Smith Center for the Performing Arts opens next weekend


It's been a long time coming but the Smith Center for the Performing Arts is opening next weekend.  Located near the Lou Ruvo Brain Center and the Furniture Mart, the Smith joins a section of downtown that has redesigned the skyline of downtown Las Vegas.

With the nearby Law Enforcement Museum (er, Mob Museum), downtown is certainly in the media these days.

The new $470 million Art Deco inspired center will be home to touring Broadway shows, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Nevada Ballet Theater, classical music and jazz.

From news reports:

The Smith Center, a temple of visual and performing arts, is easily the most grandiose of Las Vegas' new cultural institutions.

Its inaugural season will feature cellist Yo-Yo Ma, author David Sedaris, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Broadway hits "Wicked," ''Mary Poppins" and "The Color Purple." Its campus includes a jazz cafe, a children's museum, a small park earmarked for outdoor concerts and an ornate bell tower that has transformed downtown Las Vegas' skyline.

More than 10,000 season subscriptions have been sold, exceeding the Smith Center's early projections. In a nod to the city's many low-income workers, tickets start at $24.

"We've been very careful to make sure we are not building something for the rich and famous," Martin said.

The Las Vegas Philharmonic plans to expand to a 10-concert season under its residency at the Smith Center. An upcoming show will feature the score from Charlie Chaplin's 1931 romantic comedy "City Lights" as the silent film is shown.

"Most people in the world, in our country, don't have any idea that we have culture," said Jeri Crawford, president of the professional orchestra. "If we ever have a change, it will be with the Smith Center."