Two Central Florida arts institutions were recently awarded $10 million each in Tourism Development Tax dollars by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida, which is currently located in Maitland, will use the grant to build a new Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity on the site of the former Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce. The City of Orlando, which owns the land and building, will lease it to the museum for $1 per year. At the same time Orange County is giving $10 million to the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, which will transfer ownership of its Plaza Live concert venue to the City of Orlando. The City will then lease the building back to the Philharmonic, which has been refurbishing the 53-year-old theater since buying it in 2013. Further renovations are planned.
Winter Garden's Garden Theatre has named Joseph C. Walsh their new artistic director, replacing Rob Winn Anderson, whose retirement at the end of the current season was announced in February. Walsh, who comes to Florida from the Arlington Children's Theatre in Massachusetts, has an extensive international résumé, including directing major productions in London and Ireland and teaching theater for young audiences in America and Europe. Walsh will helm the 2019-2020 season of shows announced by Anderson prior to his departure.
Due to a Polk County Public Schools construction project, TheatreWorks Florida is being forced to vacate their venue on the Davenport Community Campus by June 2. The company, which has been presenting shows around Central Florida for a dozen years, has canceled its 2019-2020 season and is seeking donated storage space, as well as a new home in northeast Polk County. Their final presentation in their current location will be Vet Voices: Breakfast in Baghdad, a National Endowment for the Arts–supported project based on the real stories of military veterans. The shows on May 18-19 are free, but you must reserve seats at theatreworksfl.org.
Seussical the Musical, through May 12 at Orlando Rep ... Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, through May 12 at Theater West End ... Billy Elliot the Musical, through May 26 at Garden Theatre.
Anastasia, May 14-19 at Dr. Phillips Center ... Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, May 14-27 at Loch Haven Park ... Sister Act, May 31-June 23 at Bay Street Players ... Once, June 7-30 at Mad Cow Theatre.