Big Acts Being Sought For New Performing Arts Center

OCEAN CITY – As the facility’s construction continues, the city is simultaneously seeking big name performers for the first Performing Arts Center (PAC) season.

According to Roland E. Powell Convention Center Director Larry Noccolino, the new PAC’s construction is on schedule.

The state-of-the-art, 1,200-seat, two-tiered facility inside the convention center is on pace to meet the aggressive target completion date set for late November 2014, and plans for future shows and events are in the works with an aggressive booking plan running concurrently with the construction schedule.

According to Noccolino, crews are currently working on completing the ceiling and drywall on the second floor. In the next couple of weeks, it will be time to take out the floor of the second story to be replaced by the second-tier of seating.

Noccolino is in the process of working with a current promoter in Ocean City to set up a kickoff performance in the new PAC on Saturday, Nov. 29.
The grand opening scheduled for Jan. 17, 2015, which is Martin Luther holiday weekend, will likely feature the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

“I still have to get it approved … and a couple of other little surprises,” Noccolino said of the grand opening, as he continuously meets with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in setting up five to six other dates for performances in the upcoming year.

The orchestra is also working with Noccolino to bring a production of The Nutcracker to the new PAC.

“You can’t do the Nutcracker in one day, it is a production. It is a major production that would be four shows — Friday night, Saturday matinée, Saturday night and a Sunday matinée — so if we sell it out it would be little less than 5,000 people here over the second weekend in December,” Noccolino said. “It would be a weekend to come to Ocean City, and I think a lot of local people would come too. I would like to pair it with the Winterfest of Lights.”

Noccolino has also been in meetings with producers of The Kennedy Center to schedule five to six dates in the upcoming year to bring operas, ballets and musicals to Ocean City.

Additionally, the city is working with a handful of local promoters to bring big names to the new PAC. Deals currently in the works include Tony Bennett, Amy Grant and Johnny Mathis.

“Those are just three of about 10 I am working on. The price points may be a bit high, so we have to be careful with what we do … we want to price conscious,” he said, adding he would like to keep ticket prices under $100.