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Arts & Culture

DPAC's dramatic pause

Performing arts center's public rift with local theater producer calls its mission into question

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

"As of yet, no final agreements have been made regarding our partnership with the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts," Orlando Ballet managing director Katherine Fabian writes in an email. "The Orlando Ballet looks forward to future conversations to ultimately define our relationship moving forward. We have not yet received information from DPAC regarding cost projections. Until we receive that information and have had time to analyze it, we will not be able to comment on the costs of transitioning to DPAC."

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is not scheduled to perform in the new theater. There have been discussions throughout the process about how the orchestra would fit into the Disney Theater, but protest from the Phil's leadership prevailed. Instead, it's to remain in the Bob Carr, except for some special presentations. (The nonexistent Orlando Opera is scheduled for 21 performances in the Bob Carr, oddly.)

"When complete, the Philharmonic hopes and intends to perform in the Disney Hall annually for a special occasion or two, performing concerts that are appropriate for a non-acoustic, amplified hall," Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra executive director David Schillhammer writes in an email. "In order to accomplish that, great advance planning is required to identify and engage potential guest artists who will complement the orchestra in a hall not built for orchestral performances. In addition, these types of productions can be cost-prohibitive, so significant funds must be raised to implement these projects. The Philharmonic is committed to continuing its 20-year track record of balanced budgets."

Though the Philharmonic seemed excited to launch its long-delayed "20/20 Vision" fundraising plan after a $750,000 donation last February, Schillhammer says that things are still "difficult" and that the donation drive remains on the back burner. He's still waiting for the promised new residence he's been expecting since 2007, when DPAC was first announced.

"While DPAC is securing funding for the 1,700-seat acoustic hall, the Philharmonic is working with DPAC and the city to ensure Bob Carr remains open, so the Philharmonic may continue to perform its highly popular Super Series there, until such time as the dream for an acoustic hall is being realized."

The city says it will keep the Bob Carr open until the opening of DPAC's stage two. But that doesn't mean things will stay the same. As part of the performing arts center agreement, DPAC is supposed to take over ticketing for the old hall (at an undetermined time, according to the city) and also retain first right of refusal on touring shows. That presents a conundrum involving leverage and competition, financially speaking. When asked to elaborate how the new paradigm will work, DPAC remains unclear.

"We have had discussions with the ballet and the philharmonic regarding their use of the theaters (either Disney and/or the Bob Carr). The decision is up to the arts groups," DPAC spokeswoman Treva Marshall writes. "A pro-forma rental rate had been set, but this will need to be verified through the budgeting process in cooperation with the resident organizations."

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