A new theatre opening is always a cause for celebration, and that's especially the case for the new Perelman Performing Arts Center, which is located in downtown Manhattan next to the 9/11 Memorial. The new performing arts building (which cost $500 million and spans 129,000 square feet) opened its doors to the public this week, with the concert Refuge: A Concert Series to Welcome the World, which runs until September 23 and features a mix of Afro-Latin rhythms, electronic beats, traditional Klezmer melodies, rock, funk, and more. Refuge is pay-what-you-wish.
PAC has also released images of its building. The space was designed by Joshua Ramus and his firm REX, in collaboration with theater consultant Charcoalblue and Executive Architect Davis Brody Bond. The exterior stands out against the office buildings of lower Manhattan—the white marbled pattern of the cube turns gold at night. Audiences enter the space through stairs located underneath the cube.
The lobby includes a restaurant, lounge, bar, and outdoor terrace—all designed by Tony Award-winning set designer David Rockwell and his architecture firm Rockwell Group. Rockwell also designed the set for Refuge.
PAC contains three theatres: the 450-seat John E. Zuccotti Theater, the 250-seat Mike Nicholas Theater, and the 99-seat Doris Duke Theater. The theatres have been designed so that they can be used independently or combined in 62 different configurations—including the ability to adjust the rake of the seats and to move mezzanine seating in and out of the space.
Also planned for the venue's theatre offerings are 600 Highwaymen's The Following Evening, about a couple (Ellen Maddow and Paul Zimet) creating what might be their final performance together following a lifetime in experimental theatre, performing February 1–18, 2024; and the world premiere of Laurence Fishburne's solo play Like They Do in The Movies, performing March 10-31, 2024. A newly reimagined production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, inspired by NYC's Ballroom scene, will play during Pride Month 2024.
The plans for PAC have been in motion since 2003. In the wake of the September 11, 2011 attacks, plans were put in motion to rebuild the 16-acre site where the World Trade Center once stood. PAC was mostly funded using donation, with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg contributing the biggest chunk, $130 million. At the ribbon cutting event on September 13, Bloomberg spoke passionately about the project, imagining it as a way to help revitalize lower Manhattan, saying, "The arts have helped fuel our city’s historic comeback and if we keep investing in the arts, then the best days of our city are still ahead of us."
Visit PACNYC.org. See more images of PAC below.