The Smith Center offers many secrets to explore.
With its theaters specially constructed for making theater magic, and its executives playing an influential role in the performing arts industry, the center achieves far more wonders than many realize.
As Southern Nevadans look forward to passing through the center’s doors once more, read below just a few of The Smith Center’s surprises.
Every detail of The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall theater enriches sound - even the seats and lighting fixture. Mohair (a lustrous fabric made from Angoran goat hair) covers the 2,050 seats. This silky yet durable fabric helps to absorb sound, reducing the reverberation of noise that can distract from a performance.
The theater’s light fixture, inspired by lighting at the Metropolitan Opera, offers a curved and tiered design that amplifies the theater’s acoustics.
This design also provides the feel of a chandelier, without obstructing sight lines.
The first two rows in the Reynolds Hall theater regularly perform a disappearing act.
With just the push of a button, these roughly 78 seats lower down 19 feet and drive forward into a storage compartment beneath the stage.
This provides space, when needed, for the orchestra pit or a thrust stage — an additional section of stage that productions use in a variety of ways.
Not only do Smith Center executives book hit Broadway shows — the center’s President and CEO Myron Martin plays a role in determining the highest level of acclaim these productions can receive.
Martin — who hails from a prestigious, multi-decade career in the performing arts — serves among a select group of top theater professionals who vote for the winners of the annual Tony Awards.
This involves Martin traveling to New York City throughout the year to view all of the new Broadway productions and take scrupulous notes on those deserving of statues.
This process also helps Martin decide the best productions to bring to The Smith Center.
Southern Nevadans can take pride knowing a hit Broadway musical originated in their own backyard.
In fact, the music debuted at the Myron’s Cabaret Jazz club in The Smith Center.
Vegas resident Richard Oberacker, also musical director of Cirque du Soleil’s “KA,” worked tirelessly penning the vibrant tunes for Bandstand, which made it to Broadway and earned a Tony for its choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (the same choreographer for Hamilton).
To gauge public opinion of the show’s swing-inspired songs, Oberacker premiered these during the monthly Composers Showcase at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, a musical showcase where Vegas composers and songwriters present original material.
“I’m proud that I’m part of this group who brought attention to Las Vegas as a place you can practice your craft and create things in a relaxed and cool environment,” Oberacker says.
When a Broadway production becomes a hit, it typically proceeds with touring across the country. Many performing arts centers nationwide must wait until these productions have toured for years to have the chance to book them.
Fortunately, The Smith Center’s executive team maintains valuable relationships throughout the theater industry, allowing the center to book dozens of first national tour shows, including megahits such as The Book of Mormon, Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton.
This makes Southern Nevadans among the first to see these top shows fresh off the Broadway stage.
Many Southern Nevadans might not realize The Smith Center operates as a nonprofit organization.
Under this role, the center strives to make the performing arts accessible to all, by offering tickets at accessible prices and providing education and outreach initiatives impacting over 700,000 Southern Nevadan students and teachers.
As a nonprofit, the center relies on tickets sales to fund 75 percent of its operations, with philanthropic donations covering the rest. Due to numerous show cancellations during the pandemic, The Smith Center needs community support now, more than ever.
To learn more about ways to give, click here.
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361 Symphony Park Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89106