So have you planned a trip to the OC yet? Here’s one final tantalizing reason to visit as we close out our we heart this South Coast Plaza week. Thanks again to the incredibly gracious team at the SCP, Beverly, Debra and Pamela as well as Michelle and Karla at Blab Communication for giving we heart this a VIP, insiders guide to this one of a kind travel destination.
What better way to end a day of shopping or lounging on the beach then with an evening of world class, live entertainment at the Orange County Performing Arts Center? The center offers six individual halls that will mesmerize any guest with architecture alone. If you plan on attending any show at the center, make sure to arrive early so you can walk the expansive grounds and marvel at the splendor of the elegant, engineering feats behind the awe inspiring buildings that comprise this artistic center. The wonderful Timothy Dunn, Director of Public Relations for the center took some time out of his busy day to show us around. His graciousness and knowledge certainly did not go unappreciated by the wht crew – thanks Tim for a fantastic tour!
We started off at the 2,994-seat Segerstrom Hall. Upon entering the hall you are met by a deep burgundy theater with a tiered seating style to provide every guest with optimal viewing. The stage was set for one of the final performances of The Rat Pack Live At The Sands and as the theater lights went on you could hear all of us gasp at the intimacy of what we were lucky enough to see. There is something about house lights coming on in an empty theater that make you want to jump on the stage and dance like you are the lead in Fame. After a few minutes of ogling the theater, Tim led us backstage. We got to see so many of the inner workings of stage productions, I’m just not sure how much we should divulge, we wouldn’t want to ruin any of the mystery!
Check out the upcoming events to see the Broadway quality shows that will be having a run at the Hall in the near future. I’m dying to see Monty Python’s Spamalot (starring John O’Hurley) and would love to catch original Broadway cast members Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp reprise their roles in Rent. Or you can catch out one of the hottest musicals of the past few years when Spring Awakening hits the theatre this fall.
Next, Tim lead us outside and over to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. We stopped and stared at the outside of this amazing venue for a good 5 minutes to take in the beauty. The building is built of Portuguese Limestone and a serpentine glass facade, and you’ll notice the soft waves in the building that was designed by the architect as a “softer” building to counter the bold hard design of the neighboring Segerstrom Hall. I think the Segerstrom Concert Hall is hands down the most beautiful building in all of Orange County.
When you enter the hall, you will be captivated by the light reflecting silver leaf ceiling of the multi-tiered lobby. The lobby also features a one of a kind lighting design titled Contallation by Francesca Bettridge. The installation includes Swarowski crystal LED lighting and 300 stainless steel pendants tipped with Baccarat crystal globes. It is spectacular, so it’s no surprise that a few very lucky brides have been able to hold their wedding reception in this sparkling, light filled space.
One would think that it would almost be impossible for the concert hall itself to live up to the lobby. It does! If you go to the concert hall, if possible walk in with you eyes closed. You will feel like you are in another world when you open them. Once you walk through the doors of the hall, all noise from the outside world ceases to exist. The hall is breathtakingly simple but complex all in one. Beautiful lightwoods with ocean blue shaded reverberation chamber walls peaking through. You all may think I’m crazy but I felt like I was under the sea in a clamshell like Little Mermaid or Bedknobs and Broomsticks!
The centerpiece of the hall is the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ. This stunning organ has a silver leaf over wood façade, 4,322 pipes, 75 stops, including 57 individual voices, 4 manual keyboards with 61 notes each and a pedal keyboard 32 notes. It weighs in at 30 tons. This is the way music was meant to be heard!
There are even more halls and theaters at the OCPAC for various types of performances, conferences or parties. The Community Plaza is a 46,000 sq ft outdoor space between the two main halls. For a night with the family, check out Free For All Movie Mondays. You can spread a blanket on the grassy ground and watch movies like Footloose and Mama Mia outdoors on the big screen. Be prepared for lots of audience participation and sing-alongs!