Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts Celebrates First Year

This morning, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts celebrated its one-year anniversary with a press conference that reflected on a profitable first year and gave an update on philanthropy and the progress of Phase 2.

Michelle Jones of the Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts performed with her group, Violectric, before the speakers took the stage. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer noted that there were challenges as the performing arts center came to fruition but that never diminished his or anyone else’s passions for bringing it to life. “I don’t think we could have ever imagined such a successful first year,” he says.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs agreed with that sentiment, saying that in her eight years on the commission and five years as mayor, “You see grand plans turn into mediocre projects – not this one.”

In 2015, the performing arts center saw record-breaking numbers and came out on the other side with a profit. Reflecting on a successful inaugural year, President and CEO Kathy Ramsberger says, “We never assumed we could do this by ourselves.”

Ramsberger recognized several donors for their generous gifts in the first year and their continued support as Phase 2 gets underway. Broadway Across America pledged $500,000 to Phase 2 and extended its Broadway contract with the Dr. Phillips Center through 2025. Ford Kiene, one of the first people to write a check when the performing arts center was just an idea, gifted $1 million in honor of his family: uncle Ford M. Basel, aunt Iris Basel, father Richard T. Kiene and mother Belinda E. Kiene. Garret Hutchens, a member since June 2014 and frequent attendee of the shows during this first year, gifted $1 million to name the Donors’ Room Bar. The Harvey Massey Foundation made a $1 million donation to name the Harvey and Carol Massey Family Concert Stage in Steinmetz Hall. Personal gifts from Valerie and Jim Shapiro, Peter S. Cahall and Mary Demetree totaled $500,000.

Phase 2, which consists of the 1,700-seat Steinmetz Hall that will add rehearsal, classroom, office and back-of-house space to the performing arts center, is projected to break ground this spring. The current projected cost is $177 million and fundraising for about $35 million to be put toward the completion of the project is still needed. Phase 2 is scheduled to open in 2019.


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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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