Lehman Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary of bringing top-notch live performances to the Bronx, including many acts that cannot be seen anywhere else.
The center has survived seismic shifts in demographics and tastes in the borough, and now draws large crowds not only from the Bronx but also from the tri-state area.
According to executive director Eva Bornstein, the 30th anniversary of Lehman Center, located on the campus of Lehman College at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, is a significant milestone because it shows the ability of the performing arts space to change along with the rest of the borough.
“We have seen the ups and downs of the Bronx, and demographic changes in the borough,” Bornstein said. “We have 35 performances a year and have had 175 international companies making their first [American] appearance on our stage. We have made history by welcoming to the Bronx for the first time performers like George Clinton, Patti LaBelle and BB King.”
Bornstein said that the center also caters to the tastes of various ethnic groups that are both newly arrived in the borough and long established. The largest crowds come for Salsa concerts, she noted.
Perhaps the most important season for Lehman Center is the upcoming holiday season, with its annual Nutcracker Ballet by the Moscow Classical Ballet scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 29, as well as A Bronx Messiah performed by the Bronx Opera Chorus and A Taste of The Bronx Food Show and Tasting set for on Sunday, December 13 at 6 p.m.
Bornstein said that Lehman Center is a rare performance space: its stage is big enough to accommodate major headliners and ballet companies, and its orchestra pit allows her to book musicals. The center is currently being renovated with funds provided by elected officials.
“Former Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. and the City Council donated $3 million to renovate the lobby,” Bornstein said. “Assemblyman Jose Rivera gave $500,000 to replace the sound system and we are in the process of purchasing $100,000 of new lighting equipment.”
All of the seats in the auditorium are also being replaced, at a cost of $1 million. To reach the box office, please call (718) 960-8833. Lehman Center’s website is www.lehmancenter.org.