(SS) If you sat in a theater seat at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and wondered what was happening just out of view in the wings to make the show come alive, now is your chance to get a gander.
Starting Wednesday, Nov. 18, you can take a 45-minute guided tour of the backstage areas at the center’s main auditorium, the Au-Rene Theater. Tours are offered on the hour Wednesdays through Saturdays from 2 to 5 p.m.
At the risk of a spoiler, director of marketing Jennifer Sierra-Grobbelaar says you get to see a “stage that is fully dressed with a lot of amazing puppets courtesy of the Puppet Network, fully functioning dressed rooms as if there were a production happening ... the stage manager booth, the company call board, which is used to communicate with the actors — all of the elements that go into putting a production together, but that you never see from your seat.”
Along with the historical facts and bits of trivia, tour guests will also get to see how the costume/wardrobe shop is set up, see where the lighting and sound effects are controlled, and even check out the private VIP lounges.
“One of the things that people are excited about ... our customers, they are craving a connection,” Sierra-Grobbelaar says. “And this is a really great way to engage those audiences and give them an experience that they might not otherwise have, but do it in a really meaningful way.”
Jan Goodheart, the Broward Center’s vice president, says that this new tour experience grew out of a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic to come up with a way to re-open the performance venue safely.
“This seems to be something worth experimenting with, especially since so many people don’t really get a chance to have the true backstage experience,” she says.
Tours are limited to 12 people and there will be no more than two tours per hour. Face coverings are required and other safety guidelines will be followed (go to BrowardCenter.org/visit/health-safety-guidelines).
Goodheart adds, “So much of this is driven by the need to connect to our audience and give them something that during normal times, we would not be able to give them this depth of an experience. We sold 60 passes right out of the gate, so that’s a really good indicator that we’re on the right track. We’ve already had interest from families and groups."
What about the Kravis and Arsht?
It should be noted that the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach has plans for an on-site tour to begin in 2021. The center has launched a video tour at Kravis.org/backstage.
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami has temporarily suspended their twice-weekly free tours in English and Spanish.
If you go info
- The tours are $10 per person.
- The Broward Center is at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.