BONITA SPRINGS, FL (June 10, 2016) -- After years of planning and construction by Off the Hook Comedy Club owner Captain Brien Spina, the Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center (swflpac.com), a 27,000-square-foot arts and entertainment destination in beautiful Bonita Springs, Florida, will open to the public at 6:00pm on Saturday, June 25, 2016. The special, grand opening celebration will consist of a cocktail party, performances by comedy, dance, and vocal artists, and an explosive finale by a Michael Jackson tribute ensemble currently headlining in Las Vegas.
“Developing a multi-faceted performing arts center has been a bucket list project for me, and I’m pleased to say that we are ready to meet its audience,” said Capt. Brien, a former charter-boat fleet captain who stumbled into the comedy club business in 2005 when he added live entertainment to his Marco Island, Florida seafood restaurant.
The new Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center, located at 11515 Bonita Beach Road South will be a life enrichment center as well as a dining and entertainment destination with nationally known comedians, bands, musicals, dancers and other acts. Spina, who has brought many top names in comedy to Southwest Florida including Kevin Hart and, most recently, SNL alumni Chris Kattan, is very confident he can attract a unique caliber of entertainers not currently being attracted to the area.
“Beyond a calendar of live performances by local, national and international entertainers, the facility will be home to a host of new art, music and culinary opportunities that provide a more 21st Century entertainment experience,” said Spina.
The grand opening event begins at 6:00 p.m. with a French circus-inspired dedication ceremony. Guests will enjoy cocktails and hors’ d'oeuvres at Teatro Restaurant before entering the main theater at 7:00 p.m. A special grand opening variety show will treat guests to successive performances by artists in comedy, vaudeville, opera, and vocals. In finale, MJ The Legend Live, the #1 Michael Jackson tribute concert in the world that is currently being performed at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Tickets to the grand opening event can be purchased online at www.swflpac.com.
“We are so fortunate that we are able to book the entire MJ Live ensemble from Las Vegas as the Center’s grand opening date coincides with the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s last day with us,” said Spina. “We want to show the community that we intend to be a major destination for top-rated professional entertainers, and this premier show is off the wall excellent!”
Also opening for business on June 25th are three new dining destinations including Teatro Restaurant located inside the Performing Arts Center. The brainchild of Michelin Star Chef Michael Psilakis, Teatro’s menu will include new variations on Chef Psilakis’ signature First Generation Mediterranean and Italian style cuisine. Chef Psilakis will be on-site to meet patrons and oversee operations of his restaurant on opening day.
“In addition to fully trained staffs and catering teams at three restaurants, the Center will have an 8,500-square-foot test kitchen to support local chef talent and a budding culinary training industry,” added Spina. “We will also have a chefs training venue and test new cooking equipment, techniques and technologies before they hit the market.”
The test kitchen can also be used to film instructional videos and live demonstration shows. Additional sections within the test kitchen are available for rent to chefs or farmer’s market entrepreneurs. Spina confirmed that he intends to continue to support scholarship programs through the American Culinary Federation.
The Center will be a great event venue destination for weddings, parties, and corporate or fundraising events as its prime location in Southwest Florida allows for easy access from the North, South and East. Only a few local major hotels can match the Center’s guest capacity and dining quality making it a great new option for high-class galas and celebrations. The Center’s experienced and seasoned event planning team will assist with bookings, rentals and collaborations.
Ongoing enrichment programs will be offered throughout the year including specialty adult and youth art, technology and music classes, youth camps and school field trip opportunities.
Originally slated to open in 2014, the Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center delayed its grand opening in order for Spina to relocate his Off the Hook Comedy Club to Naples and modify elements of the Center’s overall architecture and parking capacity to better serve the community and fulfill local building code requirements.
The public is encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to the Center’s June 25th grand opening festivities, which begin at 6:00 p.m. Tickets to the opening day performance are: general admission, $75; orchestra seating, $95; and suite or VIP seating, $120, and can be purchased at www.swflpac.com. The Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center is located at 11515 Bonita Beach Road East, on the corner of Imperial Parkway and Bonita Beach Road. For more information on membership or to contact the box office, call (239) 389-6901. Explore the Center’s full calendar of upcoming events and menu of services at www.swflpac.com.
**Members of the media are asked to contact Mollie Page for coordination of a tour and private interview with Spina, Chef Psilakis, and/or guest performers at (239) 777-PAGE (7243).