When a nearly $70 million renovation of Little Rock’s historic Robinson Center Music Hall is complete late next year, the venue will be able to host any touring Broadway production. And officials announced Monday that for the first time, Andrew Lloyd Webber's renowned Phantom of the Opera will be coming to town in March 2017.
It's one of the shows that in the past couldn't be staged at Robinson because of its layout and loading limitations. But the extensive renovations underway right now will change that.
"Phantom-ready is almost like an industry term because this is one of the biggest and best performances that's been out there for decades. It's a wonderful performance, but it does take a lot of capacity," said Gretchen Hall, president and CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, which manages the venue.
Work is about 60 percent complete on the project, which Hall says is on budget and on schedule. It's being funded by a two percent hospitality tax approved by voters in 2013.
The hall was completely gutted and is now being rebuilt on the inside. The steel frame for the balconies has recently been completed, giving a feel for how the venue will eventually look. A new lobby on the west side is also being constructed, along with a ballroom and convention space facing the Arkansas River.