By Dan Gesslein
The arts mecca of the Bronx opens its new season with a $15 million rehab and a dazzling collection of shows from Latin, disco and freestyle to musicals, operas, world dance troupes and even a musical celebrating the life of Cecelia Cruz. The Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is celebrating its 40th season of bringing affordable, high-class shows to the people of the Bronx.
Ater a two-year, $15.4 million renovation, the center will re open as a cultural art center to rival Lincoln Center but with a more diverse slate of shows at low ticket prices.
“New York has Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and the Bronx has Lehman Center,” said Eva Bornstein, Executive Director of Lehman Center for the Performing Arts.
“During this milestone year, Lehman Center proudly welcomes audiences and community members to the top entertainment destination in the Bronx, which is now better than ever,” Bornstein said. “The improvements that have been made will help ensure the comfort and convenience of all who attend our world-class performances and events.”
On September 21st, the 40th season will open with Eddie Palmieri. Throughout the season shows will feel more like a trip around the world. Performers include Italian tenors, Cirque Mei from China, Yamato, the drummers of Japan, the Bollywood dance troupe Taj Express to name a few. In addition, there will be performances from Tavares, Cece Peniston, France Joli, Fonda Rae, The Ritchie Family, Sharon Brown during Legends of Disco 2. Forever Freestyle will return and there will also be an uplifting performance by the Kingdom Choir which is fresh off their performance at the Royal Wedding.
“It’s really an incredible season,” Bornstein said.
When the center opened in 1980 few people wanted to travel to the Bronx to see a show. Today people come from throughout New York and Westchester and other states to catch the first class shows. Such headliners who played Lehman in the past were Johnny Matthis, Jose Feliciano, BB King, Ray Charles and Celia Cruz.
Cruz’ music will return to Lehman with the brand new musical celebrating the life and music of the Queen of Salsa.
“Celia Cruz has a great presence in this area,” Bornstein said.
The new season opens on September 21st and runs until June.
“I’m very proud of this season.” Great names, beautiful performances,” Bornstein said. “It’s wonderful for people to take advantage of this cultural treasure in the Bronx.”
Ticket prices run from $25 to $100 as well as specials for children. Buy online at: LehmanCenter.org
Or call the box office: (718) 960-8833.