of the Seneff Arts Plaza Concert featuring Sheryl Crow, Free and Open to the Public
Tickets available for Hospitality Suite, including dinner and three drink tickets.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2014, Noon – 4 p.m.
Community Open House, Free and Open to the Public

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2014, 6 p.m..
Film on the Seneff Arts Plaza, Free and Open to the Public
Tickets available for Hospitality Suite, including dinner and three drink tickets.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014, 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Project Team Appreciation, Invitation Only
For Project Team members and their guests

Celebration of the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, featuring Emmylou Harris,
Ticketed Event – limited seats available

Broadway & Beyond at the Walt Disney Theater Presented by Dr. Phillips Charities and The Bryce L. West Foundation, Ticketed Event
Dinner 5:00 p.m.
Performance 8:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Carmina Burana, produced by Orlando Ballet with Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Ticketed Event

Now to that “Broadway & Beyond” show, featuring everyone from Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera), Chris Mann (NBC’s The Voice), Deborah Voigt (leading soprano), and others. Your little girl could have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing on stage with the cast.



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