Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

The Kimmel Center Expands Free Tour Schedule to Include Academy of Music Tours

OCTOBER 14, 2009

nsider's Look at the Academy of Music Ballroom, Auditorium and Stage Door Canteen Now Available!

With the recently completed renovation of the Academy of Music Ballroom, the Kimmel Center is now offering free tours of the "Grand Old Lady of Locust Street." Beginning Wednesday, October 14, 2009, experienced volunteers will lead groups on one-hour tours of the Academy of Music. Tours will be offered at 11:30am on select dates by reservation.

The tour reveals the extensive, rich history behind the oldest operating opera house in the country, and offers visitors a glimpse of the Academy's energy and old world beauty. Open, and in continuous operation since 1857, the Academy of Music has hosted everything from political conventions and civic events to world debuts of music, dance and theater.

Discover answers to questions behind the Academy of Music, such as:

  • Which theater shows came to Philadelphia in the 1940s from New York?
  • During Word War II, how did troops use the lower level Stage Door Canteen?
  • And, what were Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope doing there?
  • Where are there monkeys swinging on certain chandeliers?
  • And, why is a ghost light always lit on stage in the Academy of Music?

The Academy of Music Tours are part of a series of free tours hosted by the Kimmel Center's experienced, volunteer tour guides. Other offerings include Kimmel Center Building & Theater Tours (Tues.-Sun. at 1pm) and Art & Architecture Tours (Sat. at 10:30am).

For more information or to make a reservation for Academy of Music tours, please contact the tour services desk at 215-790-5886.

Additional Academy of Music tour highlights:

  • Behind-the-scenes look at the Green Room, a haven for famous artists throughout the ages, which contains portraits of early performers.

  • A walk through the ambulatory to the Grand Lobby with its center chandelier adorned by figures of Pegasus and Neptune.

  • The Canteen's transformation from a restaurant to a Stage Door Canteen during WWII, to its current function as a Patron's Lounge with preserved murals painted by Philadelphia artists.

  • The recent reopening of Academy's lavish Ballroom with original paint colors, French style rug design and replicas of the original teardrop crystal chandeliers.

  • The tour concludes with the baroque style Auditorium, built as a "Temple of Music" and illuminated by the dazzling crystal Chandelier, recently restored to its original glory.

The home of The Philadelphia Orchestra from 1900 to 2001, the Academy of Music is still an active venue and hosts a myriad of community functions and cultural activities, including Broadway performances as well as those by the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet. In 2007, the chandelier was removed from the Auditorium for the first time in its 150-year history for a 13-month renovation by restoration specialist Mathieu Lustrerie in France. The 4,000-pound chandelier is a must-see at 20 feet high, 12 feet in diameter and containing 23,000 crystals.

A full list of the Kimmel Center's free tours follows below:

New for fall 2009!
Academy of Music | Free Themed Tours
Academy of Music Tour
Select dates, 11:30 am

Visit this historic grand opera house, decorated in baroque style, for a tour that includes the Grand Lobby, Stage Door Canteen, the recently renovated Ballroom and the main auditorium with its dazzling chandelier. Due to the Academy's busy performance calendar, tours are available on select dates, by reservation only. Call 215-790-5886 for information and reservations. This tour is approximately one hour in duration.

Tuesdays-Sundays | 1pm
Commonwealth Plaza Information Desk | Free Themed Tours
Building & Theater Tour

Join us for a themed tour which includes a history of the Kimmel Center; architectural and construction highlights; and visits to Commonwealth Plaza, Perelman Theater, Verizon Hall, Merck Arts Education Center and the Dorrance H. Hamilton Garden. This tour is approximately one hour in duration.
Please note: This tour will not be offered November 5 and 26.

Saturdays | 10:30am
Commonwealth Plaza Information Desk | Free Themed Tours
Art & Architecture Tour

Join us for a themed tour which includes an in-depth look at the Kimmel Center's architecture, a walk along the Avenue of the Arts to view the Center in the context of the cityscape, and a tour of artworks on display throughout the Kimmel Center, including the Moore Galleries and the recently installed Percent for Art collection. This tour is approximately 90 minutes in duration.

Kimmel Center Presents 2009/10 Season is sponsored by Citi. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Kimmel Center Presents.

Free at the Kimmel events are made possible through the Wachovia Gateway to the Arts Community Access Program supported by a generous grant from Wachovia Foundation.

The Kimmel Center is the recipient of partnership funding through the nationally recognized PNC Grow Up Great initiative, a 10-year, $100 million investment in preparing children for success in school and life.

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