Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

By Jessica LaVigne

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is one of the best places around Orlando when it comes to live entertainment. From large-scale plays and musicals in the Walt Disney Theater, to art exhibits throughout all four levels, this building has so much to offer.


The Dr. Phillips Center broke ground in 2011, and officially opened in late 2014. It was built to become the main performance venue in Orlando, and it definitely lives up to this with 60+ multi-day events planned for the rest of this year. It has hosted performances and events from comedians and musicians, to UCF events and Broadway musicals. The Dr. Phillips Center is located in Downtown Orlando right in the heart of the city, and is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.


The Walt Disney Theater is the largest and most popular theater at the Dr. Phillips Center. It holds 2,700+ audience members, with three levels – orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony. This theater includes copper accents against the cherry wood throughout the theater, all below a blue “sky”. When it comes to large performances and Broadway shows, this is the room where it happens.

Steinmetz Hall is a newly built theater that opened in the beginning of this year, and holds between 1,597-1,741 people with four seating levels. It was designed with cabaret-style seating, and is considered one of the world’s most acoustically advanced theaters with an N1 sound rating. It is also one of the few theaters in the world that can transform in shape, seating and sound due to the design of the space.

The Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater is the smallest theater in the building, holding up to 294 audience members. Although it is smaller than the rest, it includes a lot of intricate design from the walls to the ceiling and balconies. There are 32 abstract pieces of art made specifically for this space by artist Tom McGrath, making this a completely unique theater for small shows and performances.


Do you enjoy walking through art exhibits? Listening to comedians? Enjoying popular Broadway shows? The Dr. Phillips Center has all this and more. I have personally seen many shows including Heathers: The Musical, Prom, and Frozen: The Broadway Musical just to name a few. 

A large-scale event that occurs every year is UCF Celebrates the Arts, where students showcase their art from graphic design and architecture to painting and wood sculptures. This year the event went from April 5th-16th, and occurs yearly around the end of the UCF Spring semester. During this, they always bring a musical to the Walt Disney Theater for the weekend – Shrek: The Musical took the stage this year.


The Dr. Phillips Center offers its very own valet parking service, where you can prepay for a small discount or pay at the curb on the day of your chosen show. This service is available up to two hours before all series, and select shows in the Walt Disney Theater. You also have the option to prepay for local parking garages including Seaside Plaza and City Commons. Most days, you can find parking in either the parking garages listed or the SunTrust Center Parking Garage across the street from City Commons.


This event and performing arts center is full of life and entertainment almost every night of the week. Whether you love music or art, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check out their schedule and find a date where you can visit this magnificent performing arts center. 

Have you ever been to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts? What show or event are you planning on attending in the future?

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