The Citi Performing Arts Center is known nationally as a true community arts center whose doors are open to all. With the belief that arts make and keep us a civilized nation, the Citi Performing Arts Center proudly looks forward to a bright future with the mission of presenting the finest performing artists and cultural attractions from around the world.
Since The Wang Theatre’s restoration, this 3600+ seat theater continues to host an impressive array of world-class Broadway, theater, music, dance, opera and film.
The performing arts have enjoyed a rich and distinguished history in Boston, reaching back nearly 200 years. Since 1794 when Charles Bulfinch designed Boston’s first playhouse, many theaters, concert halls and movie palaces have been built to entertain Boston’s large and appreciative audiences. Although many of these structures no longer exist, The Metropolitan Theatre, renamed The Wang Theatre in 1983, remains a prominent landmark.
Opened in 1925, "The Met," as it was called, was developed by Max Shoolman and designed by Clarence Blackall, a leading American theater architect. Blackall also designed 12 other major Boston theaters, among them the Colonial and Wilbur, as well as the Copley Plaza Hotel. At that time, The Metropolitan was hailed as a magnificent movie "cathedral," reminiscent of the splendor of a Louis XIV palace and was considered historically the most important Boston landmark of "the Roaring Twenties." Rivaled by few other theaters in the world, its glittering crystal chandeliers and imposing columns and doorways of imported marble formed an elegant setting for thousands of patrons who came to be entertained by motion pictures, big bands and vaudeville.
Renamed The Music Hall in 1962, the theatre became home to the newly-formed Boston Ballet. During the 60s and 70s, Music Hall audiences also enjoyed the Stuttgart Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Bolshoi Ballet and Kirov Ballet as well as popular movies and performing artists. However, as years passed, the Theatre’s splendor started to dim. Its once grand stage was viewed as too shallow and its production facilities too outmoded to accommodate large touring shows. Consequently, Boston’s prominence as a major venue diminished and it was bypassed by many touring companies.
In 1980, the Theatre converted to a not-for-profit organization known as The Metropolitan Center and renovations to the stage and backstage attracted Broadway Ð Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury, Peter Pan with Sandy Duncan and My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison. An extraordinary gift in 1983 from Dr. An Wang, founder of Wang Laboratories, ushered in the era of The Wang Center for the Performing Arts. Dr. WangÕs gesture invigorated BostonÕs cultural community and drew the help of corporations and individuals dedicated to preserving the Theatre. In the late 80s, pure chutzpah and ambition raised $9.8 million to return the Theatre to its glory days of the 1920s.
Since its restoration, The Wang Theatre has hosted an impressive array of world-class theater, music, dance and film. In the past few years alone, the Center broke box office records with musicals such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera and has hosted productions such as Riverdance-The Show, Jekyll & Hyde, Sunset Boulevard, American Ballet Theatre, Whitney Houston and Harry Connick Jr. The Wang Theatre is one of only a handful of theaters around the world capable of accommodating the national touring company of the smash hit musical Miss Saigon and the many technical and special effects that the production requires.