The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is finally open and we were there! Hell yeah, I bought season tickets months before the grand opening. As a former New Yorker, and a huge fan of Broadway plays, I was not about to lose an opportunity to see high quality shows.
I’m probably one of the few writers/bloggers in Las Vegas that hasn’t written anything about the Smith Center yet, but I wanted to wait until I saw my first play before I hit the keyboard on my computer.
The Color Purple, originaly a novel by Alice Walker, was the first play to be seen by season ticket holders and frankly, I don’t think that was a good choice for a season opener, especially given the amount of hype and anticipation surrounding the grand opening. Don’t misunderstand me. The Color Purple was performed beautifully. It’s just that the story is a very sad one. Having seen the movie years ago, I was surprised to find that it had been made into a musical. It’s about a 14 year old black girl named Celie growing up in a poor rural area in the south. She is beaten and raped by her father since she was 12 and has two babies by him which he immediately takes away. The father then forces her marry a man who wants a wife to care for his home and children. The husband also beats her and forbids her to have any contact with the one person she loves the most; her younger sister Nettie. There are some good laughs in the play and great performances but as you can gather from what little I have told you this is not a happy tale. Something a little lighter like Mary Poppins would have been a better choice as their opener. Who knows, maybe it was a case of schedules.
The Smith Center is absolutely beautiful. I love the architecture. They offer valet or self-parking, with rides from the parking lot via golf cart to the Smith Center. The parking wasn’t that far away, but it was a nice touch that you could get a lift if you wanted to. The Color Purple was performed in Reynolds Hall and I’m happy to say it was a perfect size; about 2,000 seats including 4 tiers of box seats. I’ve seen some plays in other theaters in Las Vegas that were so gigantic that the majority of seats were horrible because they are so far from the stage. There is a live orchestra that performs with the play and the acoustics were very good.
There are several venues within the Smith Center. The Cabaret Jazz venue is a more casual intimate room overlooking Symphony Park with tables and chairs. A menu is available for lite bites or have dinner. A wine list is also offered. Venues are available to rent for functions, weddings, events and parties and are sure to make a grand impression.
There are so many amazing things about the Smith Center that you must visit their website for upcoming shows, educational programs, musical performances etc. Next seasons tickets are soon to be released and will include Wicked, Anything Goes, Shrek the Musical, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Adams Family, West Side Story, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Catch Me If You Can. What an outstanding variety of plays. Get your season tickets as soon as possible. They are going to sell out fast.