Haute Event: Neil Patrick Harris and a Bevy of Broadway Stars Open the Smith Center

An extraordinary line up of performers from across the arts community ushered in a new era of culture as they graced the stage for the opening of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas on March 10. Led by quintessential host and award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris, the evening featured performances by the who’s who of music and Broadway’s brightest stars.

The sold-out show featured incredible pairings of musical talent and rare performances.

Broadway superstars Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sherie Rene Scott, Cheyenne Jackson, Laura Osnes, Benjamin Walker and Montego Glover shared medleys from hit shows including West Side Story, Rent, The Lion King and Guys and Dolls. Country star Martina McBride and Train lead singer Pat Monahan teamed up for a medley featuring “Marry Me” and “A Song For You,” while legends Carole King and Mavis Staples performed hit “You’ve Got a Friend.” Theater-goers were thrilled to see Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard perform “Pancho and Lefty.” The duo was later joined by Grammy-winner Emmylou Harris to perform “Ramblin’ Fever.”

American Ballet Theater’s Marcello Gomes and Luciana Paris performed a dazzling tribute to the late Frank Sinatra. Diva songstress Jennifer Hudson, accompanied by a 70-member choir, closed the evening with a spectacular rendition of “Take Care of This House.” All artists were backed by a world-class orchestra and Emmy Award-winning musical director Rob Mathes.

“Tonight we celebrated more than the opening of The Smith Center,” said Myron Martin, president and CEO of The Smith Center. “We celebrated this community’s commitment to the arts and to creating something important and lasting for the people who live here and for generations to come.”

More than two decades in the making, The Smith Center’s purpose is to provide residents of Las Vegas an all-encompassing cultural experience featuring the very best in arts programming from around the world. From first-run Broadway touring productions on stage at Reynolds Hall to legendary entertainers at Cabaret Jazz, The Smith Center will provide diverse entertainment on a weekly basis. The Smith Center will also be the centerpiece of arts education in the community. Through affiliations with the John F. Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, along with creative programming designed for students, The Smith Center will seek to augment and expand arts education for all Southern Nevada students.

The full line of up performers at the grand opening of The Smith Center included: Host Neil Patrick Harris, Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson; country artists Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris and Martina McBride; singer songwriter Carole King; trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; violinist Joshua Bell; gospel great Mavis Staples; Train lead singer Pat Monahan; American rock legend John Fogerty; Broadway stars Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime) Laura Osnes (Grease, South Pacific, Anything Goes), Cheyenne Jackson (television’s Glee, 30 Rock and Broadway’s Xanadu, All Shook Up), Sherie Rene Scott (Aida, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Montego Glover (Memphis, Color Purple) and Benjamin Walker (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Inherit the Wind); and American Ballet Theater dancers Marcello Gomes and Luciana Paris. Kathleen “Bird” York (Crash, Seven Pounds and Lifetime’s new original series The Client List) served as announcer for the evening.

The Smith Center opening was produced and directed by George Stevens, Jr., and Michael Stevens, who produce the Kennedy Center Honors each year. The Smith Center opening will be broadcast on national television at a later date.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

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