Weather closings and delays

Matt Brown talks about expectations for Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It’s among the most ambitious building projects in Piedmont Triad history.

Construction of the $89 million Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts is well underway in downtown Greensboro.

Construction is scheduled to be complete in early 2020 with the first performances happening in the spring of 2020.

Matt Brown’s in charge of the process and the progress. Not only is he the managing director of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, he’ll also oversee The Tanger Center.

“I think it’s a 100-year iconic image for our community, our region,” he told me during a recent interview and tour of the construction site.

At the centerpiece of the building is the Kaplan Theatre, one of many sections named after families, individuals, organizations and companies that have donated a lot of money.

The theatre’s seating capacity is 3,000, making it one of the largest facilities of its type in the Southeastern United States.

By comparison, Durham’s Performing Arts Center seats 2,712. The Belk Theatre in the Blumenthal Center in Charlotte seats 2,118. Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium seats 2,277. Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte seats 2,455.

“I don’t think there’s an absolute question about where you could sit,” Brown said. “We have what we call ‘every-other-row seating.’ So the patron behind you is looking through your shoulder. And they’re looking above the person (ahead of you) in the next row.”

There will be large TV screens on either side of the stage for up close views.

Another unique feature will be 60 LED illuminated panels that will hang in a circle just below the theatre’s ceiling. This is the Schiffman’s Ring of Light. Each panel will be turned on or off symbolizing a “countdown” to the start of each performance.

Other Tanger Center features include:

  • Two separate sound systems: one for Greensboro Symphony use (it replicates the acoustics of a symphonic hall) and another for broadways shows, lectures and other performances
  • Restrooms to the right or left of each theatre exit on each level
  • An upper Koury Ballroom in which to host pre-performance lectures or performances
  • The Phillips Hall main lobby with a major art sculpture
  • An exterior patio to the left of the main entrance on the Elm Street side
  • The Cemala Foundation Plaza with trees and other plant life to the right of the main entrance on the Summit Avenue side

Brown expects The Tanger Center to host 150 events per year. He and his team have already reached an agreement with the Broadway theatre operator Nederlander to secure Tanger’s inaugural six-show Broadway season featuring the hit musical, “Wicked.”

Brown didn’t shy away when I asked if Greensboro will ever host the hot musical, “Hamilton.”

“I think that’s certainly on everyone’s wish list. And certainly Nederlander knows we would like to have it here,” he said. “I think Nederlander would want to bring it to us as soon as possible.”

For more information on The Steven Tanger Center, including events, tickets and booking information, click here.