(Dec. 26, 2014) The new theatre space at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street has been described as breathtaking. Instead of the usual City Hall venue, the 19th annual Mayor’s Open House on New Year’s Day will be held at the Performing Arts Center.
Completed just in time for the Dec. 13 inaugural performance of the Texas Tenors, the city’s new performance space boasts 1,216 seats – including balcony and box views – facing a 60-foot stage opening.
Described by Mayor Rick Meehan as “a perfect time to start a new tradition in our incredible new theater,” the New Year’s Day event will run from 1-3 p.m. All are invited, and there is no cost to attend. Light refreshments will be provided by Center Plate.
As well as the opportunity to tour the new arts facility, visitors can also view an exhibit on the history of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center. What began as a small meeting hall owned by the city was completely overhauled and renamed in 1996 – the first in a series of renovations and expansions that built the center up to what it is today.
Other city departments and civic groups will also be exhibiting on New Year’s Day, including the Ocean City Beautification Committee, the Ocean City Development Corporation, the Art League of Ocean City, the Ocean City Beach Patrol and the Ocean City Community Response Team.
The Ocean City Fire Department will also have trucks and apparatus on display outside the convention center, along with a meet-and-greet of the Ocean City Police Department’s mounted and canine units.
Bryan Russo, along with a number of guest artists, will provide music on stage throughout the event.
The inaugural performance two weeks ago fell 200 seats short of a sell-out, but show promoter Bob Rothermel said it was a strong showing for an untested venue.
Roughly half of the Performing Arts Center’s available dates will be filled with the convention center’s existing clients, such as convention speakers and dance competitions.
But the city is also setting its sights on mixing in new clients with headline acts. According to convention center Director Larry Noccolino, seven new shows have been locked down for the facility, including a March performance of Cinderella by the Ballet Theater of Maryland.
“Speaking to people after the [Texas Tenors] show, you could tell it was bringing people to town,” said City Councilman Wayne Hartman.
The Performing Arts Center cost $14 million to design and build, with 40 percent of this tab being picked up by the state. The Maryland Stadium Authority shares the operating cost of the convention center with the city.
For more information, contact Jessica Waters at 410-289-8967.