A step forward for Carmel PAC

August 13, 2009
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The announcement that Steven Libman, former managing director of the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, is taking on the same job for the Carmel Performing Arts Center is a strong indication of the aspirations of the powers that be behind the under-construction facility.

La Jolla, in case you don't follow theater, is a San Diego company co-founded by Gregory Peck that is now considered one of the top theaters in the nation. A past winner of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, it launched such shows as "Big River," "The Who's Tommy," "I Am My Own Wife," and "Jersey Boys."

Word that negotiations are under way with pianist/singer/historian Michael Feinstein to serve as artistic director for Carmel PAC is another interesting sign.

At this point, though, what exactly will be presented in the building is just speculation. Will it be a home to established performing arts companies from the region? Will new companies be lured here to populate it? Will it bring in on-the-road acts, filling in some of the touring talent gap created by the loss of programming at the Pike Performing Arts Center and cutbacks in scheduling at the Madame Walker? Will community organizations be a part of it?

Personally, I'm looking forward to more arts offerings in the region, whether inside or outside of 465. I'm just anxious for more information. And I suspect that fund raising -- a key part of Libman's new gig -- will be even more challenging than usual without potential funders knowing what we can expect to see on the CPAC stages.

So what are your hopes for CPAC? Any advice for Libman?

Your thoughts?
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  • The CPAC is a music venue. It is not an opera house like Clowes Hall. It will not host plays. With only 1,600 seats ticket prices are going to have to be really steep to make a performances economically feasible.

    Time will tell whether there is any demand for this endeavor. One thing is sure, they are sparing no expense. So far, the local arts community has noticeably stayed away from this project. I'm not sure what that means if anything.
  • As a player in the local community symphony, I can't wait to leave the nomadic life behind--all the while playing in what should be a fantastic acoustical space.
    I'm hopeful that many other perfoming groups will take advantage as well!
  • H Ramsey is correct. This is going to be a concert hall, not a theater. I think it's a shame that it wasn't wasn't designed so it could be both. It could have been. This limitation will definitely challenge Mr. Libman. I don't know and can't imagine what Mr. Feinstein's role will be but I will be watching carefully.

    The local arts community is understandably biding its time to see what the reality of the building turns out to be. There's no reason why they should commit themselves prematurely to any programming in this unknown venue.

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