BOB CARR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE
As the patriarch of the Orlando Venues entertainment facilities, the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre has seen many changes over the years as the City of Orlando flourished around its classic brick façade.
Constructed in 1926 for approximately $175,000, the facility was originally known as the Municipal Auditorium, or “Muni Aud,” to Orlando natives. On February 21, 1927, the brand new venue presented its first event, the opera Aida, performed by the La Scala Grand Opera Company of Philadelphia.
During the first years after its opening, the Municipal Auditorium also hosted stage productions, organ recitals, church meetings and much to the dismay of local competitors – it also served as a movie house! As Orlando grew during the 1950s and 1960s, the “Muni Aud” incorporated more diverse events, and in 1950, the Florida Symphony began playing their subscription series in the venue.
In 1974, the Orlando Central City Neighborhood Development Board decided to reexamine the Municipal Auditorium and investigate a possible renovation that would transform the facility into a top-notch theater and concert hall. Orlando’s City Council agreed with the Development Board’s decision to renovate and expand the space, and in the fall of 1975 construction began. The most major addition to the exterior of the auditorium was the construction of a glass shell around the original brick façade, which honored the facility’s rich past, while still elevating it to a more contemporary style. The renovation efforts in 1975 also brought a plethora of technical improvements that enhanced the internal functions and acoustics of the venue. Finally, in May of 1978, the Municipal Auditorium received its new name, Mayor Bob Carr Municipal Auditorium, in dedication to Mayor Robert Carr’s service to the City of Orlando.
Today, the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre hosts some of the largest and most popular Broadway and theatrical touring productions in the country. It also serves as home to Orlando’s professional arts and cultural programs like the Orlando Ballet, Orlando Opera, Orlando Philharmonic and the Festival of Orchestras.
Since the beginning, the intention of the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre has always been to serve the citizens of Orlando by enriching the community with inspiring arts and cultural events; almost a century after its construction, it does so to this day.