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Charlotte Performing Arts Center: an emerging cultural entity

Charlotte Performing Arts Center main hall
Charlotte Performing Arts Center main hall
Photo courtesy of Gavin Smith, Charlotte Performing Arts Center

The Charlotte Performing Arts Center southwest of Lansing is emerging as an important cultural venue in its own right, perhaps as a reflection of its membership in the dynamic community of Charlotte. Although the Lansing-East Lansing metro nexus tends to dominate the mid-Michigan cultural landscape, other locales have an important role to play as well. And while the Wharton Center for Performing Arts on the MSU campus still holds sway as the premier venue in the area (see the author's article at www.examiner.com) the Charlotte Performing Arts Center is a stand alone institution without owing any debt to any other facility in this part of Michigan.

The architecture of the Center

There is a striking resemblance in the style of the Charlotte building to the Wharton Center, although the former opened some twenty years after the latter. The Charlotte building features a large glass façade that invites the visitor into a spacious lobby. There are walls that suggest a theatrical environment even before entering the main hall. Once inside, one is impressed by the spaciousness of the interior, the seating capacity and the size of the main stage. This reflects the overall purpose of large-scale entertainment and dedication to growth so characteristic of this facility.

A sample events calendar

To best illustrate the busy nature of the Center's activities, a narrow sampling of just two month's scheduling should suffice. In February, Alice in Wonderland was featured, while in March The Fantasticks and Jack and the Giant will be presented. Throughout the calendar, area school bands are usually on the schedule, giving a variety of concerts. In slightly over a decade, the Charlotte Performing Arts Center is coming of age and will powerfully contribute to the further advance of culture in the area, as well as writing living theatrical history almost every day.