OC Performing Arts Center’s Opening Night Lauded; Officials Excited For Future

OC Performing Arts Center’s Opening Night Lauded; Officials Excited For Future
OC Performing

OCEAN CITY – City officials were blown away by the first-ever performance at the new Performing Arts Center last weekend.

The Roland E. Powell Convention Center’s new Performing Arts Center (PAC) held its first performance on Saturday night. The facility will host concerts, musicals and theatrical productions as well as seminars with its state-of-the-art equipment and two tiered seating with a little over 1,200 seats, dressing rooms, concession areas and a box office. It will also be used by conventions.

Bob Rothermel and Jack Hannon of T.E.A.M Productions brought the “Deep in the Heart of Christmas” show by the Texas Tenors, joined by special guest, The Reminders, to the new PAC last weekend, and on Monday evening Rothermel took the opportunity to come before the Mayor and City Council to present an autographed Texas Tenors poster.

“Jack Hannon and I have been involved in the entertainment business for dare I say decades, and we wanted to be part of this new facility, and be the first one in,” Rothermel said in thanking the Mayor and City Council and city staff for the opportunity. “We picked a great group to open the venue. They were humbled that we went after them to appear at that date.”

According to Rothermel, the show was nearly sold out with over 1,000 tickets were sold.

“Some people thought that couldn’t be done, and I am here to tell you it can be done. It is a great facility,” he said. “Facilities are like people. They have their own personalities and nuisances, and you have to learn. We learned some of those nuisances while we were setting up, and there are still probably some things we don’t know about it, but it is a great facility and it is going to do very well.”

Mayor Rick Meehan accepted the gift and thanked T.E.A.M Productions for bringing the Texas Tenors to the convention center.

“I can tell you that I didn’t see anybody that wasn’t smiling. Everybody was happy, and I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said, ‘I just want you to know how wonderful this is, and how good it is for Ocean City.’ They loved the building. They loved the show, and the acoustics were terrific,” the mayor said. “The Texas Tenors far exceeded what everybody thought they were going to be. They had every single person right in the palm of their hand … and all-in-all it was a busy night in Ocean City. A lot of the restaurants said they had people come before and after the show, so it provided the economic benefit it was supposed to.”

Councilman Wayne Hartman pointed out a significant number of attendees were from out of town.

“In talking to people, people came here from areas outside of Ocean City just for the show that night, so it is working to bring people to town and help fill rooms during this time of the year, and certainly the restaurants as well,” Hartman said. “It was a great show, and everybody enjoyed it but economically it is working as well.”

Council President Lloyd Martin and his wife went to dinner before the show and were almost late because there was a wait at the restaurant.

“As we all know, the food and beverage tax is what is paying for that convention center, and they benefit as much as we benefit in having the show there. People were coming to me asking what is next. Thank you to everybody that was involved. It was a job well done,” Martin said.

First impressions are everything, Councilman Matthew James stated.

“People always talk about first impressions, and I thought everybody involved with Saturday night’s performance did a great job in making an almost perfect first impression,” James said.

Councilman Dennis Dare also attributed credit to the new facility’s architect, Becker Morgan, and its acoustic consultant.

“The Performing Arts Center is a homerun,” Dare said. “It was everything that I hoped for and more.”

Dare also thanked the Maryland Stadium Authority, which shared the cost in the convention center’s million expansion project.

“The special relationship we have with them and the State of Maryland has been a real bonus for the Town of Ocean City,” he said.

City Manager David Recor felt like it was a déjà vu as he was part of the process to bring the 1,200-seat Sunrise Theatre to Fort Pierce, Fla., where he previously served as city manager.

“We were very fortunate last week with the opening of our new Performing Arts Center. There are a lot of people to thank and we haven’t even had the ribbon cutting yet,” Recor said. “What a sight it was on Saturday evening. There was so much energy and enthusiasm and that is just the tip of the iceberg. This facility will fill the time of year that we are looking for in Ocean City, and it will be successful. We are very fortunate to have it.”

Former councilman Joe Mitrecic, who was recently elected to serve on the Worcester County Commission representing Ocean City, stopped in the council chambers to congratulate the city on the new PAC.

“The show on Saturday night, if you weren’t in the Christmas spirit it certainly put you in the Christmas spirit. What a great opening for a wonderful thing,” Mitrecic said.