Dear supporters of the AT&T Performing Arts Center,
As we mark another year around the sun, I’m completing my fifth month here as the new president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. (One more month then I’ll stop calling myself a newcomer!) Reflecting on this transition, I’d love to share a few observations about Dallas.
I’ve spent my first five months meeting so many people here. Leaders in the arts, business, education, sports, government, and more. They’ve been warm and generous, filled with great ambitions and expectations for this great city. With all this passion and commitment, it’s easy to see why Dallas is a city on the rise, and why so many people call it home.
Nowhere is that more present, than in our city’s vibrant arts and culture community. I’ve attended a range of programs across our city, and am constantly impressed with the quality of the art, diversity of offerings, and the collaborative spirit of this community’s leaders (and not just in the Dallas Arts District). While Dallas has a great cultural reputation, you have to experience our arts scene for yourself. I’ve heard a number of visitors say “I had no idea!” It’s a privilege to now be a part of this community.
This month, our neighborhood has seen a tremendous resurgence in attendance after the bleakest years of the pandemic. The Winspear Opera House, Wyly Theatre, Moody Performance Hall, and the Meyerson Symphony Center were packed with audiences eager to see live holiday performances, all together under one roof. And early in December, we saw thousands of families come here to Sammons Park for our annual Reliant Lights Your Holidays – concerts, tree-lighting, blinking Santa hats, a snow play area, fireworks and our first-ever drone show. I was blown away by this magical night!
But we know that even as the crisis of the pandemic eases, patrons are still not attending as they used to. Habits have changed. And for those of us in the arts, we have to work harder than ever to welcome new audiences and welcome back our regulars more often. We know it is not enough to just have excellence on the stage – the experience has to be engaging from end-to-end. So for instance, during the 3-week December run of SIX: The Musical (a pop musical about the six wives of Henry VIII) we created a post-show royal DJ after party in the Winspear lobby! We’re planning similar post-show programs for some of our upcoming Broadway musicals, including Legally Blonde, On Your Feet!, and Anastasia! And we have more exciting new things planned on our campus in 2023! I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but stay tuned!
In closing, thank you to all the supporters of the arts in Dallas, especially the Center’s patrons, board members, donors, sponsors, resident companies, presenting partners, the City of Dallas, and so many more who lift us up all year. And I especially want to salute all of my colleagues – the incredible staff and volunteers of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Their commitment and passion for these iconic buildings, the campus, our patrons, and artists are unrivaled. It is an honor to work with them all.
I love meeting people here in Dallas. If you see me at a show, or anywhere on our campus, please stop and say hello! Until then, I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year!
Warren Tranquada, President & CEO
AT&T Performing Arts Center