St. Petersburg, Fla (Dec. 15, 2014) – The Mahaffey’s 50th Anniversary season begins with a look at both where we’ve been, and where we’re going. Through the Lens: The Mahaffey at 50 – A Photographic Celebration of The Arts in St. Petersburg is an historic and entertaining timeline, featuring more than 70 canvas-mounted photographs of five decades of dazzling artists performing on our stage.
Opening with a 6:30-9 p.m. reception Thursday, Jan. 8, Through the Lens will be on view in The Mahaffey’s second-floor atrium gallery throughout 2015. In addition, it can be viewed during all publicly ticketed events.
Co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times, the exhibition of oversized photographs consists of vintage images from the Times archives, dating back to the early 1960s. The earliest photo is of classical guitar great Carlos Montoya, taken at what then known as the Bayfront Theater the first day of October, 1965. The most recent shows Lyle Lovett and His Acoustic Group onstage this past Nov. 19.
The timeline includes many of the biggest performers of their respective eras, including popular singers such as Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles and Liza Minnelli; stage and screen giants Jack Benny, Gene Kelly, Red Skelton and Carol Channing; rockers Chrissie Hynde, R.E.M., The Knack and Don Henley; comedians George Carlin, Steve Martin and Rodney Dangerfield; jazz and blues artists Sarah Vaughan, B.B. King and Wynton Marsalis; and perennial Bayfront favorites Fred Waring, Sandler & Young and the St. Petersburg Civic Opera.
Consisting of a 7,500-seat arena and a theater with a capacity of 2,000-plus, the City of St. Petersburg’s Bayfront Center complex opened on May 6, 1965. A second photographic timeline in Through the Lens depicts the construction process, from the initial dredging along Tampa Bay to the massive renovations that created the beautiful Mahaffey Theater as we know it today.
Those with fond memories of the Bayfront Arena, which was torn down in 2004, will find Through the Lens a nostalgic treat: A mini-exhibit focuses on the spectacular entertainers who performed there over the decades, including Elvis Presley, Liberace and Bruce Springsteen.
The Jan. 8 reception is in conjunction with the inaugural Second Thursdays on the Plaza event. Featuring the best in local and regional live music, these free monthly celebrations will be held on the scenic outdoor plaza that links the Mahaffey with the Dali Museum.
The Mahaffey Theater
The Mahaffey Theater, under the management of Big3 Entertainment, is one of Tampa Bay’s top-rated performing arts venues. Home to the Florida Orchestra, The Mahaffey Theater hosts top-quality national and international artists and performances – Broadway, pop, rock, comedy, dance, classical and interactive engagements and exhibitions.
Located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the 2,031-seat cultural jewel boasts spectacular waterfront views and is located only minutes away from white sandy beaches and world-renowned museums. Additionally, the theater supports the highly successful Class Acts program, which enables school children to experience the performing arts through in-theater performances as well as in-school outreach and extension programs.