Best (and Only) New Performing Arts Center (2002)

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

Usually we're depressed by Houston's headlong rush to tear down every vestige of its past and replace it with something modern. But let's face it, the old Music Hall was a dump. The roof leaked, the offstage areas were cramped, and there wasn't much charm in its pedestrian design. The $100 million Hobby Center is a spectacular improvement on all accounts. Even though the main hall is far too big (2,600 seats), the feeling is as intimate as possible given the numbers. The acoustics are great, and the stage environs were designed with touring Broadway shows in mind. The accompanying 500-seat hall, yet to be finished, has endless possibilities, but whether it can be a financial success remains to be seen.

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