March 3, 2024

Get Inside the Great Lakes Center for the Arts

The North’s new theatre is about to open its doors— here’s when to go
By Ross Boissoneau | June 9, 2018

Coming soon, to a theatre near you: a theater near you. The Great Lakes Center for the Arts is readying for its opening act, a benefit gala coming July 7.

Patrons will have an opportunity to “Raise the Curtain” at a benefit for the new facility, as well as take in an 8pm pops concert featuring the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Interlochen Festival Choir, Broadway star Rachel Gold, Miami City Ballet ballerina Simone Messmer, and 14-year-old violinist Yesong Sophie Lee. A single ticket, for a “Chorus” level sponsor, is $1,000. (Prices and perks go up from there.)

A little rich for your arts-lovin’ blood? Take heart; the very next day, the GLCFA will host a community open house from 1 to 4pm. Jill O’Neill, the executive director for the center, said that will be an opportunity to showcase the new facility at Bay Harbor, south of Petoskey, for all who are interested.

“We would like the public to share in our excitement at the opening of the Center and be able to see the theater and the various spaces, like the Community Engagement Room, up close,” she said.

The $25 million, year-round performing arts center will seat a maximum of 527 people. O’Neill said the founders did a feasibility study and looked at everything from 350 to 1,000 before settling on 527. “That was the best fit for what we felt it could support year-round,” she said.

Rather than being seen as competition, O’Neill said the center will work with other area arts facilities and providers. “We’re really gratified by the collaborative spirt of the arts organizations,” she said. Among the performers this year will be the Interlochen Jazz Faculty, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and the Bay View Opera. The Sunday Community Open House will feature the Petoskey Steel Drum Band, Up North Vocal Ensemble from Crooked Tree Arts Center, Petoskey’s Voices Without Borders and a quartet from the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program at the Charlevoix Circle of Arts. Carlin Smith, president of the Petoskey Area Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the new facility will draw more visitors to the region and enlarge audiences, rather than hurting other groups or venues.

O’Neill said she and the staff are as excited as the public about the opening of the facility. “There’s been a fantastic buzz. We’ve gotten feedback from Charlevoix, Walloon Lake, Petoskey — people are talking about it.”

Some of the scheduled events have already sold out, including the Joffrey Ballet, Pink Martini, and Sara Evans. O’Neill said others are selling briskly. “Having sold-out shows without the doors being open underscores the buzz,” said O’Neill.

The complete slate is as follows. Shows begin at 8 p.m., with the exception of the Sunday, Aug. 5 presentation by Charles Krauthammer; it will begin at 4 p.m. The off-season schedule will be announced in August.

Saturday, July 7: Raising the Curtain! Grand Opening Gala with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Thursday, July 12: Great Lakes Leadership Forum
Saturday, July 14: The Stars of the Joffrey Ballet (sold out)
Tuesday, July 17: Interlochen Jazz Faculty
Saturday, July 21: Pink Martini (sold out)
Tuesday, July 24: Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra
Saturday, July 28: An Evening with Sara Evans (sold out)
Thursday, Aug. 2: Great Lakes Music Festival
Sunday, Aug. 5: Charles Krauthammer
Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 7-8: Opera, The Marriage of Figaro, presented by the Bay View Music Festival
Saturday, Aug. 11: Matthew Morrison
Friday and Saturday, Aug. 17-18: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
Saturday, Aug. 25: Comedian Tom Papa
Thursday, Aug. 30: Great Lakes Conservatory Night
Sunday, Sept. 2: Celebrate the center’s journey with Traverse City-based tribute band The Journey

For information on how to subscribe and additional information on the slate of shows, go to the Center’s web site, You may also call (231) 439-2600.




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