The Broward Performing Arts Foundation’s 2021 Annual Reception was cause for celebration. It was the official reopening of The Parker after a two-year restoration project, and the iconic and beloved venue drew rave reviews from guests who were treated to tours of the theater and a special musical performance by The Monkees, led by Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith.
Foundation President Lisa Kitei spoke of the deep connection that The Parker had with the community, and she thanked donors for bringing the reimagined theater back to life. “The Parker was a labor of love and a bright spot for this community over the last 18 months,” she said. “You helped build this. We couldn’t have done it without your support.”
Broward Center President and CEO Kelley Shanley also acknowledged the donors, particularly for their support during the pandemic. “We are so grateful for your help, especially with our Road to Recovery,” said Shanley. “You have always been there for us.”
Shanley went on to highlight the accomplishments of the last year despite its challenges. “We were agile and resilient,” he said. “We continued to engage students in and out of the classroom with free online educational and entertainment initiatives. We hosted more than 20,000 guests during our Back Lot Live performances, creating an energetic, upbeat environment. We offered virtual concerts. And to top it off, we were nominated as a ‘Theatre of the Decade’.” Looking to the future, he described “an exciting new season ahead with Broadway, Slow Burn Theatre, concerts at the Broward Center and amazing talent that will take the stage here at The Parker.”
In his remarks, Foundation board chair Richard Welch spoke of all the development in the neighborhoods around the theater and predicted that The Parker will become “a new community gathering place.” He recognized the members of the Foundation board and the Performing Arts Center Authority, and he closed by asking everyone to join him in a standing ovation for the Broward Center team. “Kelley, Lisa and the entire Broward Center staff did an unbelievable job,” he added.
The Broward Center and The Parker are supported by the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, which raised the $30 million to renovate Parker Playhouse, pay homage to its rich history and renew the theater as a place for arts and culture, entertainment and education for generations to come as The Parker.
For more than 30 years, the Broward Performing Arts Foundation has been instrumental in providing support for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The Foundation was established in 1985 to deliver the required private funding to build the Center and create an endowment to sustain its operations. Over the years, the Foundation has successfully raised funds to support the Broward Center’s innovative and diverse programming, arts-in-education initiatives, community engagement activities and capital projects. In addition to the Campaign for The Parker, the Foundation raised $60 million to complete the Encore! capital campaign to renovate, renew and revitalize the Broward Center.
For more information about the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, call 954-468-3284 or email Foundation@BrowardCenter.org.