#3 Theater Time Warp
Things to love about the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Time travel to the 18th century while enjoying 21st century amenities in the intimate, 304-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, designed with balconies and a brilliant canvas of ceiling art. There’s a great tradition of painted ceilings in historical theaters, and Jim Pugh—developer, philanthropist and Dr. Phillips board member—liked the idea after visiting a Houston center where one such ceiling “energized the hall with this wonderful glow of artwork.” The Dr. Phillips Center team hired New York artist Tom McGrath to create a 1,000-square-foot abstract painting on panels of a high-tech polymer ceiling material. The backlit ceiling art, in shades ranging from magenta and chartreuse to teal and orange, gives viewers a sense of movement and repetition. “It’s like playing with information that’s visual and visceral,” McGrath says. “Everybody gets to have their own perspective of it, and it’s meant to be seen from many distances or angles.” The U-shaped proscenium-style theater features a moveable stage and seating designed to accommodate cabaret-style shows and cocktail parties or shift performances to the theater floor “like 18th century theaters in Europe where you can perform in the space itself,” says architect Barton Myers.
An arts center open house for the community is set for Nov. 8-9. For details about opening events and shows, go to drphillipscenter.org.