As a musical theater lover, I was really excited to hear about ETSU’s plans to build a new performing arts center. I was even more excited when the building started sprouting out of the ground next to the Millennium Center. Now I’m excited because of the opportunity it offers.
After a press conference on Wednesday, I was able to talk to ETSU President Noland about more exact plans for the Martin Center for the Arts. My main question: Can we get Broadway tours?
“With the opening of the Martin Center in January of 2020, that stage will be large enough to accommodate major Broadway performances,” Noland said.
Noland equated the Martin Center’s possibilities to the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, and ETSU would look to bring similar shows.
You know what show I saw over winter break at the Peace Center? “Hamilton.”
Now I know “Hamilton” may be a little too ambitious for Johnson City right now, but the potential is there with a 1,200-seat auditorium.
Also, think of the possibilities Broadway tours could bring to our local economy. Hotels could get more bookings, restaurants could get more business, local shops would see more traffic – not to mention the exposure ETSU would get to potential students, staff and donors.
“We’ll roll out the first full sequence of the performance series in 2020, but that will be part Broadway, part vocal performance, part concert,” Noland said.
Like the return of our football program, I think the new performing arts center is going to do and bring incredible things for our university, and the news that Broadway shows can tour in our city – on our campus – is the icing on my incredibly theatrical cake.