Early voting started Tuesday for a proposal to renovate Robinson Center Music Hall. Supporters of the project gathered on the steps of the historic auditorium to speak in favor of the project. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Phillip Mann and President and CEO of Celebrity Attractions Ed Payton took part in the event.
Payton said renovations would bring larger Broadway productions and make load-ins for equipment much easier and less dangerous.
“A lot of the shows like Disney’s ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ and ‘Les Miserables,’ have chosen not to come to Little Rock. That’s going to change with the renovations,” said Payton. “It’s going to be a much more efficient, safe operation that will enhance the ability of celebrity attractions to bring those big Broadway blockbusters to Little Rock.”
Previously restaurateur Mark Abernathy criticized the plan saying the tax would tie up money for 30 years and the benefit would be limited to downtown.
Phillip Mann said the renovations will also improve the acoustics in the auditorium and the overall patron experience.
“It’s going to be easier and more esthetically pleasing to navigate the facility, but once you’re in the seat, that’s when the real transformation happens. You’ll be able to be surrounded by powerful music that will engage all of your senses.” Mann said. “It will be less of a two-dimensional experience of seeing something and hearing it, but to really feel it in your seat.”
Early voting runs through Dec. 9 and there will be no weekend voting. Election Day is Dec. 10.
Little Rock Residents can vote between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Pulaski County Regional Building at 501 W. Markham.