Ahead of the date set for the Smith Center for the Performing Arts’ first live event since March of last year, President and CEO Myron Martin said he was looking forward to when he could host again guests in the center of Symphony Park.
It happened on September 14, when longtime local favorite Frankie Moreno returned to the stage at Myron’s, the intimate cabaret space named after Martin. And it certainly didn’t look like an ordinary show for anyone in the building.
âI probably did 150 gigs or more there, and it’s just a special place, but when we went for the soundcheck, everyone was bubbling over. It was like, Can you believe we can start over?âMoreno said the next morning. âI can easily name 10 things that look like accomplishments in my career – like playing Carnegie Hall or the Hollywood Bowl or my # 1 debut album – and last night because of how I was feeling. This room is dedicated to music for people who love music, and everyone has given a thousand percent to make sure everyone has a good time, including themselves.
The Smith Center was one of the first local performing arts and live entertainment venues to cancel shows when the pandemic hit, and over the past 18 months Martin has consistently said he could be among the last places to reopen.
Last month, the site announced that it would require all guests to present proof of at least one dose of COVID vaccination or proof of a recent negative COVID test as well as identification. Face covers are also required. For updated safety information, visit thesmithcenter.com/safety.
âIt’s an inspiring time, but it’s also a tenuous, difficult time, still full of uncertainty,â says Martin. âWe heard a lot of people say thank you for doing this, thank you for looking after the patrons, employees and artists who perform there, but we also heard a small group of very loud people who think that they should be able to go wherever they want without a mask and vaccine.
Regardless of the current COVID circumstances in Las Vegas, the return of the Smith Center marks a milestone because it is such an important part of this community and its culture. It was clear during Moreno’s sold-out performance, and Martin says tickets are selling well across the board.
âIt’s not for one thing or another, that’s all,â he says. âPeople just want to come back, because there is nothing like having a shared experience with a room full of people, most of whom are not known, where you all gasp at the same time or laugh together or feel an emotional connection to those moments in a show together.
This week brought another big comeback with the return of Composer’s Showcase, the longtime performance series created by Broadway and Vegas veteran Keith Thompson, which allows local and guest musicians to present their own original material. It has been with the Smith Center since it opened in 2012, and it has raised funds for unemployed performing arts workers during the pandemic through virtual shows and its TCS Entertainment Community Relief Fund.
Next stop at Myron: soul singer Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will perform on September 24th and 25th; local jazz favorite Michelle Johnson returns to the venue on September 26; the David Perrico Pop Strings Orchestra (a group that recently evolved into the Raiders’ house group during football games at Allegiant Stadium) performs on September 29; and gospel singer and pianist Oleta Adams visits October 1-2.
Brody Dolyniuk’s Symphonic Rock Show is set to premiere at Reynolds Hall on October 1, where the Smith Center’s Broadway series will return with Cats from October 12 to 17. Then the resident companies return, first with the Las Vegas Philharmonic on October 23, then the annual Nevada Ballet Theater holiday presentation of Nutcracker from December 11.