In Song

For people who love the thrill of live theater and require a monthly dose of it like adrenaline, one of the spiritual casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the disappearance of the performing arts.

“We know that the live entertainment industry was one of the first industries to close and will be one of the last ones to reenter the economy,” says Kelley Shanley, who, for 12 years, has held the position of president and CEO of Broward Center for the Performing Arts. “It’s been excruciating. It’s been hard to try to keep our organization at some level of readiness and hold onto employees until we get back to normal again.”

Kelley Shanley Broward Center
Kelley Shanley (Photo by Jason Nuttle)

The multistage theater complex, which opened in 1991, temporarily shut its doors back in March, but it plans to reopen with Hamilton in the spring. “It’s a play on words if I call it revolutionary, but it certainly is,” Shanley says. “Hamilton has made older audiences more willing to engage with rap and hip-hop.”

And the Broward Center hasn’t stopped creating musical moments—it’s just showcasing the talent digitally as part of its Road to Recovery program. In October, the Broward Performing Arts Foundation live-streamed a virtual Broadway concert, underwritten by Bank of America, that featured a roster pedigreed New York theater stars. “This isn’t the first time that Bank of America stepped in to support us,” Shanley says, “but this is probably the most important time.” Other local donors have also opened their wallets.

As part of the online program, Amber Iman dazzled with the Hamilton (pictured above) showstopper, “Satisfied,” the time-traveling “rewinding” rap aria that defines the popular character of Angelica Schuyler. And Adam Kantor, a key original cast member of the David Yazbek musical The Band’s Visit, reprised “Answer Me,” the yearning 11 o’clock number that the young actor turned into his signature on Broadway.

The intermission-less show, wry and plaintive, is based on the 2007 Israeli indie film of the same name; it swept the 2018 Tony awards and is scheduled to play the Broward Center in August. “If I had to summarize my experience of seeing it in New York,” Shanley says, “it was captivating. There was so much subtlety and nuance that drew you in. It’s such an incredible story, delivered so well, that we just had to add it to our season.”

“Broadway talent is amazing,” Shanley says. “I mean, the concentration of talented people up in New York always amazes me, and we ended up with a great cast.” Also in October, he and his team signed up another heavy hitter: Two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone (Evita, Gypsy) took the mic for the Broward Center’s livestream event, “Live from the West Side.” Taking such measures is a labor of love for Shanley. “I’m so passionate about consuming art myself and being in the audience,” he says, “and, in my role, I’m passionate about what the arts can do for a community, to drive economic activity and tourism, and to create programs based on art that help children learn. We’ve created the largest program of arts and education in the entire country in participation with Broward County’s public schools.”

So until the Broward Center reopens and can begin to ramp up its theatrical schedule and play its essential role in the community (on a normal year, the facility raises the curtain on 700 performances), look for more digital offerings to bridge the gap and fill your home with sublime sound.

Featured image by Joan Marcus

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.