The brand-spanking-new Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts opened last month in Downtown Orlando, and has been the topic of choice for most of Orlando’s community ever since. It’s a sparkling edifice just off the 408 Expressway, nudged up against the few skyscrapers that constitute the city’s skyline.
The Doctor Phillips Center replaces the overworked Bob Carr theater, on the other side of I-4, which played host to the city’s main attractions, especially touring musicals. The Doctor Phillips Center has a giant 2731-seat main theater (the Walt Disney Theater) as well as a 305-seat theater for smaller productions (the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater). Both theaters, along with meeting space and educational classrooms, are housed in a sprawling, modern center that’s definitely pleasing to look at both inside and out.
Yesterday, I went to see a little show called “The Book of Mormon”- maybe you’ve heard of it? It just so happens to be the funniest musical of all time. Needless to say, I fell in love with the musical. But I also fell in love with the venue. The Walt Disney Theater is absolutely stunning; it’s decked out in shiny copper and deep blue, and for some inexplicable reason actually evokes a magical “Disney” feeling. It feels a lot like stepping into the theater on a Disney Cruise Line ship, both whimsical and sophisticated at the same time.
“The Book of Mormon” was just the first of hopefully many performances that I’ll be able to see at the Doctor Phillips center. Its state of the art facilities are more than worthy of the spectacular productions that will take place within its venues, and hopefully it will be a magnet for talent to Orlando’s thriving (believe it or not) arts scene.