When the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts opened three decades ago, it catered to traditional classical music audiences. But the Bronx was growing increasingly diverse. Faced with an aging audience and dwindling attendance, it was clear the Lehman Center had to change, too. This year, the arts center on the campus of Lehman College in Bedford Park celebrates its 30th anniversary with the likes of salsa legend Rubén Blades, crooner Johnny Mathis and the critically acclaimed Paul Taylor Dance Company. “This is a more ambitious season,” said Executive Director Eva Bornstein. “We carefully selected every act. We wanted to offer absolutely the best.” Other star-studded performances this season include the acrobatic troupe Cirque Le Masque, Jamaican comedian Oliver Samuels and an encore musical tribute to Michael Jackson. This broad array of acts has become the saving grace of the 2,300-seat concert hall. It opened in the fall of 1980 under the helm of Lehman College President Leonard Lief, hosting performances by the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Opera. “For the first five years, you would see acts that were very typical for university-based venues across the country: heavily classical, a little theater and mostly by subscription,”… Read full this story
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