Center for the Performing Arts guessing game

Who will the Palladium pull in?

May 18, 2010
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Advertisements are currently building excitement for the Center for the Performing Arts's opening week, scheduled for Jan 22-30, 2011.

But specifics won't be announced as to what exactly will be happening in the Center's centerpiece, the Palladium, until June 6. Then, a press briefing featuring the Carmel facility's Executive Director Steven B. Libman, its Artistic Director Michael Feinstein, the Palladium Architect David M. Schwarz and Carml mayor James Brainard will include specifics for that week.

The rest of the season isn't set to announce until Fall.

Frankly, apart from the assumption that the January events will primarily be happening indoors (It is January, after all, and this is still Indiana), I don't have a clue right now what that opening week will include.

I can blindly speculate, however, that these will probably feature:

1. A big star with an equally big ticket price.

2. Some free or low-cost events that will welcome in a larger slice of the community.

3. Acts without high risk of offending anyone.

Again, this is all speculation. But speculation on what will be happening in Carmel in January is, right now, one of the most popular games on the Indy arts scene.

So join in.

The questions:

What performer or group do you think would be a big enough draw to generate excitement for such a new facility?

Does it take a superstar on the level of Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler--someone who hasn't been seen in this market in a long time? (And would Streisand's politics rule her out?)

Will and should the Palladium take its first step with a classical or operatic star (Placido Domingo, anyone?), Broadway legends (Hello, Barbara Cook), or hot-ticket performer with younger appeal (Idina Menzel has been touring and hasn't played here yet)?

Will acts already playing in the market this year be ruled out? (I'm looking at you, Michael Buble.)

Perhaps I'm putting too much stock in Michael Feinstein's "Great American Songbook" tendencies. Perhaps the Palladium will rock out with someone on the order of Sting. How much would audiences pay for an acoustic set from Bono?

Or will our new concert hall simply use the opening weekend to celebrate the many performing arts groups that will be a permanent part of the facility?

Some of the speculation will end on June 6. In the meantime, chime in with your ideas on what will/should happen on the new stage.

Your thoughts?

  • Old school
    We just spent the evening at Feinstein's at the Regency last Sunday, and Mitzi Gaynor will be performing there in a couple of weeks. That sounds about right.
  • Acts
    Here's two:

    1. Lori Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra

    2. Alison Krauss and Union Station

  • Premier at Palladium
    Having the premier be something of a charitable event would be my choice - similar to the Ryan White benefit with Elton John which benefited the Indy Aids Foundation. Giving back is key to the sites success, along with being affordable and versatile
  • Cougar
    I can't believe no one's guessed Mellencamp. I don't think I'd go, but a lot of other people would.
  • Pre-opening concerts
    The word is there will be 3 free pre-opening concerts in December to tune the hall for a variety of musical venues. One is for all the construction workers and the other two........?
  • I left my heart in Carmel?
    I'm putting my money on Tony Bennett. They certainly aren't going to book a current rock or pop musician for their big opening. I have no problem with that but if you know anything about Jim Brainard you know it won't be that.

    Now, it's very hard to get someone that isn't touring and rarely performs like a Streisand to do a one off for something like this. Plus, she plays substantially bigger venues at very high ticket prices so it wouldn't work out economically in a small venue like this.

    Bono has never done a solo acoustic tour and I don't think some venue in a town he's never heard of is going to get him to start. He doesn't even normally play Indy with U2 so

    As for Tony Bennett...he appeals to the target demographic audience for this place, is generally available for shows, it's the right size venue, he's much more well known than almost anyone in classical music so it makes for more of a publicity splash yet doesn't stray too far from the mission.

    If I was booking the first week or betting on what they do my money is on Tony Bennett and some major classical star another night with a few more low key events thrown in.
  • mixers
    i would love to see a bit of what is possible to do with the building; an american songbook/standards singer/player would be a simple choice. a small touring orchestra, an artist that couldnt sell out deer creek but is above doing rib-fest, then maybe mix it up with a multimedia artist or group like laurie anderson or chicago's tortoise. chances are someone else will be kicking the tires before any shows rev the engine...
    i say they give us a bit of everything. that being said, its almost too late to be booking acts for January 2011.
    i'm excited though.
  • Another Guess
    Diana Krall would be another good guess. Like Tony Bennett, it's been at least a few years since she has been through Indy.

    For the guy talking about Mellencamp, it doesn't look like you're ever going to see anything like that at this venue. It's primarily a classical music venue so you're going to see a lot of that sort of thing, along with the Diana Krall's and Tony Bennet's of the world and maybe something like a Lyle Lovett, James Taylor, etc if they really push the booking in that direction. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge rock fan but I think you'll continue to see most or all rock shows that might play this size of venue go to the Murat and Clowes. Brainard isn't a rock fan and specifically mentioned this wasn't being built for that. Now, if pressure comes to raise revenues they may branch out a little but I doubt you'll see anything beyond something that's on the very light side of rock at most.
  • OUR new concert hall?
    This isn't the collective's "our" new concert hall. This is the Carmel taxpayer's concert hall. Their property taxes are on the line for the bonds funding this bloated enterprise. Carmel's taxpayers are going to subsidize "our" entertainment to the tune of some 2 to 6 million dollars per year, that is until a new council gets in and pulls the plug, which cannot happen too soon.

    So don't forget who made all of this possible - the Carmel Taxpayer, and you might want to thank them a time every time you set foot in this flashy new entertainment center. Without our money your ticket price would be much, much higher.

    Oh, and forget anybody big coming to this thing. It only holds 1,600 so a ticket for anybody with any clout is going to be astronomical.
    • Really?
      @HarveyF... so, Carmel finally paid for something that the rest of the region can enjoy? Well, how I see it, it's typically everyone else paying to build something that Carmel residents will enjoy but aren't paying for... so, don't forget that it's usually the other way around. Take your "I'm angry at the elected officials" and "this is my performing arts center, not yours" talk to the News Talk blog, I do believe this is the A&E blog.
      • Not opening week, but...
        I sure wish they'd book the tour of "Spring Awakening" for some time in 2011. For that matter, has anybody heard if they'll be booking touring shows? It'd be great if they'd book some of the shows that have been ignored by the Indianapolis Broadway series. Unfortunately that might take a larger financial committment than Carmel could afford.
      • Really?
        An interesting response to my earlier comment - I would say that if the citizens are going to rely on government for their entertainment, well, let's just say it's pretty much over. The way this thing is funded _is_ an issue (will Carmel's CRC even have the cash to make the bond payments? Maybe the IBJ should look into that) and the fact that some comments on this blog point to the fact that only what a politician (Mayor Brainard) wants will be presented in the PAC is a pathetic commentary as to where our collective heads are currently located.

        And, the spending for the PAC for such an incredibly small community is simply unprecedented. Carmel will be spending somewhere between two to six times, on the PAC, what the City of Indianapolis spends on all of its arts grants.

        If you like the fact that your taxes are going to go up to subsidize the whims of politicians, then more power to you.

        BTW, I heartily supported the original PAC but now that it has ballooned to $150 million from $80 million and the taxpayers will be on the hook for up to $6 or $7 million per YEAR to subsidize it, well, this is a big mess.

        Carry on with your wishes for Domingo et al to make the trip to Carmel, Indiana for a command performance with the knowledge that, as long as your appetite for entertainment is satiated, all is well in the world, taxpayers be damned.
      • Palladium
        Frank Sinatra, Jr.
      • palladium
        Keep it local, but famous - Joshua Bell
      • Joshua Bell
        Joshua Bell is a reasonable guess and I most certainly think you'll see him play there many times through the years. However, I think they need someone that doesn't just play Indy every year anyway at the Circle Theatre if they are truly going to get the splash they want from their opening week. I would see Joshua Bell as either the second or third biggest act during opening week or someone playing the venue later. If he's the biggest act it won't get that much buzz as he already plays Indy and Bloomington multiple times a year every year anyway.
      • A lot of people not in Carmel will help pay for this building
        C'mon Harvey...I know that Carmel residents will be the only ones paying for this through their tax bill but the rest of the metro area will certainly make a substantial contribution to over the years through buying tickets, concessions, donations, etc.

        There are plenty of things that Carmel residents regularly use that others tax dollars in the metro area paid for with no tax contribution from Carmel residents.

        So, Harvey we'll be expecting a thank you from Carmel residents every time you cross over the Carmel borders too. And I'd also like a thank you every time I support the PAC by buying a ticket.

        As for the size preventing the PAC from getting any big names...well, everyone defines "big name" differently but you can get plenty of well known acts to play a 1,600 capacity venue. Clowes Hall is only around 2,100 and does just fine with bringing in popular acts. This building (at least for now) appears to be much more concentrated on classical music so having a little less capcacity isn't all bad with classical music's more limited appeal.
      • Biggest isnt better
        You are correct Indy Todd that bigger is not always better when it comes to concert halls. A lot of research has gone into building a world class facility. Having taken a recent hardhat tour it is going to be an asset to the entire region.

        Speaking as a Carmel Resident we are proud of being part of the Indy Metro area and we don't look at it a us against Indy but as let every community raise the bar. We are competeing now in a global economy to attract jobs to our region.

        I am guessing the opening act will be someone connected to Fienstien. What do you think about Liza and Elton together?
      • Competing
        The new PAC is looked upon as competition in the Indianapolis arts community. I am yet to hear from anybody in the community that the the PAC is going to be an asset. Rather it is going to take away from the already thin budgets and revenues at existing venues.

        Looking at this thing through rose-colored glasses will not change reality, no matter how many times the same propaganda is repeated.

        Liza and Elton? I'm not on a first name basis with these good people, but imagine the costs of putting on a concert in a hall with only 1,600 seats featuring those two. Tickets would be beyond out of sight.
      • Competition and a new venue are a good thing for the Indy arts scene
        I agree with Mainstreet about their shouldn't always be this sense of competition between the city and the suburbs and one suburban area vs. another. The Indy metro area is all in this community together and the only way we are truly going to eventually become a world class city is through each municipality making the best contribution they can. And I definitely say hats off to Carmel on building this on their own without help beforehand from Indy or Hamilton County. I think it's going to be a wonderful asset for everyone in our metro area.

        I think Liza is certainly feasible but I really doubt you're going to bring in Elton for a couple of reasons. Elton rarely plays anything smaller than an arena or amphitheater unless if it's a charitable fundraiser and he rarely does those outside of places like New York, LA, etc. That's why we should consider ourselves very lucky that we got Elton at Clowes recently for the Ryan White benefit. The odds that he could be convinced to come back here so soon for another fundraiser are not very good. And, I don't see him performing a full show with Liza Minelli for another. Very little in common musically.

        As for some other arts organizations being afraid...

        Come on. All you ever hear from the arts people here is that they wish we had a bigger arts scene, more great facilities, more public interest in culture, more "big events" coming to town, etc...more like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, etc.

        Well...this facility is one step in getting closer to some of those desires I've heard expressed many times. There will be lots of acts playing the Indy area that wouldn't have otherwise. It will be a building unlike any other in the Indy area. And, you'll get much more artistic engagement from the northern suburbs with a higher percentage of people attending events at the PAC due to the proximity to them vs. having to go downtown, etc.

        It's an absolutely great addition to the Indy cultural scene and we should all be very proud.

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