The WTC performing arts center has a new name, an opening date and program

The performing arts center at the World Trade Center (it has been assigned the address of 251 Fulton) is now called PAC NYC, aka Perelman Performing Arts Center, and will open on Sept. 13, with performances starting Sept. 19. The press were given a tour this week, and while no pictures were allowed inside, you can get a glimpse from two they released and mine from the first floor lobby — it’s all very exciting, both for the architecture and the arts.

And it’s a bit of a Tribeca affair. The building’s architect is Tribecan Joshua Ramus, of REX; the architect of the lobby and restaurant, which are always open to the public even during performances, is David Rockwell, who lived for years on Hudson until a recent move to West Chelsea. Michael Bloomberg, the lead donor, will chair the PAC; the executive director is Khady Kamara and the artistic director is Bill Rauch (all three are in the photo below).

Read more about the building here, since I’ll dedicate this post — for now — to the program. There’s a member pre-sale starting June 20 and tickets go on sale June 23. To join as a member costs as little as $10. See the pricing here. Tickets start at $39 at or 212.266.3000.

The program-to-date has been scheduled into spring 2024 with musical theater, opera, theater, comedy, dance, music, film and a speakers series there will be commissions, world premieres and festivals; the artistic programs will range from Laurence Fishburne’s one-man play “Like They Do in The Movies” to a reimagining of “CATS” set in New York City’s competitive ballroom culture.

I won’t regurgitate it all here, but to the highlights:

  • The opening five-concert series will be pay-as-you-wish for “Refuge: A Concert Series to Welcome the World” with musicians from around the globe.
  • “Watch Night” (Nov. 3-18) – a genre-defying exploration of justice and forgiveness in spirituals, percussive breath and opera from director and choreographer Bill T. Jones
  • “Number Our Days” (April 12-14, 2024) – A multi-media oratorio based on Jamie Livingston’s “Photo of the Day” series
  • “An American Soldier” (May 12-19, 2024) – A new opera based on the powerful true story of U.S. Private Danny Chen
  • “Cats” (June – July 2024) – The season ends with the reimagining of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, set in NYC ballroom culture
  • “The Following Evening” (Feb. 1-18, 2024) – An intimate portrait of a couple creating what may be their final performance together after a lifetime at the heart of the experimental theater scene
  • “Good Medicine” (Feb. 9, 2024) – An all-Native stand-up comedy event featuring Indigenous comedians from across the country
  • “Is It Thursday Yet?” (Dec. 8-23, 2023) – A commissioned solo dance work tracing Jenn Freeman’s neurodivergent journey
  • “March by Big Dance Theater” (Dec. 10-16, 2023) – An evening of contemporary dance in three parts
  • “Motion/Matter: Street Dance Festival” (Jan. 5-14, 2024) – A celebration of street dance including legendary DJs, epic battles and concert dance premieres
  • Music programming will include a recital by Easter Island’s pioneering pianist Mahani Teave (Sept. 28) and an intimate “Evening with Brian Stokes Mitchell” (Oct. 5). 2023 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition (Oct. 14 & 15, 2023) – The most prestigious competition of its kind is moving from Washington, D.C., to New York City, presented in association with PAC NYC. Circle Songs: A Holiday Concert Series (Dec. 20-23, 2023) will feature world-class artists in a uniquely intimate in-the-round setting.
  • Film programming will include screenings, panel discussions, performances and special events in conjunction with the 2024 Tribeca Festival.
  • In partnership with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) a speaker series called Conversations at PAC NYC will feature authors, storytellers, and cultural changemakers from the worlds of arts, entertainment, media and politics, including Kerry Washington, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jenna Bush Hager.
  • There will also be family performances, programming collaborations and free performances in the lobby

Just to recap on the space, there are three theaters inside, but they combine with guillotine walls that rise up into the ceiling to create 60 permutations. Taken separately, the John E. Zuccotti Theater seats up to 450, the Mike Nichols Theater seats 250 and the Doris Duke Foundation Theater seats 99. The total when combined is 950 with configurations that include theater-in-the-round, end stage, thrust and traverse.