ATT Performing Arts Center ready to wow



Posted on October 11, 2009 at 9:55 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 6:12 PM

View of the AT&T Performing Arts Center from the ninth floor balcony of the Wyly Theatre.


Debbie Denmon reports

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DALLAS - Anticipation loomed large Sunday, the day before the opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and News 8 got a sneak preview.

The designs of the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre have drawn national attention.

"The New York Times did a full page article in the arts section about the stage curtain," said Mark Nerenhausen, CEO of the Performing Arts Center. "They haven't even covered the Opera House yet, just the curtain alone."

The curtains remain unseen, but Winspear's geometrical designs and grand staircases were mostly possible due to donations; 133 people gave $1 million each to create the arts center.

"We want to have the kind of place where when the agent calls up the artist and says, 'I booked you for a date in Dallas,' [and] they say, 'Thank goodness. It's about time. What took you so long? I've been dying to play there,'" Nerenhausen said.

The Wyly Theater's outer shell was made with slender aluminum white tubes, and green seating was placed on the inside for the audience. It's the edgy part of the $354 million Performing Arts Center.

The Winspear Opera House

"We've built great seats, but we've built much more," Nerenhausen said. "And if you look out in the district, what you will see is we finished."

A great view of the largest arts district in the nation can be seen from the ninth floor of Wyly Theatre.

There are free events all week at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Monday's dedication ceremony is free to the public and will take place at Sammons Park beginning at 8 a.m. Those who would like to attend do need to RSVP. Next Sunday, free tours and performances will be offered throughout the arts district.