Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts

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Mahalia Jackson Theater
Theater for the Performing Arts
Address 143 N. Rampart
New Orleans, LA
Owner Arts Center Enterprises
Type Performing Arts
Capacity 2,100[1]
Current use Performing Arts Hall
Opened January 1973
re-opened January 2009
Closed August 2005
Official website

The Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts is a theater located in Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was named after gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who was born in New Orleans.[2] The theater reopened in January 2009 after being closed following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. It will serve as the long-term residence of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Orleans Ballet Association, New Orleans Opera Association, and Broadway Across America touring productions.[3]


The 2,100-seat Mahalia Jackson Theater first opened in January 1973 with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Messa di Requiem starring New Orleans native Norman Treigle and the New Orleans Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Werner Torkanowsky.[3][4] Before Hurricane Katrina, it was the home of the New Orleans Opera Association and the New Orleans Ballet Association and held occasional performances by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and other groups. It was also the home of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for about ten years before the orchestra moved to the Orpheum Theater.[5]


In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, the Mahalia Jackson Theater was severely damaged.[3] The theater sustained 14 ft. of water, which damaged the motor control center, orchestra lifts, heating and air-conditioning controls, sewerage ejector pumps and other structural components.[6] Following Katrina, repairs and upgrades were made including the addition of enhanced lighting and a new sound system, orchestra shell, ballet floor, and digital cinema screen. The cost of the theater renovation was around US$27 million, and was financed by local tax dollars, about $8.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.[6][7]

About a week of events from January 8 through January 17, 2009 celebrated the reopening of the theater, including a free performance by Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas, and Marva Wright as well as paid concerts by Allen Toussaint, Yolanda Adams, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra with Itzhak Perlman, New Orleans Ballet Association with members of the San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet, and the New Orleans Opera Association with Plácido Domingo.[8] The theater is the first of three major theaters in New Orleans to reopen since Hurricane Katrina, with the Saenger Theatre and the State Palace Theatre scheduled to reopen between 2009 and 2011.[9] City officials hope the theater will help draw tourists to the city.[10]

Diana Ross played a three night sold out engagement at the theater in 1996. It was deemed one of the most successful pop concerts at the venue to date.

In 2013, the theater will host the 2012 NFL Honors, honoring the best National Football League players and performances.[11]

Broadway in New Orleans (2009–present)[edit]

On June 25, 2009, Broadway Across America and Mayor Ray Nagin announced that touring shows would return to the theater for the 2009–10 season. Shows featured were Cats, The Color Purple, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, and Avenue Q.[12] Broadway shows will continue to tour here while the Saenger Theatre, State Palace Theatre, and the Orpheum Theater set to reopen by the Fall of 2011 after major renovations due to Hurricane Katrina.

On March 16, the 2010-11 Broadway Across America season was announced. Shows included are: Cirque Dreams Illumination, RAIN, Spamalot, West Side Story, and Shrek. The Color Purple will also return to the theater as a special, due to popular demand February 11–13.[13] On May 4, 2010 Storytime Live! was added to the 2009-2010 season, with dates set for July 23–25.

The national tour of The Addams Family in September 2011 will be the first Broadway musical to take advantage of the incentive programs offered by Louisiana Entertainment, the state's comprehensive entertainment industry development office.[14]

The 2011–2012 season was announced on March 14, 2011. The Lion King, which was originally set to have its Louisiana debut at the Saenger Theatre in spring 2012, will now play at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. An opening date for the Saenger is to be announced.

2009–2010 Season[edit]

2010–2011 Season[edit]

2011–2012 Season[edit]

Other shows[edit]

Note: Shows not presented by Broadway Across America


  1. ^ "History"
  2. ^ "Mahalia Jackson Theater History". Arts Center Enterprises. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-09. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Waddington, Chris (January 3, 2009). "A night of music and dance open restored Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  4. ^ Associated Press. "Mahalia Jackson Theater Re-Opening". City of New Orleans official website. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (January 30, 2008). "New Orleans' Mahalia Jackson Theatre to reopen in 2009". Baton Rouge Business Report. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  6. ^ a b Krupa, Michelle (December 19, 2008). "Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts set to host all-star events". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  7. ^ Jervis, Rick (January 10, 2009). "Reopened theater stages comeback for New Orleans arts". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  8. ^ Maloney, Ann (January 7, 2009). "Free all-star concert at Mahalia spotlights local musicians Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins and many more". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  9. ^ "New Orleans' Katrina-damaged Mahalia Jackson Theater reopens". The Los Angeles Times. January 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  10. ^ "Big Easy's Historic Mahalia Jackson Theater Opens". National Public Radio. January 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  12. ^ Story fox8live
  13. ^ "2011 Schedule of Broadway"
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth."'Addams Family' Will Hit the Road in 2011; Tour Will Launch in New Orleans", April 30, 2010

External links[edit]