9 NOVEMBER 2014
[PIX/REVIEW] Dr. Phillips Center, Orlando, FL - 8 November
Dr. Phillips Center hosts open house, free Sheryl Crow concert
By Tod Caviness and Caitlin Dineen
More than 1,500 spectators turned out Saturday to watch Grammy-winning singer Sheryl Crow perform the first concert in the Seneff Arts Plaza at the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
"What a great night to be in Orlando," said Mayor Buddy Dyer, who introduced Crow as "the greatest female vocalist in the world."
Crow opened the night at 7:45, 15 minutes before her scheduled appearance, launching into "Maybe Angels," before playing "A Change Would Do You Good" and several other hits.
She closed at 9 p.m. with "Every Day Is a Winding Road," before performing Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" during a brief encore.
Traffic was slow and steady for most of the evening, even though officials blocked off Orange and Magnolia Avenue around the arts center.
Chuck Adams and his wife, Barbara, found parking at the Chase Plaza, about a 5-minute walk from the center.
lRelated Dr. Phillips Center
They arrived in time for the free concert but too late for the public tours of the state-of-the-art center, which ended at 6 p.m. Adams, 44, was impressed by the building's looks and said he would consider buying tickets for future shows.
"I'd definitely monitor the ease of getting here," said Adams, who lives 20 minutes from downtown. "Logistics are a factor, no doubt."
The center, which houses the intimate Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, the larger Walt Disney Theater and a plethora of bars, will open its doors again to the public today from noon to 4 p.m.
Attendees can take self-guided tours of the facility, including exploring the Della Phillips Grand Lobby. Tickets for performances scheduled at the center will be available for purchase today as well.
Karen Hepler, 55, who lives downtown, said she "wanted to see for myself what the tax dollars are doing."
Hepler, who moved to Orlando in 1991, said she watched for years as the city's downtown lost character and culture.
Standing center stage, as Broadway hits such as "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked" and "Seasons of Love" from "Rent" floated overhead, Hepler wants the center to bring new life to the City Beautiful.
"The key, now that they've spent all this money, is to ensure momentum," she said. "This should be an escape."
Sabrina Resendes, assistant general manager at Frank & Steins eatery and pub, said she expects an uptick in customers once the center is fully up and running.
Even preparing for Saturday's concert, Resendes said the restaurant — a block from the center — has extra staff.
Resendes said construction crews and center employees have helped increase the restaurant's head count during peak mealtimes, and performances at the center will only further drive traffic to the bar.
SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel