Photo of the H-E-B Performance Hall in the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

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Safe to say that Robert L.B. Tobin isn’t spinning in his grave over the grand opening of his namesake 183,000-square-foot performing arts center. Rather, he’s doing grand jetés for joy over its absolute fabulousness.

The center’s grand opening on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, showcased three of San Antonio’s premiere performing arts groups: the San Antonio Symphony, Ballet San Antonio and Opera San Antonio.

I’ve seen all three groups over the years, but never have they looked or sounded so good. The Tobin Center definitely brings out their best. With another seven resident performing arts organizations in its stable and a super-sized list of outside talent, the Tobin has something for everyone.

Located in downtown San Antonio along the Museum Reach of the River Walk, the Tobin Center’s 7-year, $203 million transformation from the Municipal Auditorium to its current incarnation can be attributed to its three co-founders, former Mayor Phil Hardberger, County Judge Nelson Wolff, Tobin Endowment Chair and Trustee Bruce Bugg; charitable contributions; and a $100 million bond given the thumbs up by Bexar County’s voters.

“Our mission was to create a facility that would be the best place to see and hear a live performanceof any typeand to offer programming that would have something for everyone,” wrote Bugg, who also serves as chairman of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation, in the grand opening’s program.

The Tobin has done just that. The center has three separate venues: the H-E-B Performance Hall with seats for 1,759; the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, a smaller space with 250 seats; and the River Walk Plaza, an outdoor amphitheater that has space for 1,200 standing or 600 seated along with a 32-foot video wall that allows events inside to be simulcast outside.

At night, the Tobin’s Gehry-like metal skin, the AT&T Sky Wall, lights up the center’s silhouette, giving those of us who are crazy for San Antonio’s annual Christmas lights on the River Walk a year-round fix.

The San Antonio Current’s Cameron James gave a list of where to eat/drink before or after a show at the Tobin Center. Not to be outdone, The San Antonio Express-News’ Valentino Lucio wrote a story that gives Tobin-goers places to eat within an 8-minute walk to the performing arts center. I was happy to see that Ocho, Pete’s and Gwendolyn’s made the lists. I look forward to trying the other recommendations.

The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is located at 100 Auditorium Circle in downtown San Antonio. You may follow the Tobin Center on Facebook and Twitter.

For even more ideas of fun things to do and see in San Antonio, visit Barnes & Noble, The Twig, Whole Foods, Half Price Books on Broadway, Costco, Sam’s and Hudson News to purchase “100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die” by yours truly. Gracias. ¡Viva San Antonio!


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