New Performing Arts Center celebrates reopening with ‘Chicago the Musical’


Collegian photo by FRANKIE HERRERA

The new Performing Arts Center theater expansion will have its reopening with “Chicago the Musical” Saturday, April 6.

Gina Goblirsch, Reporter

After nearly 15 years of planning and three years of construction, the new Performing Arts Center (PAC) is celebrating its grand reopening with Broadway’s “Chicago the Musical” and  other events featuring famous groups. 

The $49.5 million expansion tripled the size of the previous Performing Arts Center and will create new opportunities for SDSU’s performing arts. For the first time in history, all theater, music and dance programs will be in the same building.

“That’s really exciting to me,” said Director of School of Performing Arts Dave Reynolds. “To see what’s going to happen when you get all these creative people under one roof and give them an incredible facility.”

The facility added two performance spaces, making a total of four in the PAC. One of the new additions, a recital hall that seats 225 audience members, has already been played in by the Boston Brass and a nationally renowned pipe organist. The other major addition, the Proscenium Theatre with 850 seats, will allow SDSU to produce musicals and plays never imagined possible. This type of theaters is unique due to its arched look which serves as the frame to the stage. 

“Proscenium theaters are all about creating the art of illusion,” said Reynolds, “it also has trap doors and a pit for orchestras.”

Not only does this expansion to the PAC benefit the performing arts programs at SDSU, but community members will have the opportunity to collaborate on events and external groups from all around the world will be able to use the facilities, which is exactly how SDSU plans to celebrate the expansion completion.

The extravagant string of performances began March 26 with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a choral group from South Africa. Their accomplishments range from touring with Paul Simon, of Simon and Garfunkel, performed at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and have won five Grammy Awards. 

The popular YouTube group, Postmodern Jukebox, is currently touring around the world. The group will be performing at 7:30 p.m. on April 2 at Larson Memorial Concert Hall.

“Postmodern Jukebox is an internet phenomenon like you’ve never seen before,” said Reynolds.

Putting a 1920s swing on modern hits such as “Sunflower” by Post Malone and “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, Postmodern Jukebox is an original group.

Witnessing the opening of the Proscenium Theatre with the classic “Chicago, the Musical” will be an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime, said Reynolds.. 

The cast and crew will be coming in with multiple truckloads full of set, sound and light equipment, props and costumes. Reynolds said the show will be “everything you would see if you flew to New York and saw the show on Broadway.” 

Though the 7:30 p.m., April 6 performance is already sold out, a 2:30 p.m. matinee showing will be reserved for students at a discounted price of $15. 

“We want every student that has an interest in attending to not be prohibited by the price,” said Reynolds.

On April 5, the night before the show, the facility is hosting a gala event for donors and senior leadership members to raise money for a scholarship fund for performing art students to attend college.

The new expansion of the PAC could create many opportunities for SDSU’s performing arts programs and the Brookings community to reach new heights and grow in appreciation of the arts.