Going Behind the Scenes of Philadelphia's Annenberg Center

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Christopher A. Gruits, who serves as the Artistic and Executive Director of Philadelphia's famed Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, to discuss the amazing Philly arts scene that includes music, dance and theater programs that kids and adults alike will enjoy!

7/30/18 #2155






"We are pleased to be joined by Christopher Gruits who is executive and artistic director for Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. How you doing? Good. Tell us about your place. Your little place. So, we're the second largest, which is not little... little place, yeah... We have a three theater complex, the second largest Performing Arts Center in Philly Metro... actually, the oldest Performing Arts Center in Philly Metro... built in 1971 we're a part of the University of Pennsylvania and we really serve two roles. We're there, first and foremost, to support Penn, and the student experience, curriculum, extra curricular activity in student performing arts. And then we really bring in a kind of premiere season and world-class artists... national and international artists that wouldn't normally come to philadelphia. And we serve as a community window for the university to West Philadelphia and also Philly Metro. You know, Chris, I know people in Philly are proud of the Super Bowl... as we do this program, there'll be another season for the Giants. That's another story... but beyond that... Yeah. I take a lot of trips down to DC, on the Acela or other, you know, Amtrak, right down there. Yeah. Hey, Philly. There it is. Right. I've been there a few times. Right. But all of a sudden, as I'm getting ready for the show... it's such a cultural city, there's so much cultural... Make the case. Yeah. So, it's a huge hub for culture, it's one of the biggest industries and I think what's happened over time is... and a lot of the artists that we're trying to work with are... some of those artists perform in New York City, at BAM, or Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, they whiz past Philly on the Acela. BAM as in brooklyn? Yeah, I'm sorry. Brooklyn academy of music. Yeah, I know, sorry. Yeah. But they might whiz past Philadelphia on the Acela and perform again in Washington DC and so a lot of what our role in Philadelphia is, is capturing a lot of those national and international artists that may have been to Philly in the past, but recently haven't been there. Who'd you get? So, I'll give you an example. Mark Morris, a Brooklyn based choreographer, one of the top choreographers in the world hadn't been to Philadelphia for about 14 years. We brought him in this year as our first artist in residence. We did a great program with Penn Medicine, obviously a huge medical powerhouse in the nation, around Dance for Parkinson's. So, not only were we presenting... around what? What..."