Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Drama Drop -

Today's Drama Drop is all about building things.

* Construction of the theater complex at Cal State Northridge is back on track. The state's budget chaos had brought construction of the $125M, 1,700-seat performing arts center to a halt in December. But in March, workers were back on the job. According to the LA Times, the performing arts theater is one of the largest building projects underway in the San Fernando Valley. Work is expected to be completed by summer 2010, with the hall's grand opening slated for early 2011.

* Snaring Frank Gehry to design the campus for the New World Symphony was a coup for South Florida and symphony founder and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, a lifelong friend of the architect. Out of loyalty to his old friend, Gehry, who has designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and last week was selected to create a memorial to president Dwight Eisenhower in Washington, agreed to the commission. The campus is to include a $154 million interactive concert hall, a 2 ½-acre companion park, and, at the city of Miami Beach's insistence, a parking garage. Construction on the concert hall is under way, on time and is said to be on budget. However, the rest of the campus vision is coming apart amid a fee dispute (Gehry's fee is $1.9M), political red tape, and obstinacy on the part of the architect, which some say is due to the way he has been treated. For more of the "He said ... they said", check out the Miami Herald.

[Photos - Left: The steel-framed, glass-paneled Valley Performing Arts Center being built in Northridge was designed by the Minneapolis-based firm of Hammel, Green and Abrahamson. Right: New campus and performance space of the New World Symphony, designed by Frank Gehry, currently under construction behind the Lincoln Theatre on Miami Beach.]

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