PROVIDENCE, RI (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Rhode Island Convention Center Authority’s (RICCA) Board of Commissioners today approved a resolution enabling the Authority to assume the lease of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium (VMA) from the State’s Department of Administration. The Authority’s Board also approved a resolution to take over operations of the VMA and enter into a management agreement with Professional Facilities Management (PFM) of Providence, RI.
“Veterans Memorial Auditorium is a critical asset for the state’s arts and veterans communities. The state has invested millions of dollars to keep this facility running and without it, organizations like the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Festival Ballet would be left without a performance space,” said David A. Duffy, chair, Rhode Island Convention Center Authority.
Duffy continued, “We believe the partnership with the professionals who have done such a great job at the Providence Performing Arts Center will significantly enhance the operations and marketing of this national historic landmark.”
J.L. “Lynn” Singleton, president of the Providence Performing Arts Center and its wholly-owned and operated subsidiary, Professional Facilities Management, Inc., said, “ We are excited to take on the challenge of working with the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority to manage the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. The VMA is a beautiful, historic, and beloved facility with excellent acoustics and is an ideal venue for certain concerts and performances which may not be appropriate for other local sites.”
Singleton added, “Initially, we will be assessing and prioritizing immediate needs to reactivate the venue. We are honored to have been selected as the management company and intend to utilize our decades of experience and expertise in all areas of facility management and presentation to the fullest extent possible to again make this venue an outstanding performance location in Rhode Island.”
PFM has moved quickly to fill the top management position at the theater, tapping Stephen N. Habl, most recently the Special Events Manager at the Twin River Casino, to oversee day-to-day operations. He also was the technical director for the Warwick Musical Theatre for nearly five years.
A veteran of production and event management, Habl has over twenty years of work experience under his belt, from ballet to KISS, from musical theater to Madonna. He has worn many hats throughout his career, including technical director, guest lecturer, tour and site coordinator, production manager, and tour manager, to name a few, which are indicative of his expertise and talents as an event professional. He has been a member of production crews for Brooks & Dunn, Huey Lewis, James Brown, Elton John, the Kinks, Willie Nelson, and many, many more, often in various capacities for multiple engagements. The first production manager to ever receive permission from the Vatican to produce a concert at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy, Habl has received RIAA Gold Sales awards, been featured on television programs, and toured 30 countries.
“I am very proud to be a part of the re-awakening of the VMA Arts & Cultural Center and fostering a new spirit of collaboration and fellowship within the arts community,” Habl stated. “I look forward to working with an extraordinarily talented and dedicated group of people here in our state, to bring new and diverse programming opportunities to this historic venue.”
The PFM contract is effective immediately.
–by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers